June 28, 2020

Stop Corporatisation of Agriculture

THE All India Kisan Sabha has decided to send one lakh letters to the president, the prime minister and agriculture minister by email demanding to stop corporatisation of agriculture and ensure income support, health security, food, MSP, jobs and minimum wages. Letters were sent from the all India centre by Hannan Mollah, general secretary and Ashok Dhawale, president, on June 20. The online campaign also demands repeal of the three anti-farmer ordinances and amendment to Electricity Act.

The letter requested the leaders to ensure right to life of the entire toiling people of the country in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic and related lockdown. This has had devastating impact on agriculture and we were unable to harvest crops, reach out to markets, huge quantity of the farm produces got ruined, hence we suffered heavy loss.  Unfortunately neither the union government nor majority of the state governments had undertaken any survey to assess the losses and compensate on real terms, the letter said.

Union government led by the PM Narendra Modi has neglected the genuine demands of the peasantry and the working people who are the real creators of wealth. The series of ordinances, government orders and the finance packages are aimed at corporatisation of agriculture, negating minimum support price to the crops and effective employment and minimum wage to agriculture workers. Governments have invalidated labour laws unilaterally imposing extension of eight hours of work to 12 hours thus imposing an environment similar to slavery on the working class.   The PM is siding with the agro-business corporates to make huge profits out of farm produces even by allowing futures trade and contract farming for essential commodities, thereby endangering the food security of the people.

In this context, the AIKS has asked the president of the country to ensure that the union government takes immediate remedial measures on its genuine demands given below.
1.       Provide Rs 7,500 per month as income support for six months to all the 23 crore non taxpaying families.
2.       Provide effective measures to ensure health security and free treatment to all the Covid-19 patients.
3.       Enact law to ensure minimum support price at C2+50 per cent with guaranteed procurement and comprehensive loan waiver covering all the indebted peasant and agriculture worker households.
4.       Provide 200 days of job to all agricultural workers with the minimum wage of Rs 600 per day.
5.       Withdraw the three ordinances - The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance 2020, The Farmers’ (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance 2020 and Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance 2020 aimed to corporatise peasant agriculture and destroy the food security of the people.
6.       Scrap the proposed Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2020, fostering privatisation and rise in tariff.

AIKS requested the president to take steps ensuring relief at this period of extra-ordinary crisis. If the government fails to act swiftly, AIKS will be left with no other option than joining hands with all other kisan and trade union movements for relentless struggles targeting to achieve these demands.