Various women’s organisations held a public hearing in Parliament Street in Delhi on the issue of food security on 18th December. Hundreds of women participated in this event.
It is well known that people in every part of India are raising the demand for a universal public distribution system, which the government is unwilling to consider. Many women’s organisations have been in the forefront of this struggle. These organisations are angry with the government for pushing through the ‘cash for food’ scheme. They are unconditionally demanding that the universal public distribution system should be implemented throughout the country. Every child, woman and man should get food in sufficient quantity at reasonable rates. Food should include not just wheat, rice and coarse grains, but has to include all items that are necessary for a nutritious meal.
The women, taking part in the public hearing, held placards demanding, “Stop APL, BPL division and ensure ration for everyone!”, “Say NO to foreign and Indian private players in wholesale trade!”, “Get rid of the middlemen in food trading!”, “Ensure remunerative prices for agricultural produce!”, “People’s committees must oversee the distribution of rations!”, “With political power in our hands, we can end oppression!”, etc.
The organisers of the public hearing included Purogami Mahila Sangathan (PMS), AIWA, JPM, NFIW, SMS and YWCA, etc.
Addressing the public meeting, the representative of PMS said that the truth is that the universal right to food is against the interest of the capitalist profiteers. Far from recognizing food as a universal right, the capitalist governments are busy finding ways to expand the space for making profits for the capitalist companies engaged in food trading.
She said that the government is refusing to accept the right to food as a universal right and trying to divide the people by dividing them between APL and BPL.
She said that the state and the parties of the ruling class make use of this division and give out privileges to one group while denying benefits to another, all with the aim of nurturing their vote banks.
The right to food can become a reality for the working people only when food trade is under the control of the people and people’s organisations and when the motive of the society is the wellbeing of the people and not maximization of profits, she clarified.
The speakers from all the women’s organisations condemned the UPA government for going ahead with the ‘cash for food’ scheme.
Women’s organisations resolved to continue the struggle until the public distribution of food is recognised as a right.