19th August, 2013
The 33rd All India Conference of the AIKS was held from 24th to 27th July, 2013 at Cuddalore, Tamilnadu. The Conference elected a new leadership with Amra Ram as the President and Hannan Mollah as the General Secretary. The Conference discussed at length about the deepening agrarian crisis and called for broad united struggles against the anti-peasant policies.
The Conference decided to launch a solidarity campaign with the struggling peasantry of West Bengal where due to the violent attacks by the Trinamul Congress-Maoist goons and other reactionary forces over 125 activists of Kisan Sabha and other Left mass organisations have been killed and many have been injured seriously in the last two years. The policies of the Trinamul Congress Government have also caused extreme agrarian distress and ever since the TMC came to power over 87 farmers have committed suicide in the State, which was unheard in the 34 years of Left Front Rule. A Solidarity Week will be observed across the country from 24th September to 30th September, 2013.
The Conference deliberated at length on the pending legislations like the Land Acquisition Bill, and the Biotechnology Regulatory Authority Bill and felt that they are anti-farmer, anti-poor as well as pro-corporate. AIKS stands for the repealing of the colonial Land Acquisition Act of 1894. However, the present Bill proposed by the Government is even more draconian and is aimed at facilitating smooth transfer of agricultural land to corporate and real estate speculators. It exempts about 16 Acts under which most of the land acquisition is taking place now and Public Purpose is so defined as to include almost all activities under its purview. The principle of prior informed consent, mandatory binding of Social Impact Assessment and Gram Sabha opinion, just and enhanced compensation as well rehabilitation and resettlement provisions, assured share in benefits of development to land losers and all affected persons is not ensured. The Bill also does not have any provision for a Land Use Plan and Land Use Commissions at the State and Central levels to protect agricultural lands, paddy fields, water bodies and common property resources. Kisan Sabha will not allow the Bill to be passed in its present form.
The Biodiversity of the country has to be protected and the agribusinesses and biotechnologies should be regulated to ensure that the bio-safety concerns are addressed while at the same time protecting the interests of the farmers. However, like the Seed Bill, the Biotechnology Regulatory Authority Bill is also an effort to allow corporate profiteering and easy imposition of Biotechnologies even ignoring the farmers’ interests, federal structure as well as bio-safety concerns of our country.
The Congress-led UPA Government and different State Governments led by the Congress and BJP are pushing forward a proposal of the World Economic Forum and different MNCs like Monsanto, PEPSICO, Coca Cola, Walmart, Du Pont, Syngenta etc packaged as the “Million Farmer Initiative” and PPP for Integrated Agriculture Development (PPP-IAD). This will hand-over agricultural land and divert funds under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana to the MNCs and farmers will have no choice about the crops that will be grown in their land. State Governments will also not be able to regulate these Companies and our food security will be seriously compromised as the thrust will be towards commercial crops. AIKS resolved to fight against this dangerous move as well as against FDI in agriculture and retail tfade as it will seriously compromise the livelihoods of millions of people.
The Kisan Sabha resolved to launch an intense campaign on the Government’s farcical claim of providing remunerative prices and demanding correct computation of costs of cultivation over which 50 percent should be added to arrive at the Minimum Support Price. Effective procurement must be ensured and the agricultural inputs should be provided at subsidised rates. The Conference demanded scrapping of the Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) regime in Fertilisers and called for freezing of fertiliser prices at pre-NBS levels.
The Kisan Sabha notes with concern that the RBI appointed Prakash Bakshi Committee has come up with a Report whose recommendations hit at the very foundation of Cooperative credit societies. The Primary Agricultural Cooperative Societies (PACS) will be converted into mere business correspondents and their assets and members will be transferred to the Central Cooperative Banks. The RBI can issue directives and be conferred with powers that supersede elected Boards of Cooperatives and the States. It is a move against the interests of the working class and small and marginal farmers as well as the rural poor and these sections will be left at the mercy of usurious money-lenders if the recommendations are accepted. This is a blatant attempt to centralise over-riding the State in India’s federal structure and also the autonomy of the PACS. Kisan Sabha will fight this move jointly with other organisations.
The Central Government is making an all out effort to privatise the Integrated Child Development Scheme and to hand-over the subsidy amount to MNCs and NGOs including with dubious credentials. The Kisan Sabha along with Trade Unions, organisations of agricultural workers and women as well as the Anganwadi workers’ and helpers’ federation will resist this move through a united movement across the country.
AIKS calls upon its units to remain vigilant to renewed attacks by the Central and State Governments, the agribusinesses as well as the landlord sections and launch movements against all efforts to deny the rights of the peasantry.
Amra Ram, President
Hannan Mollah, General Secretary