People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
February 18, 2007
AIKS on Seed Bill
THE AIKC calls upon the peasantry to organise strong campaigns throughout the country between February 15 and March 15, 2007. Each state unit may decide on a specific week within that month to conduct an intensive state-wide campaign.
The AIKC appeals to all like-minded and fraternal organisations and all those who have the interest of the peasantry at heart to co-operate and join in this struggle.
The All India Kisan Council calls for powerful struggles to force the government of India to implement the major and progressive recommendations of the National Commission on Farmers and accept the recommendations of the parliamentary standing committee with respect to the seed bill and make necessary modifications to the bill.
The major modifications recommended by the standing committee are as follows:
Farmers should be excluded from the purview of the legislation, and their right to produce, sell, exchange and batter should be ensured;
Farmersí varieties should be entirely excluded from the legislation in the seed bill;
There should be restrictions on the use of transgenic seeds;
The compensation provided should be on the lines of the protection of plant varieties and farmersí right Act of 2001 through specially designed arbitration tribunals/compensation committees constituted by the government;
The duration of registration period for any variety of seed should be reduced to 10 to 12 years and the provision to re-register should be deleted as it will give permanent monopolistic rights to seed companies;
The power of seed inspectors should be restricted and they should be able to exercise their powers only in the case of branded seeds; and
The Central Seed Committee should have the power to control seed prices.
If the original bill is implemented without incorporating these recommendations, the government will create havoc for the farmers and agriculture of India. It will prevent our farmers from growing, planting, storing, exchanging or selling seeds and will give the seed-inspectors the right to break the doors of farmers and jail them for period up to six months and fine them up to Rs 2,500. It will also give monopoly rights to the big seed companies, Indian and foreign.
The central government has shown no interest in incorporating these recommendations in the original bill. In this situation, the Indian peasantry has no other option but to organise strong and broad movements to pressurise the government of India to accept the recommendations of National Commission on Farmers and those of parliamentary committee on the seed bill.