GOT THE REAL PICTURE
told the gathering about difficulties they face in getting rations:
· Women-headed households
find it hard to get ration cards in their names.
Many shop owners refuse to give receipts for payments.
Often, women on the ration vigilance committees are token representatives
are not kept informed about anything.
Sometimes women don't know about malpractices because they don't visit
shops, their children usually go and buy the rations.
Most of the women sarpanchas present and didn't know that they are supposed to
check ration stocks when they arrive. They simply sign the register
when they are asked to.
Sayadbi, a shop owner from Naldurg explained difficulties faced by shopowners.
While shop owners are supposed to have regular meetings with officials,
these meetings rarely take place. So the shop owners don't have an opportunity
to convey problems such as rations being in short supply, delays in getting
stocks, low quality rations and transport costs!
EFFORTS TO IMPROVE ACCESS
A ROLE FOR WOMEN'S GROUPS :
In 1998, Swayam Shikshan Prayog, an NGO working with women's
collectives in 2 districts, began a systematic exploration of food security
and rationing. The key questions for SSP were:
How does the Public Distribution System function in rural areas?
What are the problems people face with regard to accessing rations?
How can women's collectives in rural areas intervene to address these
In September 1998, impressed by the track
record of women's collectives, the District Collector of Latur set
a precedent by agreeing to put members of women's collectives on
the ration vigilance committees. After women complained to him that
they needed proof of their status as committee members, he has also
provided identity cards to these members. After this, the Osmanabad
Collector also agreed to allow women's collectives to nominate members
on the Ration Vigilance Committee.