January 01, 2023

AIAWU to Hold its National Conference in Howrah in February 2023

THE tenth all India conference of the All India Agricultural Workers’ Union will be held at Howrah, West Bengal, from February 15 to 18, 2023. Pinarayi Vijayan, chief minister of Kerala and Polit Bureau member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), will inaugurate the conference and will be the main speaker of the public meeting to be organised on the occasion of the all India conference.

The all India conference will focus on the issue of employment in rural India and social security measures. With persistent crises in agriculture, working days have drastically reduced in rural India. Agricultural workers and other rural poor are facing crises of employment. Coupled with huge price rise, increased cost of living and weakening of social welfare measures, the lives of rural poor have become more insecure. The living conditions of agricultural workers are so harsh that they are forced to commit suicide. According to the National Crime Records Bureau report, 5,563 agricultural workers were forced to commit suicides in 2021. The looming danger of hunger is posing more challenges which is also evident from India's worsening performance in the Global Hunger Index report, with its latest ranking falling further to 107th. Despite the need to strengthen the public distribution system to ensure food security of India, the BJP-led central government is not only abdicating from its responsibility, but all efforts are being made to hand over agriculture and food grain market to corporates, by weakening the Food Corporation of India and the public distribution system. 

MNREGA could have helped the rural poor and rural economy to come out of this situation, but the central government is hell-bent to destroy this scheme. Lack of budgetary funds is cited as the primary reason for the huge denial of work under MNREGA. The irrational advisory to implement MNREGA according to caste lines and having online attendance is further aggravating the situation.

Even after 75 years of independence, millions of people don’t have proper housing. The plight of people who don't even have a piece of homestead land to avail government grants, is not heard by any government. With the implementation of neoliberal policies, rural people have been further alienated from land, and the landless households in the countryside increased from 35 per cent in 1992-93 to 49 percent in 2017-18, according to the NSSO.

The central government has not enacted a comprehensive central legislation for agricultural workers even though private bills were introduced on this issue in parliament in the years 2010, 2016, 2018 and recently in 2022.

The government is not listening to the plight of agricultural workers and the rural poor but is working on its divisive agenda to divide people and re-establish the laws of Manusmriti in our society. Attacks on dalits and tribals have increased with every passing day, and the culprits are allowed to roam freely.

The all India conference of the AIAWU will discuss these issues and plan a nationwide struggle in detail.