People's Democracy

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


No. 02

January 09, 2011




Neo-Liberal Policies Exacerbate Peasantsí Distress


MEETING at Kolkata from December 28 to 30, members of the All India Kisan Council (AIKC) of the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) deliberated on the current agrarian scenario in the country and analysed the UPA governmentís policies in the field of agriculture. These AIKC members belonged to all parts of the country.


On the basis of these discussions, the AIKC arrived at the conclusion that the agrarian crisis has been further intensified after the Congress-led UPA came to power for the second time. The UPA governmentís policies have led to exorbitant increases in the costs of agricultural inputs and to unremunerative prices for the farmersí produce. The decontrol of fertiliser prices and ever increasing costs of petrol and diesel as well as and an increase in freight charges by the railways have added to the distress of the peasantry. The shrinkage of institutional credit to the peasantry and their continuing dependence on moneylenders as a result, traders and other informal sources has led to increased indebtedness. Landlessness is also increasing in the rural countryside. On the whole, agriculture is increasingly becoming unviable. The new phenomena of profit seeking micro-finance institutions (MFIs) being given an unregulated access in rural areas has seen them charge extremely high interest rates ranging from 150 to 200 per cent and employing coercive tactics for recovery of loans. High inflation and sky-rocketing prices of essential commodities, food grains and the systematic dismantling of the PDS has also pushed millions into a situation of extreme hunger. The multinational corporations (MNCs) are increasingly gaining a stranglehold at the expense of the peasants and rural poor due to the governmentís policies.


Farmersí suicides are continuing unabated. The recent data show that nearly 50 farmers commit suicide every day in our country. An estimated 2,16,500 farmers have committed suicide since 1997 and 17,368 in the year 2009 alone. This is clearly a result of the neo-liberal policies being implemented by the central government and various state governments. The AIKC therefore decided to further intensify its struggles against such policies. The AIKC also noted the serious situation in different states due to drought and floods and the failure of the central government to mitigate the suffering of the peasantry and rural poor in these states.


In the coming months, five states are to go in for assembly elections. The Left Front government of West Bengal and the Left Democratic Front government of Kerala have been pursuing alternative policies and providing relief to the peasantry and rural poor. They are in the forefront of resistance to the anti-people neo-liberal policies being vigorously pursued by the UPA government. Both these governments have been, quite understandably, facing severe attacks by the ruling classes, Maoist-Trinamul Congress nexus and other reactionary forces. The recent WikiLeaks revelations clearly showed the US interference in Indian politics and also exposed the US imperialistsí fear of a surge of the Left and democratic forces in India. In the light of these factors, the AIKC urged upon all democratic minded people, the peasantry as well as other toiling masses, to rebuff the anti-people forces and ensure the victory of the Left and democratic forces in all these states.


The AIKC took some important decisions and charted a future course of action. The AIKC decided to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the foundation of the All India Kisan Sabha in a fitting manner in all states and also at the national level. The AIKC also unanimously passed resolutions on certain important and pressing issues.