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 AIKC meeting noted with concern that BJP, which came to power promising to end farmers’ suicides, making agriculture viable by providing remunerative prices at least 50 per cent above cost of production, greater investment in agriculture and a host of other things, has betrayed the peasantry by going back on each one of its promises. There has been a rapid rise in farmers’ suicides in the last two years. According to analysts, 52 farmers committed suicide a day in the past years while the average for the last two decades was 42 suicides every day. In BJP-ruled Maharashtra alone, there were 2,568 suicides in 2014. This rose to 3,228 in 2015 which was the highest since 2001. More than three lakh villages spread across 300 districts and over 50 crore people of India are reeling under the worst drought since 1986-87, leading to acute water crisis and crop losses. The BJP government has totally failed to provide relief and there was no contingency plan to address the situation. Large scale land acquisition is going on across the country without consent of the peasantry and land and resources of tribal people are being looted. BJP and the Prime Minister have made a U-turn on the issue of foreign direct investment. It opposed FDI in retail, agriculture, agro-processing and other sectors when in opposition and now paving way for 100 per cent FDI in different sectors.
Average income a farmer earns from farming activities, including what is retained for family consumption is merely Rs 20,000 per year in 17 states, meaning a meagre amount of only Rs 1,666 per month. It is in a scenario of high inflation in prices of food grains and essential commodities as well as health and educational expenses that peasants are having such low incomes. The government is talking about doubling incomes of farmers by 2022 without taking any radical steps to generate confidence in the peasantry, enhance productivity and profitability. According to experts, to double even this meagre income in real terms would require a growth rate of over 15 per cent. Growth rate of agriculture which was 4.2 per cent in 2013-14, contracted to (-) 0.2 per cent in 2014-15 and hovered around a negligible (+) 1.1 per cent in 2015-16. This is the dismal scenario under the BJP government.
The AIKC passed resolutions against the BJP government’s betrayal of the peasantry and called for a two-week campaign from August 16 to 31, followed by protest actions on ‘Demands Day’ on September 1. Broadest possible unity will be built in carrying forward these actions and on September 2, the Working Class Strike will be actively supported in rural areas. The AIKC also decided to have solidarity action with the struggling peasantry and people of West Bengal who are facing unprecedented violence under the TMC regime. A Bengal Solidarity Fund Collection has also been decided upon. AIKC condemned the threat to life issued by mining mafia in Rajasthan to AIKS President Amra Ram and resolved to fight such elements. It also condemned the attack on the house of Madan Ghosh, AIKS Vice President and other AIKS leaders and cadre by TMC goons in West Bengal and called for isolating such forces.
Four jathas from different parts of India will be carried out in November to expose the anti-peasant character of the central and some state governments. It will culminate with a massive rally in Delhi on November 24. AIKC has taken decisions for launching massive struggles against attacks on peasantry and divisive tactics of the government.