Rapid Assessment of COVID – 19 relief disbursal in Koraput, Odisha
To ensure that people get entitlements as part of COVID-19 relief, a rapid survey covering about 2750 households in 57 revenue villages across Odisha’s Koraput district, has found that 500 rights holders are yet to receive benefits. The survey by MSSRF in April 2020 was conducted through Focus Group Discussion in each hamlet/village with the active participation of village ward member, village youth, and other leaders of the village, maintaining proper social distance. The information received was verified with the concerned households, names recorded and further verified with the Sarpanch of the respective Gram Panchayat. The details have been handed over to the district administration and assistance offered to the government to ensure that these benefits are delivered to those who are entitled to them.
The survey was carried out in Koraput, Boipariguda and Kundra blocks of Koraput district. As part of Covid Response by the government of Odisha PDS grain was distributed at the village level (ward-wise) for three months. Rs. 2000/- per eligible beneficiary was given as an advance social pension for four months (April to July) to beneficiaries including elderly persons, widows and physically challenged persons under the Madhu Babu Pension Yojana and under National Social Assistance Programme. Free Kitchens have been started in Gram Panchayats for giving food to the poorest of the poor people (Nirashray). Cooking gas cylinder was provided under Ujwala Yojana and allowance of INR1500 given to registered construction labourers.
It was found that 500 individuals across 57 revenues villages in three blocks (Kundra block: 229 individuals across 26 revenue villages; Boipariguda block: 199 individuals across 18 revenue villages and Koraput block: 72 individuals across 13 revenue villages) had not received some of the entitlements they were eligible for (See Table 1). These range from not getting foodgrains distributed through ration shops under the Public Distribution System (PDS), old age pension, widow pension, disability pension and allowance for construction labourers.
Of the 500 who reported not receiving entitlements they were eligible for, 25 per cent had not received PDS grain, 23 per cent had not received the allowance announced for construction labour and 27 per cent had not received old age pension. Of the 126 individuals who had not received ration from the PDS, 104 did not have ration card (50 in Boipariguda, 34 in Koraput and 20 in Kundra); others had problems like ration card not being linked with Aadhar card or name not being included in the family ration card.
Table 1: Number of eligible individuals (male and female) who had not received Covid relief in villages surveyed, Koraput district
No. of villages surveyed
Boipariguda Block 18 revenue villages
13 revenue villages
26 revenue villages
Number of persons who had not received the Entitlement
Construction Labour Allowance
Old age pension
FreeKitchen for most vulnerable (Nirashray)
Note: Includes *one unmarried woman in Kundra; and @one widow in Boipariguda who was also not getting PDS ration
The village-wise lists have been submitted to the Block Development Officer of each Block and to the Sarpanchs of the nineteen Gram Panchayats under which the villages fall, requesting necessary action so that the needy are not deprived. MSSRF has also offered to assist the administration in this process, as maybe required. To start with, the BDOs have assured that in the absence of ration cards, eligible individuals will be permitted to avail of food served in the free community kitchens.
A submission of the consolidated list covering villages surveyed in the three blocks is also being made to the District Collector, Koraput district.
M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) established in 1988 is a not-for-profit trust. MSSRF was envisioned and founded by Professor M S Swaminathan, agriculture scientist with proceeds from the First World Food Prize that he received in 1987.