14 July 2011

Invitation To Food Security Bill Meet

The National Advisory Council has submitted the National Food Security Bill (NFSB) to the Prime Minister. There are reports that the Bill will be introduced in this monsoon session. One of the main demands in the Right to Food Case has been for universal PDS and coverage of all the poor, and this demand has been only partially put into the NAC draft. 

At the same time, we have demanded universalisation of PDS in 150 districts to start with, in the Supreme Court under the Right to Food case. Meetings have been held with Justice Wadhwa of the court appointed Central Vigilance Committee on this, but progress has been slow. 

There are also concerns about cash transfers being introduced in PDS, with states of Bihar and Delhi having already started with it. There has been also a bumper rabi crop harvest this year, and the issue of storage and procurement becomes important. Distressing reports of rotting food grains alongside reports of starvation deaths are a regular feature. 

Another recent development is the declaration that a new BPL survey which the Ministry of Rural Development will soon conduct. The survey methodology continues to have severe problems and there is a need to address this urgently. 

We have also been receiving reports of fraud in National Old Age Pensions Scheme and ICDS, and the non-coverage of schools in Kolkata under the MDMS. The non-implementation of the Supreme Court orders on the homeless (given under the same Writ) has also been a cause of concern. NREGA also remains badly implemented. 

Keeping in mind these important issues, there is a need to strategise and come up with a plan of action. Along with a discussion on the above issues, we would also be taking a stock of the general scenario in the state, and plan how we can effectively intervene and take action. 

Please join us for a day-long meeting at: 

Date:   16 July 2011
Time:   11 am to 4 pm
Venue:   Academy of fine Arts Annexe Building (Near Rabindra Sadan Metro Station) Cathedral Road, Kolkata, West Bengal

11 am
Introduction to the meeting

11.05 to 11.20 am
The Status of Right to Food Orders in West Bengal : 2010 Study conclusions
Shreya Bhattacharya
11.20 am to 12.15 pm
Dealing with empty stomachs and overflowing godowns:
        i.            National Food Security Bill
       ii.            Cash transfers
     iii.            Universalisation in 150 districts
    iv.            2011 BPL survey
Paschim Banga Khet Majoor Samity (Shreya Bhattacharya, Swapan Ganguly, Anuradha Talwar)
12.15 pm to 12.45 pm
PDS reforms: what needs to be done

West Bengal Govt Employees Union Nabaparjya

12.45 pm to 1.15 pm
ICDS and the challenges ahead
Association of Officers of West Bengal Junior Social Welfare Service
1.15 pm to 2.15 pm
Issues of the urban poor: Using the High Court ; Orders on homeless; NOAPS for urban poor
Debashis Bhattacharya, HRLN ; Reshmi Ganguly, Calcutta Samaritans; Sunil Rai
2.15 pm to 2.45 pm

2.45 pm to 4.00 pm
Plan ahead: what can be done
Anuradha Talwar

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