People's Democracy

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


No. 21

June 08 , 2008


AIKS To Launch All India Struggles From July 1-15

The All India Kisan Sabha issued the following statement on June 1, 2008.

THE central kisan committee of the All India Kisan Sabha met in New Delhi on May 30-31, 2008. S Ramachandran Pillai, president, presided over the meeting. K Varadharajan, general secretary, Benoy Konar, vice-president, Noorul Hooda, finance secretary, N K Shukla, joint secretary and other office bearers and committee members representing various states attended the meeting.

The meeting reviewed the serious agricultural crisis in India and the struggle conducted by the Kisan Sabha in the last six months. The CKC has called for country-wide protest campaign against the policies of UPA government and various state governments affecting the life of the peasantry and agricultural workers.

The CKC has demanded that action should be taken by the central government to reduce the cost of inputs and fluctuations in the prices of crops. It has also demanded that the central government and various state governments should increase the investment in agriculture and stop forward trading, on-line trading and other anti-peasant activities which have led to suicides of lakhs of peasants.

The CKC has decided to organise all India struggles from July 1-15, 2008. Rallies, dharnas, demonstrations, picketing, rail roko, road roko and other forms of struggles will be conducted at block/taluk/district and state levels all over India.

The CKC has also decided to support the all India strike of the working class which will be conducted on August 20, 2008. It has demanded that the limit of two hectares in dry land in the loan waiver scheme announced by the government should be increased to five hectares and implemented in all the dry land areas instead of 237 drought-prone districts selected by the government.

The cut off date for land waiver should also be changed to February 29, 2008 on which the loan waiver scheme is announced along with other demands.

On Loan Waiver Scheme

The central kisan council while welcoming the loan-waiver scheme for peasants announced by the central government, is of the opinion that the serious shortcomings in the scheme must be removed immediately so that it can benefit a much larger section of farmers.

The CKC demands that the central government make the following changes in the loan waiver scheme:

  1.  The limit of two hectares is very inadequate for dry and rain-fed areas. The limit must be raised to five hectares and implemented in all the dry areas - instead the 237 drought districts selected by the government.
  2.  The cut of date for the loan waiver which is now March 31, 2007 must be extended to February 29, 2008, i.e., the date on which the loan waiver scheme was announced at the time of presentation of the union budget.
  3.  Banks must be directed to give fresh loans to farmers immediately at the interest rate of 4 percent as recommended by the national commission on farmers. The quantum of loan to farmers must be substantially increased to ensure that small and marginal farmers are given adequate loans.
  4.  No waiver has been given to loans incurred from money-lenders. This is a serious shortcoming which must be removed in an appropriate manner.
  5.  Loan waiver scheme should also include loans issued by the government institutional schemes for SC, ST and Minority communities.
  6.  Unless the cost of agricultural inputs and the cost of production are reduced and remunerative prices based on the cost of production are ensured by the central government, the serious issue of peasant indebtedness, peasant suicides and land alienation will not be solved. Hence the government must make radical policy changes in this direction.
  7.  The CKC of the AIKS calls upon all Kisan Sabha units in the country to launch a massive country-wide movement to mobilise the peasantry around these demands and see that the loan waiver scheme is properly implemented and the gain goes to really affected people.

On Oil Prices

The All India Kisan Sabha resolved to launch a countrywide movement to oppose any attempt of government of India to raise the price of the petroleum products further on the pretext of rising world crude oil prices. The neo-liberal policies pursued by the government are responsible for inflation and rising prices for the interest of private monopolies in the oil sector at the cost of the public sector and the people of the country.

Any further rise of the oil prices will burden the peasantry not only with the inflation but also because of rise in the input cost of agriculture when price of the outputs continues to be non remunerative to the farmers. The windfall profit made by Reliance, Essar, etc., to the tune of $ 70 per barrel in extraction of oil and gas in India added to the increase of profit of private refineries, e.g., Reliance by 35 percent in last one year goes untaxed when the public sector companies e.g., ONGC, Oil India etc., are ditched by the government and the people of our country are forced to pay through their noses to sustain these anti-people government policies.

The AIKS wants the government not to proceed further in this direction and demands the following:

  1.  Impose windfall profit tax on private and joint sector oil producing companies and private refineries to lessen the burden on the common people.
  2.  Abolish the customs duty on crude oil
  3.  Use the cess money collected from crude oil producing CPSUs for creation of a price stabilisation fund in order to meet the exigencies arising from global crude oil price rise.
  4.  Reduce excise duty on petroleum products. The duty must not be on prices (ad valorem) and should be specific (on the quantum imported).

The CKC calls upon all the members, sympathisers and units of AIKS to mobilise all sections of toiling people in the countryside in the struggle to resist this onslaught and force the government to accept these demands.

In Support Of All India Strike On August 20

The All India Kisan Sabha calls upon all its units in the country to mobilise the peasantry in support of the August 20 all India strike called by various trade unions against the central government's anti-people and neo-liberal policies.

These policies are leading to massive price rise and growing unemployment and deepening  agrarian crisis that has resulted in over 1,66,000 peasant suicides in the last ten years. These policies are attacking the working class, the peasantry and the agricultural workers in several ways.

The CKC calls upon the peasantry to organise solidarity actions in the rural areas of the country in support of the August 20 all India strike.