People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


Vol. XXXII

No. 42

October 26, 2008

 

AIKS TO LAUNCH NATIONAL CAMPAIGN ON KISAN ISSUES


N K Shukla


THE All India Kisan Council of the All India Kisan Sabha met in Kolkata on October 14-15, 2008. The meeting decided the following agitational programmes.


In the month of November, each of AIKS units will organise intensive campaign for a week on the burning issues of peasantry such as- shortage of fertiliser and seeds, for decreasing the price of diesel and petrol, for adequate power and irrigational facilities, for comprehensive crop insurance scheme covering all the crops based on village as a unit and for adequate relief to the flood and drought affected people, for adequate credit and suitable amendment in loan waiver scheme, for passing of Seed Bill as modified by joint select committee of parliament, for fixing the price of paddy and sugarcane as recommended by the CACP, for immediate payment of arrears to cane growers, for proper implementation of NREGA and forest Rrights act and for allotting house sites to landless.


Besides the above mentioned demands, the issues of attacks, atrocities and discrimination against dalits, tribals, minorities, women and other weaker sections will be taken up on priority basis and in an organised manner.


The AIKS units, while campaigning, will organise agitations, where the actual issue/problem comes up and demands our intervention. Each state committee will decide about the dates of campaign week according to the situation there.


For Organisational consolidation

In the month of December, the state committees will organise membership enrolment week for a fortnight.


In the month of November, the state committees will meet and will prepare a plan of action-both agitational and organisational based on thorough assessment of the ground situation (socio-economic-political and organisational) of the state. Those states, where the assembly elections are taking place in November or December will hold the meeting after the polls.


The all India conference would be held between September and December 2009, most probably in Andhra Pradesh. The state committees, along with completing the November and December campaign will also try to complete the local and district conferences. Then they will start preparation for state conferences. The state committees will also try to organise study camps for cadres, as decided earlier. The study camp for Hindi region would be organised after the current assembly polls.



The president of All India Kisan Sabha, S R Pillai in his inaugural speech, dealt with the current global financial crisis that has engulfed the entire capitalist world accentuating the world capitalist crisis in a big way and suggested that it will have serious adverse effects on our agrarian sector leading to steep fall in crop prices, shortage of foodgrains, unemployment and impoverishment.


On the Other hand, the Congress led UPA government manipulated a majority in the Lok Sabha by bribery and other coercive methods after the Left parties withdrew support. It must also be borne in mind that because of consistent and principled stand and determined intervention by the Left parties, many anti – people policies of the UPA government such as privatisation of banks, insurance, pension fund disinvestment etc., could be checkmated for more than four years. He also pointed out that the 123 agreement of the Indo-US nuclear deal and strategic alliance with the USA has opened up the possibility of India succumbing to the dictates of US imperialism. He urged upon the All India Kisan Committee to conduct a serious campaign throughout the country with a view to protecting our independence, national sovereignty and the rights of our peasantry against the continuous pressure exerted by the WTO and other imperialist controlled international agencies.


. General secretary of All India Kisan Sabha, K Varadharajan, in his report to the AIKC session stated that the agrarian crisis in our country has been deepening day by day and the UPA government as well as all non-Left state governments have refused to go into the roots of agrarian crisis, paying only lip service to the cause of the peasantry, particularly during the period of ensuing Lok Sabha and state assembly elections. Import costs are increasing on a daily basis, there is steep fall of prices of crops and other agricultural products, prices of all varieties of fertilisers have reached sky high and most of the states are affected by fertiliser shortage which has led to spontaneous struggles in many parts of the country inviting heavy police repression. Because of mismatch between import costs and unremunerative price of crops and agri-outputs,42 per cent of the peasantry does not want to carry on agricultural activities. It should also be remembered that 70 percent of Indian people including rural population are living on Rs 20 per day. On the other hand, extremists and fundamentalists of all varieties are spreading terror all over the country and communalism of worst variety is being backed by a major political party. Devastating floods have occurred in Bihar, Assam and Orissa ruining fifty lakhs of people in these states. Relief and rehabilitation measures undertaken by central and state governments have proved to be totally inadequate. Lakhs and lakhs of people are living in camps in miserable conditions. Indebtedness of farmers is growing by leaps and bounds and the latest figure in 48.6 per cent as against 26 per cent in 1991, loan waiver scheme announced by the central government has benefited only a small percentage of poor and marginal farmers because it is well known that 50 per cent of farmers have taken loan from private money lenders on exorbitant interest rates. Due to pressure from the Left parties and certain other sections, the UPA government enacted the Tribal Forest Act, but there are impediments created by vested interests in implementing the Act in the interests of the tribals and other forest dwellers. Same is the fate of NREGA, now covering almost all the districts in our country but because of lack of seriousness on the part of central and state governments, real benefits are not reaching the genuine beneficiaries. A big section of the peasantry does not have BPL cards. K Varadarajan also stated that WTO’s fresh proposal on agriculture would be a great blow for Indian agriculture. In the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with EU, it appears that 17 conditions out of 20 have been accepted by the UPA government behind the back of the parliament and by keeping the people including the peasantry completely in the dark. Huge agricultural subsidies provided by EU countries are not discussed in the India-EU- FTA. With the future of Doha Round looking bleak, the trade liberalisation agenda is sure to be pushed through FTA’s with advanced economies which will prove to be extremely damaging for the liveliood of our farmers, workers and other sections of the working people.


The AIKC adopted the following resolutions:

Floods and Droughts

Devastating floods have occurred in Bihar, Assam and Orissa. In Bihar alone 35 lakhs of people have been affected. Serious drought like situation occurred in Maharashtra. Relief and rehabilitation provided by the central government and the concerned state governments have proved to be extremely inadequate. The All India Kisan Council demands-


a). The central government should provide immediate relief and rehabilitation for all those affected at war footing.

b). Crop-insurance scheme be amended to include all crops.

c). ‘Frost’ be included in the list of natural calamities.

d). The central government should allot adequate funds to relevant research institutions to study course changes of turbulent rivers. Repair of bunds and dams and desilting of river beds be undertaken on a yearly basis.


Seed Bill 2007

The seed companies are selling seeds at exorbitant prices and some of them sell spurious seeds. In these circumstances, the AIKC demands immediate passage of the Seed Bill 2004, by the parliament, as modified by the joint select committee of the parliament.


Attacks on Minorities

The AIKC strongly condemned brutal and largescale attacks on Christians and their churches by Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad in Orissa and Karnataka. RSS and BJP and other associates are conducting hateful campaign against Muslims and Christians all over the country with a view to consolidating Hindu vote bank in the coming assembly and Lok Sabha elections. The AIKC also condemned the bomb blasts by terrorists in some cities killing many innocent people.


The AIKC demands the central government to immediately intervene with a view to apprehend culprits and take immediate steps to put a stop to communal forces with a firm hand.


On Sugarcane Growers

The AIKC expressed deep indignation at cenral government’s rejection of CACP’s recommendation on price of sugarcane at Rs 1550 per tonne and announcing the price at Rs 811.80 per tonne. Thousands of cores of rupees are still lying with the mill owners as arrears.


The AIKC demanded fixing of sugarcane prices as per recommendations of the CACP. The prices should be announced every year before commencement of the Sugarcane season and the arrears be paid to the farmers immediately along with interests.


On WTO and

FTA Negotiation


The AIKC noted with concern that after the collapse of WTO talks, the US and EU are pressurising the developing countries like India to have bilateral or regional Free Trade Agreement (FTA) without cutting huge subsidies to their agriculture sector. The AIKC strongly condemns these maneuvers and the Indian government’s complicity in this regard and demands that the government of India must not proceed further with India - EU- FTA negotiations, that it must place a white paper before the parliament and it must organise country-wide public debate on all issues involved in the Indian –EU - Free Trade Agreements.


Demanding immediate roll down

of Petrol and diesel prices

The AIKC noted with concern the adamant and extremely unreasonable attitude of the Congress led UPA government in blatantly refusing to bring down the prices of petroleum products in spite of persistent demand of kisan and other mass organisations. Still the government is not ready to reduce its share of duties and taxes on petroleum products. The AIKC noted the continuing downward trend of international oil prices in recent weeks which has come down to approximately 70 dollars per barrel. In the circumstances, the AIKC demands that the central government should take immediate steps to roll down the prices of petroleum products and bring it to the 2004-2005 level.