Caritas holds consultation on land, food bills
Oct. 29, 2013
Around 60 people, including Catholic bishops and priests, today deliberated on the pros and cons of recently passed bills on Land Acquisition and Food Security. The program was organized by the Caritas India, the social arm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, in New Delhi. It aimed at linking the Acts’ significance to direct understanding of thousands of people associated in nearly 300 projects across 210 project implementing partners of Caritas India all over the country. “Managing food security and land resources in a sustainable and equitable manner need a clear political vision, systematic implementation strategy and reach to masses is exactly the need today,” said Fr. Frederick D’Souza, executive director of Caritas India.
While Richard Mahapatra from Centre for Science and Environment conducted a session on the Food Security Bill. In his address, Mahapatra said that the Food Security Bill is an entitlement for the poor to get adequate, nutritious food which was not the case in the past. “The bill can also help reform the public distribution system in the country,” he added. Ashok Bharati, chairman of National Confederation of Dalit Organization, focused on the Land Acquisition Bill. Bharati said that the bill aims to improve the lives of the country’s poor. “The bill aims to provide fair compensation to those whose land is taken away, brings transparency to the process of acquisition of land to set up factories or buildings and assures generous compensation and rehabilitation of those affected by land takeover,” he said. He said that the bill settles the uneasy terms between the land owner and the party acquiring the land.
Amrit Sangma, spokesperson of Caritas India, said that the consultation attains greater gravity as the church organization would be part of a world campaign to end hunger that would be launched next month. “Including India, the campaign, initiated by Caritas International, will see a massive worldwide participation of Caritas member organizations in over 160 countries,” he said. Caritas India is extensively working on addressing food security and land rights issues of poor and marginalized communities through promotion of low input cost and high production sustainable agriculture, promotion of eco-system-based agriculture, strengthening community collectives to participate in gram sabhas, promotion of entitlement literacy amongst community.
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