Press Release: 12th December

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Press Release

Fight against savage cuts in social sector spend

New Delhi, 12 December 2013: Over 100 eminent people including economists, politicians, social sector campaign leaders, and representatives of civil society organizations have written to the Prime Minister urging him to stop budget cuts and use any unspent balances within the sector itself.  This comes in the wake of different reports that are emerging revealing the Finance Minister’s fiat to slash social sector budgets overruling the concerned departments objections and sharp resistance.

We enclose two letters from Rural Development Minister Shri Jairam Ramesh to the Prime Minister (here) and the Finance Minister (here) where he talks of “savage cuts” that would “severely jeopardize the implementation of these (flagship) programmes.” The Ministry of Rural Development has reportedly been asked to slash its budget by over Rs. 20,000 crores.

“This degree of budget cuts from programmes for the poor is tantamount to human rights violations in these times of continued poverty and spiraling price rise. If there are unspent balances and savings, they should be used by the government to fulfill its commitments to the destitute elderly by enhancing and  universalizing pensions,” said Aruna Roy.

Earlier today a delegation from the Pension Parishad also met Agriculture Minister Shri Sharad Pawar who heard their woes and promised to support the Pension Parishad’s demand in the Cabinet Committee for Economic Affairs. He said he would speak to Shri Jairam Ramesh, and Kumari Selja so that they could together push for immediate implementation.

The Pension Parishad a coalition of nearly 150 civil society organization, who have been sitting in dharna at Jantar Mantar since 27 November are demanding Universal and Non Contributory Old Age Pension System to be immediately established by the government with a minimum, dignified monthly pension of not less than 50% of the minimum wage or Rs 2000/- per month, whichever is higher.

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For more information please contact:

Padmini, 9810482967 and Farah, 9560511667

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