No Mobile Number? No Ration Card for You!

Ration-card-in-uttar-pradesBhagwatpur, Karwi block, Chitrakoot district. People lining up for the ostensibly more efficient online ration card application at the Jan Sewa Kendra here were told that they were not eligible to apply without a mobile number. New mobile SIM cards were being made available at the Jan Sewa Kendra and applicants were pressured to buy them immediately.

One woman from the village, Golhari, “I went to have my form filled on the 15th of March to Baghelabari. The man who was filling my form, Budhvilas, told me to buy a new SIM, since if I did not have a mobile number, I would not get the ration card.” As usual, women were worse off in this case, since they seldom had SIM cards in their own names. Rampal and Bhaiyaram said that if you wanted 5 people’s names on the ration card, you had to have 5 different SIMs. “80 people in our villages had to buy new SIMs to file their applications.

Budhvilas, who files the applications at the Jan Sewa Kendra, said that it was compulsory to have a mobile number to get your ration card made. According to the Food and Civil Supplies Department in Chitrakoot, “Each ration card is linked to a mobile number, on which details such as passwords and so will be sent.”

Khabar Lahariya reporters observed that all SIM cards sold at the Jan Sewa Kendra were of one private telecom company. The cards were priced at Rs 250, markedly higher than the rate the cards would have been available at a phone outlet in the town.

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