ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Need for Local Access Points for Central Administration of Identity Cards

Access to identity cards for availing basic services offered by the government is a process full of impediments. However, such access will not only help in the betterment of the life of citizens but also aid in dealing with unforeseen situations such as a pandemic. A streamlined and more organised form of administration of identity cards is suggested here with examples from across Indian states.

The inequity in India’s cities and the need to focus attention on the urban poor has always been apparent. The pandemic has demonstrated the fragility or absence of security of livelihoods, income and basic services. As per a study conducted by Totapally et al (2020) of 15 states, on the efficacy of government entitlements for low-income families during COVID-19, 43% of households in Maharashtra lost 100% of their income. Additionally, 52% of the total respondents in 15 states lost their job during lockdown and another 20% have lost wages. The report further suggests that even though public distribution system (PDS) delivery was broadened during the pandemic, Aadhaar card/ration card issues emerged as a key barrier in accessing these benefits.

Possession of relevant identity cards/documents, such as Aadhaar card, below poverty line (BPL) card, caste certificate, voter ID, are essential while availing services at all times, not just during a pandemic. This includes access to rations, government schemes, gas cylinders and of course, to exercise the right to vote, to name but a few things. To access subsidised foodgrains, for exa­mple, a citizen has to show the BPL card at the ration shop and to access welfare schemes targeting the Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) community, citizens have to furnish a caste certificate.

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Updated On : 13th Feb, 2021

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