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  CONTENTS
 
 
  • Elaben's open letter to men in the context of violence against women

  • SEWA Annual General Meeting: Brief Annual Report

  • Resolutions Passed at the Annual General Meeting on January 12th 2013

 
 
No. 47 | February 2013
 
   
H2 Side Elaben's open letter to men in the context of violence against women
   
 

My Dear Brothers,

In all seriousness I would like to inform all of you that slavery of women and male chauvinism has become an internal part of the Indian society. Gandhiji believed that a life based on non-violence gave equal rights to both men and women to design their own future. Only after discussing social issues with one another could the code be established. It should not be imposed on anyone.

My dear brothers, why don't you understand this truth in your interactions with women, that you are friends of women, companions, not their bosses and owners?

Remember, in the struggle for independence the contribution of women was significant. Gandhiji involved them in the freedom struggle, handed over the responsibilities of the ashram and in the period of the independence struggle he took women towards the path of equality.

Post independence why are we experiencing an imbalance? In fact women have shown progress in almost every sphere of life in Independent India. They have maintained strength and gained confidence. The sad reality still remains that women have yet not become fearless. Today's women still need security and hence they have been unsuccessful in developing human relationships: except for a husband-wife relationship and a relationship as a mother. She has yet to develop a relationship of brotherhood and friendship with you.

Then what are women scared of? Do you all know?
Women are scared of their body, its structure and the fact that men may use their body against their will. As a consequence women have to suffer while the men roam free. Women are disgraced and the men think of it as a victory. But now women should let go of the fear of being raped. Women should now take a resolution within their hearts that the occurrence of rape doesn't make any woman a sinful person.

I am worried that the friendship between men and women found at time of India's independence might be lost. I am apprehensive about the days when women again would be restricted to the four walls of their homes or they themselves would not want to step out of their homes. With time, the strength and confidence of women have increased. But with increasing fear, it may all shut down with no tuition classes at night, no late night cinemas shows and separate transportation for women in the name of improving the security of women.

Gandhiji eradicated the fear of weapons from the minds of Indians, similarly women too will have to eradicate the fear of men from their lives.

My dear brothers now it's in your hands to contribute with seriousness and sincerity to help eradicate the fear from the minds of the women. You shall have to create an understanding amongst women that men are not wild beasts: we will not eat you up, do not fear our existence. I have full faith in you my brothers. Will you listen to me?

Elaben Bhatt

   
H2 Side SEWA Annual General Meeting: Brief Annual Report
   
 

SEWA's Annual General meeting with elected representatives, all union leaders, assembled at SEWA's training centre in Manipur village, outside Ahmedabad city.

Shri Jyotiben, General Secretary welcomed everyone present. She presented the Annual SEWA report as follows:

Ahmedabad Urban:

This year was full of struggle for SEWA Urban Union. There was a decline in employment and income. Recession was observed in the work of stitching. Machines are now used for making and rolling different shades of incense sticks. Water based incense sticks are made by machines and incense stick workers are left only with making oil based incense sticks. Women kite makers experienced a decline in their income since the prices of sticks (used for making kites) brought from Assam have increased. However every cloud has a silver lining. Due to the heavy demand for readymade garments the income of the head loaders increased by 30 to 40%.

Vendors

As a result of rapid urbanization 9 model roads were made in the city of Ahmedabad. 16 natural markets were closed down. Due to SEWA, members received identity cards, surveys were undertaken and alternative places for vending were obtained. During the festival of Diwali space for vending was allotted to the members of SEWA in the Bhadra Fort area.

  1. Shantaben Parmar a vendor who is now the Vice President of SEWA was appointed in the city's Town Vending Committee.
  2. Work was undertaken by SEWA to ensure that legal policies were made for vendors. Once the laws were established SEWA was given to chance to put forward its opinion before the Parliamentary Committee. The laws/policy was passed by the cabinet.

Waste Pickers

The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) introduced the Zero Waste Plan. It was arranged to provide the traditional work of waste picking to the waste pickers through SEWA. In Ahmedabad in an area known as Rampir no tekro construction of 11000 homes was undertaken. The AMC wishes to provide the work of waste picking of the entire Ahmedabad city to SEWA.

Construction

SEWA filed a public litigation application in the Gujarat High Court to ensure the crores of rupees collected by the government through a cess was used for the welfare of construction workers. Disappointingly the application was rejected. However, the Cabinet of Ministers of the Central Government approved changes in the Law for Welfare of Construction Workers which will ensure better welfare through the Cess collected. Many of the suggestions made by SEWA were incorporated in the changes.

Rural Members :

  1. In 2012 the rural membership was 502321 members. Constant efforts were made to increase the membership base, self reliance and skill building of the members and focus was kept on the younger generation.
  2. In 9 districts 50 Sanskar Kendras (cultural activity centres) plus additional 3 centres were made operational. Out of which 10 centres were turned into Gyan Vigyan Kendras (knowledge and science centres). These centres worked towards the use of technology thereby generating employment, income and skills of the members.

    - 65000 families were linked with 10 Gyan Vigyan Kendras.

    - 3 radio stations were initiated. Namely: In Mehsana: Wali no radiyo, Surendranagar: Shantima radiyo and in Kheda as Martha radiyo.
  3. Through 8 skill building schools trainings were imparted to 25000 members. 150 master trainers were developed to provide skill development and livelihood trainings to members.
  4. Climate change:

    - 168234 members were linked to the Green Campaign.

    - 3432 Van Vanita members bred 17 lakh crops.

    - Groups of 90 members produced 10,81,230 kilos of vermi compost.

    - Modern cooking stoves and solar lights are now used by 25000 members in their homes.
  5. Rudi: Turnover registered was Rs 7,95,00,000. 1500 rudi women now make a sale of Rs 2 to 3 lakhs monthly. Income ranging between Rs 10,000 to Rs 30,000 is monthly availed by individual members through Rudi. Rudi women have linked themselves to the Vodafone Mobile Network and maintain its accounts through RUDI Sanchar Mobile Phone.
  6. Hansiba Museum was made last year. The annual turnover of this museum was recorded at Rs 3 crores. In the neighboring countries the contribution of strengthening the workers was done by SABAAH and the sale of entire collection was started.

SEWA Manger ni School

15 modules and managers with expertise were prepared. These groups of managers were then sent to different states and countries to impart trainings. Results are as follows:

  1. In Kashmir 2000 women were organized.
  2. In Assam and Meghalaya 1000 women were organized.
  3. In Sri Lanka 3000 women were organized and Uttam Bazaar was established.
  4. In Afganisthan the 'Baage Khazaana Sabaah Association' was formed. Work was initiated in the four provinces of Afganisthan namely Heart, Parvan, Mazar and Daykundi.

SEWA Bank

  1. Table showing the statistical data for the year:
    Share Holders 95,423
    Share Capital
    Account
    1,32,59,210
    Accounts 4,30,000
    Deposits 117,00,55,236
    Working Capital 170,80,88,364
    Credit Account 1,80,900
    Credits 69,27,54,000
  2. Pension: 29000 members joined SEWA Bank and credit of Rs 1,70,0000 was received. To safe guard the old age of its members SEWA Bank started the pension scheme. In the last accounting year 8259 members were able to avail the benefits of governments' welfare schemes.
  3. 250000 women and 1000 young girls participated in the training on financial planning. Many young girls opened their accounts with SEWA Bank.
  4. Urja Project (Energy Project): Loans for solar lights, solar home lights, solar lanterns and solar fans can now be acquired from SEWA Bank at reasonable loan rates.
  5. Under Innovation Program: Homes of the women are made airy and in a way where natural day light can penetrate. Due to this the electricity costs of the women have gone down and they can save around Rs 100 to Rs 125 very month.
  6. SEWA Bank has started providing vehicle loans along with issuing home loans.

Social Security:
Health care:

  1. Through the year 24297 members availed health care services.
  2. Nutritional awareness about food was provided to 80981 members.
  3. Through camps 5895 members received health care services.
  4. Valued health care treatment was provided to 1134 patients through Referral SEWA. A fee of Rs 12,37,835 was reduced through it.
  5. The sale of medicines worth Rs 3,20,33,212 was done through the year. In this herbal medicine worth Rs 22,10,257 were sold.
  6. Health education was imparted to 3,29,717 members.
  7. Lok Swasthya Mandali was awarded the 'best performer' by The Gujarat Rajya Sahakari Sangh, ICICI Lombard and CNBC.
  8. The mandali has made various equipments for its members. This has helped increase the income of the members by Rs 600 to Rs 1000.
  9. A 24 hour medical shop has been started on the grounds LG Hospital.

Bal SEWA:

  1. In the city of Ahmedabad through 27 centres 765 children have been benefitted.
  2. 50% fathers were contacted.
  3. 60 women sevikas and 780 mothers earned an income of Rs 2,13,60,000.

Achievements:

Bal SEWA was awarded the 2nd best performer by the Gujarat Rajya Sahakari Sangh.

VimoSEWA:

  1. 92215 members joined VimoSEWA.
  2. Premium of Rs 1,69,61,491 was paid.
  3. Out of 3722 members insurance of 2831 members was issued. These members received Rs 1,25,03,133 during the year.

Avaas- The Mahila Housing Trust

  1. Through Karmika School 389 women received trainings in masonry, plaster and electrification. Testing certification of 164 members was done.
  2. In 49774 homes of Gujarat, Rajasthan, MP, Delhi and Bihar 24885 people availed the services of drainage, water and road.
  3. Under the energy innovation program in 3535 homes women auditors conducted energy audits. Out of which an income of Rs 33290 was gained. Through the Vikasini Cooperative 71 slums were linked with different schemes. 31 women benefitted by Rs 10,60,730.
  4. In Surat 1120 members were registered and deposits worth Rs 97,11,469 were made.
  5. 1036 members joined in the Vadodara Mandali. A total of Rs 30,11,427 was deposited.

SEWA Academy

  1. During the year through SEWA Academy trainings on 30 different subjects were imparted. In total 442 trainings 10820 women participated.
  2. Findings:

    -14 case studies were started of which 9 were successfully completed.

    -4 documentaries were completed.

    -For research purpose 18 trainings were given to SEWA members. 331 women became grassroot researchers.

    -For the skill building of the members of the Academy trainings on various subjects were undertaken.10 women workers participated in this training.
  3. Literacy:

    -3303 women joined 165 classes and became literate.

    -566 girls joined the Aakash Ganga Club.

    -With the help of mobile vans 4715 viewers were imparted education and livelihood oriented information covering 52 different areas.

    -132 girls participated in the workshop to develop their creative side.
  4. Video SEWA:

    -Through Video SEWA 153 video shootings were made.

    -16 programs were edited and through 641 video replays saw a participation of 16252 viewers.

    -126 trainees participated in the video replay training. 120 trainees took training in the photography worshop.

    - Vimo SEWA received an award from the Gujarat Rajya Sahakari Sangh

    - Apart from India trainees from Cambodia, Thailand and Philippines visited SEWA to receive the MBOP training.
  5. Rudi no Radio:

    - A total of 47 programs were made by Rudi no Radio.

    -Within the programs a lot of trainings were communicated and SEWA members themselves started making the programs.

    -To celebrate the beginning of the 8th Year of Rudi no Radio a theme of environment was selected. The audiences of Bhavnagar, Panchmahal, Banaskatha, Mehsana, Surendranagar, Amreli and Kheda supported the 'Grow more trees and save the environment' effort by SEWA. 150 audiences participated in this effort.

    -The activities of Rudi no radio programs were made visible by 3 print media and 3 TV channels. This helped people realize that the capacity building of the grassroot women of SEWA is in itself the capacity building of the organization.

    -Rudi no radio became the finalist for the ENG Award.

    -The library of SEWA Academy contains 8756 books both in Hindi and English language.

SEWA Federation:

  1. 105 cooperatives have been associated with the federation.
  2. 87 training programs were undertaken in which 2019 women participated.
  3. Sales figures are described below:
    Kalakruti Rs 41,27,500
    Matsyagandha Rs 35,72,110
    Vegetable Shop No 40 Rs 54,36,467
    Total Rs 1,31,36,077
  4. Employment generated to 2318 members earned a total of Rs 9,87,75,865.
  5. An Auro water plant was put up in Chamanpura, Ahmedabad.
  6. Consultancy Sale - Technical guidance was provided to the cooperatives with respect to their work.

SEWA Bharat:
Delhi-

  1. Through SEWA Polytechnic College 52 members were imparted skill training and classes were operated for 55 students.
  2. Identity cards were given to Domestic Workers.

Vendors:
Sale:

  1. In the weekly market 40 women vendors were allotted place to sit. Through which they accounted a sale of Rs 3,90,600.
  2. A total of 600 vendors found space to vend on Qutub road. This helped them make a sale of Rs 5,76,0000.
  3. Book Bazaar in Delhi has 200 SEWA members that accounted to a sale of Rs 1,44,0000.

Health-

  1. 1274 patients participated in the health camp.

Solid Waste Management

Bihar:

  1. In the district of Katihar through 120 Saurandarya Saathis an amount of Rs 48,27,768 was gathered from door to door waste collection. More than 3500 homes received the benefit of door to door waste collection service. Suchit Saurandarya SEWA Mandali was established.
  2. In Munger 147 women incense stick rollers received work whose total turnover was Rs 20,08,655. Women gathered a total income of Rs 6,98,055.
  3. The fight for obtaining a place for those families that are affected by infrastructure is on. 648 women of 40 savings cooperatives have saved totally Rs 12,34,662.

Bhagalpur Bihar- Bidi and construction workers

  1. Campaigns were undertaken to provide Bidi workers with identity cards and this led to successful distribution of identity cards.
  2. SEWA started the registration of women construction workers with the Labour Department.
  3. In 85 cooperatives 1055 women saved Rs 18,60,086.

Uttrakhand:

  1. SEWA Uttrakhand organized women chilly workers and initiated the method of buying chillies from the women workers for further processing.
  2. Coaster and mat making trainings were imparted to women. These trainings helped women earn Rs 2000.
  3. Most significantly efforts were made to help women open bank accounts and hence enabling them to acquire loans.
  4. 18 savings cooperatives were initiated and 613 members saved Rs 18,93,000.
  5. Through business corresponds in four districts of Almora, Bhageshwar, Pitodgarh and Champavat 5524 bank accounts were opened. Deposits worth Rs 1,33,96,850 and credit worth Rs 73,33,500 was registered.

Rajasthan:

  1. SEWA along with the government schemes undertook a lot of work. In this 432 members joined the Swavalamban Yogana. 75 construction workers were registered with the government.
  2. Considerable work was undertaken by SEWA to create awareness about Dowry and Child Marriage. Within which trainings were also arranged.
  3. 502 members were joined with Vimo SEWA.
  4. Emphasis was put on skill trainings. 52 master trainers were prepared to provide trainings in dying and designing.
  5. In total 156 groups 2311 women have saved Rs 82,19,007.

Information Centers:

West Bengal:

  1. 1135 health related trainings were imparted.
  2. 354 members were linked with government schemes.
  3. Skill trainings were imparted in which 140 women were given stitching training.
  4. 1286 members from 60 groups saved Rs 28,98,747.

Uttar Pradesh-Bareli

  1. 250 women were given different employment related trainings.
  2. 301 members joined NFE.
  3. Focus was kept on providing BPL cards to the members.
  4. 2642 women were imparted trainings on health awareness.

Madhya Pradesh:

  1. Campaign for tendu patta workers was undertaken.
  2. Campaign for forest workers was undertaken.
  3. Campaigns for direct cash transfers in the beneficiaries account were initiated.
   
H2 Side Resolutions Passed at the Annual General Meeting on January 12th 2013
   
 

Resolution 1: Street Vendors

SEWA since last 40 years is fighting for the recognition and validation of street vendors' rights. This struggle started in 1982 with the vendors of Manek Chowk area of Ahmedabad. SEWA was successful in establishing the legal rights of the vendors, in securing space for the vendors and helping members avail vending licenses in Manekchowk.

During SEWA's 40 years of work, court cases were repeatedly filed for the vendors of Ahmedabad, Delhi and Madhya Pradesh. The rights of the vendors were established at each of these places. With SEWA's constant efforts the National Policy for Street Vendors was formed in 2004. However in the absence of legal back up this policy did not prove to be effective. Thereafter a case for the vendors was admitted in the Delhi Supreme Court in the name of Gainda Ram versus Delhi Municipal Corporation (MCD). In this case the Chief Justice ordered in favor of the vendors. Orders were passed to prepare laws for the vendors by June 2011. The question of whether the government should make a model law or a national law was raised. SEWA has always believed that a national law if implemented would come with legal back up. Finally the government decided to prepare a National Law for vendors. SEWA provided the government with its inputs and put forward necessary changes in the policy of street vendors in front of the Parliamentary Standing Committee of Ministers.

On 12th January 2013 at SEWA's Annual General Meeting in Manipur village, SEWA membership unanimously passed the following resolution:

  • Street Vending is a fundamental right, subject to appropriate regulation.
  • All urban areas must allot land according to the number of vendors. As per a study conducted 2 percent of the urban population consists of vendors. All of these vendors should be accumulated properly in the land allotted.
  • Every 5 years a Biometric survey should be conducted for the vendors. Thereafter the vendors should be provided with identity cards. Till the time such surveys are not conducted in different cities, vendors from different locations should not be moved.
  • Emphasis should be put on the natural markets while making laws for the vendors.
  • Many natural markets are as old as the historic places where they are held. Such as the market near Bhadra Fort (in Ahmedabad) is as old as the Fort itself. Such natural markets should be considered and established as heritage markets and the vendors at such places should not be removed from there
  • Many markets are an inclusive part of the city. Such places should be declared as 'Pedestrian Zones' and the vendors vending there should not be removed.

Resolution 2: Statistics on Informal Workers

The workers of the unorganized sector constitute over 90% of the total work force of India. There are four types of self employed women workers such as Hawkers, home-based workers, manual labourers and service providers, producers and services. Since they fall under the unorganized labour force of the country their employment is considered informal. However, the Government of India and international organizations are increasingly recognizing the contribution of the unorganized sector towards the economy. Still this sector often goes unnoticed since there are few statistical data available. As a result of this legal policies and laws are not made for the unorganized sector.

The workers of this sector get visibility through the statistical data and this holds great significance for them. The government does collect data but unfortunately considering the workers in the unorganized sector as marginal fails to collect sufficient statistics.

On 12th January 2013 at the SEWA's Annual General Meeting in Manipur village outside Ahmedabad city unanimously the following resolution was passed:

  • Proper statistical data of the workers in the unorganized sector should be collected by the government.
  • Every trade in the unorganized sector has its own particular details. Therefore the statistical data of employment, income, social security and status of work should be collected separately for each trade.
  • It is important to measure the income of workers especially that of the self employed workers of the unorganized sector.
  • There is no recognition of the work done by the women workers of the unorganized sector. Hence when the data is collected in spite their contribution to the economy their work is not reckoned. Due to this reason when the data is collected of women workers in the unorganized sector, questions related to their work should be specifically asked.
  • Each and every trade in the unorganized sector makes its contribution in the national income. However it is not considered in the final evaluation. Hence when the national income is calculated the contribution of these trades should be properly evaluated.
  • The government should constitute a committee for this purpose along with SEWA.

Resolution 3: Not Selling Agricultural Land

Majority of SEWA's membership consists of farmers working in agriculture related on farm activities. Due to rapid industrialization since the past few years it has been observed that many lands have been sold off. Land is a precious asset and now it is next to impossible to purchase a new piece of land. Land can yield crops and income. In times of adversity land will prove to be useful. In absence of land and traditional means of livelihood through agriculture, workers will be left unemployed and will become slaves to labour and jobs.

On 12th January 2013 at the SEWA's Annual General Meeting in Manipur village outside Ahmedabad city unanimously the following resolution was passed:

  • Agricultural lands should not be sold. Efforts will be made to prevent the sale of land in the villages. Campaigns for this cause shall be continued.
   
   
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