SHG and Jeevika Women Voice Their Demands

Women across Bihar raised their voice in protest on 30 May 2021 and sent memorandums to the Chief Minister from their homes through AIPWA, Self Help Groups and Jeevika Sangharsh Samiti. Participating in the protest, AIPWA General Secretary Meena Tiwari said that newspapers often carry reports about masks being made by Jeevika sisters, but this is happening only in a few cities. Jeevika workers are not being given the work of making masks in rural and remote areas. Even otherwise, not all the women know how to make masks, so they need to be given training. They can also be given other kinds of employment/livelihood apart from making masks, provided the government is concerned about helping them. The government which talks big about self-reliance is even today importing masks from abroad, whereas with a simple basic training course of women in the country can make masks and other such items.

Sangharsh Samiti convener Rita Barnawal and co-convener Manmohan Kumar said that women across Bihar are being harassed by private finance companies and banks to pay installments even in this horrific pandemic time. In many instances the companies are behaving indecently with the women in the name of debt-collection. AIPWA has made the following demands from the Chief Minister:

  1. Provide work to SHG women without delay.
  2. Arrange training for SHG women as per work requirement and guarantee governmental purchase of their products.
  3. Loan waivers for SHG women.
  4. Punish staff who behave insultingly or harass women for debt-collection.
  5. Curb arbitrary and exorbitant interest rates by micro-finance companies and private banks and ensure that they are run on uniform rules and regulations.
  6. Provide identity cards for all Jeevika workers including community motivators.
  7. Provide insurance for all Jeevika workers.
  8. The concerned high level officer should be held responsible for attacks on community motivators (CM) and other Jeevika workers and protecting their safety.
  9. Rs 18,000 monthly honorarium for CMs and parallel Jeevika workers should be ensured and this should be paid by the government or through a government project.

The program on 28 May was led by Sohila Gupta in Siwan, Dr Prema Kumari in Vaishali, Mala Kumari in Darbhanga, Savitri Devi in Nawada, Vandana Singh in Samastipur, Rani Prasad in Muzaffarpur, Pappu Sharma in Naubatpur, and Rita Barnawal in Gaya. Women in many other Districts also joined in the protest.