City CSOs help 1,000 families get ration cards

There are thousands of impoverished, marginalised citizens living in Kolkata and other urban centres in West Bengal who are unable to avail of the various welfare schemes launched by the Union and the sate government for the sole reason that they do not possess documents with which they can prove their Indian citizenship.

To ameliorate their plight, the Griha Adhikar Manch (GAM), a network of civil society organisations (CSOs) working for the urban poor in Kolkata, on Friday launched Urban Poverty Campaign.
The GAM in collaboration with state government has provided ration cards to 1,000 families and around 1,500 families will be given Antodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) cards.
“We also need to help those working as domestic helps and rag-pickers belonging to the unorganised job sector to acquire labour and BPL cards. With that comes the legal citizenship recognition and the benefit to avail schemes under the PDS,” said Reshmi Ganguly, a social activist.
The 2011 census conveniently had excluded these thousands of homeless footpath dwellers because they lacked any form of citizenship proof like voter ID cards which also robbed them of the constitutional right to universal franchise.
In Kolkata alone, 6,213 of the urban poor live in open dwellings and illegal temporary settlements along canals and rail tracks and there are only six permanent night shelters here.

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