AIKS Calls for Peasant Protest Week from April 8-14
THE union budget 2016-17 is a serious rightward shift to further fortify the domination of monopoly trade and agri-business interests over agro-processing and marketing sector, intensifying the neo-liberal reforms which are the root cause of the current acute crisis in agriculture. The proposals of 100 percent FDI through the FIPB- Foreign Investment Promotion Board route on food products and processing and to start e-platform by amending APMC Act for marketing of agro produce are two obvious examples in support of big capital and MNCs.
The farmers are reeling under acute agrarian crisis mainly due to exploitation in the market for un-remunerative prices of agro produces. The farmers were expecting measures as per the promise of the BJP in its 2014 election manifesto that MSP at 50 percent above the cost of production will be ensured if the NDA gets elected to power. But even in its third budget, the Modi government has failed to propose any meaningful scheme to ensure this, even though it enjoys absolute majority in the Lok Sabha. In the absence of an MSP, the proposed e-platform will facilitate easy way of procurement of agro produces in the interests of the traders and industrialists and will never safeguard the interests of the peasantry. It is the surest way to dismantle the system of procurement of agri-crops at MSP rate. Along with that, the other proposal of 100 percent FDI is detrimental to the interests of the peasantry and the country.
Both the proposals denote the neo-liberal mindset of the Modi government and will facilitate acute exploitation of the Indian peasantry by big corporates and multinational corporations and international finance capital. It will force Indian farmers to lose their land and become contract agents of giant foreign agro processing industries. The big propaganda in the Budget 2016 of doubling the income of farmers within six years that is by 2022, does not find any supporting schemes to ensure higher income by preventing the exploitation of middlemen, monopoly traders and agro-processing industrialists in the market.
The budget proposals thus stand for corporatisation of agro-processing and marketing which will further aggravate the miseries of petty producers by making them further pauperised. Why are not co-operatives and small native entrepreneurs encouraged and helped to initiate agro-processing industries in different regions of the country based on productions in that area. The government’s policies on agriculture by nakedly aligning with the big capital, facilitate the exploitation of the peasantry. Agrarian crisis in our country is deepening under the neo-liberal capitalism with resultant miseries of indebtedness, peasant suicides, declining price of farm products, rural to urban migration etc especially in the background of intensifying systemic crisis of world capitalist order. Farming is becoming increasingly unviable and peasant households are losing land, animals and other assets at an alarming proportion. The budget document did not mention peasant suicides that have been increased by 26 percent under the Modi government.
The Modi government which has recently written off corporate loans to the tune of Rs1.6 lakh crore, did not find single rupee to announce debt waiver to the peasants facing sever indebtedness due to lack of remunerative prices and crop loss. The enhancement of agriculture credit from Rs 8.5 lakh crore to Rs 9 lakh crore does not benefit the majority of the small and marginal peasants since they have dues and only book adjustment used to take place as disbursement of credit. The Prime Minister Fasal Bima Yojana is only going to benefit the corporate insurance companies and does not envisage universal coverage of all poor and marginal peasants. Food and fertiliser subsidies has been cut by Rs 5000 crore and Rs 2000 crore respectively.
The decision to launch an e-platform on April 14, the birth anniversary day of Dr B R Ambedkar is an insult to the great personality who always stood for safeguarding the interests of the poor and downtrodden and therefore is highly objectionable.
In this context, the All India Kisan Sabha calls upon the peasantry to observe countrywide protest week at village level from April 8-14, 2016 with the demand of withdrawal of the deceitful proposals in the union budget 2016-17 to allow 100 percent FDI in food sector and launching of an e-platform for marketing on April 14, 2016 without declaring remunerative MSP.
The village level campaigns may include mass demonstrations, public meetings, seminars, corner meetings, house campaign, vehicle-cycle and pedestrian jathas, leaflet distribution etc. Campaigns through media including social media also will be undertaken.