The speaker has been promoting the rights of agricultural workers to decent wages, work and food for many decades through Paschim Banga Khet Majoor Samity (PBKMS) and Shramajivee Mahila Samity (SMS). In the last few months, they have organized outreach programmes and taken up social action initiatives to show complete solidarity with the demands of the Right to Food Campaign and advocating for reforms in the Public Distribution System (PDS). The PDS should be bolstered to respond to the impending food crisis arising out of factors, not limited to the general deprivation levels of the vulnerable population, an unplanned nationwide lockdown, the pandemic induced slowdown, a decelerating economy and loss of community ownership over natural resources, compounded by a non-responsive political leadership. Anuradha will share stories from the ground on how people are struggling and organizing themselves for mere survival in this time of crisis.
Anuradha Talwar, 61, is a trade union activist who works with rural labour. She is actively involved with Paschim Banga Khet Majoor Samity, a non-party registered union of agricultural workers and many other non-party independent unorganised sector worker unions and tea plantation workers. She works actively on gender issues with Shramajibee Mahila Samity. She was the West Bengal Advisor to the Commissioners of the Supreme Court in the Right to Food and Work cases from 2002 to 2017 and has been a National Secretary of New Trade Union Initiative, a national trade union centre.