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Women pose 56 questions to the Prime Minister “Non-Political” Press Conference by Women

A press conference was organised by women on May 6, 2019 to highlight the challenges being faced by the “aam” janta and to list questions that they want the Prime Minister to respond to.

The interview of the Prime Minister with a Bollywood star masquerading as a “non-political” conversation, was in fact an exercise in self-promotion in the middle of the election cycle. It trivialised the real issues being faced by people and completely glazed over questions related to the failures of his government, including issues of unemployment, grand corruption, crony capitalism, rising hate, inflation and human rights violations.

More than 150 women from across Delhi participated in the press meet to highlight the targeted attacks on the constitutional rights of women in India. The growth of fascist and neo-liberal forces in the country, and the resulting rise in violence in society, has deeply impacted lives of women. An atmosphere of fear and insecurity has been fostered with a steady deterioration in the rule of law and the basic constitutional commitment to equality.

The last few years have witnessed a frontal attack on the Constitution, particularly on the freedom of expression it guarantees – the right to dress, speak, write, eat and choose – which impacts women disproportionately. Voices of dissent have been systematically silenced.
Women posed the following 56 questions to the Prime Minister.

We released the questions but they have not reached everyone so we will be releasing them again on three consecutive days. The first 20 questions:

56 questions for the Prime Minister and the BJP government- Dispatch 3 – 16 questions
41.  Why were the Land Acquisition & Rehabilitation Act & Mines and Minerals (Development & Regulation) Act (MMRDA) amended to allow private companies to acquire Adivasi and forest land without the free and informed consent of gram sabhas?
42.  Why did the Modi government fail to defend the Forest Rights Act in the case in Supreme Court? What does the government intend to do to prevent displacement of millions of Adivasis from their land?
43.  Why are fuel prices still high in India despite fall in international prices?
44.  Instead of strengthening public provisioning for health especially in primary healthcare, to ensure quality healthcare for all, why has the government been pushing insurance schemes which benefit private companies? Why was the healthcare budget slashed by the government? (slashed by 20% in 2014-’15. In 2015-’16, it was further slashed by 5.7%. This continued in 2016-’17.)
45.  Why has the budget for Mid-Day Meal Scheme been reduced from Rs. 10,523 crores in 2014-’15 to Rs. 9949 crore in 2018-’19? Expenditure on Mid Day meal slashed by 21% between 2014 and 2018-19.
46.  Maternity Benefit has to be atleast Rs. 6,000 as per National Food Security Act. Why does Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PM-MVY) provision for only Rs. 5,000?
47.  Why was the Parliament bypassed on important legislative changes by bringing ordinances (such as on amendments to Aadhaar Act to allow its use by private companies)?
48.  What steps has the government taken to address the critical issue of wage delay under NREGA?
49.  Why the U-turn and complete change of stance on Aadhaar?
50.  As CM of Gujarat, Mr. Modi had said entitlement of 5 kgs per person under National Food Security Act was completely inadequate and would push people to starvation. Why did the BJP government fail to increase the entitlement by even 1 kg per family?
51.  Why did the government fail to address the issue of deaths of manual scavengers while cleaning sewers? Manual scavenging has been banned yet the practice continues with people being coerced to clean sewers with no safety equipment.
52.  What is the total expenditure on the foreign trips of the Prime Minister in the last 5 years?
53.  Why did the government choose the Money Bill route for significant legislative changes such as Aadhaar Act or provision for Electoral Bonds? Was it done to prevent scrutiny and debate of the provisions in the Rajya Sabha?
54.  What is the total expenditure on publicity spent by Modi Sarkar?
55.  Despite clear evidence showing that claims of savings due to Aadhaar are highly exaggerated and false, why has the Prime Minister and government been repeating these claims?
56.  Why were trans rights groups and organisations not consulted by the BJP government on the amendments that the government brought to the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016? What steps has the government taken to address concerns of the LGBTIQ community?

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