AIKS Condemns Unfair Kharif MSPs
THE All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) has condemned the Narendra Modi led government for deceiving the millions of toiling peasantry by announcing unremunerative and unfair minimum support prices (MSP) for the kharif crops for the crop season 2014-15. The statement which the AIKS president Amra Ram and general secretary Hannan Mollah issued on June 26 recalled how Narendra Modi had made tall claims and promised that farmers would be given MSP which would be not less than 50 percent over and above the cost of production. Instead, however, by announcing the low MSP which in many cases does not even meet the cost of production, the government has only added insult to injury. The AIKS has called upon all its units and the peasantry across the country to organise protest actions against this betrayal and humiliating treatment meted out to the peasantry. Coming as it does in the context of the drastic shortfall in rainfall by over 45 percent so far, as well as the looming threat of the other adverse impact of the El Nino effect, this decision of the government will put farmers into great distress. It is also noteworthy that the same government has decided to extend huge export subsidies to the corporate sugar lobby to the tune of Rs 3,300 per tonne just before taking this retrograde move. The intentions of Modi and his government are clearly aimed at promoting corporate profiteering at the expense of the peasantry and the consumers. The AIKS noted that the MSP of paddy has been raised merely by Rs 50 per quintal to Rs 1,360 per quintal from the Rs 1,310 per quintal last year. According to the kharif price report for 2013-14, brought out by the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP), the projected costs of production (C2) for paddy was Rs 1,234.06 per quintal. This was one year back but all input costs have risen drastically after that. For crops like moong the C2 in 2013-14 was Rs 4,758.69 per quintal. In a mockery of the farmers’ plight, the Modi government has announced an MSP of only Rs 4,600 per quintal which is way below even the then C2 --- a full year after that. Similarly, in the case of jowar and ragi, the C2 in 2013-14 was Rs 1,648.41 per quintal and Rs 1,687.05 per quintal respectively while the announced MSPs are only Rs 1,550 per quintal for both these crops. The MSPs announced remain well below even the cost of production. In the case of maize and bajra there has been zero increase in MSP. The plight of cotton farmers in the country has led to the maximum number of suicides taking place in the cotton belt. However, the Narendra Modi led government has thrown to the wind all its pre-poll promises and made only a token increase of Rs 50 only which, the AIKS said, will not compensate the farmers for the exorbitant increase in input costs and irrigation expenditure. It will also not meet the expenditure incurred by the farmers for cultivation. The AIKS has demanded that the decision of the cabinet committee on economic affairs (CCEA) be withdrawn forthwith and the MSPs be announced after an emergency consultation with the peasant organisations as well as state governments. The extraordinary situation of less rainfall and El Nino effect as well as the increased input costs must be taken into account, and remunerative prices must be arrived at on the basis of realistic cost calculation. The AIKS will launch struggles against the Modi led government till this move is withdrawn and justice is done to the millions of peasantry.