RTI Could Curb BPL Corruption

Man files RTI application in rural Haryana to fight for his BPL rights. "Poverty is the worst form of violence", says Gandhi in Richard Attenborough's epic of the same name. While it's hard to say whether Gandhi said these very words in real life, it does reflect his sentiment. To deal with growing poverty in independent India, in 1978 the Indian government set a “poverty line”, a benchmark by which to gauge income and food requirements based on calorie intake. Since then, the poverty line is adjusted each year keeping with inflation. In recent years, official poverty estimates show a decline in poverty, while expert estimates show higher levels of poverty. There is indeed a large gap between official and expert data on the subject. Whatever may be the truth one thing is for certain - poverty is far from being a thing of the past. Moreover, the below poverty line exercise is now so ridden with corruption and manipulation that it is time to seriously examine its influence or lack there of, on poverty. Amit Kumar, our Community Correspondent from Haryana, visited Ladwa village in the district of Kurukshetra to shoot this story on BPL corruption. The villagers complain that the ration distributor is not giving them what they are entitled to on paper and in some cases families have even had their BPL cards revoked without any prior warning. Disgruntled, one young man filed an RTI application. Ever since, the ration distributor has been making the rounds of his house, begging him to withdraw the application. While the outcome of the RTI is yet to be seen, the pressure on the distributor is already on and hopefully the BPL families in the village will soon see justice.    

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