Information Fairs on Rationing Issues
THE RATIONING SYSTEM
India has a Public Distribution System through which essential commodities such as food grain, sugar and fuel are sold at subsidized rates through fair price shops. Everyone is entitled to a fixed amount of food grain and fuel that they can buy from ration shops at rates fixed by the Government. But the ration shops are sometimes closed and stocks are hoarded and sold at high prices in the black market. Often, ration cards (proof that someone is a resident and is entitled to rations from the local shop) are hard to get, and people have to pay bribes to get ration cards made.
COLLECTIVE ACTION BY WOMEN'S GROUPS
Women's collectives in Latur and Osmanabad have begun a movement in which they are working with the administration to monitor ration shops and ensure that the Public Distribution System works for people, especially the poorest. Mahiti Melavas are information fairs. Two recent information fairs on rationing provided a glimpse of the range of actors and activities that women's collectives and their allies have to take on to solve community problems.
HUNDREDS OF WOMEN CAME TOGETHER
More than 500 women made their way to each of the two information fairs in Latur and Osmanabad to find out about rationing and what they could do to ensure that people get what they are entitled to at prices stipulated by the government.
ASSEMBLING THE ENTIRE CAST OF ACTORS
The information fair brought stakeholders face-to-face. There were women from Mahila Mandals, Gram Panchayat members, members of Ration Vigilance Committees, Shop owners, Block and District administration, elected members of state legislature, NGOs and The Ration Kruti Samiti - an NGO network working on rationing issues.
The District Collector, The Divisional Commissioner and Mangalatai from Katejavalgaon village
When stocks arrive
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