Gurgaon Nagrik Ekta Manch
Cooked Food & Dry Ration Distribution Report 8 April 2020
Our cooked food distribution eﬀorts clocked a grand total of some 21,500 meals delivered across Gurgaon to people in need. 15,500 meals were prepared at the Shri Ram School Kitchen, along with 5000 from IPAC/Swiggy, and 1000 from the Compass Group.
In an eﬀort to introduce some variety to the menu, the Shri Ram School Kitchen’s meal for the day was Pulao, which garnered a tremendously positive response.
In addition to the cooked meals, our Distribution Team organised a large drop of 400 ration packs of dry essentials including atta, rice, oil, salt, haldi, zeera amongst other items. Each pack helps a household survive for ten days.
covered Bhawani Enclave, Basai Road, CRPF Chowk, and Rajiv Nagar distributing 1000 meal packs from IPAC/Swiggy. They also covered Kadipur Industrial Area and distributed 1000 packs from the Compass Group, with a total of 2000 meals.
Team Ajit Rao
covered Mullahera (incl. Peerbaba Colony, Mata Chowk, Mandir Chowk), serving a total of 1500 portions cooked at the Shri Ram School Kitchen by Caterman Cuisine Concepts. They also delivered 2000 meal packs from IPAC/Swiggy to Harijan Basti in Sector-21.
Team Babu Bhai
distributed 840 food packs to Bajghera, 40 to Sector-40, and another 160 to Ashok Vihar, Phase III, and Sheetla Colony. All of the meals were provided by IPAC/Swiggy.
Help Centre, coordinated by Rajender Saroha, covered a huge area including Laxman Vihar, Surat Nagar, Sectors 48, 49, 61, 63, 69, 71, 74, Dhankhot New Colony, Ghadi Road Basti, Samaspur, amongst several others, distributing a total of 11,000 meals. From this, 1000 were provided by IPAC/Swiggy, where 10,000 were made at the Shri Ram School Kitchen.
Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon
We were grateful to have the help of the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon, who helped distribute 3000 meals prepared at the Shri Ram School Kitchen in partnership with Caterman Cuisine Concepts.
Finally, an arm of our Distribution Team delivered 400 packs of dry rations to Shyam Jha Colony behind Marble Market. Each pack contained dry essentials such as atta, rice, oil, salt, spices, and other basics. GNEM had decided to support all households of the colony for one month. This was the second delivery and was made possible through the generous support of We Are The World Collective.
Feedback and Key Points from the Day:
Today’s main point of consideration was adjusting to the practical diﬀerences of the new menu item at the Shri Ram Kitchen. Due to the lighter density of Pulao (versus a heavier, wet food like Khichdi), along with increased demand, packing the larger servings in our vehicles proved to be a new challenge to be solved for. We hope to keep providing a varied menu for our food recipients, and will take these practical learnings with us as we go.
425 Citizen Supporters | Democracy Now | IPAC | Swiggy | The Shri Ram School | Make My Trip Foundation | Caterman Cuisine Concepts Pvt. Ltd. | I Am Gurgaon | Compass Group India’s #LetsFeedTogether initiative | We Are The World Collective
Covid-19 Technology Platform for Community Network Plan
By Abhinandan Bannerjee
Covid-19 is a crisis which affects each and every one of us, but for the urban poor and particularly migrant daily wage workers, it means complete financial ruin, acute hunger and severe health hazards. Several government agencies, NGOs and public spirited individuals are undertaking various relief efforts for the welfare of these underprivileged sections of society. However they represent only a small percentage of the urban middle and upper class, while a large section thereof remains unaware and uninvolved in these efforts. With almost 140 million migrant daily wage workers bereft of food, healthcare and viable jobs, there has never been a greater need to ensure the participation of this large dormant section of the urban middle and upper class in relief efforts and rebuilding initiatives across the country.
Ironically, the morbidity of the Covid-19 crisis also provides the perfect setting to involve entire communities in these relief efforts. This is particularly true in the case of middle class gated colonies and multi storied housing societies across the country, where thousands of residents are completely isolated and confined to their homes because of a nation-wide lockdown. Consequently, the ‘Residents Welfare Association’ or ‘RWA’, an entity hitherto ignored by a majority of these residents, has now assumed paramount significance. The RWA(s) have now emerged as the de-facto nodal body for communicating between the residents and local authorities, enforcing social distancing guidelines and ensuring a continuous supply of essential goods and services to the residents. As a result, all residents, including those who have earlier been completely uninterested in RWA initiatives, are now keen to become a part of the RWA network in their own self-interest. This creates the possibility of establishing a comprehensive community wide network under the aegis of these RWA(s), which includes each and every resident of a gated colony or housing complex.
To establish such a network, these RWA(s) must first set-up a digital communication platform which connects each and every residential unit in their respective colony or housing complex, without violating social distancing norms. It is imperative to keep this communication platform familiar and uncomplicated and use the infrastructure which is already in place. Most of these RWA(s) already have active WhatzApp groups for existing members and physical directories with contact numbers of all residents. Additionally, all that is now required is to set up the communication platform is ensure that at least one person from each and every family unit in the colony or society, without exception, is included in these RWA WhatzApp groups; along with the local MLA, Municipal Councillor and SHO of the local police station. In case of bigger colonies or societies, the communication platform may need to be set up at two tiers, with one group for each block or tower and a master group for the whole colony or society; with representatives from the different block/tower groups comprising the master group. The vital difference between this communication platform and any other similar pre-existing group is the inclusion and participation of each and every resident/residential unit of the colony or society.
Although this communication platform is primarily meant to address problems faced by the residents themselves, it has immense potential to become a tool for carrying out large scale relief operations. Once operational, this communication platform will serve as the best means of coordinating, consolidating and scaling up any relief operations which are taking place within a particular colony or housing complex. The RWA WhatzApp groups can easily post daily/weekly notifications about relief operations being organised within their colony or society. This will enable Independent and disconnected relief efforts being carried out within the same colony or complex to co-ordinate or consolidate their operations and have a greater impact.
Furthermore the communication platform will also provide an opportunity for crowd-funding large scale relief operations by allowing relief workers to reach out to thousands of residents with relative ease. For example, a mid-sized gated colony in Delhi houses anything between 15,000-20,000 residents. By a single message on this communication platform it is now possible to inform and request all these 15,000-20,000 residents to contribute a negligible amount towards any ongoing or proposed relief operations. Ideally, even a meagre contribution of INR 20/- from each resident on a weekly basis, will raise a massive amount of INR 3-6 lakhs every week. However, assuming even 25% of these 15,000-20,000 residents were to answer the call for donations, there is still potential to raise almost INR 75,000-2,00,000/- per week. These amounts can then be used to purchase dry ration, masks, sanitizers, soaps, medicines and other essentials which are inaccessible to millions of daily wage workers. In the absence of such a communication platform and with ongoing social distancing guidelines, presently it is near impossible for any NGO or individual to approach so many residents for funds.
However, there are practical problems which are likely to be faced while establishing this platform. While conducting an experimental run in a prominent gated colony in South Delhi, it was found that many residents were unwilling to share their contact numbers out of privacy concerns or sheer disinterest. Currently, the colony in question is operating with a similar structure of a two-tier communication platform, but on a much smaller scale. To their credit, they have successfully managed to carry out many relief operations through this mechanism as well, including setting up community kitchens and dry ration donation drives. However, since the current network involves barely 50% of the residents in the colony, the results are much lower in scale than what could have been achieved with the participation of the entire community. Such problems may need to be addressed by making requisite tweaks to cater to the unique peculiarities of a particular group or housing society.
In conclusion, the above proposed communication network provides an unprecedented opportunity to involve entire communities in relief efforts. The need for community interdependence has never been higher, and establishing a viable means of communication is the first step in that direction.
Following are some of the innovations that have been deployed in response to COVID-19.
Digital Supply Innovation to Feed the Daily Wage Workers
By Mahila Saksham Foundation
There are easy and simple ways to help feed the daily wage workers from the comfort of your own home. The Mahila Saksham Foundation has found an innovative way for you to get involved using Paytm! Paytm is an e-commerce payment system that allows you to send money directly and instantly. The Mahila Saksham Foundation supports women’s empowerment through skills development. They train women from disadvantaged backgrounds and provide them with employable vocational skills. In response to Covid-19, the Mahila Saksham Foundation have partnered with the already established Trust, the M.T.M Group, to come to the aid of vulnerable families with their “Ration for ALL” initiative.
Ration for ALL Initiative
The “Ration for ALL” initiative urges contributors to donate money directly to the cause in order to provide the daily wage workers with resources to buy groceries and daily utilities, allowing them to ration themselves. Essentially, you can help buy groceries for a vulnerable family that cannot afford it themselves. Mumbai is a city of migrants. A lot of these workers come from neighbouring states such as Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and more.
The #RationForALL campaign works as such: A donation of INR 1,000 will provide for a family of 3 migrant labourers: 5KG rice, 1 KG Daal, 1 L Oil, Biscuits, 1 KG onions, 1 KG potatoes, and some vegetables. This will help a family survive for 10 days, now that the lockdown has been extended.
How to Donate
They accept Paytm only at this number: 8169425343 (Sarala), or DM the founder on Instagram directly (IG Handle: @aishwaryaganji) for Net Banking details. Your contribution will be transferred via Paytm to a local grocer within one of the several disadvantaged areas with a high concentration of migrant laborers.
To contribute, follow Mahila Saksham’s handle @mahilasaksham on Instagram to message them directly, or email
Once you've donated...
Their on-ground volunteers powered by the M.T.M Group will produce kits and deliver the food from the grocer to the migrant workers. While doing so, the volunteers cover themselves with a mask and spread awareness among the daily wagers regarding social distancing and the DOs and DONTs during the pandemic.
After the donation, the benefactor will receive a proof of deployment that will include the Paytm transfer to the local grocer, the ration bought, and a video from the migrant labor family receiving the ration and thanking the donor.
So far, the campaign has been able to help over 2500 families and continues to help more. They have allocated the donated funds to distribute rice, aata, dal, cooking oil, tea, onions, potatoes, and spices. Areas such as Versova, Girgaon Goregaon, Jawahar Nagar, Adarsh Nagar, Lino Road, Andheri West, and Vakola; among others have received assistance. Volunteers divide rations amongst themselves and deliver them to the daily wage labourers in these areas directly.
Innovative ways to distribute food to workers with social distancing
Author and entrepreneur Sudipto Das, his neighbours, and batchmates from IIT Kharagpur, have developed a simple model to distribute groceries to migrant labourers at the micro level. As the heart-wrenching news of migrant labourers walking thousands of kilometres to return home poured in following the announcement of countrywide lock-down on March 24, Bengaluru-based author and entrepreneur Sudipto Das, his neighbours and batch mates from IIT Kharagpur, discussed how they could make a difference within their locality itself. After some introspection and brainstorming, they analysed the root cause for the exodus. Says Sudipto: “It is caused because, suddenly, with no cash in hand, millions of daily wage earners staying away from home are feeling alienated and helpless, with no one to share their pain and uncertainty about the immediate future. Under such circumstances, it is but natural to yearn for their families back home.”
Sudipto adds there were two problems they needed to tackle, one of hunger and the other of the rapid spread of the coronavirus through mass movement. “With hunger being the root cause, what comes to mind is the need to feed the hungry. In such a scenario, central kitchens and arrangements for massive food distribution might not seem feasible, while maintaining social distancing and all the known standards of hygiene.
After exploring his neighbourhood and from his findings, Sudipto adds that most of daily wage earners already have cooking arrangements, wherever they have been staying. All they need is supplies from their grocers, who they have been going to all these days and who give them their daily provisions on credit. “We can’t blame the local grocers, who are more often than not, people of meagre means themselves and have concerns for unrecoverable debts. That is when an idea flashed through our minds. We thought of breaking down the macro problem of millions of people at the city level into the hyper-micro problems of only a few hundred in each neighbourhood. Looking around in our own neighbourhood we figured out that we could very well pool in some money and pay the local grocery stores for the daily provisions of the people who are stranded here. We talked to the people about their basic requirements, negotiated a good rate with the grocer and come up with a unit containing basic provisions to sustain a family of four to five people, including children for two days. We then requested one person from each family to collect the packet directly from the shop. This served several purposes. It ensured that no one had to travel beyond a few hundred meters, thus not violating the norms of the lock-down or social distancing. We did not have to bother about the logistics at all, thus making the entire process very simple; it ensured that there were no middlemen and that the packets directly reached the ones they were meant for. Finally, it ensured that there would not be any wastage, as we had given a limited quantity.”
The packets comprise two kilograms of rice, half a kilogram each of dal, potato and onion, half a litre of cooking oil, a packet of biscuits, some green chillies and one soap. “After some negotiation, the grocer was ready to give it for ₹250.” On how they identified the people in need, Sudipto says: “They stay in our neighbourhood. Each of us went around and identified stranded people, within few hundred meters of our homes, while going out to buy groceries, talked to them, authenticated, verified that the needs are genuine, talked to the same grocers they have been buying stuff from all these days, paid for the number of packets they would need, and asked one member per family to go to the shop and collect the packet.” As of today they have self delivered packets to 377 people in Sarjapur Road. “By self delivered I mean the labourers collected from the nearby stores and we just paid the respective grocers,” says Sudipto.
The beneficiaries Gobind Sharma, a labourer, says they are receiving the unit packets. “Four or five of us live together in Dasarahalli and so we are able to share the food among us. The stores get replenished but if we can get a little more rice, it would be good.” 35-year-old Jayaram M, an advocate, who stays in Sarjapur, says: “I do a round of the locality to see if people are in need. And then I update Sudipto. We don’t always get every item from one shop, we have to source different items from different shops.” Likkhu, a security guard says: “These packets help sustain us. Our homes are far in UP and Bihar.” This simple model, which can be replicated by anyone in their locality, has got others interested too. “You don’t need to go out regularly, just on a day when you go out to buy groceries, look around and you will surely see people stranded. Identify them, talk to the grocer and ask the fund manager to pay the grocer and within 10 minutes the people get their necessities.” Sudipto received calls from people across the city. “Someone called from KR Puram and organised groceries for 65 people there. We paid from our funds for two clusters stranded at Bannerghatta Road and Dasarahalli. The idea is to stay at home, respect the lockdown but still do whatever we can at a micro level to minimises the movement of people. Our target is to reach 500.”
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This article is an abridged version of a story published in The Hindu by Sravasti Datta.