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Tribal, Dalit women vow to be 'brave for change'

ID cards are increasingly being required for Indians to receive government benefits

Tribal, Dalit women vow to be 'brave for change'
Women wrote to India's prime minister asking him to roll back the ID card program that is making it difficult for people to receive government benefits. (Photo by Irudaya Jothi) 
Irudaya Jothi, Kolkata

March 9, 2017

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Hundreds of tribal and Dalit women from the eastern Indian state of West Bengal sent a post card to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to re-consider the decision that an Aadhar identity card is required to receive government assistance.

Aadhar cards should not be a prerequisite for getting government assistance, including disability scholarships, educational stipends and free meals for children, they said.

The Supreme Court agreed in 2015 and said, "The Aadhar card scheme is purely voluntary and it cannot be made mandatory until the matter is finally decided by this court one way or the other."

Sumitra Mondal, a septuagenarian from Begunia village in Burdwan district, does not have an Aadhar card, and without it she has found difficulty receiving her pension.

"We have stood against this threat and today we believe we need to be brave for transformation," she said.

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