Right to Food Campaign

I was involved with India’s Right to Food Campaign since its inception in the early 2000s. These articles offer brief reflections on the campaign and my involvement in it. To know more about the campaign, please visit the campaign website (www.righttofoodindia.org).

A few memories of Neelabh Mishra, a friend from the Right to Food Campaign days, who left us two days ago. He was the editor-in-chief of The National Herald and a friend to fellow activists who worked on hunger, the right to information and other political challenges of the last few decades.

Goodbye Neelabh

This is the text of a presentation on the Combatting Corruption with Mobile Phones Project in Portuguese. The talk was delivered online for a conference at UFPA, Brazilian Amazon on 4 Nov 2014. Boa tarde. Meu nome é Vivek, sou um cientista social na Stanford University. Hoje, vou tentar algo muito audacioso: fazer uma apresentação em português. Isso é audacioso porque eu não falo bem o português. Eu aprendi essa língua em um curso de português que fiz por três meses há doze anos atrás. Eu preparei esta apresentação usando o google translate. Agora, você vai entender porque eu falo […]

Combater a corrupção com telefones

A report by the Dy. Commissioner, and SP Palamu indicates that police in Palamu is not serious about pursuing Lalit Metha’s murderers One of our colleagues, Lalit Mehta, was brutally murdered  in Palamu, Jharkahand recently.  A sloppy report has prepared by the Deputy Commissioner and the SP, Palamu indicates that the Jharkhand police is either insincere in pursuing the murderers or actively protecting them. Lalit was in the process of organising a survey on NREGA along with Jean Dreze and a band of volunteers. Instead of pursuing the murders, the report casts aspersions on the survey team and even goes […]

Jharkhand police: Enquiry or cover-up in Lalit Mehta’s murder case?

In one of the worst cases of attack on an NREGA activist, Lalit Kumar was murdered this week in Palamu Right from the word go combating corruption in the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) has been a major agenda of activists of the Right to Food Campaign. Needless to say, it brings activists into conflict with the vested interests that are deeply rooted in India today. This week in Palamu, a young and committed activist – Lalit Kumar – was murdered, perhaps a result of his actions to secure the poorest of people their rights. I am reproducing an […]

Murder of Lalit Kumar, NREGA activist in Palamu, Jharkhand

Comparisons are often drawn between the New Deal in USA and the Employment Guarantee Act in India (NREGA). One programme of new deal comes close to NREGA – Civilian Conservation Corps The Government of India passed the all-important National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) in 2005 (for an intro click here). Whenever I mention it to my friends in USA the first question they ask me is, “is this like the new-deal”. The new deal has many similarities with NREGA, but is a much wider concept. NREGA is a programme dealing exclusively with labour-intensive, unskilled work. Employment programmes under new […]

America’s New Deal & India’s Employment Guarantee Act

My publications on Tamil Nadu's public services, right to food and other issues.

List of publications

This documentary by Jan Madhyam Productions gives a very good introduction to the right to information campaign in India and on how RTI is used with social audits to combat corruption. In case you have trouble viewing it, please go to the permanalink by clicking the title above, or here http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3238128636848285898

Documentary on MKSS and right to information campaign

In this note I have tried to put together some lessons that I learned from the Right to Food Campaign. I have drawn these notes from the activities of the campaign, the discussions we have had, the materials we have prepared for the public interest litigation and for the campaign. The campaign deals with questions that are similar to what we are going to deal with in the seminar viz. ensuring a hunger free India. I have drawn extensively on the materials we have prepared in the campaign, and specially on discussions with the ‘support group’. I would like to […]

Notes from the Right to Food Campaign

This is based on a field trip to Dhaulpur district of Rajasthan to visit child Anganwadis (care centres) in the district. I went with Sudha, a friend and colleague. DAY 1: A Meeting of ICDS functionaries On our first day at Dhaulpur, at the ICDS Project Office, we chanced upon a gathering of about 60 ICDS functionaries, including AWWs, ANMs and primary school teachers. This was their third day of a workshop, where they had been listening to expert speakers on a range of issues including ayurvedic home remedies, malnutrition, AIDS/HIV issues, education, etc. The functionaries were drawn mainly from […]

ICDS In Dhaulpur

I wish to share with you a message of hope in this anniversary issue of Humanscape. As a recent entrant in the world of social action, I have been asking myself whether people’s campaigns are effective at all. Are they capable of bringing the concerns of people into the political centre-stage and affect the way government works? In two short years of my association with such campaigns, I have gained hope that a well-organised and sustained campaign can indeed bring meaningful changes to the lives of poor and marginalized people. I have drawn inspiration from campaigns on several issues; but […]

A Message of Hope

This article was written after a visit to Karnataka with Muthappa and Saraswathi. The mid-day meal scheme had recently started in the State following Supreme Court directions and public pressure. I wrote this article with Jean Dreze and it was published in Hindustan Times. Ten months have passed since the Supreme Court directed the state governments to introduce cooked mid-day meals in all primary schools within six months. Some state governments are implementing the order, but many others are trying to buy time, plead for central funding, or even reverse the order. The court seems determined to enforce the order, […]

Hunger in the Classroom