(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
October 10, 2010
AIAWU Demands Control over Prices of Food
THE All India Agricultural Workers Union condemns the failure of the central government to control prices of food and the necessaries of life which have risen at an astronomic rate, now 16.44 per cent on September 19, 2010. This steady inflation has made it impossible for working people, especially those dependent on daily wages, to survive. Worse, the government is thinking of lifting the ban on sugar futures and possibly, of all controls on sugar production which will fuel the inflationary trend further.
In a country where well over half the population is living in dire poverty with some 84 crore people living on Rs 20 per person per day, such inflation could fuel serious food shortages and even man-made famine conditions. In this state of affairs simply raising interest rates on loans may have a negative effect on farmers seeking help to pay for the high price of inputs and consumption, compounding the distress.
What is urgently required is the strict implementation of MGNREGA, the immediate transfer of all the extra grain from FCI godowns and outside them (as numerous reports in the press indicate) to be delivered to states in the full quantity demanded by them to service the PDS adequately and to make it easier for the poorest sections to buy food by providing consumption loans at no interest at all to BPL and Antodaya beneficiaries. At the same time, the government should expand the number of items being sold by fair price shops to save the mass of our people from destitution.
Finally, despite all warnings, the central government, by raising the price of petrol, diesel and kerosene oil has fuelled inflation further. Now it has no other alternative than to reduce fuel prices to curb the inflationary trend. It is evident that the spurt in prices of vegetables and other perishables is directly related to increased transport costs. These must be reduced at once.
The state units of the AIAWU are now preparing to launch a countrywide agitation as the situation is fast coming to the point of “fight or die”. Things cannot be permitted to go on like this. A series of state agitations are planned with mass rallies (including before parliament) in November. The government would do well to take remedial measures before the people force them to do so.