People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
May 28, 2006
Places Demands Before Agriculture Minister
SEVEN member delegation of the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) met union
agriculture minister Sharad Pawar on May 18, 2006
a memorandum concerning the burning issues of
farmers. During their discussion with the
minister, the AIKS leaders explained
problems being faced by the peasantry in different corners of the
country, among which included the issues of wheat import, procurement policy,
public distribution system etc. Although the minister gave a patient hearing to
the delegation, his reply to the issues raised did not satisfy the kisan
leaders. With this the minister assured to give detailed reply in the coming few
days to the issues raised in the memorandum.
minister also promised to take immediate action on the following demands:
purchase of onions in Rajasthan and
mustard in Rajasthan and parts of Haryana
damages of crops by frost in the list of natural calamity so as to pay relief to
the affected farmers of Haryana and other places.
look into the damages of wheat
crops in large parts of Bihar due to spurious seeds.
payment of dues of poultry farmers of
minister invited the
AIKS delegation to meet him again after the current session of parliament
for a detailed discussion on the demands raised in the memorandum. The
delegation comprised of N K Shukla, joint secretary of the organisation, Amra
state unit, Girdhari Singh, joint secretary of Rajasthan unit, Phul Singh
joint secretary of UP state unit, Balram Singh Yadav, vice president of Bihar
state unit and
Gur Chetan Singh, vice president of Punjab state unit of the AIKS.
is the full text of the memorandum:
the representatives of the All India Kisan Sabha wish to draw your attention to
the increasingly distressing plight of peasantry. The number of
suicides of farmers is increasing either
due to price crash of their produce or due to failure of their crops
because of spurious seeds (as the wheat crop failed this year in large parts of
Bihar) and other inputs or due to natural calamities like hailstorms, frosts (as
in Haryana), cyclones, floods, draughts etc. Procurement system is being
continuously weakened. Procurement of mustard has been stopped in Rajasthan,
Haryana and other places. Onion growers are facing severe price crash in
Maharashtra, Rajasthan and other places. The amount of institutional credit
supply to the rural areas has been decreasing in recent years, forcing the
farmers to opt for borrowing from private moneylenders at high interest rates.
Credit-deposit ratio in rural areas has come down to below 40 per cent from 69
per cent in 1990.
Subsidies and investment to agriculture sector is being squeezed day by
day, at the dictates of WTO. Reckless import of agricultural and dairy produces
is causing widespread
price crash of our produces.
oppose the decision of the central government to import about 3 million tones of
wheat at the rate of around Rs 900 per quintal, when
the MSP rate for our farmers was declared only Rs 650 per quintal. The
government agencies entered late in the market and did not open purchasing
centres all over the country last year, and procured only 14.78 mt while the
wheat output was more than 72 mt. This year also there is no shortage of wheat
in Indian market, but a panic has been created due to announcement of import. A
large part of wheat is being cornered by big traders and MNCs, for creating
artificial scarcity later and consequently
make money due to the sky rocketing prices of foodgrains.
is every danger of dismantling of public distribution system (PDS) and
food-security of our country on a wider scale. We also note with indignaion
the move by various departments of
the government to pressurise the state governments to reverse the land
reforms and privatise the power and irrigation sector in name of neo-liberal
these steps by the government are bringing miseries for the farmers, pushing
them to suicides and creating havoc for the country as a whole. Therefore, we,
the representatives of All India Kisan Sabha, present the following demands
before you for acceptance by the government of India, so as to mitigate the
miseries of farmers and general people of the country:
the import of wheat immediately and procure required quantity from our own
farmers at suitable remunerative price. Strengthen procurement system with
MSP for all crops and in all the corners of the country. Quantitative
restrictions on import must be imposed for all the agricultural produces and
tariff rate be suitably increased to protect the Indian agriculture.
of all the dairy products must be stopped.
PDS must be strengthened throughout the country providing 14 consumer goods
to the general people.
taken against big traders and
like ITC and Cargill, who are trying to create artificial scarcity
and hike in prices of foodgrains.
institutional credit be provided to farmers at 4 per cent rate of interest
and without compound interest as
recommended by the National Commission on Farmers. Concrete steps
must be taken to liberate the poor and middle farmers from old debts, both
private and institutional.
comprehensive crop-insurance scheme must be implemented for all crops and
for all individual farmers at a cheaper and affordable rate of premium.
relief must be provided to the farmers, whose crops have been damaged by
natural calamity or due to supply of spurious seeds or other inputs. Stern
action must be taken against suppliers of such spurious inputs. A chain of
cold storages must be constructed throughout the country to protect the
perishable agricultural produces.
payment must be made to the families of farmers who committed suicides and
their debts and other liabilities be waived.
to privatise power and irrigation sectors must be stopped forthwith.
reforms must be encouraged and comprehensive central
legislation for agricultural workers adopted. Tribals and other poor
forest dwellers must be protected from eviction by suitable amendments in
Tribal Rights Bill.
Bill must be suitably amended
so as to protect the traditional
farmers to grow, save, exchange
and sell their own grown seeds or plants.