(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
July 07, 2013
Corporates Benefited, Farmers’ Life Imperilled: AIKS
IN a statement issued on June 28, 2013, the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) condemned the decision of the Congress-led UPA government to indiscriminately double the natural gas prices with effect from April 1, 2014. This move, the AIKS said, would lead to an all round price rise and especially to hikes in fertiliser prices, power tariffs and transportation costs. The move also reeks of corrupt intention as the government has meekly acceded to the demands of the Mukesh Ambani-owned Reliance Industries Limited and other big players.
Under a decontrolled regime, the move the AIKS said would be a pretext for the fertiliser companies to further hike the already exorbitantly priced fertiliser prices. Further, the increases in power tariffs will also hamper the irrigational activities. Given that the government fixed minimum support prices (MSP) do not meet even the costs of production for most of the crops, the AIKS said these price increases and hikes in transportation costs would destroy the livelihood of millions of farmers. The AIKS has therefore demanded that this anti-people decision must be revoked immediately.
The AIKS statement, issued by its president S Ramachandran Pillai and general secretary K Varadha Rajan, also commented that the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) took on the same day a decision to raise the MSP of paddy by Rs 60 per quintal which was only a meagre hike. At the sake time, the CCEA has retained the MSP of jowar and urad without any increase over the last year’s level and announced very meagre increases in the MSP of bajra, moong and arhar. None of these minimum support prices announced on the day reflects the increased costs of production or the expectations of the farmers. These prices announced are unfair and unremunerative, and will act as a disincentive to farmers.
The AIKS said this government is doling out free gifts to the companies like Reliance and promoting unbridled profiteering, while simultaneously putting the lives of the farmers in peril. The organisation has called upon its units to expose the pro-corporate, anti-people Congress-led UPA, and launch massive protests against this move.
ON the same day, through a joint statement, the All India Kisan Sabha and All India Agricultural Workers Union (AIAWU) registered their protest against the utter failure of the central government in providing genuine support to the beleaguered Indian peasantry through the MSP mechanism. The increase in the minimum support prices (MSP) of paddy and some other kharif crops, announced by the central government a day before, contradicted the Swaminathan formula for determining the minimum support price of various crops --- i.e. at the average cost of cultivation plus fifty percent (C2+50%). The AIKS-AIAWU statement noted that the input prices are increasing every season and every month; subsidies for agriculture are being continuously reduced; farmers are not getting adequate and cheap credit; and purchasing centres have not been opened in many places. All these practices are making agriculture unviable for large sections of farmers now being forced to commit suicide. These measures are constantly endangering the food security of the country, the statement said.
The AIKS and AIAWU have therefore demanded immediate increase in the MSP of paddy and other crops, based on the Swaminathan formula. For kharif season the MSP of paddy should not be less than Rs 1800 per quintal, they said.