6-8 AUGUST, 2010,
Venue: Meera Bhawan, Rourkela, Orissa

Dear friends,

The Steering group of the Right to Food Campaign1 invites you and your organization to the fourth National Convention on the Right to Food and Work, to be held in Orissa from 6-8 August 2010.
This convention, convened by the Right to Food Campaign, is extremely significant in the current context where the Government on the one hand is increasingly eroding people’s control over their livelihoods and resources while on the other, promising to enact a National Food Security Act that guarantees food security for all. With spiraling food prices and widespread drought experienced across the country last year, pushing people further into hunger and poverty, the principle of universality in food entitlements must be established in an urgent manner. The draft National Food Security Act proposed by the government, in fact falls far short of any such guarantee and even erodes entitlements that already exist.

The right to food for all can only be realised if water, land and forests are not diverted from food production and people’s control over these resources is safeguarded. The Government has to be forced to make a commitment that nobody goes to sleep hungry. Further, with such high levels of malnutrition as in India, food security must be understood to mean “nutritional” security and not just access to cheap food grains.
It is in this backdrop that we want to discuss issues related to the question of people’s right to food that are of concern to our campaign.

Among the main issues to be discussed at the convention are: the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act; the Public Distribution System; children’s right to food; the agrarian crisis; social discrimination in the context of the right to food; food security of vulnerable groups such as the elderly, disabled, and widows; farmer’s suicides; coercive change of land use; displacement of people and its impact on food security; legal action for the right to food; and organisational aspects of the Right to Food Campaign. This will be an action-oriented event, structured around a series of parallel workshops, plenary sessions, cultural activities, and more.
Below is the tentative agenda of the convention:

Day I: Plenary will address the issue of determinants of food security and hunger. Following the plenary people would go into their respective subthemes on agriculture, displacement, labor/employment, policies including trade policy and all other factors, policies and processes that perpetuate and promote food insecurity.

Day II: A Morning Plenary would be devoted to the National Food Security Act following which the people would work in their sub themes relating to entitlements, challenging the move towards cash transfers in PDS, the experience of struggles related to implementation of these schemes all over, issues of exclusion, inclusion, Urban areas and role of commissioners and advisors, alternative mechanisms created etc.

The evening Plenary will be the General body meeting of the national campaign which would begin by 4 or 5pm and go on till dinner time. State campaigns would make presentations of their work and invitee campaigns would present their views on how they would like to see their role.

Day III:
Morning: Addressing the issue of support to Struggles against Displacement and the access to the Right to food in areas of Conflict. Afternoon: Rally and public meeting.

Pre Conference Preparation: Please consider organising meetings, workshops and conventions at the district/state level on these issues in advance of the national convention. This would facilitate better involvement of local groups and grassroots organisations at the national convention. Participating organisations are also invited to bring their campaign material (e.g. reports, posters, exhibitions, etc.) for circulation or display at the Orissa convention.

Venue: The venue is Rourkela, Orissa. The place of stay for participants would be Amar Bhawan, which is 100 meters away from Rourkela Railway station. The meeting venue (Plenary meeting / Large meeting) would be Meera Bhawan which is around 50 meters away from railway station and same distance from Amar Bhawan.

Registration Fee:
All participants would be expected to pay Rs. 50 per day making it a fee of Rs. 150 per participant for the conference registration. This would take care of lodging, boarding and the conference kit for the participants.

Donation: The campaign also welcomes any other donations that you can send will be most helpful. All participants are expected to make their own travel arrangements. Kindly book your tickets well in advance. And kindly intimate us about your participation as it will help us plan for the convention.

We request you to share news of this convention within your organization and with other interested organizations/ individuals as well. The same letter in Hindi and English is attached.
National Campaign Contacts: The Right to Food Campaign secretariat at 011-2649 9563. mobile: 9560923178 (Deepika) righttofood@ gmail.com , check the campaign website (www.righttofoodindi a.org)

Orissa Contact Persons:
Convener of the Orissa Organising committee: Mr. Bidyut Mohanty bidyut.mohanty@ gmail.com, Phone: +91-9437025326;
Orissa Secretariat: Mr. Saswata Sourava Panda, saswatasouravapanda @gmail.com, Phone: +91-9438141081
Rourkela Organiser: Mr. Abul Kalam Azad, Email: disharkl@yahoo. co.in, Phone: +91-9437049329.
URGENT: Please send confirmations of participation to righttofood@ gmail.com, bidyut.mohanty@ gmail.com and saswatasouravapanda @gmail.com,
Looking forward to meeting all of you at Rourkela, Orissa!!!
In solidarity,
Steering group of the Right to Food Campaign

We are,
Annie Raja (National Federation for Indian Women), Anuradha Talwar (New Trade Union Initiative), Arun Gupta& Radha Holla (Breast Feeding Promotion Network of India), Arundhati Dhuru and Sandeep Pandey (National People’s Movement of India), Ashok Bharti (National Conference of Dalit Organizations) , Anjali Bhardwaj, Aruna Roy and Nikhil Dey (National Campaign for People’s Right to Information) , Asha Mishra and Vinod Raina (Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samiti), Colin Gonsalves (Human Rights Law Network), Kavita Srivastava (People’s Union for Civil Liberties), Mira Shiva and Vandana Prasad (Jan Swasthya Abhiyan), Paul Diwakar (National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights), Subhash Bhatnagar (National Campaign Committee for Unorganized Sector workers), Jean Dreze (Former support group and Allahabad University), V.B.Rawat (Former support group and Social Development Foundation)

For more information, please contact
Kavita Srivastava (0141-2594131 or 09351562965),
Dipa Sinha (09650434777)
Deepika (9560923178)
Sejal Parikh (09560266167)
Mr. Abul Kalam Azad (9437049329)

1 The "Right to Food Campaign" is an informal network of organisations and individuals committed to the realisation of the right to food in India. We consider that everyone has a fundamental right to be free from hunger. For a brief account of the campaign’s activities so far, please log into our website http://righttofoodindia.org/.

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