From India News Network (INN)
New Delhi, June 12: The pre budget consultation meeting on agriculture held by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on 11th June 2019 has exposed the anti-peasant nature of the BJP led 2nd NDA Government. No organization of the peasantry, farmers and agricultural workers that constitute vast majority of the rural community and the toiling sections who produce food for the people were invited for the meeting which is disgrace to the newly elected NDA Government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Apart from array of bureaucrats, only two organizations representing large plantation owners and rich peasantries were invited and attended the meeting.
The All India Kisan Sabha expresses its strong protest on this anti-peasant step and demands that the NDA Government shall call representatives of various kisan and agricultural worker organizations working at All India level and able to build countrywide struggles to bring the acute agrarian crisis in to the national mainstream of political discourse to discuss the genuine demands of the peasantry. Such sincere efforts only will help the budget preparing exercise to include genuine proposals to resolve the acute agrarian crisis and arrest the widespread tendency of indebtedness and peasant suicides.
AIKS demands to increase budget allocation to agriculture and rural development adequately to take up the following measures. The Union Government has to address major aspects of progressive and comprehensive Land Reforms, stop attempts to acquire agriculture land, strictly implement Forest Rights Act and stop indiscriminate snatching of Tribal Land by corporate companies and protect the rights of tenant farmers.
The Budget has to include comprehensive package of loan waiver, liberate the peasantry from acute indebtedness and reverse the anti-people Neo-liberal Economic Policies to stop farmers’ suicide, provide Rs. 10 lakhs to compensate the families of all victims of farmers’ suicide.
Government has to provide interest free agriculture credit to small and marginal peasants, share croppers, tenant farmers, agriculture workers and middle peasants and fix the interest rate of agriculture credit in general at 4%.
The major mode of exploitation of the peasantry is the negation of Minimum Support Price at the rate of 50% in addition to cost of production for all crops as recommended by M S Swaminathan Commission. AIKS demands to stop this exploitation and ensure direct procurement by Food Corporation of India from farmers.
The NDA government has to immediately withdraw Foreign Direct Investment in agriculture and Food processing industry and E-marketing of agricultural products that serve corporate companies.
Instead Government has to provide funding to promote agro-processing industries and wholesale and retail marketing networks under social cooperatives of peasant and agriculture workers to manufacture and sell value added consumer products.
AIKS also demands proper implementation of MGNREGA, 200 days of work per annum and fix the wage as not less than Rs 500 per day. Enact central legislation for agricultural workers to ensure minimum wage and social security. Provide house sites free of cost to all landless agricultural workers and poor peasants and minimum rupees 5 lakhs for house construction. Ensure supply of inputs at subsidised rate and promote agro-ecological practices.
AIKS demands crop insurance to all crops and full compensation for the crop loss due to natural calamity, wild animal attacks, and crop diseases and fix revenue village as the unit for assessing compensation. Provide effective drought, cyclones, flood, hailstorm, frost relief and compensation to the affected peasantry. Government has to ensure proper storage including cold storage, cold chain facilities, warehousing and marketing system for agricultural produce. Ensure food security by enhancing agriculture production, procurement and distribution and strengthening universal Public Distribution System.
Expansion of irrigation projects to ensure water to all cultivable land.
Ensure social security by providing minimum Rs 5000 monthly pension for all the peasants and agriculture workers all over the country. Ensure right to safe drinking water, house sites, housing, education and health to all.
Stop any ban on animal trade. Control stray and wild animals. Pay adequate compensation to farmers for their crops damaged or death by these animals. The government must take responsibility of unproductive cattle and pay adequately market price to farmers for these animals.
AIKS also demands immediately open all closed Sugar, Jute, Paper and Textile mills and take steps to pay proper price for the milk to dairy farmers.