People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
July 23, 2006
‘FDI In Agriculture Will Be Resisted’
AIKS & AIAWU Send Warning To Govt
THE All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) and the All India Agricultural Workers’ Union (AIAWU) expressed deep concern over the ‘opening up’ of the agricultural and plantation sector of our economy to 100 per cent FDI by merely shifting “residual items” like agriculture and plantations to the “automatic list”.
In a joint statement issued on July 12, 2006 they stated that apart from the fact that neither agriculture nor the plantation sector can be described as “residual” – providing over a third of the GDP and nearly two thirds of the employment in the country – this recommendation of a group of ministers headed by the agriculture minister violated the existing Foreign Exchange Management Act. To take such a decision in a clandestine bureaucratic manner is a reprehensible act that must be resisted, the organisations called for.
“In the background of a deepening agrarian crisis that has over the last ten years led to the suicides of over a hundred thousand farmers and the dispossession of over 30 million people, we cannot allow this process to be given a legal form. To permit 100% FDI in agriculture and the plantation sector is not a simple matter. The experience of Zimbabwe, Kenya, Namibia and South Africa, not to mention Guatemala, Argentina and Brazil, in Central and South America, should serve as an example as to the economic, political and environmental dangers of such a move”, the AIKS and AIAWU stressed.
Stating that both organisations are already involved in the Khet Bachao, Desh Bachao campaign to save the farms of our farmers (60 per cent of whom own less than one hectare each), they warned that the opening up of the agrarian sector to 100 per cent FDI would lead to further uprooting and dispossessing of vast sections of our people and to the loss of rights in the rural areas. Making it clear that such a step would not be tolerated and would meet the resistance and defeat it deserves, the AIKS and AIAWU demanded the government to come clear on this matter and ensure that foreign investors are kept out of the agricultural and plantation sectors. They called on all units of the All India Kisan Sabha and All India Agricultural Workers Union to come out openly and protest against a move that was specifically opposed by our national movement.