To whose benefit?

To whose benefit?

The government has rolled out the ambitious Aadhaar-enabled direct cash transfer scheme, but the Left feels the legality of this scheme is yet to be settled in the absence a law enacted by Parliament. The CPM weekly, People's Democracy, argues that the National Identification Authority of India Bill, 2011, is still pending before Parliament and notes that a parliamentary standing committee has already made it clear that the bill, in its present form, is unacceptable.

According to the committee, it says, the data collected by the UIDAI may be transferred to the National Population Register and has asked the government to reconsider and review the UID scheme, as also the ramifications of all the proposals contained in the bill, and bring fresh legislation before Parliament.

"The current launch of the scheme is based on the clearance of the ministry of law and justice for issuing Aadhaar numbers, pending passage of the bill by Parliament on the ground that powers of the executive are co-extensive with the legislative power of the government, and that the government is not debarred from exercising its executive power in areas which are not regulated by legislation. The parliamentary standing committee completely disagrees with such an understanding," it argues.

An editorial in People's Democracy claims the system has inherent weaknesses, like low reliability and success rate of fingerprint recognition, low penetration of banks in rural areas and problems in identification of beneficiaries. "The basic philosophy behind this scheme is that over a period of time, the government will dismantle all its obligations in the social sector. Cash transfers will automatically and continuously reduce the government's subsidy bill. This is so because as prices rise, the quantities available to people get reduced in proportion to the cash transferred," it concludes.

A STUDY In MISOGYNY

An editorial in CPI(ML) weekly ML Update argues that the sustained nationwide movement for gender justice has evoked an angry, misogynist backlash. It says that while RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat has taken the lead, an assortment of patriarchal forces have joined the bandwagon.

Referring to the statements made by Bhagwat, the VHP's Ashok Singhal, as also the BJP's Madhya Pradesh leaders Babulal Gaur and Kailash Vijayvargiya, it says, "considered together, such statements clearly reveal how the Sangh Parivar proposes to go about nation-building ó constructing the 'Hindu Rashtra' to be more precise ó on a medieval patriarchal foundation."

"Misogynist attitudes have always been a central theme of Hindutva... In normal circumstances, however, the protagonists take care to try and give somewhat sophisticated expressions to their obscurantist views. But this time around they lost their cool when the current movement, instead of dying down as they had expected, continued and went beyond the immediate demand of justice for the Delhi victim and punishment for the culprits ó when it developed into a broader one fighting for a thorough overhaul of gender relations in society and polity, when demands like 100 per cent conviction of rapists and suspension of all MLAs and MPs charged for offences like rape began to be raised. The whole political structure of patriarchy was shaken, and they could wait no more," it adds.

ANTI-UPA PROTESTS

An editorial in the CPI journal New Age seeks to link the protests in Delhi over the gangrape to the economic policies of the UPA government. It says that 2013 has begun with gloom and anger the world over due to the deepening economic crisis. "There is no doubt that the brutality of the gangrape was the immediate cause of outbursts, though it is basically the pent-up frustration and anger due to ever compounding economic and social miseries heaped by the ruling classes... Growing unemployment, price-rise and economic disparities have increased the economic burden on households, including those of the middle classes and affluent sections, who were earlier the most ardent supporters of the misadventure of imposition of policies of globalisation, liberalisation and privatisation... They were there on the streets when Anna Hazare launched his campaign against corruption, another product of economic neoliberalism," it says. The editorial argues that despite protests against crime against women as well as neoliberalism, the government is not ready to draw lessons.

Compiled by Manoj C.G.

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