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PUCL Bulletin, June 2003

PUCLBegusarai, Bihar
Seminar on marginalised people

A seminar was held on 11th April 2003 on "Marginalised People and Human Rights" at Barauni village Middle School, Begusarai. Bihar PUCL Vice-president Prof. Vinay Kanth, inaugurating the seminar, said, "Human Rights can be classified into three categories: Civil and Political Rights; Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights; and Collective Rights to Development". He said that the main aim of the seminar was to discuss how to preserve Human Rights of marginalised sections of society. The proportion of the poor is increasing in the world. He called on the people to come forward and change the system that is depriving the poor of a dignified life. It is possible only through a people's movement.

The seminar was presided over by the District PUCL President and Editor of Manavaadhikaar magazine, Shri Ramashray Prasad Singh. He had circulated a four page informatory note regarding 'Marginalised People and Human Rights'.

Addressing the participants of this function, the chief guest of the seminar, constitutional expert, President, UP State PUCL and National Organising Secretary, Shri Ravi Kiran Jain, said, "Corrupt and criminal elements have entered politics". Elections are more expensive and self-interest motivates them. This is the cause of increasing difference between the rich and the poor. He was happy to see the large gathering in the seminar. He lauded the ideas of taking such seminars to the rural areas also. He said that he was with the struggle of the strong unit of Begusarai PUCL to preserve the marginalised people's rights. He said that the World Bank was turning into a super boss, threatening the very sovereignty and democratic right of self-governance in the country. He warned that India was on the brink of loosing its democratic structure and sovereignty to the World Bank.

There seemed to be a consensus among all the political parties to surrender our sovereignty, both economic and political, to the World Bank by dividing among themselves the vote banks on caste and communal lines, he said. The job of deciding how the country should be governed and also the job of evaluating our achievements (development index) which are meant to be done by people's elected representatives, are now being done by the World Bank.

Not only this, Shri Jain said, India's corrupt bureaucracy is under the command of the World Bank and our bureaucrats now appear to be taking orders from the World Bank and not from the government elected by the people. He said that it becomes very clear from the successive World Bank reports and recommendations, released by it from time to time, that in return of the loans it has advanced to India, it wants to determine how India should govern itself. The World Bank is setting an agenda for India in all spheres of governance, be it health, education, the art of governance, judicial administrative print media, be it the power generation and distribution, or the local self governance in urban and rural areas. The World Bank is not only monitoring and evaluating our performance and giving us good and poor marks in the same manner a school teacher awards marks to students.

He maintained that the pro-rich policies of the World Bank were an important cause of increasing proportion of marginalised people in our country. All educated and aware people from every walk of life must come forward and raise their voice against this conspiracy to which all the political parties are a party. It is enslaving India politically, socially, culturally, educationally, and administratively. The PUCL, on its part, has already been doing and will continue to do whatever it can to safeguard people's freedom and sovereignty. The PUCL looks forward to people's massive support for any movement for this national cause, Shri Jain added.

A senior lawyer of Patna High Court, Ratneshwar Prasad Singh, suggested that first we should ensure the basic minimum needs of the marginalised people like water, food, fuel, fodder, education, for empowering people, and then proceed further.

State Vice-President and a senior staff reporter of the Times of India, Shri Arun Kumar, said, "Not only a large number of people are marginalised but states and countries are also marginalised".

State PUCL vice-president and president of Bihar Rajya Yuwa Adhivakta Kalyan Sangh, Shri Ashutosh Kumar, praised Begusarai PUCL team and spelt the achievements of this team.

Among others who spoke at the function were Prof. Chandra Bhushan Trivedi, Dr. Ramchandra Singh Fauladi, ex-mukhiya Ramashish Singh.
PUCL State Council member and advocate Ram Naresh Sharma conducted the seminar. District PUCL General Secretary Ram Murti Singh welcomed the guests and the people who participated in the seminar. Rani (EPTA), Arun, Rajesh, and his artist team presented some song items.

At the end of the function Barauni PUCL Seminar Organising Convenor, Shri Sumant Kumar, thanked the people for their hearty participation in it. -- Ramashray Prasad Singh, President, PUCL Begusarai; Neeraj Kumar (A student of IIHR, Delhi).

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