THIS article is an attempt mainly to assess the direction of the Union Budget for 2017-18, whether it will help the peasantry to come out of the present systemic crisis and end rising peasant suicides. This is important especially in the context of substantial increase in the rate of peasant suicides in the over two years of the NDA government.
The All India Kisan Sabha general secretary, Hannan Mollah, has written an open letter to the SBI chief Arundhati Bhattacharya on March 23 against the comments she made on writing off loans of the peasantry. Below we publish the text of the letter.
POTATO growers in West Bengal are enraged, with strings of protests and blockades sweeping through the state. The crisis of the peasants has accentuated as the prices of potato have come down to an all-time low, both in wholesale and retail market. Distress sale has become the order of the day. And, though it is continuing for months, no intervention has been evident from the state government.
THE Central Kisan Committee of AIKS met in Delhi on February 15-16 to discuss the prevailing agrarian situation in the country. It has decided to join hands with all like-minded left and progressive organisations of peasants, agricultural workers, dalits and tribals to resist the attack unleased by the Centre and various state governments on land, agriculture and the livelihood of the peasantry. AIKS will intensify the struggle against corporate land grab and the attack on the peasantry and the tribal population.
THE union budget presented by the finance minister in days of acute agrarian crisis compounded by the adverse impact of demonetisation on agriculture is a betrayal of the peasantry. The disruptive consequences of demonetisation has led to a further fall in incomes, threatened agricultural production and created uncertainty about any revival of agricultural growth.
THE Karnataka Prantha Raitha Sangha (affiliated to AIKS) organised Red Gram/Arhar Dal Growers' Convention at Gulbarga on December 27, 2016. The convention was inaugurated by Vijoo Krishnan, AIKS joint secretary.
THE All India Kisan Sabha, in a press statement issued on January 2, has condemned Prime Minister Narendra Modi for making a mockery of the plight of the peasantry and poor in his address on December 31, 2016. The peasantry which was reeling under an acute crisis were further pushed into distress by the demonetisation decision. They have suffered severe income losses as well as yield loss due to the decision. Sowing has been delayed and the area sown has fallen in wheat which is bound to have adverse impact on productivity.
THE All India Kisan Sabha and the All India Agricultural Workers Union, in a statement issued on December 22 have appealed the peasantry and agricultural workers to join in the protest at taluk headquarters all over the country on December 28-29, 2017, the 50th and the 51st day after the announcement of demonetisation. AIKS and AIAWU activists in Kerala will join the Human Chain called by the Left and Democratic Front on December 29.
THE All India Kisan Sabha, in a statement issued on December 10 has condemned the decision of the Narendra Modi led BJP government to scrap the import duty on wheat. The import duty which was 25 percent till September 2016 was reduced to 10 percent. This was, on December 8, totally done away with. The move is aimed to allow corporate companies and big traders of wheat to profiteer at the expense of farmers and is according to the diktats of the WTO and countries like the USA. AIKS demands immediate withdrawal of this move.
A MAHA DHARNA was organised before parliament on November 25 by the sugarcane farmers from various states. The Maha dharna was held under the banner of National Co-ordination Committee of Sugarcane Farmers. The protesting farmers came from Tamil Nadu which was the biggest contingent, and from Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka.