People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 21

May 27, 2007

AIDWA To Meet CMs On The Issues Of Muslim Women


AIDWA issued the following press release on May 23, 2007


THE central executive committee of the All India Democratic Women’s Association met in New Delhi on May 22-23. It noted that three years after the formation of the UPA government, pressure from the Left and organisations of workers, peasants, women, etc, including AIDWA made the government to take some pro-people measures such as the passage of the NREGA, Tribal Forest Rights Act, Right to Information Act, Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, etc. However, far more needs to be done to fulfill the assurances given in the Common Minimum Programme.


In particular, the organisation strongly criticised the UPA government for its abject failure to introduce and pass the Women’s Reservation Bill, curb the steep increase in prices of essential commodities, especially food, and the universalisation of the Public Distribution System. It demanded the government to immediately expand the BPL and Antyodaya categories and supply foodgrains to APL card holders.


While the NREGA has been extended to an additional 130 districts which is an increase of 65 percent, the budgetary allocation has increased only by 6 percent, resulting in a decline in real allocations. AIDWA resolved to continue its interventions in order that poor women benefit from the Act. In particular, there is a need to revise the productivity norms. The types of works that can be permitted to be taken up may warrant a change in existing material-labour ratios. It also called upon its units to launch struggles for the payment of unemployment allowance where work is not provided.


The meeting observed how aggressive communalism espoused by the Sangh Parivar encourages its storm-troopers to flout the law to persecute minorities and play the role of custodians of “Hindu culture” and “morality”. It strongly condemned the attacks on couples involved in inter-religious marriages, such as in Surat and Bhopal, on priests in different parts of the country, the fake encounter in Gujarat involving the death of Sohrabuddin and wife Kauserbi and eyewitness Prajapati, the vandalism at the M S University , Baroda and called upon all units to intensify their resistance to such attacks.


The CEC discussed the Micro-Finance Sector (Development and Regulation) Bill, 2007, recently introduced in parliament. It pointed out that the bill leaves non-banking financial companies and Section 25 companies out of its purview. It does not regulate the interest rates charged to the SHGs, and gives license to micro-finance institutions to profit out of the thrift of poor women. It ignores the role played by SHGs in developing the potential of women, emphasising only the financial aspects. Most importantly it weakens the financial and social responsibilities of banks. It decided to give a representation to the parliamentary standing committee on finance with its demands. The CEC discussed its approach to the Content Certification Rules for the Media Regulation Code. It was also decided that every state committee of the AIDWA would meet the chief minister of the state and give a memorandum on the charter of demands related to the problems of Muslim women, especially in the context of the Sachar Committee Report.


The eighth national conference of the AIDWA will be held at Bhopal from November 16-19, 2007. Over a 1000 delegates from all over the country are expected to attend the conference. It will be inaugurated by Brinda Karat, M.P. in the presence of veteran freedom fighter Captain Laxmi Sahgal. Women activists from Palestine, Venezuela, Cuba, Nepal and South Africa are expected to participate in the conference.