Ahead of BRICS summit, programmes to highlight social, economic issues

As the Indian Government hosts the 8th BRICS Summit in Goa on October 15 and 16, the People’s Forum will connect the State’s local voices and concerns to the global scenario and critically engage with the BRICS nations in this endeavour at a civil society BRICS to be held on October 1 to 12 ahead of the summit.

“The PF on BRICS … is a collective effort of several people’s movements, networks and civil society organisations from across India,” said Advocate Albertina Almeida, Social Justice Action Committee (Goa) on Wednesday.

The forum will attempt to raise critical voices from below on social, ecological, political and economic concerns that are often ignored at big summits, in the struggle for a more just and equitable society, said Ms. Sabina Martins of Bailancho Saad, a local women’s collective.

This programme will bring forth the articulations of women on the themes of the New Development Bank, energy, environment, trade, and understanding the common issues faced by women in the BRICS nations.

Various organisations in collaboration with the People’s Forum on BRICS Goa have organised several programmes, beginning October 1. A programme meant to highlight experiences of discrimination from Goa’s tribes and castes will be held to expose the exclusion of citizens from Goan society.

On October 3, a discussion on the corporatisation of tourism with adverse impacts on livelihoods, displacement, community resources and resistance towards a people’s charter for tourism will be held by Church–affiliated Centre for Responsible Tourism (CRT) and Equations.

“This programme will take a critical look at what agendas/priorities drive National– and State–level tourism policy, provide witness accounts of people from the informal/unorganized sectors in tourism, develop a position from a people’s perspective which addresses the BRICS Summit, and articulate an analytical framework on how globalization works in the tourism sector through World Bank and IMF orientations into country– level policies,” said Fr. Maverick Fernandes of CRT.

On October 7, Human Rights Law Network (Goa) will hold a programme to highlight concerns that are repeatedly being raised — namely, loss of livelihoods including those of fishing communities, agriculturists and toddy tappers due to increasing privatisation of people’s resources; destruction of fertile farmland by mega housing and industrial projects; land grab benefitting corporate sharks under the guise of development; and the adverse consequences of unsustainable mining on environment.

‘PM, Sushma chose Goa’

“Goa has a wonderful opportunity of hosting BRICS, which we will utilise to our advantage and showcase the best that Goa is known for to the entire world,” said Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar on Wednesday, adding that the State was selected because of its “scenic beauty and prevailing harmony among the people”.

“We decided to convert the challenge of hosting a summit of such importance into an opportunity because it will take Goa to greater heights. It’s a great experience and challenge for us. BRICS is a milestone in the growth of Goa,” Mr. Parsekar said, while addressing a meeting of government officials involved in preparatory works for the two-day BRICS meet.

“Goa had not submitted any proposal to host the summit. It was our Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj who chose Goa as the venue. They were confident about our ability to host such a major summit. The entire machinery of the government has been geared up to host these eleven heads of nations, which constitutes around 40 per cent of the world’s population,” said the Chief Minister.

He appealed to the people of the State to look at the BRICS summit as an opportunity to continue the momentum of inculcating a civic sense in Goan society.

The People’s Forum on BRICS … is a collective effort of several people’s movements, networks and civil society organisationsAlbertina Almeida,Social Justice Action Committee (Goa)

This article originally appeared in The Hindu on 29th September

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