Friday, January 28, 2011

RELEASE BINAYAK SEN NOW!!! Join the March from Red Fort to Shaheed Bhagat Singh Park. 11:30 am, 30th JANUARY 2011


Join the March from Red Fort to Shaheed Bhagat Singh Park

11:30 am, 30th JANUARY 2011





Dear friends,

Marking 30th January, 2011 Martyrs Day as a day when we demand the release of Dr. Sen and the repeal of the IPC sec 124 (A) "sedition" along with other security sections and the anti-democratic laws like the UAPA, CSPSA, AFSPA, Free Binayak Sen Campaign Committee Delhi calls for a march from Red Fort to Shaheedd Bhagat Singh Park starting. We will assemble in front of Red Fort and opposite the Jain Temple at 1130 am and march to the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Park. After the march a public meeting will be held along with reading of poetry, literature, songs etc.

Do join in massive numbers with banners, flags, leflets, songs, dances and slogans.

Hum Sab Binayak Sen, Hum Sab Jail Jayenge,

Agar Sach Bolna Rajdroh hai, toh hum Sab Rajdrohi hai"

We all are Binayak Sen, We all will go to Jail

If speaking the truth is seditious then we all have committed the crime of sedition

It is more than a month since Dr. Sen has been in Jail. The bail hearing is moving slowly in  the Bilaspur High Court.


Contact : 9868888127, 9818905316, 9868165471


The causes lie deep and simply—the causes are a hunger in a stomach, multiplied a million times; a hunger in a single soul, hunger for joy and some security, multiplied a million times; muscles and mind aching to grow, to work, to create, multiplied a million times… The danger is here, for two men are not as lonely and perplexed as one. And from this first “we” there grows a still more dangerous thing: “I have a little food” plus “I have none.” If from this problem the sum is “we have little food,” the thing is on its way, the movement has direction. Only a little multiplication now, and this land, this tractor are ours.

- John Steinbeck in The Grapes of Wrath

National Alliance of Peoples' Movements (NAPM)
C/O 6/6 (Basement), Jangpura B, New Delhi 110 014 

Mobile +91 9818 905316 | 011 2437 4535
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Biraj Patnaik on Right to Food Bill: The current model of growth will tear this country apart

The current model of growth will tear this country apart: Biraj Patnaik

There is strong dissonance between the vision of India that successive governments have been pursuing since the start of the liberalisation era and the India that is the reality of the common man, says Biraj Patnaik, principal adviser to the Commissioners of Supreme Court on the right to food. If this highly unequal, unfair pattern of jobless growth is not checked soon, India is surely headed towards a humanitarian crisis, he warns.


OWSA: Could you please share with us the mandate with which the office of the Commissioners of Supreme Court (CSC) was established? 

Biraj Patnaik: The office was set up as an independent monitoring system to ensure that the central and state governments were following and complying with the SC’s orders as part of the landmark Right to Food case. As you may be aware this case is the longest running case on right to food anywhere in the world and the SC has passed a series of landmark orders, over 80 by now, that have led to several  watershed schemes. These include the universalisation of Mid-day Meal scheme and the Integrated Child Development Scheme. The ICDS is the only institutional mechanism that deals with the malnourishment of children under the age of 6 in India. There are now efforts being made to expand the case to include provisions for homeless individuals in urban areas; to provide for food, shelter and medical support so that they don’t die on the streets.

One responsibility of the CSCs is to monitor whether the schemes are actually delivering their promise to the target groups. What are the bottle necks, what are the corruption issues, what are the policy issues etc? It is our job to examine whether the government is allocating enough funds to the programme and whether these funds are actually reaching the grassroots. Upon identification, we raise these issues with the central and state government. If they remain unresolved we can take the governments to court.

Two, the CSCs are also mandated to proactively engage the government in improving the implementation of these schemes. Over the last seven years the mandate has considerably increased in response to the overwhelming support of our work from citizens, nonprofit organisations and other independent entities. So now, the commissioners have a presence in 15 states. And while the Ministry of Rural Development supports the functioning of this office, the commissioners’ positions at the state and central level are honorary in nature.

OWSA: You mention bottlenecks in policy and implementation, could you elaborate? 
 On one level we battle with grave issues of corruption, non-implementation and a complete lack of intent. On another, we help identify structural flaws that may be interfering in the smooth functioning of right to food schemes. For example, we know that the maximum damage by malnourishment occurs by the age of 2. Yet the ICDS scheme targets children between the ages of 3 to 6. Or, there are very vulnerable sections of the society that are not targeted appropriately by any government schemes; I identified the urban homeless as one such group. We need to provide them with a decent living wage and a roof on their head.  Over the last year and a half the court has taken a very strong stand to ensure that such basic necessities are provided for by the government.

OWSA: The growing trend of the urban homeless and migratory workers is also one that can be traced back to a large extent to farm distress. With rising prices, falling productivity, an unsustainable agricultural system and an unsympathetic government, we seem to be in the midst of a perfect storm. What is your analysis of the situation? 
 There is a grave agrarian crisis. At least, after years of denial, there is finally some acknowledgment that there is a problem. However, this acknowledgement is not leading to better policies, to anything concrete. The only tangible effort I can think of is the farm loan waiver, which was a one time waiver for farmers in distress. While it did help a lot of people, it was at best a Band-Aid solution. The only solution ultimately is to increase investment in agriculture, especially dry-lands agriculture and increase support for farmers who grow subsistence crops like millets as opposed to cash crops. The government does not offer a minimum support price for millets despite knowing that from a nutrition perspective, from a climate change perspective, from a resources perspective, they are far superior to our staple crops of wheat and rice. When it comes to a resource as dear as water, we have no plans or policy in place  for a sustainable irrigation system.

Read full text at: OneWorld South Asia


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Corporatisation of Higher Education - Sign Online Petition to Prime Minister

Please read the petition and sign it if you agree with it.


Dear All,


We are approaching you on behalf of the All India Forum for Right to Education (AIF-RTE). An Online Petition to the Prime Minister regarding higher education is attached for your endorsement. Simultaneously, a signature campaign on university and college campuses is being launched across the country. The petition is planned to be presented to the Prime Minister in the third week of February 2011.


The petition is concerned with the crisis that the Indian higher (including professional) education is undergoing as a result of the rapid pace of the neo-liberal assaults. Public funding is steadily being withdrawn. Public-private partnership (PPP), foreign direct investment (FDI) and Foreign Universities are all part of the deeper malaise. Unregulated fee hikes are raising the cost of education beyond the economic capacity of even the middle class and increasingly forcing the parents to sell their property in order to afford higher education for their children.


In its latest move, the central government placed four Bills in the Parliament in May 2010, including one on facilitating the establishment of Foreign Educational Institutions in India. At least two more Bills in the same vein are ready to be placed. These Bills seem to be pre-requisites for bringing higher education under the WTO-GATS regime. Indeed, these policy shifts call for a nation-wide public protest and reconstruction of the higher education policy to ensure equal opportunity for quality education to the widest possible sections of society as per the Constitution.


AIF-RTE staged a dharna on 26th July 2010 outside the gate of the Ministry of HRD in New Delhi and presented a Memorandum on these issues to the Prime Minister but to no avail. On the same day, we also presented a Memorandum to the Chairperson, Department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on HRD with request that an AIF-RTE delegation be allowed to explain our stand to the Committee but we have not received any response so far.


Hence this online petition. Please read the petition and sign it if you agree with it.


Also, we need student and teacher volunteers to organize signature campaigns on university and college campuses all over the country. If interested, please email to us at or contact at Tel.: (040) 2330-5266/ M: 09440980396 (Sh. Ramesh Patnaik)/  09431102680 (Dr. V.N. Sharma).


Yours sincerely,                

Members of the Presidium, All India Forum for Right to Education (AIF-RTE)


Sh. Prabhakar Arade, All India Federation of Elementary Teachers’ Organizations                    

Kolhapur, Maharashtra.

Dr. Meher Engineer, Former Director, Bose Institute, Kolkata.

Prof. G. Haragopal, Centre for Human Rights, University of Hyderabad.

Sh. Kedar Nath Pandey, General Secretary, Bihar Madhyamik Shikshak Sangh.

Prof. Madhu Prasad, Zakir Husain College, University of Delhi.

Prof. Anil Sadgopal, Former Dean, Faculty of Education, Delhi University (Bhopal, M.P.).

Sh. Sunil, Samajwadi Jan Parishad, Distt. Hoshangabad, M.P.




Cell No.9431102680,
Member, Secretariat, All India Forum for Right to Education (AIF-RTE) 

Working Committee Member, Jan Sansad 


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