The case of the missing ration
East Singhbhum district, Jharkhand

In 2017, the Jharkhand government launched the Dakiya Yojana (postman scheme)—to facilitate the doorstep delivery of 35 kg rice to 70,000 of the most vulnerable Adivasi families living in the state. The Sabars, who inhabit the forested hills of southeastern Jharkhand, were one of the eight Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) in Jharkhand expected to benefit from this scheme.

As we navigated the endless ways to the remote Sabar settlements as part of our fieldwork, we met an Adivasi couple journeying down the hill to purchase rice and other monthly rations from a private shopkeeper. When asked about the Dakiya scheme, they informed us that they were receiving 30 kg of rice instead of the 35 kg mandated by the government. They added, “This is a regular thing for us. We know the middlemen siphon off part of our ration, but what can we do about it? This reduced amount is not enough for the month and we also need rations other than rice to survive, so we have to go to the shops.”

The provision of doorstep delivery is of little significance, since they had to travel the same 2 km distance across difficult, rocky terrain to meet their monthly food requirements.

Arpita Sarkar is a Jharkhand-based researcher and development enthusiast.

Know more: Read about how the social sector can work with Adivasis instead of for them.

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