Thursday, August 16, 2018

Answers, anyone?

Shehzad drives an auto-rickshaw in Bhopal and has a daughter in school. Last year all the children were asked to open a bank account through the school, which he did by providing them the necessary documents. A sum of Rs. 400 per year is to be transferred by the Government into each student's SBI account for purchase of school uniforms. The money was transferred and the full amount immediately deducted by the bank as penalty for not maintaining a minimum balance required for a metropolitan bank branch. In spite of repeated requests by Shehzad that he does not have the money to keep two bank accounts running (one his own and one joint with his daughter), and that he had not asked for the second account, the money has not been refunded.

Sheila works as a domestic help and lived in Bhopal till last year when she moved with her husband to Bairagarh when her slum was demolished as part of the city's replanning. Her son has joined a school there and the teacher wanted a bank account opened in her son's name through the school. Now the boy's identity documents are all from Bhopal - birth certificate and Aadhar card. So are hers and her husband's. They own no ration card. The teacher refuses to open the account saying a bank account cannot be opened till they show proof of living in that locality, ie in Bairagarh. As the family is squatting on some land near a forested area, they have no address there. Sheila said she does not need her son to have an account and will do without the Rs. 400 assistance annually, but the teacher will not hear of it - every child must have the account she insists. And Sheila says she is helpless as the son was born and the Aadhar card made when they were in Bhopal. Things are at this stand-off now.

Meanwhile Chintamani in Hyderabad is unable to get her granchildren into a Government school as they do not have an Aadhar card and the school refuses admission without one. Her son is an alcoholic, not bothered about the family, the daughter-in- law and she work from dawn to dusk as domestics to keep the house going. Meanwhile the grandchildren, 5 and 6, are out of school. I thought no services or facilities were to be denied for want of an Aadhar card till the Supreme Court gives its decision, but the Government school authorities think otherwise. Or am I mistaken?

Anyone with any answers for these parents, please write in.