MPJ hosts a Press conference on failure of compliance with the Gazette on SECC

Sri Shabbir Deshmukh addressing media
MPJ and Anna Haq Parishad jointly organised a press conference here on 24th Sep 2015. This Press conference was hosted to highlight the insensitivity and failure of the Municipal Corporations to support the SECC process of 'displaying of draft list and inviting claims and objections' as per the State Gazette notification.

The State Government has filed an affidavit in the MPJ’s NFSA PIL that provides dates of ‘publishing of SECC draft list' for all the districts of Maharashtra. The door to door enumeration under Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC) was completed by October 2013 but the draft list was not published. The Hon High Court demanded to know from the Government the progress in the SECC. The process of displaying the draft list of SECC in Maharashtra began on 10th December 2014.

This data after Claims and Objection phase will be later analysed using the Saxena Committee methodology to identify beneficiaries Below the Poverty Line as well as under several key programmes of the Government such as Food Security, Shahari Rozgar, Livelihood missions, Pensions, Gharkool, etc. The survey form for Rural was developed by the Saxena Committee while the survey form for Urban was developed by Hashim Committee.

For transparency and to improve the data quality, it is essential that the published list undergoes close scrutiny from the public to overcome flaws of the failed BPL surveys of 1997 and 2002. Hence upon publishing, it is the duty of the administration to inform the people to scrutinise and invite 'claims and objections'.

All District Collectors and Zilla Parishad CEOs have been directed by the various Departments and Directorates to publish draft lists and call for Claims and Objections. The process of raising objections will end in 30 days from the date of publishing the draft list in respective District / Municipal Corporation.

SECC norms require certain steps during the ‘Displaying of draft list and inviting Claims and Objections’ phase to be followed once draft list is published:

1. The draft list is to be displayed at Gram Pachayats, Block Development office, Zilla Parishad and District Collector's office.

2. Within a week of list being published, Gramsabhas are too be held and the list is to be read out.

Similarly, in urban areas the list will have to be displayed at Municipal wards for a month and general body to be held for public scrutiny on the 10th day.

Several critical issues witnessed are as follows:

·         Apart from few advertise advertisements in newspapers, no effort made to inform the people about the Claims phase

·         Draft list not displayed for public scrutiny but kept in files inside cupboards

·         Inadequate staff to facilitate the process

·         Staff not trained for the phase

·         how is everyone to know about such an important exercise being undertaken, especially the vulnerable sections who need to be included in the welfare measures

Under these circumstances we call up for the following:

·         We demand that the State Government to comply with its own affidavit, States Gazette notification and GRs by complying to the norms in letter and spirit

·         Restart the ‘Display and Claims’ process of SECC in BMC and Municipal Corporations of Thane

·         Allocate sufficient staff and adequately train them to run the process

·         Use all avenues to inform and involve people in the process

·         Hold general meeting of people at Ward level for public scrutiny as per the process defined in the Gazette notification

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