People's Democracy

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


No. 40

October 04, 2009

AIAWU Plans Nationwide Movement

Against Proposed Food Security Act


THE All India Agricultural Workers Union (AIAWU) is planning to launch a nationwide mass movement against the proposed National Food Security Act in its present format which seeks to deny the poor even existing facilities under the Public Distribution System.


Announcing this at a press conference in Nellore on September 24, 2009, AIAWU all India general secretary and MP, A Vijayaraghavan, said that the movement would also demand central government's intervention in markets to control the rising prices of food commodities. He was in Nellore to participate in the 25th state conference of the Andhra Pradesh Agricultural Workers Union (APAWU).


Vijayaraghavan said that the agricultural workers of the country are the worst-hit of the spiralling price rise, with 90 per cent of their income going towards meeting their food expenses. Blaming the neo-liberal policies being pursued by the central government, he demanded that the centre should emulate Kerala LDF government which has intervened in the markets and provided relief to the people by bringing down the prices. The gravity of the problem can be guaged from the fact that in just one block in Jharkhand, around 10,000 children died due to malnutrition in the last oney year. People are starving without access to food. At such a time the government through the proposed Food Security Act seeks to divide the poor under BPL and APL and limit their quota to just 25 kg per month at Rs 3 per kg as against the present quota of 35 kg per month at Rs 2 per kg being implemented in some states. Doing this in the name of 'food security' is cruel, he said.


On NREGA implementation, Vijayaraghavan felt that the guidelines formulated in Delhi are an impediment to proper implementation of the scheme and wanted more freedom to be given to state governments to design and implement the scheme as per their requirements. He charged that the UPA government is not interested in implementing the NREGA scheme given the kind of delays in payment and other issues. He sought allotment of additional funds for the technical work involved in implementing NREGA works.