AIPWA held a Women’s Conference against Oppression and For Employment at Vidyapati Bhavan, Patna, in which over 1000 women from 22 districts of Bihar took part. Apart from AIPWA activists, health workers belonging to ASHA and Anganbadi workers also took part.
AIALA leader Kunti Devi said at the Conference that the Nitish Government’s claims about women’s empowerment stood exposed by the fact that the widespraead corruption in funds for the ASHA scheme and agricultural labourers. NREGA funds are being looted through false muster rolls.
ASHA workers Veena Devi from Samastipur said that the honorarium amount is not fixed for midwives – though the work is such that workers have to be ready 24 hours a day. Ministers announce crores of money for this scheme but we haven’t seen even a small fraction of it – where has the money gone? AIPWA was organizing struggles to demand a minimum honorarium amount of Rs. 3000 in such schemes.
AIPWA’s Bhojpur Secretary Indu Devi and State Secretary Shashi Yadav spoke of AIPWA’s struggles for employment and minimum wages for women. AIALA General Secertary Dhirendra Jha said that the massive participation of rural poor women accounted for the successes of most movements for implementation of NREGA. He said that AIALA’s struggles had ensured that the Government’s condition of digging 110 dhanfeet of soil was changed to 80 for men and 68 for women; the struggle to get rid of this soil-digging condition entirely continues.
AIPWA National Secretary Meena Tiwari said that NREGA in Bihar had managed to generate a mere 17 days of work for women as opposed to the promised 100. AIPWA General Secretary Kumudini Pati called upon women to join the Women’s Parliament called by AIPWA during the Parliament Session in Delhi to demand employment guarantee for women, scrapping of SEZ Act, and 33% reservation in Parliament.