Mumbai’s poor don’t get government scheme benefits, says NGO’s report | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Mumbai’s poor don’t get government scheme benefits, says NGO’s report

Sep 05, 2020 12:35 AM IST

While the Central and state governments have announced several schemes to help low-income groups tide over the crises caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, a ground report by Mumbai-based non-governmental organisation (NGO) Youth for Unity and Voluntary Action (Yuva) found many households do not have access to or are not beneficiaries of these schemes.

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Yuva surveyed 25,589 households from 10 cities in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), including 13,801 migrant workers who were returning to their villages. The NGO had also conducted 172 in-depth interviews with workers between March and June. Their report is titled “Living with multiple vulnerabilities: impact of Covid-19 on the urban poor in MMR” and was released on Friday.

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According to the report, of the 8,315 households surveyed, only 297 households (3.57%) had access to the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY), which offers clean cooking fuel for those below the poverty line (BPL). In the wake of Covid-19, the Centre had announced that it would provide free gas cylinders to all BPL families and the scheme was extended till September.

“While BPL coverage of the PMUY appears limited, a possible expansion of beneficiaries of the PMUY in the given economic situation is much needed,” the report states. According to Yuva, almost 17% of Maharashtra’s population qualifies BPL and 22% of the state’s poorest live in Mumbai, Pune, Thane and Nagpur.

Under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, the Centre had announced 1,500 would be transferred to all Jan Dhan bank accounts registered in women’s names in three instalments of 500 each. However, of the 14,750 households surveyed by Yuva, only 23.13% had bank accounts in the women’s names. Also only 284 of the 963 construction workers registered with the Maharashtra Building and Other Construction Workers’ (BoCW) Welfare Board, who were surveyed, received a cash transfer of 2,000 as promised by the government of Maharashtra.

Roshni Nuggehalli from Yuva said, “We have also included people’s demands in the report which in a way questions the accountability on the way the city has developed. The lockdown has showed us how people’s rights have been violated and through this research we want the government to focus on these issues and address the demands made by the people.”

The recommendations for the Centre and the state include increased access to clean cooking fuel and nutritious food, effective implementation of relief measures, and increased financial assistance.

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