Why ration card as proof?
“Just wanted to say that we at Goa Civic and Consumer Action Network (GOACAN) are promoting the idea that if you do not take any grains from the ration shop or kerosene from the authorised dealer, there is no need to have a ration card. This is also not the only document to prove your residency,” wrote my neighbour and consumer activist Lorna Fernandes in an email last ecember.
But the ground reality is quite different. That is what I discovered painfully for the last one-and-a-half year, when the talathi of Cuncolim misplaced our ration card and we had to make endless rounds to government offices, involving a lot of paperwork including sworn affadavits, to get back the ration card.
My first stop was a nationalised bank in Margao. The bank official insisted on a xerox copy of the ration card, over and above the electoral card and my other’s official senior citizen card, to open an account. Fortunately I had an old xerox copy and, though he insisted on seeing the original electoral card, did not ask for the original ration card.
The second stop was the National Union of Seafarers of India ( NUSI), on the Benaulim side of the Khareband bridge. Here too the official, Xavier Rodrigues, asked my mother to furnish, along with other documents, a xerox copy of the ration card to get the monthly seaman’s dole for an ex-seamen’s wife.
The ration card continues to be a proof residence and a document which many government offices and banks continue to ask for. The electoral card was to replace
it. But that has not happened.
The ration card as proof should have been discarded long ago. With no photographs on ration cards to prove your identity, impersonation by furnishing someone else’s card is so easy. Lorna and GOACAN’s stand on ration cards is absolutely correct. If you do not collect any grains from the ration shop or kerosene from the authorised dealer, there is no need to have a ration card.
Armstrong Vaz, Qatar