People's Democracy

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


No. 47

November 25, 2012


AIKS Plans Nationwide Stir from Jan 2013


THE All India Kisan Council (AIKC) of the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) net recently at Bhubaneswar, from November 8 to 10, 2012. The AIKC session began with a massive rally of around 10,000 peasants from different parts of the state, in front of the Assembly.


The AIKC meeting was attended by 75 members from 18 states and one union territory. It first offered condolences and observed a minute’s silence in memory of Comrades Lakshmi Sehgal, Dipankar Mukherji, Pitabasan Das, Pranesh Biswas, A K Hangal, S K Misra, Eric Hobsbawm, Verghese Vaidyan, Sajjan Paul with Lobsangbam Yaima, along with Verghese Kurien, all the martyrs of the movement and the victims of the Nilam cyclone.


AIKS president, S Ramachandran Pillai, presided over the meeting and made the introductory remarks. AIKS general secretary K Varadha Rajan placed a detailed report on the agrarian scenario and the renewed attacks on the peasantry. The members discussed the situation and also placed their views on organisational matters. On November 9, 2012, a day long workshop on “Agrarian Question and Impact of Neo-Liberal Policies” and on “Climate Change and Agriculture” was conducted by Dr V K Ramachandran and Dr T Jayaraman respectively.


The three-day meeting deliberated at length on the agrarian situation in different parts of the country and took some important decisions. The AIKC passed resolutions on several important matters.


On the accentuating agrarian crisis, the AIKC said the Congress-led UPA government and various state governments have been vigorously pursuing the neo-liberal policies which have only accentuated the agrarian distress. The prices of all inputs have risen rapidly due to deregulation of seeds, fertilisers, pesticides and petroleum products, especially diesel. This has led to escalation of cultivation costs and agriculture is now becoming more and more unviable in the absence of remunerative prices for agricultural produce. The draft national water policy will allow the private sector to rake in huge profits at the expense of the poor. Water for irrigation will become exorbitant. The proposal to decontrol sugar industry will only allow the corporate sector to profiteer at the expense of the cane-growers and the common people. The arrears that the corporate mills have to pay the cane-growers are estimated to be over Rs 10,500 crore. The states’ right to determine state administered price (SAP) will be withdrawn and issue price of sugar will be increased making it very costly for the masses. Even for the public distribution system (PDS), states will be forced to buy from open market. The government is proposing to increase the issue price to Rs 23 per kg. The UPA government’s recent decision to allow FDI in retail trade will have adverse impact on the interests of the producers and consumers, and on the food security of the nation and the land use policy of the country. This will also threaten the livelihoods of millions of small traders. The AIKC decided oppose these anti-peasant, anti-people moves.


While the peasantry is reeling under the agrarian crisis the ruling classes are looting the country’s resources. The latest instance is the Rs 1.86 lakh crore coal scam and the Rs 70,000 crore irrigation scam in drought-hit Maharashtra. The total amount involved in recent corruption cases from the 2G scam onwards is reportedly above Rs 6.25 lakh crore. This amount should be realised from the scamsters and used for development purposes and social security measures.


On the climatic adversities and crop losses, the AIKC pointed out that the last couple of years have witnessed alternating droughts and floods, which have been recurring, leading to total devastation of crops and large scale destruction of livestock. The latest Nilam cyclone has led to destruction of standing crops on more than fifteen lakh acres and thousands of livestock has also been killed. The centre and the state governments have no contingency plans to deal with this scenario of recurring droughts and floods. No scientific response to water management issues and dissemination of agro-meteorological information exists in the country.


The AIKC demanded that the existing situation must be declared as a national calamity and the central government and respective state governments must provide immediate relief and mitigate the suffering of the affected people. Farmers must be adequately compensated for their losses and all people must be provided with free rations for the next three months. All agricultural loans must be waived and interest free loans advanced for the next season. Contingency plans must be put in place to ensure that seeds and agricultural inputs are given at subsidised rates for all farmers to allow them to cope with the devastating nature of the losses suffered by them. The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme should be extended to all farms of small and marginal peasants and the government must ensure a minimum 200 days of employment for all employable adults at not less than Rs 250 per day. The AIKC decided that AIKS units in all the affected states would engage in relief and reconstruction activity in full swing.


On the land related issues, the AIKC expressed concern that the neo-liberal policies are leading to reversal of land reforms and the percentage of landless in the country has risen from 22 per cent in the early 1990s to 41 per cent at present. The central and different state governments are giving land to the corporate at a pittance even as there is no redistributive agenda and the ceiling laws are also being diluted. The Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, which is pending in the parliament, has been drafted to speed up large scale acquisition of land for real estate speculation. Any land acquisition must be based on prior informed consent, enhanced compensation, appropriate rehabilitation and resettlement measures. Jobs for all land losers and share in enhanced income due to change in land use must be ensured. The common property resources, rivers and mineral resources are being cornered by the corporate sector. Forest rights have also not been granted to lakhs of tribal people. The AIKC session demanded that land reforms must be implemented and homestead land given to all the homeless.


As for charting out the future tasks, the AIKC took some important decisions in order to resist the anti-peasant, anti-people policies. It would launch a consistent countrywide struggle from January 2013 onwards on the above-narrated and state-specific issues.


The AIKC set an important task for the organisation in the coming months. It decided that the Kisan Sabha should launch militant protest actions all over India against the neo-liberal policies of the central and state governments and their impact on the peasantry. The AIKS have a two-day strike on February 20 and 21, 2012, coinciding with the all-India general strike by the trade unions. Its state units will mobilise and actively participate in the strike through picketing, rail and road roko, demonstrations and protests on the burning issues of the peasantry and rural poor. In preparation for the strike, a wider campaign based on street corner meetings, house to house pamphlet distribution, public meetings, picketing and protest demonstrations on local issues will be conducted.


All the AIKS units will work actively for the success of the Mahapadav in Delhi on November 26-27, 2012. The Anganwadi workers, ASHA workers, para-teachers and other unorganised sector workers have called for this Mahapadav.


The AIKC also decided to hold the 33rd conference of the AIKS at Cuddalore (Tamilnadu) in July-August 2013. The exact dates will be finalised later.