February 14, 2021

AIAWU decides to Intensify the Struggle Against Farm Laws

Vikram Singh

THE meeting of the general council was held on February 1-2, 2021 in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh. The meeting was attended by 97 members and was presided over by Amiya Patra.

Meeting discussed in detail the organisational issues and finalised its membership which is 70,87,499. The states of Kerala, West Bengal, Tripura and Punjab have increased their membership. Membership of West Bengal is increased by more than three lakhs.

Struggle against farm laws: After the historical parade of farmers and tractors on Republic Day, BJP led central government has intensified attacks on the farmers’ movement. The general council also reaffirmed to intensify the farmers' struggle against farm laws with larger mobilisations of the agricultural workers. The impact of these laws on the lives of agricultural workers will be further explained through the distribution of pamphlets/booklets and massive campaigns will be undertaken.

Against central budget: The general council has given a call to organise protest actions against the anti-people and pro-corporate budget on February 12, 2020.

NREGA: In the present financial year NREGA has seen an increase in demand for work primarily due to increased levels of unemployment and the return of migrant labour from urban areas to villages. As on January 19, 2021, nearly 76.7 million households and more than 118 million people had demanded work under the scheme. This means millions of more people were demanding work. Last year, the total allocation for MNREGA including Rs 40,000 crore of the stimulus package was Rs 1,01,500 crore. It was insufficient to provide work to all the applicants. Therefore, rural workers were hoping for more allocations for MNREGA but the government has only allocated Rs 74,000 crores in this year’s budget. In fact, the budget drastically cut down allocation by 41 per cent of what the government actually spent last year. The general council demanded a minimum of Rs 2,00,000 crore should be allocated for MNREGA to provide work to all applicants under NREGA. This will be the main demand of the all India protest of February 12, 2021.

Public distribution system: While highlighting the relation between the new agrarian laws and dismantling of FCI and the collapse of the public distribution system, the union will organise marches to the FCI godowns in all states.

Dalit issue: It was also decided to implement the calls of all India convention on dalit issue.  The AIAWU activists will visit the dalit habitats to interact with them, identify their problems, look at the potential of forming local units. On these issues signature campaigns and representation to the administration at different levels will be organised. As a culmination of this activity, state conventions will be organised.

Migrant Workers: Union will identify clusters of villages where there is considerable outward migration and share the information about the labour contractors, their agreements with the families to the destination states.

Land Issue: With the agrarian laws adopted by the central government, the question of house sites to homeless and land to landless will be pushed to the background. Several state governments are snatching the lands allotted to the landless and homeless but none is working on land reforms. Struggles will be launched from representations to occupations.

Wage question: Given the continuing crisis in agriculture, there is a possibility of wage suppression in the near future. While supporting the demands of farmers, the AIAWU will continue to raise the wage question. Strikes, demonstrations, representations will be organised for that.

The general council also decided to politically support the Left and other democratic forces in the ensuing assembly elections.

Main organisations tasks:

The AIAWU will expand its organisation and reach a target of 80 lakh members. It will strengthen the organisation politically and ideologically and special emphasis will be given for the development of women leadership.