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NEWS AND ARTICLES
  • NFSA Booklet Publication in Marathi, Maharashtra

    20 Feb 2018

    "When legal provisions are simplified it reflects in marginalised section of people taking powerful actions" said Mr Ajay Patne Tahsidaar (Executive Magistrate of Pen Block of Raigad, Maharashtra).

    The booklet on National Food Security Act in Marathi was published by incumbent Tehsildar and ex-Tehsildar of Pen block on the occasion of Hutatma Nagya Mahadu Katkari's memorial day. This booklet has been written by Dr. Vaishali Patil in which she has added the missing government resolutions in marathi and has been helpful for the tribal animators in Maharashtra. Forward of this booklet has been written by Dr.  Dilip Pandharpatte who is at present District Collector of Dhule District, who has done his PhD thesis on project affected community of Raigad. In his foreword, Dr. Dilip Pandharpatte has appreciated the efforts done by Lok Manch and its need to reach out to the marginalised section of people of India. As a follow up action of the publication of this booklet, there was a workshop organised for the community leaders and animators by Ankur Trust. In this workshop, how to make use of this booklet while helping out the migrant Katkari community was created very powerfully. Simple language and important legal provisions in this booklet along with pictures has made it not only helpful, but attractive for community leaders to learn and take a support in community actions. Simultaneously publication was done while Lok Manch Delhi team had come for visit in Ankur Trust organization.

     

    Dr. Vaishali Patil

                                                                                           Ankur Trust

    Maharashtra Unit

     

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  • News from Sneharam, Kerala

    05 Jan 2018

    Lok  Manch has been accompanying the victims of the Okhi Cyclone disaster through their support to the animators and coordinators of Cheru Resmi Centre and Trivandrum Social Service Society. Adhwana, another Lok Manch partner organization, has offered to support in the research and documentation related to the mitigation and disaster preparedness of the fishers of Thiruvananthapuram.

    During a two-hour long Focus Group Discussion (FGD) conducted at Poonthura on the eve of Christmas, the fisher youth participants questioned why the Government was not ready to start the rescue operations on time. (According to a report published in The Hindu Newspaper on 1 December 2017, ‘efforts to rescue fishermen were launched a full 40 hours after the storm had started wreaking havoc along the Kerala coast’). Most of them had barely saved themselves or been rescued by others. The preliminary findings of the FGDs showed how the Okhi disaster has exposed different aspects of the vulnerability of the coastal population, the prominent ones being (1) over-dependence on fishing for livelihood, (2) lack of job diversification, (3) lack of disaster preparedness and coordination from the part of various Government departments, (4) lack of community-based risk reduction communication and disaster management and (5) socio-cultural exclusion of the fishing community from the mainstream communities that makes their life and livelihood issues a low priority.

    In the meetings of the disaster management committees at Sneharam held on 2 December 2017 and after, to prepare a collective response to be presented in the meeting the Collector had scheduled prior to the Okhi disaster, we came to know that except one person all the participants did not make use of the Radio Monsoon phone number they were given to contact before they left for their work in the sea. This revealed how many more creative efforts need to be initiated to influence the risk communication culture of the fishers in places like Poonthura and Anchuthengu.

    Fr Benny C., S. J., the Lok Manch State Coordinator and Fr Deepak organized a prayer service and adoration at Poonthura. The adoration on the eve of the New Year was a sequel to the homily he preached on 30th during the Mass held for the fishermen who were yet to return home safe or feared killed in the sea. The struggles of the surrounding parish priests of the coastal parishes, especially Fr Justin Jude of Poonthura Parish to support the victims and to get the media to ensure visibility of the Okhi Disaster-related issues, were inspiring. Right now, the disaster affected people need our psycho-social and spiritual support along with whatever financial help we can muster for them. 

    - Fr. Benny C., S.J.

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  • Lok Manch: a collaboration initiative in India to struggle for civil rights

    09 Dec 2017

    Assessing the social delivery system of the Jesuit Conference of South Asia (JCSA) and assisted by Jesuits in Social Action (JESA) and the Jesuit-managed Indian Social Institutes of Delhi and Bengaluru, launched a programme under the banner of LOK MANCH (LM; in Gujarati means, “People’s Platform”) on 2 November 2015, after a sixteen-month long preparation. Right now, LM is directed by the National Secretariat headed by the JESA Secretary.

    It is a people’s movement for the development of leadership among dalits, adivasis, women, minorities, urban as well as rural poor, and other marginalized communities of various regions, religions, and cultures. It works on the principle of collaboration with like-minded Organizations or persons or agencies, all of whom having a similar ideology or spirituality, and all aiming at social change not bolsters but promotes human dignity.  This interactive network is necessary to succeed in attaining the common objective.  This network consists of a hundred likeminded organizations covering 12 states of India. What makes it special is that it has been owned up by people. “LM is a platform for marginalized people like us to come together to claim our rights, to fight for our rights, to live with dignity,”recalls 27-year-old Kanchan Devi, a beneficiary of the National Food Security Act (NFSA).  She comes from the Musahar community, one of the most deprived communities in Bihar. She has no land or livestock, nor does she have any income other than what she gets as a manual daily worker.  NFSA empowers her and her family not with but through campaign - the right to food.

    Vision and Mission 

    LM envisions India an egalitarian, just, inclusive, democratic, and secular nation. Its mission is to create a strong national platform for ensuring people’s improved access to Government schemes, and improving the qualities of policies and their proper implementation. That mission is carried out by discovering and training local leaders who will then lobby for the necessary changes with the present Government legal provisions and social schemes, and for the better access of impoverished households to entitlement schemes like the National Food Security Act (NFSA), Schedule Caste Sub Plan (SCSP), Tribal Sub Plan (TSP), Water, Sanitation, Hygiene (WASH) and other Governments Schemes.  These schemes are used as resources and tools to enlighten and empower the grassroots leaders. Grassroots democracy is pivotal to the Nation Building. The people at grassroots should be empowered to develop themselves and their communities.

    LM is guided by 11 core values: liberty, justice, equality, fraternity, love, peace, commitment, gender justice, credibility, forgiveness, and excellence. These become operational under certain core principles: decentralization, participative decision making, transparent in accountability, team work, and shared responsibility.

    Composition and Administration

    The entire country is divided into 4 zones, each consisting of 23 units, each unit having 4 organizations. Out of 100 Organizations that act in partnership, only 44 are Jesuit run.  Each unit reaches out to about 12,000 households, in about 80 villages, with approximately 160 community leaders, and around 80 monitoring persons who can take up their own issues. Altogether a total of 5,520 such leaders will be empowered by the end of three years. They are chosen from among their own communities by the communities themselves, and they are trained to respond to the issues of yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  Their praxis is “action- reflection- action” that was articulated by Paulo Freire in his Pedagogy of the Oppressed.

    LM is true to its motto: ‘’together we make a difference!’’ Today, LM covers countless households and enables them to keep from starvation, which is the “unfinished task of the freedom struggle,” according to Fr George Pattery, the President of the JCSA (the Provincials conference of South Asia), who has shown great interest in LM, and encourages fellow Jesuits to implement it on war footing in every village of India.

    Thanks to LM, people are organized to represent their concerns and grievances to their elected representatives and to Government bureaucracy.  The dream of LM is to translate into a national movement with people’s leadership being exerted from the bottom of the pyramid.  As the leadership of LM will be taken up by the people, the Jesuits and other collaborators will play accompaniment /complementary role as days go by and be willing to take orders from the leaders! Through LM, gram sabhas (village assemblies) are getting so activated and strengthened so as to work and to rebuild a new home based on human values. LM has shown Jesuits and others a new way of engaging in social action in the country and spreading the theme of GC 36.

     

     

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  • Public Hearing exposes dearth of basic amenities in Kandhamal

    05 Oct 2017

    22 September 2017, Kandhamal, the Indian state of Odisha, more than 1000 people from 80 pockets covering 308 revenue villages with 12,300 households took active part in the event. The 16 selected victims presented their grievances related to community entitlements as well as individual entitlements. Mr. Ullash Ch. Mudili presided over the event and presented the summary of the Report Card of 308 villages. The public hearing exposed the stark absence of basic amenities in the district.

    The following issues related to community entitlements were registered: (a) 70 villages are without approach road, (b) 51 villages have no safe drinking water facility, and (c) 46 villages have no electricity connectivity.

    It also came to light that the stakeholders were deprived of their individual entitlements.  Ration cards were not issued to 277 households; pension was not being awarded to 29 widows; 84 elderly people were not being granted old age pension; and special pension was not being given to 31 deserving persons.

    The whole programme proceeded in a disciplined manner. The public hearing that was organised, under the banner of Lok Manch, by Odisha Citizens’ Initiatives and its partner organisations namely High Hope Society, Rescue and Devotee Trust lentvoice .to the voiceless. The event has popularized Lok Manch in and around Tumudibandha and Kotagarh blocks.

    Blacius Ekka,

    Unit Co-ordinator,

    Odisha Lok Manch

     

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  • 03 Sep 2017

    Core Team Meeting held at Xavier Institute of Social Action (XISA), Campion School, Vidhan Sabha Rd, Raipur from 1st September to 3rd September 2017.

     

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  • Darjeeling

    19 Aug 2017

    Bishwa Adivasi Diwas celebrated by the Darjeeling Lok Manch Unit

    Bishwa Adivasi Diwas (International Indigenous Peoples’ Day) was celebrated in the Tea gardens of North Bengal on 9 August 2017. This year the celebration took place at bigger scale. The event prompted a cultural and social awakening among the Adivasi in the region.

    The Darjeeling Lok Manch unit along with Adivasi Jana Shakti Morcha (AJSM), a civil society organization, organized the event at Udichi Hall, Malbazar, Jalpaiguri, West Bengal. About 700 participants from Terai-Dooars region gathered in the hall at 11.00am. Two Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs), Mr. Sukra Munda of Nagrakata constituency and Mr. Bulu Chick Baraik of Malbazar constituency, along with Mr. Dashrath Tirkey, the Member of Parliament from Alipur constituency, addressed the gathering. A few Civil Society members also addressed the gathering.

    The theme of the year "Rights of Indigenous Peoples” was highlighted by all speakers and the collective voice ignited the minds and hearts of the adivasis in the region. A common action plan was made to seek justice in all atrocity cases against Adivasi and Dalits in the region and beyond. It was proposed that concerted efforts be made to 1) to go to Delhi to settle the problems faced by the workers due to closure of the tea gardens; 2) to demand implementation of Minimum wages in tea gardens; 3) to seek redress of their grievances on Provident F, gratuity and other entitlements which are due till date. A postcard-campaign to raise their issues with the Prime Minister of India and the Chief Justice of Supreme Court of India was announced in the hall.

    The cultural programs by various teagarden workers aroused the awareness of the people about the rich cultures of Adivasi in North Bengal and about the duty of one and all to protect and safeguard their identity.

    The program was anchored by Mr. Philip Xaxa in style and he was backed by Mr. Rajesh Minj and the team from Dooars. Finally, the celebration was concluded with a common fellowship meal. The event motivated and energised the gathering to strive for a life of dignity.

    Reporter:  Pascal Xalxo

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  • Emergence of Lok Manch as a National Platform

    30 Jul 2017

    On 6 April, 120 activists representing around 100 organizations from 12 States came together at Indian Social Institute, New Delhi, for a three-day workshop not only to witness the launch of LokManch, a national platform for ensuring food security, but also to explore collectively ways of strengthening and expanding that platform. At the same workshop, the participants deliberated also on the various entitlements enshrined in the National Food Security Act 2013 (NFSA). And, in the process, they realised that a concerted campaign for the total implemenation of the NFSA would be the unifying factor. Furthermore, the participants identified differnt strategies that are suited to effectively capacitate the grassroots communities in the 12 states, so that they would be enabled to know, understand and benefit from the various provisions of the Act. To sum up, the ultimate goal of the workshop was to build and strengthen the national platform in such a way that the people at the grassroots would take charge of their lives and live with dignity.

     

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  • The 2nd National workshop

    30 Jul 2017

    The national workshops were well attended and highly appreciated by the participant organizations as being very well organized. The inputs were of high quality, the resource persons were experts in their fields. Group discussions were helpful and there was a spirit of friendship and camaraderie among the participants. These workshops, along with the zonal ones, helped the participants to bond with one another in solidarity. They also helped in helping the participants get to know one another and to understand that they were all together for a common cause. They thus began to own the Manch as their own

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