March 19, 2023

Fighting for Justice: April 5 Delhi March by Farmers, Workers & Agri Workers

UNDER the leadership of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), and All India Agricultural Workers Union (AIAWU), the working classes of India, including workers, peasants, and agricultural workers, have decided to step up their ongoing struggles in response to the government's anti-farmer and anti-worker policies.

A statement issued by the three organisations on March 10, mentions that a joint campaign was launched after the convention held in Delhi on September 5, 2022 to address issues that affect the people and mobilise them to demand pro-people policies that ensure basic rights to food, health, education, employment, fair and remunerative prices for their produce, and fair and living wages for their work. The workers, peasants, and agricultural workers are marching to Delhi on April 5, 2023, as the culmination of this collaborative effort, to seek a life of dignity and security, free from fear and hatred toward one another.

This is a continuation of their ongoing struggles in different joint platforms of workers and peasants – Joint Platform of Central Trade Unions and Samyukta Kisan Morcha. The collaborative struggles of the workers, farmers, and agricultural workers will be further strengthened and advanced by this coordinated campaign and mobilisation.

The government led by Prime Minister Modi and the BJP is prioritising the interests of their crony allies such as Adani and Ambani, at the expense of workers and peasants. Their pro-corporate policies have created heavy inflationary pressures that are affecting the daily lives of the working classes. The prices of essential goods such as rice, wheat, pulses, milk, curd, vegetables, and others, have all increased significantly. Unemployment in India has reached an all-time high, and socially marginalised communities are disproportionately affected. Unfortunately, the Modi government has shown little sensitivity towards this issue. Instead, they are actively working to eradicate the legal rights of workers, including minimum wage laws, an eight-hour workday, and the right to organise. They are also attempting to abolish programmes like MGNREGA, which guarantees employment opportunities. In the industrial sector, employment relations are being restructured solely to generate profits for corporates.

The Modi government's pro-corporate agricultural policies are making agriculture unsustainable for all levels of the peasantry. Additionally, the government has completely ignored the written agreements made to farmers organisations, which included guaranteed remunerative prices, during the historic farmers' struggle. Legal entitlements to food, health, and education for the Indian people are also being curtailed.

Furthermore, the current government is dismantling democratic institutions and limiting democratic rights. Dissenting voices against the ruling dispensation are met with draconian acts like UAPA. The ruling RSS-BJP dispensation is spreading communal venom to divide the people on fundamental issues.

The demands of the Mazdoor Kisan Sangharsh Rally are:

  ₋         Ensure minimum wages at Rs 26,000 pm and Pension at Rs 10,000 to all workers including the scheme workers; No contractorisation of work; scrap Agnipath Scheme

₋         Legally ensure MSP at C2+50 per cent for all farm produce with guaranteed procurement

₋         One-time loan waiver by the central government to all poor and middle peasants and agricultural workers; pension to all who are above 60 years

₋         Scrapping of four labour codes and Electricity Amendment Bill 2022

₋         Job security and guarantee for all; Expand MGNREGA and increase workdays to 200 with minimum wages at Rs 600 per day; Pay all pending wages; Enact a National Urban Employment Guarantee Act

₋         Stop privatisation of PSUs and public services; scrap National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP)

₋         Arrest price rise, withdraw GST on food items and essentials; reduce the central excise duty on petrol/diesel/kerosene cooking gas substantially; withdraw the increase in the price of cooking gas forthwith

₋         Universalise the public distribution system (PDS) and expand its scope to include 14 essential items; ensure food and income support to all non-tax paying families

₋         Stringent implementation of the Forest Rights Act (FRA); withdraw the amendments to the Forest (Conservation) Act and Rules that allow the union government to permit clearance of a forest without even informing the residents.

₋         Stop repression of the marginalised sections and ensure social justice

₋         Ensure universal and quality health and education for all; scrap New Education Policy (NEP) 2020

₋         Ensure housing for all

₋         Tax the super rich; enhance corporate tax; introduce wealth tax

Massive campaigns through the distribution of leaflets, posters, wall writing, group meetings, jathas, and processions are taking place throughout the country to make Mazdoor Kisan Sangharsh Rally on April 5, 2023 a grand success. There is an overwhelming enthusiastic participation of people in all forms of the campaign.

Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), and All India Agricultural Workers Union (AIAWU) urge the workers, peasants, and toiling masses of India to march to Delhi on April 5, 2023 to demand dignity and rights and appeal to the people of India for solidarity, support, and participation.