COMMEMORATING the death anniversary of Comrade P Sundarayya, Makineni Basavapunnaiah Trust had organised a memorial lecture on the ‘Agrarian Crisis in India: Some Reflections.’ The lecture was delivered by Venkatesh Athreya, well-known economist, on May 19, at Makineni Basavapunnaiah Vignana Kendram in Vijayawada. P Madhu, trustee of MBVK presided over the meeting.
Venkatesh Athreya said the neoliberal economic policies pursued by the rulers in India are against the interests of the peasants, and as they are followed more vigorously by the present government, peasants are suffering all the more.
The Land Acquisition Act has been amended to grab their land; the election promise of payment of minimum support price is unfulfilled; all input supply is privatised and given to private enterprises, seeds are sold by the multinationals, fertilizers are priced as per their wishes; irrigation facilities are not provided by the government; public sector banks are not meeting the credit requirements of farmers, which is compelling them to resort to private borrowing.
All these problems faced by the agriculture sector are forcing farmers into debt trap which is the cause for suicides of farmers all over the country.
Suggesting remedies to these problems, Venkatesh Athreya underlined the need for implementing the Swaminathan Commission recommendations and giving them minimum support price; providing irrigation facilities; loan waivers, though as a temporary measure; providing credit facilities and inputs at subsidised prices apart from repealing the Land Acquisition Act.
However, Athreya pointed out that unless there is a surge in peasant struggles as in Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu etc, the government policies would not change to the advantage of farmers. Taking up concrete studies on class differentiation in the countryside, as there is a vast change in the scenario of villages with more and more workers engaging in multiple tasks apart from working as agricultural workers in villages, and also as most of them are shifting to towns either in search of employment or for education and health of of their children, and as the character of landlord class also underwent a vast change with the emergence of a new capitalist class in rural areas and there is a change in class structure in rural India, will be paying a great tribute to Comrade Sundarayya.
The seminar on the 23rd death anniversary of Sundarayya was organised on a grand scale and was well attended. The auditorium was beautifully
decorated; intellectuals of all walks of life participated in the seminar and the hall with a capacity of 560 seats was full. A photo exhibition with rare photos of Comrade Sundarayya was organised. This exhibition was opened by BS Ramaiah, principal, Law College, KL University on May 18 and was kept open until the night of May 19th.