People's Democracy

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


No. 41

October 14, 2012





Eight-Day Struggle Ends in Kerala


N S Sajith


ON October 9, 2012, the struggle of Kudumbasree members, which had been continuing day and night for the preceding eight days, ended on a victory note. This was the day when an unprecedented and undaunted gathering of women in the streets of Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city of Kerala, finally made the government bow down. The struggle was against the state government’s decision to transfer the funds meant for Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) to the Janasree Mission, a private venture of senior Congress leader and former minister M M Hassan. Lakhs of Kudumbasree members in the state participated in this historic struggle, amid revolutionary songs and dance. The struggle had started on October 2, the Gandhi Jayanti day.


Continuing for eight days and seven nights, the struggle culminated in success ended on Tuesday, October 9 evening after a meeting between LDF leaders on the one hand and Dr M K Muneer, the minister for social welfare, and Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, the minister for home affairs on the other. The government accepted all the ten demands put forward by the Kudumbasree members. Tuesday’s meeting was held after a preliminary discussion on the preceding night. The said ministers signed the agreement along with representatives of the Kudumbasree Samrakshana Vedi.


The main demand of the struggle was about withdrawal of the decision to route the fund of Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana to Janasree without the consent of the union agriculture ministry. The CPI(M) has already taken up the issue with Sharad Pawar, the union agriculture minister. Pawar agreed to discuss the issue with Brinda Karat and M A Baby, members of the party’s Polit Bureau, and place on record the objections to his ministry to diverting the RKVY funds to the Janasree Mission. In this regard the Kerala minister has said that the state government would abide by the decision of the union agriculture ministry.


The government also yielded to the demand of Kudumbasree members to implement the National Rural Livelihood Mission’s programmes in the state. Dr Muneer said that Kudumbasree was indeed the nodal agency for implementing the National Rural Livelihood Mission’s programmes in the state and that it would continue to be the nodal agency. He assured the leaders of the agitation that in the next seven years, livelihood programmes with an outlay of Rs 1,160 crore would be implemented in the state with Kudumbasree Mission as the nodal agency. The government would subsidise the interest on loans to the Kudumbasree self-help groups to enable them to access loans at an interest between five and seven per cent. The government would also write off the Kudumbasree loan of Rs 25 crore under the Bhavana Sree scheme, and also see whether a liability of Rs 12.16 crore the Kudumbasree had with the cooperative banks under the same scheme could be waived.


When the CPI(M) central committee member P K Srimathi announced the outcome of the meeting to the agitators, their jubilation reached a peak. The women who had defeated the government’s plans to foil the agitation, received the decision with loud applause. CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, CPI leader C Divakaran, RSP state secretary A  A Azees, NCP leader Uzhavur Vijayan, Congress(S) leader Kadannappalli Ramachandran, Kerala Congress leader V Surendran Pillai, Dr T M Thomas Isaac (patron of Kudmbasree Protection Forum), Dr T N Seema (MP) and AIDWA state secretary K K Shailaja also greeted the gathering.


The struggle was inaugurated by leader of opposition V S Achuthanandan on October 2. CPI(M) state secretary Pinarayi Vijayn, Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat, CITU president  A K Padmanabhan and Central Committee member Dr Hemalatha addressed the gathering during those eight days.