THE transformation of the agrarian landscape under contemporary capitalism has yielded new ways in which big companies use their financial power to control the production processes in agriculture. This use of financial and political clout can take many forms. The first is of course outright land deals where companies directly control both land and production. This is especially true of the African countries where agricultural supply chains have spread considerably. Here the control of land by the companies is direct either in terms of transfer of ownership, or through long term leases.
THE remarkable characteristic of the revised budget 2016-17 of Kerala presented by the finance minister Dr Thomas Issac is the thrust it gives to the task of modernisation of agriculture and production sector. This aspect has the potential to help the state in the long run to overcome the imminent stagnation and prolong crisis looming large on the economic and social sphere of the state in the context of the failure of neoliberal model of reforms and systemic crisis of world capitalist system.
THE All India Kisan Council (AIKC) met in Bangalore from July 1 to 3, 2016. Members from across the country discussed the agrarian scenario, condition of the peasantry and impact of intensified neo-liberal economic policies under the Narendra Modi-led BJP government. A massive rally of peasants was held on July 1 as part of the meet.
THE Modi government’s NITI Aayog seeks the extension of liberalisation to the sector of land leasing. It has brought out a document, titled “Report of the Expert Committee on Land Leasing”, on March 31, 2016. A “Model Agricultural Land Leasing Act, 2016” is enclosed with this document for consideration by the state governments for initiation of legislation in their respective assemblies as it happens to be a subject under the state list of the Constitution.
THE protests across France against the bill proposing changes in the labour laws have been described as the biggest and longest protests since the French Revolution. What we saw indicate that it could well be an understatement. Over 1.2 million marched the streets of Paris on June 14, 2016 which happens to be the birth anniversary of the eternal revolutionary Che Guevara. Across France yet another 1.5 million workers are reported to have protested on the same day making it the biggest protest with never-seen-before kind of mass participation.
THE 22nd state conference of the Maharashtra Rajya Kisan Sabha was held from May 30 to June 1, 2016 in Thane-Palghar district, with 271 delegates from 23 districts who represented a membership of 2,60,423 -- the highest AIKS membership recorded in the state so far.
ON May 3, 2016, around 1000 peasants and students from all the eight districts of the Marathwada region, led by the AIKS and the SFI, broke two police barricades and marched right inside the compound of the Aurangabad Divisional Commissioner’s office. This militant and unprecedented action was conducted on the burning demands related to the grim drought situation in the region.
HUNDREDS of peasants and agricultural workers under the red flag and banners of Himachal Kisan Sabha and Himachal Apple Growers' Association marched to the Himachal Pradesh Secretariat demanding protection of land rights. They sat on dharna braving heavy rain and hailstorm on May 3-4. It was inaugurated by Rakesh Singha, former general secretary of CPI(M) HP state committee and leader of trade union movement as well as of Apple Growers' Association.
WHEN the BJP government announced, in its latest budget, that it is determined to double farmers’ income in next seven years, the nation looked with awe. Critiques pondered over how that could happen in such a short time. The analysts scanned the budget documents to find out the allocations for agrarian infrastructure. But the government silently worked its way to create a new agrarian structure that coerces the small and marginal farmers to part with their precious piece of land and become daily wage labourers in the by-lanes of urban landscape.