Workers in the world’s oldest profession have asserted that the panacea to their adversity lies in the government issued ‘peela’ (yellow) ration card meant for below the poverty line (BPL) families.
“The ration card will give me an identity that I have missed out on in the four decades of my life. It will entitle me for many government schemes that provide food, shelter and work,” Lucky, a resident of the capital’s red light area, GB Road, said.
The ‘peela’ ration card issue was very much the theme during a recent gathering of sex workers from the city’s red light areas. The meeting was to take a decision on the way forward in the backdrop of the landmark the Supreme Court directive in February to the Centre and states to prepare schemes through social welfare boards to give technical and vocational training to sex workers in all cities in India.
The SC had also said that the schemes should mention in detail who will give the technical, vocational training and in what manner the sex workers can be rehabilitated and settled in terms of employment as well as in ensuring an assured market for sale of their products.
“If the sex workers get these ration cards, all civil society organisations will be greatly empowered to offer them the maximum help,” said
Rishikant, an activist of Shakti Vahini, an anti-trafficking NGO.
An important identity document that aids procurement of essential commodities at subsidised rates under the public distribution system, ration cards are issued by state governments in three distinctive colours— yellow ration cards for the BPL, blue for families above the poverty line, and white for those who want the card only for address proof purposes.
States also issue temporary ration cards that are valid for a specified period.