People's Democracy

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


No. 52

December 30, 2012


Tamilnadu Kisan Sabha State Conference


                                                T Raj Pravin & Deepa


THE 28th state conference of Tamilnadu Kisan Sabha was held in Tiruvannamalai on December 15 with much hope and happiness. The conference was inaugurated with N R Ramaswamy memorial torch being handed over to Professor Chandra, state vice president and the flag was handed over to V Subramanian, state vice president. Veteran Kisan leader and former MLA G Veeriyan, hoisted the Kisan Sabha flag amidst loud cheer. He offered rich tributes to the sacrifices made by the Kisan Sabha cadres and leaders. K Balakrishnan, state president of Tamilnadu Kisan Sabha presided over the inaugural session and in his address highlighted the agrarian crisis in Tamilnadu which is getting intensified by the neo-liberal polices pursued by the state and the central governments. K Mohamed Ali, state vice president moved the condolence resolution. The welcome address was delivered by Selvaraj.


S Ramachandran Pillai, president of All Indian Kisan Sabha, in his inaugural address, touched upon every aspect of the agrarian crisis. He recalled the sacrifices of the cadres, leaders and sympathisers of AIKS in its long journey of 75 years. Being the oldest and the largest peasant organisation of our nation, thousands of our cadres have lost their lives, beaten and bruised by goondas, faced and suffered untold miseries in the building of a strong vibrant movement.  Referring to K Balakrishnan’s speech on the present farmer suicides in Tamilnadu as a new phenomenon, he said, as per government data, every hour at least two farmers commit suicide in the country. He attributed the increasing number of farm suicides to the implementation of the neo-liberal policies pursued aggressively. Though at the time of independence, government promised that land would be given to the tillers it was not done. Only in three states where Left movements are strong and which had seen Left governments, namely West Bengal, Kerala and Tripura, land reform was implemented.  All other states have enacted legislations that have enabled the landlords to acquire more lands. The aim was to facilitate the transformation of feudal landlords to capitalist landlords. Without access to land, farmers cannot increase productivity. That does not mean that there is no agricultural growth. Food grain production has increased. But the benefits of the growth have not reached the poor and have failed to resolve the problems of poverty, unemployment and backwardness.


The process of implementation of new economic policy has increased the prices of all agricultural inputs. During 1960-70’s government made investment in science and technology resulting in discovery and invention of many high yielding variety seeds. The state seed corporation used to supply seeds to the farmers. Today the entire state seed corporation network is closed and the seed sector is handed over to Indian corporate and multi-national companies. As a result, the seed prices have drastically increased over a period of time. We can see that the wheat seed prices have increased by three times, paddy seed by two times and BT cotton by four to five times. The fertilizer prices till 1990 were fixed by the government. Due to the replacement of Retention Price System (RPS) by the new pricing based on nutrients, prices have gone up. Artificial scarcity is created by traders and they make huge profits. Thus, this resultant process has increased the cost of cultivation.


On the irrigation front, no expansion has taken place. Power is given free to the farmers of Tamilnadu. But the irony is that there is no power for 15-16 hours. These farmers depend on diesel pump sets and with the increase in diesel prices at regular intervals, the production costs have gone up. Moreover, the new water policy aims at pricing water which is a common good now. The privatisation of water will worsen the situation further. Increased costs of inputs, shrinkage of agricultural institutional credit have both resulted in farmers being looted by money lenders. Prices of agricultural produce are coming down but all our necessities have increased. Government has withdrawn its role in health, education etc. In the absence of social security net with meagre income, farmers find their everyday life a big struggle.


Agriculture is the basis for growth of other sectors and hence subsidy should be given to protect farmers and farming. In India, a farmer gets Rs 3300 only as a subsidy for a year. But in Japan, it is Rs 1,30,000, US gives Rs 1,05,000 and the OECD countries give ten times more farm  subsidy than us. Though the government denies having resources to provide subsidies, it has given 26 lakh crore as “incentives” to corporates. If we add six lakh crore of money involved in corruption, the government can easily tackle the agrarian crisis. We need to study the impact of farm crisis and with the widest possible propaganda and with the support of democratic forces we need to organise powerful struggles to expand our movement.


Later, Gunasekaran, MLA, from All Indian Kisan Sabha of CPI greeted the conference and highlighted the crisis. Noon session started with the presentation of the work report by P Sanmugam, state secretary, followed by the submission of accounts by Nagappan, treasurer. In the session that followed, 48 delegates including a woman delegate shared their experiences and offered suggestions. A special note on 'The agrarian crisis in Tamilnadu' was placed for discussion.


Various issues pertaining to agrarian crisis in Tamilnadu and also organisational issues were discussed at length. K Varadharajan, AIKS general secretary, highlighted the failure of United Progressive Alliance government in tackling water issues and came down heavily on the central government's new cash transfer scheme. 'India is not for sale” is the slogan of the Left and he emphasised that unless we counter the attack of the anti-poor government policies, there is no future for India. He also emphasised the need to integrate all the affiliated unions, strengthen organisation, build a strong kisan movement to save farming and the farmers. The three day conference concluded with a massive rally followed by a public meeting which was addressed by national and state kisan leaders.