People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
March 05, 2006
discussion on general secretary K Varadrajanís report continued into the next
one and a half days: thirty three participants presented the experiences from
their states. From these narrations it emerged that on the one hand the
conditions of agriculture are very diverse in different parts of the country,
but on the other hand the policies of neo liberalism and the opening up of
agriculture for exploitation of the agricultural sector by the imperialist
countries has created an almost identical crisis. Whether it is the areas of
green revolution, rich in grain crops or those geared to cash crops, the crisis
is as acute as in the backward regions of the country. Only in West Bengal the
situation has been somewhat easier for the peasantry.
story from every state corroborated the description and analysis of the agrarian
crisis put forward in the report: the falling prices of agricultural produce and
at the same time a tremendous increase in the inputs required by the farmers.
This not only entailed a crisis for the entire agricultural sector, but also
pushed the poor into conditions that have led to thousands of suicides across
is not surprising therefore that the main demands from all corners, as expressed
in the plenary session, were for an increase in institutional loans and
availability of comprehensive insurance schemes, a check on imports and for
tariffs that would protect the Indian farmer from unregulated imports, a minimum
support price and availability of water and electricity, and quality seeds,
fertilisers and pesticides and other such inputs at reasonable prices, and
better infrastructure in agriculture.
problem that was highlighted was that of making over of agricultural land
adjoining towns and main highway to purposes other than agriculture. This is
particularly so in Haryana, western UP and Punjab. The crisis in agriculture was
leading to sale of lands on the part of peasants, and further decreasing the
land available for agriculture. In many states due to changes in land laws, land
is getting transferred from dalits, adivasis and poor peasants into the
ownership of big companies, often multinationals, as in Orissa. There were
discussions on the cultural rights of tribals as well as the lacunas in the
tribal bill. It was also felt by many that there is a need to take up the rights
of all peasants to forest use, as restricting our demand to tribals would lead
to creation of fissures between tribals and other peasants.
question of ponds and river side cultivation, problems in sale of vegetable and
other perishable items, the destruction of small tea gardens and jute
cultivation, destruction of the PDS, the perfidy of the government in bringing
down the criteria for determining the poverty line and other such issues also
came in for detailed discussion. The problems of communalisation in BJP-ruled
states was another important issue that was discussed.
his reply to the reports from the states, Varadrajan underlined the need for
united resistance against the anti-people policies of the government in
agriculture and also of the need to link this resistance with the struggles of
agricultural labourers, dalits, tribals, women and all other sections of
society. He also said that the Kisan Sabha stood for the rights of all sections
of peasantry and many of the issues were also of interest to those who were well
off. He talked of the need to base struggles on the basis of concrete conditions
prevailing in every state, to take up the entire range of issues pertaining to
the agricultural sector, and to create a widespread movement that may involve
the change in balance of forces in the rural areas.
the reply by Varadrajan, the participants discussed separately on four issues
ó organisation and movement; the prices of agricultural produce and the
opening up of agriculture; agricultural loans and insurance; report of the
Farmersí Commission. The recommendations and limitations of this report came
in for detailed discussion.
K Ramachandran spoke on behalf of the Foundation of Agrarian Studies and
informed participants of the survey and study of the agrarian conditions being
carried out by the Foundation in collaboration with the Kisan Sabha. Andhra
Pradesh has been chosen for the survey during this year. The conference was
greeted by leaders of other mass fronts, after which the resolution demands
relating to the entire range of issues were discussed during the conference and
passed, including the decision to protest the visit of Bush and the policies of
the US government.
conference saw the participation of 720 delegates, of whom just 27 were women.
In terms of age group, most were between 46-65 years of age. Majority of the
delegates were poor or middle peasants, most studied upto intermediate level or
Pillai was again elected president, as was a new 137 member Council, which in
turn elected a 53 member central committee of the Kisan Sabha. K Varadarajan was
again unanimously chosen as general secretary of the organisation.