04 June 2013

North Eastern – Eastern Regional Right to Food Campaign Convention

As per the decision on the 5th of May, 2013, on holding regional meeting with campaign constituents and other friends of Right To Food Campaign, the Eastern and North Eastern Regions will hold the convention on 8th of June 2013 at Proggalaya, Barasat in Noith 24 Parganas, West Bengal.

The convention is being called with a threefold agenda as proposed by the RTFC.

1.      PUCL SC case 197/2001 on the right to food, relating to the constitutional framework and International law to bring Right to food under the purview of Article 19, like in the Olga Tellis case.

2.      The campaign's strategy on ensuring amendments in the NFSB according to the campaign's vision and lobbying with MPs and Parties in States and Nationally

3.      On how to strengthen the state and regional campaigns

 I       Working towards specific and general orders relating to the legal framework on the Right to Food

As you are aware that after a long journey of 11 years since 2001 and more than a hundred interim orders which changed the Right to Food policy and its implementation in the country, the PUCL case is headed towards conclusion. This may take several months still, however, it was planned in one of the case advisory meeting that we must try asking for final orders which must include :

  • expansion of the various scheme entitlements like on PDS reform on which discussion is underway, MDMS, ICDS, Pensions and the Homeless question 
  • a legal framework on the Right to food developed on constitutional and international principles.

It was decided that it was important to take this issue to our campaign constituents and lawyers and activist friends, in the various State in order to widen our understanding

II        To continue to lobby in States and nationally for a comprehensive food security law.

You are also well aware that the NFSB, 2011 along with the amendments placed by the Food Minister K V Thomas, is still far short of a comprehensive food security law. (See attachment) Since the bill was not discussed in the budget session of the Parliament, we are hoping that it will come up for discussion in the Monsoon Session. We have an important chance to still influence the bill if we lobby with MPs and parties at the regional level and then once again come to Delhi and do something when the Parliament will open.

In order to discuss the above and also begin the discussion on strengthening the campaign at the grass roots, it was felt that we must meet in the four regions of the country. It is important that we hear more voices on these issues from the regions as those voices are hardly there in the campaign anymore, with many of the State's not sending any representatives for any of the campaign meetings in the last twelve months. .

III         Initiating the Discussion on strengthening the Campaign

Finally, it is also very important that we start reflecting and analysing as to how to strengthen the campaign, this has to begin from the districts and the blocks. We will also discuss the issues and the modalities related to the forthcoming Right to Food campaign convention, which is over ten months overdue.

These regional meetings are being done on short notice, however we would be very grateful if you could join on behalf of your organisation in your regional meeting.

The program schedule:

9:30 am Registration

10:00 Introduction of participants and to the programme

10:30 to 11:15 : On  Supreme Court Order on RTF: Harsh Mander, Supreme Court Commissioner

11.:15 to 11:45 On NFSB: Kavita Srivastava, convener National RTF

12:30 to 1:00 : Discussion and clarifications

1:00 to 2:00:  Lunch Break

2:00 to 2:45: State wise group discussion on ‘strategic planning’

2:45 to 3:15: Learning from each other – presentation

5:00 Press conference

Arrangement have made for those who like to stay back at Proggaloy for the night or for those who come on the previous day. But do inform us immediately.

Fr. Jothi and Saradindu Biswas

Convenors , West Bengal RTF&W Network

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