August 9 Jail Bharo Programme of AIKS

Hannan Mollah

‘KISAN Sabha in every village, all kisans in Kisan Sabha’ was the clarion call given at the 34th conference of the All India Kisan Sabha. Farmer-activists are engaged accordingly and are meeting the peasants in villages, taking the Kisan Sabha’s message to villages and for the expansion of the organisation. To intensify the process, in the office-bearers’ meeting on July 25, it was decided that our primary units should plan to visit maximum farmer households in their area to build contact with the rural masses. In this context, the AIKS has decided to collect 10 crore signatures from farmers, agricultural workers and rural people on a five-point charter of demands to be presented to the central government. It has been given to units to translate in their own languages. It is addressed to the prime minister and it contains five following demands:

1. Complete liberation from all kinds of debts for the toiling peasants and agricultural workers.

2. Ensure legal guarantee of minimum support price of one-and-half times of cost of production for all agricultural producers as recommended by the Swaminathan Commission and reduction in input costs.

3. Immediate vesting of land in the name of tillers and implementation of the forest Rights Act.

4. Pension of Rs 5,000 per month to all agricultural workers, poor and middle peasants.

5. Implement pro-farmer comprehensive crop insurance scheme covering all crops and income losses and ensure family health insurance as well as insurance for animals.

Along with these main demands other issues related to agrarian problems would also be explained to the peasantry. In the months of June and July, kisan activists would be fully engaged in the massive campaign for collecting signatures. The state and district-level committees met and prepared the plan, and tehsil and unit committees were orgnaised to collect maximum number of signatures. A poster and an appeal to farmers were circulated for propagating the necessity and importance of the programme. These demands are being raised not only by us, the NDA made a commitment to provide these benefits to the farmers during the last Lok Sabha elections. Narendra Modi in his 400-odd public meetings categorically promised that if his party came to power, he would ensure implementation of the Swaminathan Commission recommendations. He specially assured to give remunerative price for all crops as per A2+ 2+50 percent, that is 50 percent more than the cost of production. He also assured complete loan waiver of all farmers and provide proper insurance for all crop losses in natural calamities. The BJP’s election manifesto also gave details about the above benefits.

But, after coming to power, the NDA government has completely gone back on its promises. They have failed to give promised prices for the crops and the NDA government submitted a written affidavit to the Supreme Court that the government could not give the price of 50 percent above cost of production. Regarding loan waiver, the central government announced that they would not take this responsibility of loan waiver but if any state government wanted, it was free to do so. On the insurance front also, there is total failure. The Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana proved to be a deception to the peasants. It benefited only six big insurance companies, not the farmers. Those companies collected about Rs 24,000 crore as premium from the peasantry in 2016 but paid only Rs 7,000 crore. So, all those promises proved to be “jumla” (election rhetoric). Arun Jaitley misled parliament by saying that they have given MSP+50 percent to the farmers. This was a lie as Jaitley was referring only to the A2+FL and not C2 cost. The Swaminathan Commission recommendation was C2+50 percent. Besides there was no proper procurement mechanism. Simply announcing MSP does not help if the government did not purchase from farmers at this price. This year even the MSP has not yet been announced by the government. So, Narendra Modi has proved to be the most anti-farmer prime minister of the country as he betrayed the farmers on all his tall promises. He continued to repeat the falsehood of doubling the income of the farmers by 2022 when a massive price crash of many crops has already destroyed the peasants’ economy.

The AIKS, in its office-bearers’ meeting, noted that this agrarian scenario in India has markedly deteriorated in the 10 months since the kisan conference. This is a direct result of the neoliberal policies being pursued by the Modi government. Agricultural growth in India has collapsed in normal times. So, agricultural income has thoroughly stagnated under the Modi government. Under these circumstances, the agrarian crisis in the country has intensified. To put pressure on the government, the kisan and toiling masses should come on the streets on August 9 and force the government to act. They under the leadership of their district committees would meet their collectors or district magistrates and submit their signatures for sending them to the prime minister. After that, they would go for ‘jail bharo’ (fill the jail) in thousands. The Centre of Indian Trade Unions has (CITU) already expressed its support to the kisan demands and decided to join the ‘jail bharo’ struggle on that day. The AIKS already appealed to the dalits and tribals as the major rural poor to join the ‘jail bharo’ movement. We have also appealed to other democratic and progressive forces to support our struggle and join the movement. We hope that in more than three hundred districts, lakhs of peasants, workers and agrarian poor people will join this massive struggle with the slogan of ‘Modi government gaddi chodo’ (Modi leave the government) as he symbolises the power that betrayed the peasantry and common people by going away from his promises and establishing a corporate communal government at the centre which is engaged in all sorts of anti-peasant, anti-worker, and anti-poor activities. They encouraged all RSS-VHP goons to attack and lynch the minorities, dalit and other poor people in the name of ‘gau raksha’, ‘love jihad’, ‘ultra-national chauvinism’, and are dividing people on communal and caste lines. The All India Kisan Sabha is working to unite the rural people to fight for their genuine demands. The ‘jail bharo’ movement would be one of the largest and militant kisan movements of recent times.

 

 

Newsletter category: