(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
November 22, 2009
Fight For The Right To Eat
Toiling, boiling in the heat
We produce the corn and wheat.
Have we got no right to eat?
Even while our harvests swell
Wherefore are we forced to dwell
In starvation’s burning hell?
Hunger burns us up and drives
Coffin nails into the lives
Of our mothers, children, wives
How long can we live on air?
Driven by hunger and despair
People rise and do and dare
the UN World
Food Summit took place from November 16-18. The three-day summit at the
and Agriculture Organisation headquarters in
The food crisis marked by food shortages and high prices of food has adversely affected billions of people, especially the poor in the developing countries. Persistent high food prices continue to affect access to food for large number of people in both urban and rural areas. The global economic crisis, particularly through the impact of financial speculation on world trade prices of food has aggravated the food crisis leading to a very sharp global volatility in food prices. Rice prices increased by nearly 150 per cent in the first 100 days of this year, Wheat prices increased by 46 per cent, sugar prices increased by 90 per cent. Other food grain prices have also increased similarly. Such wild swings in prices are clearly the result of speculative activity in these markets. The Forward Markets Commission of India reports that the total value of forward trading between April 1 and June 30, 2008 was Rs 11,15,326.99 crores. This jumped to Rs 15,64,114.96 for the same period in 2009. This sharp rise in profits is generated in forward trading by resorting to all kinds of manipulation including black marketeering and hoarding so that the prices must keep rising.
The food crisis which is playing havoc with the lives of the common people, is not a nature made crisis. It is largely a crisis that came about due to the neo-liberal economic policies followed by the ruling classes across the world over the past two decades. Financial deregulation, paving the way to the entry of new financial players into the commodity exchanges, lack of public investment in agriculture, rising costs of cultivation, lack of institutional credit have all contributed to the food crisis.
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) points out that more than 27 per cent of the world's undernourished population lives in
The proportion of stunted children (under-5) at 48 per cent is again among the highest in the world. Every second child in the country is stunted, according to the Health ministry's figures.
the rich are
making windfall profits and are getting richer, the poor are condemned
wretched lives, unable to give a decent living to their children. Even
temporarily depriving children of the nutrients can leave permanent
terms of stunting their physical growth and intellectual potential, say
reports. But the government continues to pay no heed to such issues.
government has not done anything to control the price rise and rescue
people from this unbearable burden. It is not the dearth of resources
dearth of political will that is responsible for the miseries of the
Instead, it always works for safeguarding the interests of the rich
governments have made conscious efforts to help the corporates through
bailout and stimulus packages rather than bailing out the people
increased public investment. This is clearly reflected in the
the top Indian firms (BSE 200) during this year since the collapse of
Brothers. In the last quarter of 2008, the income of these firms rose
per cent while their net profits declined by minus 17.6 per cent. In
quarter of 2009, while their income grew by a minuscule 0.2 per cent,
profits jumped by 28.6 per cent. In the second quarter of 2008, their
declined by minus 7 per cent, yet the net profits rose by 20.7 per
shows that while the economic activity is contracting, leading to
and misery for the people, the corporate firms continue to reap super
thanks to ‘bailout packages’ of the government. Look at another
to the governmnet itself, Rs
4.18 lakh crore was foregone
as tax collection last year as a result of various tax concessions.
continuing these concessions, the government has now abolished
corporate tax and increased the exemption limit for income tax giving
additional bonanza of Rs 10,000 crore. Thus Rs 4.28 lakh crore is the
that is being foregone by the government's own admission. And, it says
no money to spare to work for the betterment of the common people. This
attitude is the reason why there exists a situation in
If we want to live, we have to eat and if we want to eat we have to fight. Let us all unite to fight together against these anti people policies and ensure a bright future for us and more importantly for our children. Problems-policies-politics, this crucial link must be exposed, and since politics decide our future, we must decide what kind of politics must be there for us to live a dignified life.