On Wednesday, 62-year-old Vandini Devi walked five kilometres from her village in Bokaro, Jharkhand to the bank in order to check if money had been credited to her Jan Dhan account.
She was disappointed to learn that it hadn’t. A resident of Chargi village, Devi said she had not received her widow pension since February, either.
“We were promised two months’ free food grain, but I was given 5 kilograms of ration for only one month. My younger son works as a daily wager and has had no work due to lockdown. I am in big distress,” Devi said.
India’s rural population has been central to most relief measures announced since the 21-day lockdown began. On March 26, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced ~ 500 will be credited into Jan Dhan accounts held by women for three months, starting April.
With no money in the bank account, and government assistance awaited. 55-year-old Shahjahan in Lucknow’s Asti village has only 15kg wheat and 10kg rice left for her family of five.
On March 30, UP chief minister Adityanath announced relief worth ~611 crore to all Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme beneficiaries, following which Shahjahan visited her bank.
Long queues of women to withdraw ~500 from their Jan Dhan bank accounts have been witnessed in almost all rural areas in Maharashtra.
Yogesh Warkhede, a ‘bank friend’ appointed by Bank of Baroda at Nampur village in Nashik district of Maharashtra said almost 200 people have visited his home to enquire about the deposits.
Not all states have been able to use technology seamlessly, however. In Sagar district of Madhya Pradesh, Guddi Bai Lodhi, 58, went to the branch of Gramin Bank to collect her ~500. “When my turn came, the bank clerk said the ‘link’ was not working.”
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