India Social Forum begins in Delhi

Bureau Report

New Delhi, Nov 09: Expected to see the participation of around 50,000 people, the India Social Forum (ISF) 2006 begins here today.

With the theme 'Another World Is Possible', the five-day forum is on the lines of the World Social Forum (WSF) held in Mumbai a year back.

"We are expecting around 50,000 people from across Asia and Africa and there are about 500 conferences and seminars slated to take place during the course of the five-day event," said Deepa Menon, head of communications for the ISF.

The event will comprise seminars and sessions on a wide range of issues of human interest as well as staging of dramas and screening of films and documentaries.

"The issues would range from indigenous organic food, gender concerns to WTO and cultural resistance to globalisation," Menon said.

The opening plenary session today will feature an all-women panel comprising of noted social activists from India like Medha Patkar, Subhashini Ali, Ruth Manorama and Tulsi Munda and Hannan Ashrawi from Pakistan and Radhika Kumaraswamy from Sri Lanka. The following days would have Speakers like V P Singh and Aruna Roy.

The event would have a special focus on children, with the slogan 'children's faces, voices and vision for change', and will have dedicated workshops on child rights.

"It reflects WSF-India's decision to take ownership of the fact that 'Young India' makes up 54 per cent of India's people, with 42 per cent aged below 18 years," said Alka Gupta of UNICEF.