People's Democracy

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


Vol. XXXVII

No. 31

August 04 , 2013

 

GENERAL SECRETARY REPORT TO 33RD AIKS CONFERENCE

 

'Gear up Organisation to

Expand into Newer Sections'

N S Arjun

 

REVERSAL of land reforms, high input costs and low output costs, indiscriminate land acquisition and land concentration in few hands are all threatening peasants and agriculture itself as a viable proposition. The 33rd all India conference must deliberate on these issues and chalk out a coherent programme for building consistent, organised, united struggles to resist the intensifying attacks on the peasantry.

 

This was stated by AIKS general secretary K Varadharajan while presenting the General Secretary Report to the 33rd all India conference of the AIKS in Cuddalore on the evening of July 24. He stressed that the overall agrarian scenario prevailing in the country clearly provides the opportunity for expansion of the All India Kisan Sabha to newer sections of peasantry. Towards this end the organisation must be geared up to take the message of struggle to the millions of peasantry and mobilise them.

 

In his nearly hour long presentation, Varadharajan covered various aspects of the agrarian crisis and its manifestations, the struggles and activity of AIKS since the last Guntur conference and the future tasks to meet the new challenges.

 

The organisational strength of AIKS in terms of membership has been consistently around 2 crore. But compared to the last conference in Guntur, there has been a fall in membership due to violent attacks by the reactionary forces led by the TMC and the 'Maoists' in West Bengal, the strongest centre for AIKS. Varadharajan, however, noted that this trend is being reversed and now there is a steady recovery with an increase of over 6 lakh membership in the state compared to last year.

 

Kerala, Tamilnadu, Tripura, Karnataka, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh have seen a consistent growth in membership over the last five years. In Kerala and Tamilnadu, there has been considerable expansion. In other states like Bihar, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Jharkhand, it has been irregular growth. Nevertheless there has been an expansion in membership and reach in Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Bihar and Karnataka in the last year, noted the report.

 

AGRARIAN

SCENARIO

The report notes that agricultural production is down from 3.6 per cent in 2011-12 to a miserable 1.8 per cent in the financial year 2012-13. The contribution of Agriculture and Allied Sector in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country has been steadily declining over the years and has reached about 14 per cent in 2011-12. However, agriculture still remains principal source of livelihood for more than 50 per cent of the nation's population.

 

Per capita availability of grain has been showing a declining trend. The incomes of the peasantry are falling and low yields, low productivity, soil degradation, lack of irrigation facilities, costly inputs, unremunerative prices and lack of assured procurement have all affected farmers incomes.

 

Reversal of land reforms is taking place across the country. While the small and marginal farmers account for 84.97 per cent of the total land holdings, they operate only 44.32 per cent of the total land. Here it is to be noted that these classifications are as in the Agriculture Census and the section classified as medium holdings actually are also holdings above 10 acres up to 25 acres. The large farmers section (above 10 acres) that account for just 4.98 per cent operate over 32.1 per cent of all operated land. If one were to consider the dalit and tribal operation holdings, they account only for 12.40 and 8.71 per cent respectively and in terms of the area operated it will account to 8.60 and 11.49 per cent respectively.

 

VIBRANT

DISCUSSION

Delegates from various states participating in the discussion endorsed the report in general while making suggestions for strengthening it. They also gave instances of how the neo-liberal policies were impacting their states specifically and the way they are resisting.

 

Delegates from Bengal highlighted the worsening situation in rural areas of the state ever since Trinamool Congress came to power. The brutal and brazen attacks on AIKS and Left activists, the systematic undermining of panchayat system etc were explained. The efforts to grab patta land distributed to the poor during the Left Front rule are still going on. So far, land belonging to over 27,000 persons has been snatched away. The growing suicides of farmers in Bengal and the fall in agricultural production were also highlighted. They expressed gratitude for the overwhelming support expressed by delegate speakers and the conference to Bengal AIKS in its struggle against barbarous attacks from Trinamool government.

 

Delegates from Kerala spoke about their successful land struggle agitation that forced the government to concede the demand for allocation of land to the landless. This was in the face of the land mafia becoming active in the state after UDF came to power.

 

Tripura delegates in their presentation highlighted the achievements in this sector by working in tandem with the Left Front government. The efforts to increase agricultural production in the state, particularly paddy, were becoming fruitful. There was high employment under the MNREGA scheme in the state. Tripura stood first in distribution of patta land under the Forest Rights Act.

 

 

Delegates from Tamilnadu highlighted the need to make the slogan 'land to the tiller' the main focus of AIKS activity. He noted that there is a great demand for land among the dalits and tribals, majority of whom are landless. He also wanted greater clarity on National Water Policy.

 

Delegates from Rajasthan spoke about their successful agitation on crop insurance issue and how it helped the AIKS expand into newer sections.

 

REPORT ADOPTED

UNANIMOUSLY

The General Secretary Report to the 33rd Conference was unanimously adopted on July 27 by the delegates after K Varadharajan replied to the 9-hour long discussion on it by 31 delegate speakers.

 

Varadharajan in his reply said that the experience of Rajasthan unit of AIKS showed that wherever right issues are identified and right demands framed and also sustained agitations launched at the right time, there can be growth of organisation and its mass base. He also stressed that AIKS will, in the coming period, take up in a serious manner the social issues pertaining to farmers belonging to oppressed castes and minorities. The special problems pertaining to women farmers will also be taken up on priority by the new leadership of AIKS.

 

Referring to the opinions expressed about need for all India agitation calls, Varadharajan said there are certain difficulties in doing this due to vastness and diversity of our country. What works in one area doesn't in another. He also pointed out the weakness of the organisation in terms of 85 per cent of membership coming from the three states of Bengal, Kerala and Tripura. He called for overcoming this uneven development of AIKS by strengthening activity in all states. The workshop organised for Hindi speaking states cadre was a positive development and needs to be followed up.

 

FRATERNAL

GREETINGS

Top leaders representing the working class, agricultural workers, women, youth and students addressed the 33rd conference of All India Kisan Sabha and expressed their fraternal greetings. Each of them pledged to work for greater unity in the common struggle against the anti-people neo-liberal economic policies being pursued by UPA-II government.

 

Greeting the conference, CITU president A K Padmanabhan explained how the unity of central trade unions arose over a period of joint struggles since 1991 against new economic policies. There were some among the central trade unions who felt these policies cannot be stopped and that there is no alternative to them. However, the CITU took initiative and rallied them into joint struggles. Today, all the 11 recognised 

central trade unions are unitedly fighting on five core demands pertaining to the mass of population like price rise, unemployment, universal PDS etc, he said. Padmanabhan called for similar united action among peasant organisations and between the workers and peasant organisations in order to defeat the neo-liberal offensive against the people.

 

AIDWA joint secretary U Vasuki in her address called upon AIKS to strongly take up the demand that women farmers must be legally recognised as farmers. She said it was a sign of patriarchal society that women, who are involved in 19 types of farming activities according to a UN body, are denied recognition as farmers. She said the AIKS must press for adoption of a National Policy on Women Farmers. She expressed full support to the struggles being planned by AIKS for betterment of lives of farmers.

 

AIAWU general secretary A Vijayaraghavan stressed the need to take up land as the main issue for both AIKS and AIAWU. He cited the recent experience of Kerala where this struggle struck a chord among the poor as also the earlier experiences in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and parts of Maharashtra. He also said more and more number of farmers are being forced to become migrant labour as they are losing land and work as farmers. This is going to become a major problem in the coming period and it has to be taken up. Vijayaraghavan stressed the need to project a proper alternative before the rural masses despite the fact that it is a difficult job given the diversity and other identity issues we face in the country.

 

SFI general secretary Ritabrata Banarjee and DYFI general secretary Avoy Mukherjee also greeted the conference.