Relief application rejected
Ashfak is from Dhanbad, Jharkhand, but has been stuck 200 km away in Gaya, Bihar during the lockdown. He was trying to register himself on the Jharkhand Corona Sahayata App, to claim the INR 1,000 relief promised by the Jharkhand government. But registering on the app turned out to be far more difficult than anticipated.
First, the app required a photo of the individual’s Aadhaar card, which Ashfak did not have with him. His family sent him a picture of the Aadhaar card via WhatsApp, but as he was completing his registration, he received an error message: “Alert! Forgive us but this app is only to aid those who are from Jharkhand, but are stuck outside the state due to the lockdown.” The GPS had mistakenly located him as being in Jharkhand. This is probably because Gaya is only 45 km away from the Jharkhand border.
One of our volunteers resolved this issue for him, but after this, the app refused to accept the picture of the Aadhaar card, saying that it could not detect the face of the person. After a few tries, we worked out that the app detects the photo only if it is on the bottom-left corner of the screen. Ashfak was finally registered on the app.
Two days later, his application was rejected because ‘the photo of the beneficiary was not clear’.
The app compares a person’s selfie to their photo on the Aadhar card, which could have been taken nine or even ten years ago. There are several unclear and inconsistent reasons due to which registrations are rejected. And there is no process to appeal such rejections. Moreover, the deadline for registration was April 30th, which has now passed, excluding many who were in need of the cash assistance.
With inputs from Leah Varghese and the social media team at SWAN (Stranded Workers Action Network).
B Shivanand is a volunteer at SWAN.
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