BRIEF ACCOUNT OF PROCEEDINGS
The Twenty-second National Conference of the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) was held at Vijawada (Andhra Pradesh) on 7th to 10th June, 1979. The venue of the Conference was named Baddam Yella Reddi Nagar after the great Telangana hero, who passed away a few months back.
The proceedings began on 7th lune at 9.30 A.M with the hoisting of the Red Flag by Comrade Jangir Singh Joga, vice-president of the AIKS, who reminded the assembled delegates of the heroic struggles and sacrifices of the peasantry to enhance the honour of the red flag. Comrade Joga exhorted the delegates to organize and lead the peasantry into mightier struggles till the goal set by the Kisan Sabha is achieved.
Then Comrade Jangir Singh Joga led the delegates to the Martyres column, where wreaths were laid in their sacred memory and the vow taken to carry forward the peasant struggles till the goal is achieved.
After a powerful opening song by the Andhra Pradesh Peoples’ Theatre squad, the General Secretary called upon the President Comrade Z. A. Ahmad to take the chair. Then the General Secretary introduced the office bearers of the AIKS and other members of the Central Kisan Committee (CKC) to the delegates.
Then, Comrade Y. V. Krishna Rao, Chairman of the Reception Committee, welcomed the delegates on behalf of the acutely suffering but heroic peasantry of Andhra Pradesh. Barely three weeks before the Conference, the coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh—particularly Parkasham and Nellore—were battered by a severe Cyclone as a result of which peasants lost crops, houses, cattle, grains, tobacco and other properties to the tune of Rs. 650 crores. This was the third successive cyclone in last four years, which have greatly damaged the economy of the peasants. To add insult to injury, big capitalists, merchants, and multi-national companies trading in Agricultural produce, had conspired with the Government to bring abrupt a precipitate fall in the prices of agricultural produce. Mass of the peasantry was facing ruin.
“The peasantry has now no alternative” Comrade Rao told the delegates, “but to fight unitedly against the loot of the monopoly capitalists, multi-national companies, middle men speculators and monopoly traders, with the spirit of ‘do or die’ ”.
Referring to the long and glorious record of struggles waged by the peasantry of Andhra Pradesh, Comrade Rao declared that the peasantry will again accept the challenge and fight heroically. He appealed to all peasant organizations and pro- peasant parties, groups and individuals to join hands and develop a united mass movement against the onslaught of the monopolies.
Comrade Rao hoped that this Conference will chart out a clear-cut course of policy and action for meeting this new challenge. Then, the General Secretary proposed the Agenda which was unanimously accepted. Resolutions on “Homage to Martyres” and condolences on departed comrades were moved by the Joint Secretary Comrade Chhajju Mal Vaid and adopted with due solemnity, the entire house standing.
Then the President Dr. Z. A. Ahmad delivered his presidential address. Tracing the history of numerous spontaneous revolts of the peasantry against the oppressive colonial rule of the British, from the late eighteenth century. Dr. Ahmad analyzed the circumstances which led to the foundation of the All India Kisan Sabha in 1936, describing the various phases through which the kisan movement developed to such heights as the armed uprising of Telangana peasants in Andhra Pradesh, Punapra ‘Vaylar peasants in Kerala, and Tenants’ armed struggle in Pepsu, now in Punjab.
Dr. Ahmad analyzed in details the factors responsible for the stagnation and even declare of the organized kisan movement since late fifties and pointed to the need for an objective analysis of the changing agrarian situation in the country in the post independence period and a corresponding tactical re-orientation, for rebuilding and developing the kisan movement.
Dr. Ahmad indicated differentiated tactics for areas where capitalist relations have become dominant, as well as for areas where semi-feudal relations are still strong, and expressed confidence that “we shall emerge from the Vijayawada Conference with greater wisdom, enthusiasm, and determination to fulfill the historic responsibilities thrown upon our shoulders in building up a united, militant, powerful Kisan movement. (Full text of the presidential address being printed separately)
In the afternoon, the General Secretary read out messages of greetings from fraternal organization in India as well as abroad. Messages received from fraternal organizations in foreign countries included:—
- Trade Union International of Agriculture, Forestry and Plantation Workers’ Union.
- Central Committee of Agriculture Workers Union, USSR.
- Peasant, Mutual Aid Association, G.D.R.
- Union of Agrarian Co-operation, Afghanistan.
- United Peasants Party, Poland.
- Union of Agriculture, Forestry and Water supply Workers, Hungary.
- Farmers, Trade Union, Cuba.
- Federal Committee, Agriculture, Food & Tobacco Workers Union, Yugoslavia.
- Central Committee of Unions of Agricultural Working People, North Korea.
- Grain & Food Trade Union, Iraq.
- National Federation of Peasants, Sri Lanka.
- Pakistan Kisan Committee, Lahore, Pakistan.
- International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, Malaysia.
Messages received from Fraternal organizations in India:
- All India Trade Union Congress, New Delhi.
- Peace and Solidarity Organization, New Delhi.
- Kisan Panchayat, Jullundhar.
- G. D. Lad, President Maharashtra Rajya Shetakari Sabha.
Messages from Individuals Invitees:
- Shri G. Brahmaya, Old Kisan leader of Andhra Pradesh.
- Shri H. K. Vyas, Editor, Janyug, New Delhi.
- Shri Bhogindar Jha, V. President, A.I.K.S.
- Shri Jharkhande Rai, Treasurer, A.I.K.S.
Comrade C. Rajeshwar Rao, General Secretary of the Communist Party of India, greeted the Conference in person. Analyzing the policies of the Janata Government, Comrade Rao declared that these policies, though claimed to he in the interest of the peasantry, were, in reality, leading to an intensified loot of the peasantry and rapid enrichment of the monopolists. If these policies are continued for some time more, then the peasantry will go bankrupt all over India. Welcoming the new awakening among the peasantry, Comrade Rao, Declared, “It is for the organizations representing the interests of the peasants to launch a militant movement to effect the necessary structural changes in the agricultural sector.”
Comrade Rajeshwar Rao exhorted the peasants to emulate the example of workers, who, though only ten per cent of the population, were yet able to beat back the offensive of the Government and the exploiter capitalists; whereas the peasants though forming 45% of the population, were unable to beat back the attacks of the government and the monopolists.
Next to greet the Conference was Shri K. V. Raghunath Reddi M.P., a former Labour Minister of the Congress Government at the Centre. He quoted elaborate statistics to prove the increased exploitation of the peasantry by the industrial and commercial sectors. There was need, therefore, Shree Reddi stated, for an all round co-ordinated and concerted struggle by all sections of the working people against the present decaying economic system without which the conditions of the peasantry would not improve.
Then, the General Secretary rose to present a resolution summing up the main conclusion of the General Secretary’s report. Explaining the rationale of the resolution, he stated that the report was too long and was prepared too late. Hence it would be unfair to ask the delegates to express their opinion without proper deliberations. That is why the CKC has decided to place this brief resolution before the Conference, which, while summing up the main conclusions of the report, has omitted statistics and factual details. Hence delegates should concentrate upon finalizing the resolution, which seeks to lay down the tactical line of the Kisan Movement in the coming period, in the light of a detailed evaluation of the changes in the agrarian set-up, the main contradictions in the rural areas and the resultant activities of the peasant masses. (Full text of the resolution as finalized by the commission and adopted by the conference, is being published in this booklet). Full text of the General Secretary’s report will be published separately after the next C.K.C. meeting in August, 1979.
After adopting a resolution on immediate and long term measures for relief to the Cyclone affected peasantry, of Andhra Pradesh, the first day’s session came to a close.
The whole of the second day’s session (June 8) was devoted to a general discussion on the resolution on the General Secretary’s Report. The following comrades took part in the discussion.
- Ch. Rajeshwar Rao (Andhra Pradesh),
- Adimoolam (Tamilnadu),
- Dr. Jogindar Dyal (Punjab),
- Satpal Singh (Haryana),
- Harumal Tolani (Rajasthan),
- Ramchandra Moshra (Orissa),
- Abraham (Kerala),
- A. P. Tewari (U.P.),
- Suraj Parsad (Bihar),
- Kanai Bhowmick (W. Bengal),
- Rajesh Sharma (Madhya Pradesh),
- Kehoram Hazarika (Assam),
- Venkatesh (Karnataka) and Namdeo Rao Kale (Maharashtra).
After the conclusion of the discussion, the Conference decided to set up four commissions to scrutinize the resolutions in greater detail, and bring the final drafts to the conference, with necessary amendments. The Commissions were as follows:
- On Resolution on the General Secretary’s Report—Convener, Indradeep Sinha.
- On remunerative prices for Agricultural Produce—Convener, Comrade Chhajju Mai Vaid.
- On Problems relating to Agricultural Production—Convener, M. Alagiriswami.
- On Land Reforms—Convener, Biswanath Mukherjee.
The Commissions met separately in the morning of the third day (June 9th) and concluded their work before Lunch. In the afternoon, the Commission’s reports were placed, one by one, before the Conference and adopted. Only in one ease that of minimum price of potatoes, the Conference amended the recommendations of the Commission. All other recommendations of various commissions were approved and the resolutions adopted.
Certain other resolutions, like those of Vietnam, Kampuchea, Afghanistan, Iran, Korea, Tamilnadu peasants’ struggle, Rayalseema, were adopted by the conference without reference to any commission. The statement of Accounts was presented by Comrade, The question of constitutional amendments, including the design of the AIKS flag, was referred to the new A1KC, where new CKC will bring its proposals.
An important event of the third day’s Session was greetings by Comrade Yellamanda Reddi, President of the Bharatiya Khet Mazdoor Union (BKMU). Comrade Reddi recalled with gratitude, how the AIKS, championed the cause of the Agriculture Labourers, nurtured and developed the movement till 1969, when the BKMU came to be formed as an independent class organization of the Agricultural Labourers. Comrade Reddi emphasized the bonds of fraternal co-operation between the two organizations in the struggle against common enemies like landlords, usurers and the big capitalists and merchants. He pledged solidarity of the; BKMU in the peasants’ struggle against monopolists and invited the AIKS to join hands with the BKMU and other progressive elements for launching a united All India movement for the occupation of the surplus lands and benami lands of the big landlords.
On the fourth day (June 10th) the Conference was greeted by Comrade Chatuni Master, M.., General Secretary of the CPI(M) led All India Kisan Sabha. He was welcomed with prolonged applause by the delegates. The full text of his message is being printed in this booklet.
Comrade Y. V. Krishna Rao, the chairman of the Reception Committee, introduced its various functionaries to the delegates, who lustily cheered them.
Thanking the Reception Committee and the Andhra Pradesh Royotu Sangham for the excellent arrangements they had made for the Conference at a short notice and after the devastating Cyclone, the General Secretary praised the courage, determination and capacities of its leadership and hoped that Andhra Pradesh will once again play the leading role in the new phase of the peasant movement, as it did in the Telengana Struggle in the pre-independence and immediate post-independence period.
The President, Dr. L. A. Ahmad in his concluding remarks, stressed the historic task that the Kisan movement has outlined’ as a result of the decisions of this conference, and called upon all units and workers of the Kisan Sabha to carry the message of this conference to the large masses of the peasantry and to organize and lead their struggles, and simultaneously to build a powerful All India Organization of the Kisan Sabha based on functioning primary Committees in the villages.
The Conference came to a close amidst thunderous slogans of “Inquilab Zindabad” and “Kisan Sabha Zindabad” shouted in different languages by different contingents from different States, but expressing the single desire of the exploited peasant masses to launch a united struggle against their exploiters— the landlords, and usurers, the monopolists and the Multinationals.
To focus proper attention on the struggle against the monopolists, and the multi-nationals, which has acquired the greatest importance today, the Conference adopted a declaration on behalf of the peasantry, giving a clarion call for launching the movement for remunerative prices and for the Public Distribution System from 2nd July, 1979.
The new A.I.K.C. met immediately, after the conclusion of the delegates Session, and elected a 39 member CKC (one seat vacant) including 12 office bearers (one vacant) there by raising the strength of the AIKC to 82. Full list of the office bearers, CKC members and AIKC members is given in this booklet.
The last function of the Conference, was the mass rally in the evening of 10th June, 1979, which was presided over by Comrade Y. V. Krishna Rao. Among those who addressed the rally were Y. V. Krishna Rao, Dr. Z. A. Ahamad, Indradeep Sinha, C. Rajeswara Rao, Ch. Rajeshwar Rao, and Dasri Nagbhushan Rao.
They explained the main decisions of the Conference and called upon the peasantry to stage Dharnas, Demonstrations, on July 2, as the first step in the All India Peasant Movement for remunerative prices and public distribution system. They also called upon the peasants to join the All India Land movement together with the BKMU and other progressive forces for building up the necessary mass pressure for the speedy and popular implementation of Land Reform Laws.
The twenty-second National Conference of the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) deeply mourns the sad and untimely •death of Comrade A, K. Gopalan and Nana Patil, former presidents of All India Kisan. Sabha; Comrade Munali Kandaswami, former vice president of AIKS; Y. K. Mutatkar, one of the Joint Secretaries of the All India Kisan Sabha; Comrades Hare Krishna Konar, Sadhu Charan Mahanty, Baddam Yella Reddi, K. T. Jacob, P. R. Madhvan Pillai, Pandalam P.R. all former members of CKC or AIKS and Comrades Tika Ram Sukhan, Haryana, Chandar Shekhar Singh, Bihar, Dharm Singh Fakkar and Lai Singh Khandewadh, Punjab, Swami Kumara Hand, Rajasthan, Rama Nand Agarwal, Rajasthan, Bhojen, Ban- nerjee, Pramatha Bhowmik, Ashoka Misra, Haridas Chakra- varti, Khagen Roy Chowdhary, Adhir Koley, Shamsher Sheikh, Umapada Mahata, Banarsi Das, Dhiren Sarkar from West Bengal, Tammora Venkatiah Narsiah, and Bollu Rajiah, Andhra Pradesh, all prominent leaders of the All India Kisan Sabha and Bhartiya Khet Marzdoor Sabha in their respective states.
The All India Kisan Sabha deeply mourns the sad and untimely deaths of scores of other prominent workers of the Kisan Sabha in different states during the period since the Bhatinda, Conference.
The AIKS dips the red banner in their memory.
HOMAGE TO MARTYRS
The twenty second national conference of the All India Kisan Sabha pays homage to the memory of Com. Murugayan, Member of Lok Sabha from Tamilnadu and Com. Sitaram Mishra, Member of the Bihar Legislative Assembly who were brutally murdered by the hired assassins of class enemies because of their unparalleled devotion to the cause of the rural toiling masses and their courageous leadership of then class struggles.
The Conference pays similar homage to the hundreds of Kisan Sabha workers and militant peasants who have achieved martyrdom at the hands of the hired goonda gangs of the landlords because they dared to lead the heroic struggles of the fighting peasantry in the defense of their lands, crops, houses and the honor of their women.
The AIKS dips the red banner in honor of their hallowed memory and pledges anew its resolve to carry forward the struggle left unfinished by them till the achievement of final victory.
GREETINGS TO THE AFGHAN REVOLUTION
The twenty-second National Conference of the All India Kisan Sabha hails the historic victory of the people of Afghanistan under the leadership of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, headed by Com,. Near Mohammad Taraki, the accredited leader of the Afghan Working Class and the peasantry, who is now the President of the Republic.
The revolution has been, followed by radical agrarian reforms under which all debts owed by the peasants have been abrogated, the system, of feudal land ownership has been abolished and land is being; distributed among the tillers. This has, naturally, roused bitter and violent opposition from the feudals and other reactionaries backed by the US. imperialists and their henchmen in some of the neighboring countries, who have been making repeated attempts to start armed provocations against the revolutionary regime. Such provocations have ended in ignominious failure due to the solid and united support of the Afghan, people, particularly the agricultural labourers and the working peasants, to the revolutionary government.
The twenty second National Conference of the All India Kisan Sabha pledges full solidarity and support of the multi- millioned Indian peasantry to its Afghan brethern and wishes them full success in carrying forward and further consolidating the revolution which is bound to become a beacon of new light for fundamental social transformations in, other countries of Asia, particularly of the Indian. Sub-Continent, which have long historical ties with the valiant people of Afghanistan.
GREETINGS TO THE IRANIAN REVOLUTION
The twenty second National Conference of the All India Kisan Sabha hails the democratic revolution of the people of Iran which has put to an end the hated autocratic and oppressive regime of the discredited Shah Reja Pahlavi, restored democratic liberties to the Iranian people, above all to the workers and peasants, and thereby opened the path for the peaceful democratic development of Iran.
The AIKS wishes full success to the people, and above all to the workers and peasants of Iran, in their struggle for freedom, peace, democracy, social advance and a better life for the common people.
ON THE CHINESE AGGRESSION AGAINST VIETNAM
The twenty second National Conference of the All India Kisan Sabha strongly condemns the Chinese aggression against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.
This aggression, started with the inglorious objective of “teaching lesson” to the heroic people of Vietnam, because they refused to submit to the hegemonistic dictates of the reactionary clique of the Peking leadership, now working in shameless collusion with the US. imperialists, has shocked the conscience of the entire progressive humanity.
The AIKS, which has always stood with the heroic people of Vietnam in their prolonged and glorious struggle against the French and subsequently the American imperialists, reaffirms its full solidarity with the fighting people, including the peasants of Vietnam, and wishes them full success in the defense of their national independence and territorial integrity and in the construction of socialism which will act as an inspiring example to the peoples of the world, and specially of Asia and India.
ON THE RECOGNITION OF KAMPUCHEA
The twenty second National Conference of the All India Kisan Sabha deplores the failure of the Government of India to accord full recognition to the legitimate government of Kampuchea, formed by the National Front for Salvation of the Motherland led by Heng Samrin.
The AIKS deplores the double standards adopted by the Government of India in according recognition to the new Government of Uganda while denying the same to Kampuchea, though the latter was formed several months earlier and is stable.
The AIKS hopes that even now the Government of India will refuse to fall prey to the machinations of the imperialists and accord full recognition to the Government of Kampuchea led by Heng Samrin so that its representatives can take their rightful place in the forthcoming conference of non-aligned countries to be held at Havana and thus prevent the repetition of comic drama enacted by the discredited Pol-Pot gang at Colombo, which has been disowned and thrown out by the Kampuchean people.
ON THE UNIFICATION OF KOREA
The twenty second National Conference of the All India Kisan Sabha strongly condemns the continued occupation of South Korea by the armed forces of US. Imperialism which has been propping up the reactionary dictatorship of Pak Jung Hee and obstructing the constructive efforts of the Peoples’ Democratic Republic of Korea for the peaceful solution of the Korean problem.
The AIKS pledges the full support and solidarity of the Indian peasantry with the working class, the peasantry and the working people of Korea, in their historic struggle for the construction of Socialism in northern part of their country and for the unification of their motherland.
The Conference demands the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of US. armed forces from Korea and immediate negotiations for the peaceful unification of Korea without any outside interference.
REPORT ON THE DECISIONS OF THE COMMISSION ON RESOLUTION ON GENERAL SECRETARY’S REPORT
The Commission on the resolution on the General Secretary’s Report on the activities of the Central Kisan Committee (CKC) met under the president ship of Comrade Sarjoo Pandey, The President, Dr. Z. A. Ahmad also attended the commission meeting. More than 100 delegates attended its session.
After a preliminary discussion, the Commission proceeded to consideration of the resolution section by section and para by para. A number of amendments were adopted, the more important of which are indicated below:
i. Addition of new section I giving a brief summary of the movements conducted since the Bhatinda Conference,
ii. Deletion of the last para of the old section VI dealing with Kerala.
iii. Replacement of paras 2 & 3 on page 12 by the last para on page 14 and 1st para on page 15 of the printed supplement to the General Secretary’s report.
iv. Reformulation of the slogan of remunerative prices, recognition of its great importance for the mass of he cultivating peasantry.
v. Re-ordering the main planks of the Kisan Sabha activities by putting the issue of remunerative prices first, agricultural production as second, and land to the tiller as third.
vi. Decision to issue a separate declaration calling upon the peasantry to launch a country wide struggle for remunerative prices. The Commission rejected a few amendments. It decided to refer live question of Kisan Sabha Flag to the Sub-Committee to be appointed by this Conference.
Details of the amendments accepted will be indicated orally.
INDRADEEP SlNHA Convener
REPORT ON THE PROCEEDINGS AND DECISIONS OF THE COMMISSION ON THE REMUNERATIVE PRICES FOR AGRICULTURAL PRODUCE
The Commission met to-day, the 9th June, 1979 at 9 AM. 71 (Seventy-one) delegates from various states participated. A presidium consisting of three Comrades- E. Gopala Krishna Menon, Kerala, Suraj Prasad, Bihar, and Nazar Singh, Punjab, conducted the proceedings of the commission.
It was decided to take up first the general resolution on remunerative prices for agricultural produce, discuss and finalize it and then take up resolutions crop wise as cotton, sugarcane, jute, rubber, coconut, etc., one by one.
The resolution was put before the house by the convener. The discussion was to be started, when a Comrade from Bengal came with a parallel resolution, which was allowed to be put before the house. It was put and explained by the mover.
The Convener, opposed the resolution with proper explanation and requested the mover to withdraw it. There was insistence for taking a vote, and it was voted out, Then began the discussion on the official resolution. Eight (8) comrades spoke on the resolution. The discussion was lively and valuable, giving experience of different states and different crops. Then amendments were invited.
Thirty two (32) amendments were submitted, some of them were similar and on the same issue. However, all were taken page and para wise. Some of them were only in the form of addition of the names of the crops which were accepted without discussion.
In all, thirteen (13) amendments have been accepted and incorporated in the original resolution. Bulk of these amendments pertain to the “Demand” portion of the resolution.
After finalizing the general resolution, the Commission took the resolutions crop wise as resolution on cotton, sugar-cane, jute etc. There was one amendment in the resolution on cotton in the form of addition of qualities of cotton and their prices. There were two amendments in the resolution on sugar-cane, which dealt only with details, hence were rejected as unnecessary.
The Commission adjourned with thanks on behalf of the convener, for the rich contribution and co-operation in conducting the proceedings.
Chhajju Mal Vaid Convener
REPORT “OH THE STRUGGLE OF LAND REFORMS” DOCUMENT
The Document “On the struggle for land reforms” was discussed in the commission. Twenty seven comrades, belonging to Orissa, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Kerala, Karnataka and Punjab states participated in the discussion. With some amendments incorporated in the original document, it was adopted unanimously, except para first, in which Comrade Surat Singh from Haryana moved to delete the words “many of them Harijans” but it was not accepted by the majority. Many of the amendments moved and accepted were either of a verbal nature, or minor which are not being given here in this report. Still we give a few below:
Page 2, para 2, line 10: add at the end “including recovery and taking over all Benami surplus land as well as distribution of all surplus land.
Amendments in guiding principles:
- Line 3: Add after lands “including those of trusts, as well as so-called tank fisheries as in West Bengal.
- Line 2: Add after tenants “of various categories”.
- Line 3: Add after peasants “or representatives of various mass organizations of agricultural labourers and poor and middle peasants”.
Add as (10) Replacement of the existing land revenue system by a system of graded land tax exempting all in-economic holdings (11): Stop use of police interference against land reforms and legitimate peasant movements and withdrawal of all criminal cases against agricultural labourers and poor peasants lodged by the police in collusion with landlords and userers in order to suppress their legitimate struggles.
(12) In case of evacuee land vested in the state, no compensation or price should be demanded from the landless or poor peasants who are allottees.
Add at the end: As a part of this movement poor peasants in co-operation with Agricultural workers, should not only resist all evictions by the landlords or userers, but also go forward to occupy surplus land of big and notorious landlords and thus force the Government to take over and distribute all surplus lands.
Biswanath Mukherjee Convener
REPORT ON THE PROCEEDINGS OF THE COMMISSION ON AGRICULTURE PRODUCTION
The Commission began its proceedings at 9 AM. to-day the 9th June, 1979 and continued till 12 Noon. About fifty delegates from various states participated.
After the introduction of the resolution by the convener, there was a preliminary general discussion for an hour. After that the resolution was taken para by para and amendments were invited.
The main amendments adopted by the commission are as under:
- Para 2nd be brought as para 1st and be written again in more explanatory terms so as to show how the so-called glut of agricultural production is only a subterfuge, a propaganda device of the big traders, industrial magnets ad monopolists, only to depress the prices of agricultural produce. While actually, the production is far short of our National needs of self- sufficiency.
- Instead of marking the demands alphabetically, they should be numbered as one, two, three…
- Eight demands were further added to the original draft; they were from now worked as 13 to 20. There were also some verbal changes in the demand portion of the resolution.
Alagiri Sami Convener
RESOLUTION ON THE REPORT ON THE ACTIVITIES OF THE CKC SINCE THE BHANTINDA CONFERENCE
(Adopted by 22nd. National Conference of AIKS held at Vijayawada on June 7-10, 1979)
The twenty-second National Conference of the All India Kisan Sabha, meeting at Vijayawada (Andhra Pradesh) from 7th to 10th June, 1979, after discussing the “Report on the activities of the CKC since the Bhatinda Conference” presented by the General Secretary, has reached the following unanimous conclusions:
I. The twenty first. National Conference of the All India Kisan Sabha was held at Bhatinda (Punjab) on 19th to 23rd September, 1973. The period since the Bhatinda conference falls into three distinct sub-periods, each with its own specific situation and specific features as far as the Kisan movement is concerned.
They can be briefly indicated as follows:
a. During the pre-emergency period (October 1973 to June 1975), the agricultural situation was characterized by an acute shortage of food grains and agricultural raw materials leading to galloping inflation, large scale hoarding, profiteering and black marketing and heavy imports on terms detrimental to the nationally accepted policy of independent economic development. Indira Gandhi sought to meet this crisis by surrendering to the pressure of big landlords and big capitalists at home and the World Bank—IMF combine and the American imperialists abroad. She gave up the wholesale trade in food-grains, slackened internal procurement, refused to take action against hoarders and profiteers and fixed un-remunerative prices for the peasants’, produce, thereby enabling the big merchants and capitalists to loot both the peasants and the consumers.
The AIKS sought to meet this situation by building a powerful anti-hoarding and anti-price-rise movement in cooperation with other organizations, wnich rose to the level of statewide bundhs in Bihar, Punjab and Rajasthan between January-March, 1974 and a countrywide anti-hoarding movement in 1974, conducted in cooperation with other fraternal organizations. This compelled the government to take some limited action against the hoarders, but the developing united movements soon got divided due to the lining up of the major left parties behind the two rival bourgeois combinations that were formed in the context of the movement for the so-called “Total Revolution” launched by Jayaprakash Narayan. That is one reason why the massive demonstrations held at Patna, Lucknow, Jul- lundhar, Delhi and Jaipur during the winter of 1974-75 failed to produce the desired impact.
b. The AIKS had joined hands with other fraternal organizations to launch a massive All India Land Struggle in the form of occupation of the surplus, benami and illegally grabbed lands of the big landlords from July 1, 1975. But after the declaration of the emergency on 25th June, 1975, this struggle was abandoned and substituted by organized mass pressure for the speedy and popular implementation of those items of Indira Gandhi’s twenty point programme which related to the implementation of land reforms, expansion of irrigation and electricity and of the public distribution system.
Kisan Sabha units utilized the extremely limited civil liberties for mobilising the masses through conferences, conventions and finally an All India Padayatra campaign, conducted jointly with other fraternal organizations in course of which 2,30,000 volunteers covered 50,000 villages in 270 districts of the country. And during the emergency, prices of agricultural products fell in the primary markets while the prices of industrial products did not fall, causing grave loss to peasant producers.
Towards the end of 1976. the Kisan Sabha joined hands with other fraternal organizations, despite the emergency, on the twin demands of remunerative prices for agricultural produce and supply of food grains and essential consumer goods at cheap rates to the common people, including peasants. A charier of demands was drawn up and submitted to the Prime Minister! but, before the movement could be launched, the emergency was lilted on 17th January, 1977 and elections to Parliament ordered. This cranged the entire situation.
c. The post-emergency period brought a variegated political pattern characterized by Janata rule at the centre and in most of the states and governments of diverse character in other states. Except the three states of Kerala, West Bengal and Tripura ruled by the United Front and the Left Front respectively, the situation in all other states was characterized by a mounting wave of “atrocities” against Harijan, tribals and other sections of the rural poor against which a massive movement was built up by the Kisan Sabha in cooperation with the BKMU, culminating in the historic march to Delhi on 20th March 1979.
The second development was a steep fall (absolute or relative) in the prices of the major agricultural commodities and the growing disparity between the prices of agricultural and industrial products. The AIKS, often in cooperation with various other peasant and pro-peasant organisations and groups, conducted a recurring mass movement, particularly on the question of sugarcane, cotton, jutt, tobacco, potatoes and in some areas even of paddy and wheat, which assumed the forms of conventions, conferences, dharnas, gheraos, satyagrahas, etc.
But the movement remained largely local and sectional, weakened by political divisions and organizational frictions among the main peasant organizations and pro-peasant political parties and groups. Only in Tamilnadu a united movement conducted by five farmers’ organizations, assumed the character of a prolonged and militant mass peasant struggle, rising to the level of barricading of roads, boycott of towns, statewide bandhs, repeated clashes with the police, etc. The government has announced concessions amounting to Rs. 40 crores; but the peasants are not satisfied and the movement continues.
The Kisan Sabha also conducted campaigns for relief in flood, cyclone, and drought affected areas, held massive demonstrations in Gauhati, Calcutta, Patna, Bhubaneshwar, Lucknow, Jaipur, Nagpur etc,, in 1977-78, in which a large number of tribal peasants participated indicating a new awakening in the tribal peasantry.
Summing up the experience, it can be* stated that a new consciousness is spreading fast among different sections of the peasantry, and after many years, the organized Kisan movement has registered a definite upward trend and conditions are favourable for its rapid growth in future. In order to understand the economic, social and political factors behind this awakened consciousness and activity among the peasant masses, we proceed to analyse them below.
II. The five and half years that have elapsed since the Bhatinda conference, have been characterised by two major developments which have deeply affected the lives and activities of the peasantry. Firstly, the exploitation of the rural toiling masses at the hands of the big commercial and industrial bourgeoisie, headed by the monopolists and multi-nationals, has been intensified. Secondly, the offensive of the landlords, the usurers and the other rural vested interests against the landless and land poor peasants and the small and middle peasants, has assumed the form of a mounting wave of “atrocities” against Harijans, tribals and other sections of the rural poor. This intensified exploitation and oppression has impelled the rural toiling masses to move into action in order to defend their vital interests.
The exploitation of the cultivating peasantry at the hands of the big industrial and commerical bourgeoisie through the mechanism of unequivalent exchange on the capitalist commodity market has been growing in the post-independence period, as an inevitable consequence of the development of capitalism in the country, and the still more rapid growth of monopoly capital in industry, trade and finance, Nationalisation of scheduled commercial banks, insurance companies, the coal industry, and certain other industrial units have been unable to halt this process.
The outbreak of the world recessionary crisis of capitalism in the second half of 1973, which was described as “the most severe recession in four decades” by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), impelled the monopoly bourgeoisie dominating the economies of the imperialist countries, to pass on a part of the burden of the crisis to “developing” countries like India through the mechanism of unequivalent exchange in the international capitalist commodity market. This resulted in gross disparity between the export prices of goods sold by India and the import prices of goods purchased by her from the imperialist countries. Consequently, between 1972-73 and 1976-77, India had eo export 50 per cent more goods to purchase the same quantum of industrial products sold by the imperialist monopolies.
Moreover, this world recessionary crisis of capitalism coincided with an acute shortage of food grains and industrial raw- materials in India, caused by poor crops in four consecutive years. The food and raw material crisis in our country was seized by the U.S. imperialists to intensify their exploitation and to impose on the government of India neocolonialist policies of slowing down the pace of industrialisation, specially the building of key and heavy industries in the state sector, and of opting for an “export oriented” and “rural oriented” economy, permanently dependent on imperialism.
These international and national developments, apart from their political repurcussions such as the imposition of “internal emergency”, suppression of all democratic liberties and compulsary sterilization, led to the adoption of anti-people economic policies like wage-cut for the workers, price-cut for the peasants and “freedom of trade” to the hoarders and profiteers which was symbolized by the abondonment of wholesale trade in wheat. Consequently, while the prices received by the peasants registered a sharp fall, the prices paid by them for maunfactured industrial goods including agricultural inputs continued to rise. The peasants lost Rs. 1500 and 1700 crores respectively during the first and the second year of the emergency while the consumers continued to pay high prices in the retail market. The only gainers were the industrialists and the merchants and their imperialist customers.
Thus, while the burden of the world capitalist crisis was passed on by the imperialists to India, an additional burden was passed on to the peasantry due to the increased grip of the big industrial and commencal bourgeoisie over the Indian economy. This was one of the primary factors which impelled vast masses of the peasantry to overthrow the oppressive and dictatorical regime of Indira Gandhi.
III. The Janata Government which rose to power on the crest of a popular revolt against the oppressive and dictatorial rule of Indira Gandhi, despite the loud damagogic claims of according “topmost priority” to agriculture, has bowed even more shamelessly to the dictates of the imperialists and monopolists and conferred on them full freedom to loot the peasants and the people under the discredited banner of “free trade”. Controls have been dismantled one after another, activities of state purchase and sale agencies have been systematically curtailed, imports of raw materials (like cotton and artificial fibres) have been allowed “liberally” with the objective of depressing internal prices and huge credits have been sanctioned by the nationalized banks to the private commercial sector to corner stocks of agricultural commodities of which the peasants are compelled to make “distress sales” in the absence of purchases by the official procurement agencies. Meanwhile, prices of maunfactured goods, both agricultural inputs and essential consumer goods bought by peasants, have continued to rise higher and higher, unhampered by any price control. Manipulate the prices of agricultural commodities to keep them low, de-control the prices of manufactured goods to allow them to rise: such has been the economic motto of the Janata Government.
The peasants who have performed a great patriotic duty by increasing agricultural production steadily during the last few years, instead of being rewarded, have been severely punished by the Janata rulers. Increased production has caused a “glut” in the market, primarily due to the poverty of the common people, 48 per cent of whom live below the “poverty line”. Increased production has meant decline in incomes for the mass of peasants whose economy has been badly damaged or even ruined. At many places, peasants have burnt or otherwise destroyed their sugarcane, tobacco, cotton, potatoes and even paddy out of disgust and despair.
This open loot of the peasantry has been further intensified after Choudhury Charan Sing’s co-called “Kisan Budget”, which has sent the prices of manufactured goods spiralling higher and higher, thereby widening the disparity between the prices of agricultural and industrial commodities still further. The losses incurred by peasants during the last two years, runs into thousands of crores of rupees per year.
IV. Equally inglorious has been the role of the bourgeois governments, whether of the Congress or of the Janata variety, in the sphere of implementation of land reforms.
The Congress rulers have betrayed the sacred pledge of the national movement to abolish landlordism and distribute surplus lands among the tillers. After enacting laws during the first decade after independence, for the “acquisition” of statutory landlordism (zamindaries) with the payment of fat compensation, the Congress governments have adopted a conscious policy of sabotaging the implementation of ceiling and tenancy laws. Despite loud noise about “Socialism” and “Garibi Hatao”, and a plethora of land reform laws and “programmes”, the actual results have remained dismally poor. Thus, during the thirty years of 1947-77, all the state governments taken together have distributed a total of 26.7 lakh acres of land out of a potential surplus of 215 lakh acres even in 1971-72, as estimated by the Planning Commission. If we leave out of account Kerala, West Bengal and Jammu and Kashmir, the performance of the congress governments would look even more miserable.
The Janata Governments, far from putting an end to this infamous policy, have put the whole programme of land reforms on the reverse gear. Deputy Prime Minister Charan Singh has declared ceilings to be a “delusion”. Prime Minister Morarji Desai has shamelessly “advised” the Andhra Pradesh Government to exempt from ceilings about 3,000 acres of surplus lands owned by the notorious Raja of Challapalli The Orissa and Guiarat governments have initiated legislation to water down the ceifine and tenancy laws.
Emboldened by this reactionary policy of the Janata leaders, the landlords, and sometimes even the rich peasants, have launched a ferocious and bloody offensive against the landless and the land-poor peasants, in order to snatch away the tiny patches of land still under their possession or allotted to them during the last few years as a result of prolonged and heroic struggles and sacrifices by the peasantry. This is the primary factor behind the mounting wave of “atrocities” against Harijans and other sections of the rural poor, which have multiplied more than two-fold under the Janata Raj.
V. Quite different has been the performance of the United Front Government of Kerala which has nationalised 7 lakh acres of forest land owned by the landlords, taken over 55,000 acres of surplus land owned by a British company, distributed house- sites among nearly three lakh agricultural labourers, conferred right of full ownership on more than 27 lakh tenants, distributed over 4 lakh acres of government waste lands and distributed over 45,000 acres of ceiling surplus lands. Even if we leave aside the forest lands and government waste lands, (4 lakh acres) the other measures of land reform have meant the transfer of ownership of over more than 20 lakh acres of land out of a total cultivated area of 40 lakh acres in Kerala. No state government can claim to have established such a creditable record in the sphere of land reforms.
Equally creditable has been the performance of the Kerala Government in certain other matters concerning the peasantry. Jt has fixed a remunerative price for paddy and topioca at Rs. 120/- and Rs. 40/- per quintal respectively and set apart a subsidy of Rs. 5 crores in the state budget, so that consumers do not have to pay a higher price. Similarly, the Kerala government has made provision for a 3 per cent subsidy on cooperative loans advanced to the- peasants, so that now the latter have to pay an interest of 8 per cent only.
The Left Front government of West Bengal has initiated moves in the right direction by denying police help to landlords in harvesting disputes, thereby ensuring peaceful harvesting by the share croppers over major part of the land cultivated by them. It has also started a special drive for recording the names of share croppers, though only 6.5 lakhs cut of an estimated total of 35 lakhs share croppers have been recorded so far through the special drive. It has not made much headway in the further implementation of the land ceiling laws or taken any step for ensuring remunerative prices for agricultural produce.
The performance of the Left Front Government of Tripura is still less significant, except its proposal to establish a tribal, district council in the tribal majority areas. Despite these limited results of the last two years, it may be hoped that the Left Front Governments of West Bengal and Tripura will do their best to emulate the Kerala example and speed up the work of implementation of land reform laws in their states too, and also ensure remunerative prices for jute, tobacco, potatoes, wheat, paddy, etc. Successful implementation of land reforms in the states ruled by United Front governments, composed of left and democratic forces, plays an inspiring and galvanizing role in the development of the peasant movement for land reforms in the rest of the country.
VI. All the features of the agrarian situation described above— the acquisition of zamindari interests after the payment of fat compensation the sabotage of further land reforms, the mass drive for eviction of tenants and allottees of government lands, the intensified exploitation of the agricultural sector by the big commercial and industrial bourgeoisie and, last but not the least, the intensified exploitation of the peasantry by the monopoly bourgeoisie of the advanced capitalist countries— flow logically from the narrow and selfish class policies pursued by the national bourgeoisie in the post-independence period.
The bourgeoisie was opposed to the elimination of all forms of feudal and semi-feudal exploitation lest it might encourage the toiling masses to attack the foundations of bourgeois property as well. Hence, it pursued the narrow and selfish class policy of curbing some of the worst forms of feudal exploitation and then gradually transforming the feudal landlords into capitalist landlords and developing the economy of rich peasants so as to increase agricultural production and create a stable class base; for its rule in the rural areas.
This policy did have the effect of freeing about 20 million peasants from the clutches of the feudal landlords and conferring full proprietory rights over 54 million acres of land on the protected tenants against at the payment of a purchase price which only the well-to-do peasants could afford to do. The continuous rise in prices in the post-independence period and the steep fall in the value of the rupee, drastically reduced the burden of the fixed money rent that these peasants were still required to pay and thus created the possibility of their accumulating surpluses and also converting them into capital.
Various state capitalist measures, like expansion of irrigation, electricity, rural roads, agricultural extension services and, finally, the “green revolution” based on high yielding varieties of seeds and intensive use of chemical fertilisers, pesticides and improved agricultural implements, were specifically designed to help these well-to-do peasants, as well as the feudal and semi-feudal landlords who were increasingly taking to self cultivation by evicting tenants en masse. Chronic food shortages and high black market prices acted as an additional incentive to this development.
The transition to self-cultivation by the semi-feudal landlords meant the transformation of th efeudal mode of production, based on the exploitation of the tenant by appropriating his surplus produce in the form of rent, to the capitalist mode of production, based on the exploitation of the agricultural labourer by appropriating his surplus produce in. the form of surplus calue (profit). The insatiable greed for profit acted as the motive force impelling the landlords towards eviction of more and mere tenants by means of deceit and fraud, blood and terror. Since feudalism was not abolished, root and branch, it continued to exist, side by side with developing capitalism, and landlords and to a certain extent even rich peasants, continued to combine capitalist exploitation with feudal exploitation in the: form of sharecropping, usury, debt-slavery, bondage, caste and social oppression, etc. Thus, peasants and agricultural labourers suffered from the forst forms of both feudal as well as capitalist exploitation.
It is this narrow and selfish class policy of the bourgeoisie that is responsible for the calculated sabotage! of land reforms, mass eviction of tens of millions of share croppers and other tenants, the decline in the percentage of “cultivators” front 50 per cent in 1951 to 43.4 per cent in: 1971 and the corresponding increase in the percentage of agricultural labourers from 19.7 per cent to 26.3 per cent in the total work force during the same period. A comparative study of the results of 8th round (1953-54) and 26th Round (1971-72) on the National Sample Survey shows, that during these eighteen years, despite the grant of ownership rights to non-proprietory tenants over 54 million acres of land and the distribution of 1.3 million acres of surplus land, the percentage of peasants owning less than 5 acres of land, or owning no1 land, increased from 74 per cent to 78 per cent of the rural households. Results of the “Rural Debt and Investment Survey” conducted by the Reserve Rank of India, as on 30th June, 1971, showed that while less than 4 per cent of the house-holds, owning assets of Rs. 50,000 or more per house-hold, owned over 31 per cent of the rural assets, as many as 70 per cent of the house-holds , owning less than Rs. 10,000 per house-hold, owned less than 20 per cent of the total assets. Even the Planning Commission has admitted that despite certain measures of land reforms, the concentration of land and wealth has increased in the rural areas.
The results of this reactionary bourgeois policy of developing agriculture along the landlord-capitalist path may be summed up as follows:
i. Chornic agrarian crisis, lasting for nearly three decades, expressing itself in recurring shortages of food grains and agricultural raw materials, necessitating heavy imports costing about Rs. 10,000 crores of rupees in foreign exchange, in addition to the humiliating imports under U.S. Public Law 480 at the cost of national honour and independent economic development.
ii. Rapid growth of inequality in the rural areas, with accumulation of poverty and unemployment at one pole and concentration of land, capital and wealth at the other. For example- pie, even in 1971-72, barely 10 per cent of the rural households cultivated 53 per cent of the land, while 77 per cent of the households cultivated only 24 per cent of the land.
iii. Narrowing of the home market both for industry as well as agriculture, so that even a moderate growth in agricultural production and three consecutive good crops during the recent years, have created a situation of “glut” for many food crops even though 48 per cent of the rural people do not get even two square meals per day and other minimum necessities of life.
iv. Growth and consolidation of a class of wealthy capitalist landlords and prosperous rich peasants, monopolizing the ownership of about 50 per cent of the cultivated land and over 60 per cent of rural assets and acting as the main bastions of social-political reaction in the countryside.
v. Subordination of the agrarian economy to intensified exploitation by the big commercial and industrial bourgeoisie, headed by the monopolists and multi-nationals.
vi. The creation of a multi-structural rural society consisting of the capitalist, the small peasant and the semi-feudal sectors, coexisting with and contending against each other within the delicate frame-work of an unstable equilibrium.
vii. Sharpening of the twin contradictions (a) Between the landlords and rich peasants on the one side and landless labourers and poor, small and middle peasants on the other; and (b) between the entire mass of peasantry (including the rich peasants) and the capitalist landlords on the one side and the big commercial and industrial bourgeiisie headed by the monopolists and multi-nationals, on the other.
viii. A deep-seated crisis of the capitalist path, expressing itself in growing poverty and unemployment despite certain economic growth, a chronic crisis of resources and of foreign exchange, crisis of the plan and planning policies, uncontrolled inflation, black-marketing and black-money circulation, rapid growth of corruption and corrupting influence of black-money on the political and administrative apparatus and, last but not the least, mass discontent resulting in chronic political instability constituting a grave threat to democracy.
ix. Because of their failure to remove the basic causes of this growing mass discontent, the recourse by the bourgeois leaders, specially the Janata leaders to the dangerous game of inciting communal, casteist and linguistic animosities, which pose a grave threat to the unity and integrity of the country.
VII. The net result of the changes in the agrarian economy during the post independence period is that, though the capitalist mode of production has become dominant over the major part of the country, but it has not yet conquered the entire field of agriculture. Similarly, though the feudal mode of production has rapidly declined except in some more backward, specially in the tribal areas, yet it has not vanished and continues to; exist in the form of strong remnants which co-exist with the capitalist mode of production. And finally, the disintegration of the feudal mode1 of production has, simultaneously, given birth to a sizeable small peasant sector, which though based on the mode of small commodity production, is neither feudal nor capitalist, and yet is subject to the laws of the capitalist market.
This transitional, unstable, and multi-structural character of the Indian agrarian economy poses two important problems relating to the strategy and tactics of the agrarian movement. Pirstly, what is the future of the small peasant economy under capitalism which is already the biggest sector in agriculture and is bound to gather greater and greater strength in future? And secondly: what is the perspective of the agrarian revolution in India today and what should be its strategy and tactics?
Bourgeois rulers, both of the Congress as well as the Janata variety, together with their economists, agronomists and administrators, have been energetically propagating the “theory” that the “new technology” (i.e. of the “green revolution”) is “scale neutral” and, therefore, can make even a small farm “viable”, if judiciously combined with “mixed farming” that is, with dairy, poultry, fishery or similar other activities. Theoretically, this proposition is untenable; because the “new technology” is an “energy intensive” technology; and deployment of the requisite doses of energy is dependent, not on the availability of human labour which the small peasant possesses in abundance, but on the availability of the requisite: amount of capital for the purchase of water, fertilizers, pesticides, hybrid seeds and improved agricultural implements which, the small peasant woefully lacks. Statistical evidence proves that these capital resources, including institutional credit, have already been largely monopolized by the capitalist landlords, and rich peasants and hence the small peasant cannot compete with them. Moreover, lacking in holding power and other resources, the small peasant has to sell in the cheapest market and buy in the dearest market and suffer a net loss in both the operations.
As for “mixed farming”, that toi requires some land, apart from capital. For example, according to dairy experts, one acre of land is needed for each animal that is reared. And if land is in short supply, as is the case with the small peasants, then both the peasant and his animals have to starve till either or both of them go bankrupt.
The best refutation of this bourgeois fable is the practical experience of Punjab where the “Green Revolution” has reached the highest water mark in India. In Punjab, the number of rural households not cultivating land has increased from 38.92 per cent in, 1952-53, to 58.61 per cent in 1971-72. Concentration of land and capital is so great that in 1971-72, peasants operating less than 5 acres of land per household or not operating any land, constituted 71.45 per cent of the rural households but operated only 8.79 per cent of the land. At the other end, rich peasants and landlords, operating more than 10 acres of land per household, constituted. 14.71 per cent of the households but operated 65.83 per cent of the land. Similarly, households owning assets of Rs. 50,000 and above per household, constituted only 21.8 per cent of the households but owned 74.03 per cent of the total assets. During the last eight years, when the “green revolution” has really blossomed, this concentration must have increased still further.
It is one of the basic laws of capitalism that it splits up, divides and finally destroys the small peasants, as it destroys the cottage industries and handicrafts. That is, why there are no peasants, or not many peasants, in the advanced capitalist countries— which have, in the main, only two classes in agriculture: the big capitalist farmers and the landless agricultural labourers. Indian agriculture is bound to march along the same read if it continues to develop along the capitalist path, even though it may not be able to reach the stage of mature capitalist development, because of its failure to break loose from the strangehold of the world capitalist division, of labour dominated by imperialism. The Tamilnad crisis, which has caught the economy of small peasants in the vice of ruin, is a living example of the operation of this law against which they have been conducting a militant struggle during the last two- three years.
Marx noted three factors which lead to the downfall and ruin of the small peasant economy: They are: unremunerative prices, high state taxation, and usury by private moneylenders as well as by banks and cooperatives. He made the following phophetic pronouncement more than a hunlred years ago:— “Usury and a taxation system must impoverish it everywhere. The expenditure of capital In the price of land withdraws this capital from cultivation. An infinite fragmentation of the. means of production, and isolation of the producers themselves. Monstrous waste of human energy. Progressive deterioration of conditions of production and increased prices of means of production—an inevitable law of proprietorship of parcels. Calamity of seasonal aboundance for this mode of production” (Capital, Vol. Ill—page 807.)
Thus, the small peasants have a very bleak future under capitalism. Hence, it is the historic responsibility of the Kisan Sabha to fight for the defence of the land and the independent economy of the small peasants and convince, them that they can defend their existence only if they fight under the banner of the Kisan Sabha in alliance with rural and urban workers, who are fighting for taking the country along the non capitalist path of development to socialism. Only socialism can guarantee to the middle and small peasants the inalienable and permanent right over their land and lift their scattered, backward and petty agriculture to the level of modern scientific farming, organized in cooperatives of equal associated peasant producers. The small peasant can remain a peasant only by taking to this path, otherwise be is bound to be reduced to the status of an agricultural labourer under capitalism.
VIII. The All India Kisan Sabha was born with the twin slogans of “Abolition of landlordism” and “Land to the tiller”. Those slogans were not only closely inter-related but also in-separately linked with the struggle for national independence from the British imperialists who were the main props of feudal landlordism and princely states in India. Thus, the struggle for land and the struggle for power were closely inter-linked in the pre-independence period.
They remain so inter-linked even today, though in a different situation because of the changed historical context. Historical experience of the post-independence period has proved that the national bourgeoisie, either of the Congress or of the Janata variety, is incapable of giving land to the tiller by implementing radical agrarian reforms, because of its close links and alliance with the landlords. Historical experience has also proved that really progressive land reforms can be implemented, even under the existing political set up, provided parties, and groups loyal to the interests of the peasantry and the working class come to power even in one state, as happened in Kerala. A similar possibility has arisen in West Bengal and. Tripura, provided the Left Front Governments show the necessary foresight and determination to implement radical land reforms.
“Lack of political will” on the part of the government and “absence of mass pressure from the beneficiaries” have been cited as the two basic causes of the failure of land reforms in India in the post-independence period. In a class society, the political will of a government is nothing but the expression of the class interests of the ruling class. The bourgeois governments, either of the Congress or of the Janata variety, are found lacking in the political will to implement land reforms, because such reforms now do not conform to the class interests of the bourgeoisie, which has emerged as a landed power in the rural areas. Radical land reforms will definitely mean the break up of the big. farms of the capitalist landlords. Similarly, they will mean conferment of. ownership rights, on tenants and sharecroppers, thereby preventing any further transformation of feudal landlords into capitalist landlords. Hence, the bourgeoisie is opposed to such reforms. Hence, it does not stand for giving land to the tillers; on the contrary, it is aiding and abetting the landlords in snatching away more and more lands from the tillers and concentrating them in their own hands.
Hence, now the struggle for radical land reforms can only be carried forward as an integral part of the struggle for general democratic transformation of the country, and can achieve its final success only with the victory of the anti-feudal, anti imperialist and anti-monopoly democratic revolution. Radical agrarian measures of Left-Democratic governments like those of Kerala, West Bengal and Tripura, if implemented with the help of the rural toiling masses, will a play a big role in advancing the struggle for land reforms to a new stage and in spreading it to other parts of the country.
The class alliance in the struggle for radical land reforms today can no longer be the unity of the entire peasantry, except in certain very backward areas, for the rich peasantry is no longer interested in such struggles. Hence, the class alliance in such struggles has to be redefined. While firmly relying on the landless and poor and small peasants and solidly uniting with the middle peasants, we have to try to win over the rich peasants or at least to neutralize them.
And such neutralization is possible, because the rich peasants, as one of the major producers of agricultural commodities, are increasingly being subjected to the exploitation of the capitalist market dominated by monopolists and multi-nationals. They are at a disadvantage in comparison with the land- fords, because of the comparatively smaller size of their holdings and smaller capital resources at their command. The capitalist landlords will be able to face the exploitation of the market by further reducing their cost of production through recourse to greater mechanization and more capital intensive technology. Hence, in periods of price-depression or natural calamities, even a section of rich peasants are likely to face the prospects of incurring heavy losses and being pushed aown to tne status or middle peasants. This position can be utilized by the Kisan movement for winning over the active support of the rich peasants in the struggle for remunerative prices, and to that extent, their hostility towards land reforms can be neutralized. From this assessment of the current agrarian situation flows the necessity of adding one more fundamental slogan to the two original slogans of the kisan movement. That slogan is: “Abolition of monopolies and payment of remunerative price to the peasant.” Under the present agrarian setup, this slogan assumes greatest importance for the mass of the cultivating peasantry.
Hence we can reiterate Bhatinda Slogan of “land to the tiller, fair price to the peasant and food to the nation”.
For the realization of these three slogans, we have to adopt the tactical line of a diversified mass movement consisting of the following three main planks:
i. For remunerative prices for agricultural produce, so as to fully cover the cost of production, including a fair remuneration for the peasants’ labour; and for full parity between the prices of agricultural and industrial products, between the prices of inputs and output of agriculture and between the prices paid and the prices received by the peasantry;
ii. for increasing agricultural production by improving the husbandry of the poor, small and middle peasants through a policy of preferential, aids, including credit and other inputs, to them.
iii. for radical land reforms and land to the tiller.
One major change, brought about by the economic development of the post-independence period, is that the big industrial and commercial bourgeoisie, headed by the monopolists and multinationals, has emerged as the main exploiter of the peasantry, leaving the old feudal landlord far behind, whose capacity to exploit the peasantry has rapidly declined. Hence, the edge of the agrarian movement has to be specifically directed against the monopolists, the multinationals, the landlords, the usurers and the bourgeois leaders standing behind them.
IX. This new tactical orientation in the work of the Kisan Sabha calls for a corresponding tactical orientation in its organizational policies. The AIKS was the only national organization of the Indian peasantry during the pre-independence period. It was a kind of united front organization of parties and groups belonging to various political trends but united on the main slogans of the kisan movement as well as of the national movement as advocated by its left-wing. This was the natural organizational reflection of the class unity of the broad masses of the peasantry in the struggle against feudalism and imperialism.
After the achievement of national independence and implementation of the first round of agrarian reforms by the national bourgeoisie and the general growth of capitalist relations in the Indian economy as well as in agriculture, the old unity of the peasantry has come to an end. The peasantry itself has undergone a rapid process of differentiation and is already split into three distinct classes—the rich peasants, the small and the middle peasants representing the class of independent small commodity producers, and the poor peasants representing the growing proletarianization of the lower strata of the peasantry, who have already become half proletarians partly hiring themselves •out in the villages or outside. A distinct class of agricultural labourers has already come into existence.
The disintegration of the peasantry and the rise of distinct class groups from its ranks, has found natural reflection in the disruption and even fractionalization of the old pre-independence kisan movement. This has found expression in two parallel processes—the rise of independent organizations of agricultural labourers on the one hand, and of rich peasants and capitalist landlords on the other. In many areas, these: processes have led to the rise of regional parties like the Republican Party of India, the Dalit Panthers etc. representing the interests of agricultural labourers belonging to the scheduled castes on the one hand; and regional parties like the Bharatiya Lok Dal (BLD), the Akalis, the DMK, the ADMK etc. representing the interests of the rich, peasants and, some times also of the capitalist landrods, on the other.
Political division in the communist movement has resulted in an unfortunate split in the All India Kisan Sabha with the two parallel organizations being led by the CPI and the CPI(M) respectively. There are a number of smaller, often regional and local left parties also running their small Kisan organizations. Then, there are the tribal organizations, which have a distinct character of their own. This situation has seriously weakened the Kisan movement just at a time when the need for resolute struggle for carrying forward the struggle for radical land reforms and in defence of the basic interests of the self-cultivating small and middle peasantry has become greater.
During the period since the Bhatinda Conference, the AIKS has sought to overcome these difficulties by forging unity of action among different peasant organizations and pro-peasant political parties and groups. One of the specific forms of this unity in action is the formation of the separate gorwers’ organizations—like the organizations of cane growers, cotton growers, jute growers, tobacco growers, coconut growers, rubber growers, etc. We have to develop these organizations even more vigorously as organs of movement and struggle of specific sections of the peasantry. The only care to be taken is that landlords and rich peasants are not allowed to seize the leadership of these organizations. We should try for the collective affiliation of these organizations with the AIKS wherever possible.
Another specific form of achieving unity of action among various peasant and pro-peasant organizations is to form joint committees or Councils of Action—for united struggle for the realization of specific demands. The most successful example of such unity-in-action is the joint committee of five farmers’ organizations in Tamilnadu, of which the AIKS is also a constituent, which has been conducting one of the most militant and massive struggles of the peasantry during the last two years.
Despite our persistent efforts to reach understanding with the CPI(M) led Kisan Sabha on an all India scale, such agreement has not materialized, primarily because of the unhelpful attitude of the CPI(M) led Kisan Sabha. Even the joint committees set up in a few states by the two Kisan Sabhas arc either anaemic or have ceased to exist.
Hence, the AIKS has to continue, and even intensify, its -efforts for drawing the CPI(M) led Kisan Sabha as well as other leftist pro-peasant organizations and groups, into joint action for the realization of specific demands.
The key to the success of this organizational policy, however, lies in the independent organizational strength and mobilizing capacity of our own Kisan Sabha.
It must frankly be admitted that the organized strength of the AIKS does not at all reflect its mass influence. Moreover, with the intensification of the offensive by the imperialists, monopolists and the landlords, there has been a definite revival of, and even a new rise in, the mass peasant movement in the country during the last two years. This has widened the lag between the mass influence and the organized strength of our Kisan Sabha still further.
Hence, this 22nd National Conference of the All India Kisan Sabha gives a clarion call to all units of the Kisan Sabha to rebuild and expand the AIKS as the premier national organization of the Indian peasantry.
X. The General Secretary’s report should be finalized by the new CKC after incorporating necessary amendments in the light of this resolution.
Vijayawada. June 9, 1979
ON REMUNERATIVE PRICES OF AGRICULTURAL PRODUCE
The twenty second National Conference of the All India Kisan Sabha records its grave concern at the steep fall in the prices of agricultural produce and, consequently, the growing disparity between the prices of agricultural and industrial products. This disparity is daily widening since this year’s Central Budget which has set in motion an inflationary spiral in the prices of industrial goods while the prices of agricultural commodities continue to fall. This is the net result of the so-called “Kisan Budget” presented by Choudbury Charan Singh. While peasants have been given the paltry relief of 85 crores of rupees by reduction of Rs 5 per bag in the price of urea, they will lose the huge sum of Rs 3,000/- to Rs 4,000/- crores due to this disparity in the prices of agricultural and industrial products.
The Janata Government, in-spite of its demagogic claims of according “topmost priority” to agriculture, is essentially following the reactionary and discriminatory price policies imposed by Indira Gandhi on the peasantry under cover of the emergency. Thus, between 1973-74 and 1975-76, while the wholesale index for agricultural commodities rose from 139.2 to 157.3 or by 18.1 points, the index for manufactured products rose from 139.5 to 171.2 or by 31.7 points, causing a disparity of 8.8 per cent between the two1 prices. During the second year of the Emergency (1976-77) this disparity rose to 10.5 per cent. Consequently, the peasants lost Rs 1,500 and Rs 1,700 crores respectively during the two years of the emergency, which was handed over to the big industrial and commercial bourgeoisie headed by the monopolists and the multinational who have become the new overlords of Indian economy.
The Janata Government, far from rectifying this imbalance and establishing full parity between the prices of agricultural and industrial products, has resorted to various unscrupulous methods in order to maintain and even increase this disparity. Thus, while it lifted all controls on steel, cement, paper, sugar, cotton textiles, vanaspati etc. thereby giving full freedom to the monopolists to jack up their prices, it has continued to fix the minimum support prices of major agricultural products at an unremunerative level thereby keeping them low.
It has reduced the price of sugar cane by Rs 2.50 to 3.50 per quintal, while allowing the sugar monopolists to raise sugar prices by about Rs 100/- per quintal during the current year. Similarly, it has imported large quantities of high-priced foreign cotton and artificial fibers in order to depress cotton prices while it has exonerated the textile monopolists from the statutory responsibility of manufacturing standard cloth at cheap prices and allowed them to raise cloth prices even though the prices of cotton have fallen. It has pursued similar policies with regard to jute, tobacco, coconut, edible oils, rubber, ground-nut, sugar-cane, potato etc.
With regard to food crops, whose production has registered a steady increase during the last few years due to the hard labour of the peasantry, it has resorted to the shameless tactics cf curtailing the activities of state purchase agencies like the FCI, the NAFED, the MARKFED etc. by restricting bank credit to them; and has thus created a situation of “glut” in the main producing areas, even while; consumers continue to pay high prices in the cities and deficit States, and nearly half the population does not get even two square meals per day. Maladministration in these purchase agencies and their collusion with big traders, because of their class composition, have caused havoc in the market. Because of all this, peasants growing surplus paddy, wheat, potatoes, onions, tapioca. etc., have gathered bitter experience during the last two years. Even today paddy and wheat are selling below the official prices in the main producing States. Peasants are being punished for producing more.
As a result of these unscrupulous manipulations of the Janata Government, the disparity between the prices of agricultural and industrial products has again risen to the emergency level. Thus, between March, 1977 and May, 1979, while the wholesale index of agricultural commodities has risen from 170.0 to 176.0 or by 6 points, the index for manufacturers has risen from 177.8 to 194.9 or by 17.1 points, thereby indicating a disparity of 18.9 points or roughly 10 per cent. The actual disparity is even greater, because peasants seldom get the official prices when they sell and seldom get commodities at the officially registered wholesale prices when they buy. According to computations made by the NAKED, the agriculturists lost Rs 2,300 crores on only six agricultural commodities in 1977-78. According to certain other computations made by bourgeois journals, they are likely to have lost Rs 3,500 crores during 1978-79. The current year’s loss may be even heavier.
The poor, small and middle peasants are invariably the worst sufferers from the operation of the “price scissors” in the capitalist commodity market. They have to sell when the prices rule and buy when they rise highest, thereby suffering losses in both the operations, which the rich peasants and capitalist landlords in certain cases sometimes are able to avoid. Moreover, their holdings being small, their command over capital and resources being meagre and technology inferior, their per unit cost of production is generally higher than that of rich peasants and capitalist landlords. Hence, they often face bankruptcy and ruin during periods of great disparity in agricultural and industrial prices or of “glut” in the market and consequent crash in prices.
With the increasing grip of the big commercial and industrial bourgeoisie over the rural market, disparity in prices has become one of the main forms of exploitation of the agricultural producers, above all of the working peasants, at the hands of the monopolists and multi-nationals. The example of export of jute goods to the USA and other imperialist countries proves how low prices of jute products are passed on to the peasants in the form of low prices of raw jute and even to the agricultural labourers in the form of low wages— lower than the minimum fixed by the government.
Hence, the struggle for remunerative prices for agricultural produce is essentially a struggle against one of the main forms of exploitation of the peasantry—exploitation by the big industrial and commercial bourgeoisie, headed by the monopolists ,and the multinationals, who have emerged as the main exploiters of the peasantry in the post independence period. Experience has proved that neither the Congress nor the Janata Government has been able to protect the peasantry from this growing exploitation.
The twenty-second National Conference of All India Kisan Sabha hails the developing resistance movement of the peasantry in state after state. The AIKS congratulates the organizations of sugarcane growers, cotton growers, jute growers, tobacco growers, etc. which have developed since the Bhatinda Conference at regional, state and even all India basis, uniting various- peasant organizations and pro-peasant parties and groups in each of these movements. Above all, it congratulates this heroic peasantry of Tamilnadu for its united and militant struggle for remunerative prices continuing since the last two years. The AIKS pledges its full solidarity with and support to these united movements and struggles. The AIKS hopes that certain kisan organizations and pro-peasants elements, which have been keeping aloof from these united movements, will give up their hesitations and join the ranks of the fighting peasantry.
The twentysecond National Conference of the All India Kisan Sabha calls upon the peasantry all over the country to join hands to launch a united, powerful and militant mass movement for the realization of the following demands:—
i. Fix remunerative prices for agricultural produce so as to fully cover the cost of production including a fair remuneration for the peasants labour;
ii. Ensure full parity between the prices of agricultural and industrial products, between the prices of inputs and output of agriculture and between the prices paid and received by peasants;
iii. Reorganize the Agricultural Prices Commission by including afore-mentioned: principles in its terms of reference and by directing ;+ to maintain an index of the prices of agricultural Inputs, implements and drought animals and by including represervatives of the AIKS and other peasant organizations ins the APC;
iv. Institute Monopoly Purchase Scheme on the lines of the Maharashtra Scheme, in all states producing major agricultural raw materials, such as cotton, jute, tobacco, ground-nut,, oil seeds, coconut, etc. and arrange enough bank credit for financing their operations;
v. Expand the activities and scale of operations of central purchase and procurement agencies like the Food Corporation of India, (PCI), Cotton Corporation of India (CCI), Jute Corporation of India (JCI), as well as the NAFED and he MARKFED, so as to lift the entire stock offered by peasants for sale; and democratize, their administration by associating representatives of peasants organizations at various levels. Necessary arrangements for gunny bags, storage and transport be made on district level according to estimates of production on eve of the harvest;
vi. Ban forward trading and speculation in the marketing of the agricultural produce—both food crops and non-food crops—and ban bank credit to the private commercial sector for the purpose of boarding, profiteering and speculation;
vii. Take over the whole-sale trade in food grains and major agricultural raw-materials, and reduce the margin between wholesale and retail prices to 15 per cent;
viii Launch a comprehensive scheme for the public distribution of agricultural inputs, and essential consumer’s goods, and ensure adequate and regular supplies at fair prices, by taking over the entire production of the concerned commodities directly from the factories at fixed prices;
ix. Set up adequate number of cold-storages, and establish suitable processing industries in co-operative/public sector, for seasonal and perishable agricultural products like potatoes, onions, fruits, vegetables, fish, and dairy and poultry products. Fix uniform fair rates for cold storages;
x. Extend the system of organized Mandies in the villages on a scale, that the peasants do not have to go more than two kilo meters for disposal of their produce. Set up mechanical driers, cleaners, graders and automatic weighing machines, so as to eliminate the cheating of peasants in grading and weighment, and prevent the evil practices of rejecting the peasant’s produce as “sub-standard”. It would be better to authorize the village co-operatives for the purchase of agricultural, produce, and to allocate necessary finances for the purpose;.
xi. Ensure priority to poor, small and middle peasants in all the purchases by state or co-operative agencies;
xii. Nationalize Textile, Sugar and Vanaspati Industries, Taking into consideration the current cost of production, and the ruling prices of the corresponding industrial goods, the Twenty-second National Conference of the AIKS demands the following prices for the major agricultural commodities for this year:—Wheat: Rs. 125/- per Qtl. Paddy: Rs. 120/ per Oil, Sugar-cane; Rs. 15/- per Qtl., Cotton Rs, 400/- to 800/- per Qtl. according to the staple and count: per Rs 400/- per Qtl. for Bengal Desi Rs 500/- for L/147 and 10007. Rs 550/- for Narma, American F.320, Rs 800/- for H-4 and Varalakshmi and other long staple varieties, Jute, Rs 300/- per Qtl. Tobacco; Rs 850/- per Qtl. for FCV variety, Ground-nut, Rs. 250/- per Qtl., Coconut: Rs 1000/- for one thousands units, potatoes R^ 75/- per Qtl. and Rubber: Rs 1,000/- per Qtl.
The AIKS congratulates the United Front Government of Kerala for having fixed remunerative prices for paddy and tapioca, taking into consideration the average cost of production in its state, and providing requisite subsidy, in the state budget so as to maintain issue prices at the existing level. The AIKS hopes that other state Governments, particularly, the Left Front Governments of West Bengal and Tripura, will emulate this example and protect the interests of peasants, as also- of agricultural labourers in their respective states by fixing and implementing remunerative prices.
The 22nd National Conference of the AIKS calles upon all its units and members to popularize this resolution widely among peasants and rouse and organize them so as to launch united, broad-based mass movements for the defence of their vital interests, in co-operation with rural and urban workers and common consumers, beginning with joint conventions, on block and district level and going forward to higher forms of struggle with the rising tempo of the movement.
ON COTTON PRICES AND PURCHASES
Because of the partition of the country in 1947, while major Textile mill Centres, such as Bombay, Kanpur, Ahmadabad, Madurai, and Coimbatore remained in India, the major cotton producing areas went over to Pakistan. This caused serious shortage of cotton to keep our textile industry running, and necessitated annual import of costly cotton from foreign countries. The Government of India appealed to the peasantry and gave some incentives to grow more cotton, to feed our textile industry, and provide cloth to the common man. The peasantry, proud of its anti-imperialist patriotic traditions, responded positively. Cotton production which was 33.40 lakh bales in 1950- 51 rose to 44.20 lakh bales in 1954-55 and further to 49.55 lakh bales in 1957-58 and to 72.9 lakhs bales in 1977.78. The twenty-second National Conference of the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) painfully records the fact that instead of rewarding the peasantry in recognition of its national service in form of the remunerative prices of cotton, the Central Government chose to stand with the big traders and textile monopolists, who controlled the cotton market and manipulated crash in the cotton prices. Consequently, cotton production fell. This fall of cotton production to 38.47 lakh bales during 1959-60 is not an isolated phenomena. Since then the cotton growers have been moving in a vicious circle of rise in production, fall in prices, fall in the production, rise in prices. Thus sharp fluctuations in the prices of cotton at the whim and will of the big traders and textile monopolists, have made cotton cultivation a gamble for the cotton growers.
It was in this background, that the AIKS raised its voice for stable prices through state trading in cotton. It was under pressure of the organized peasant movement, that the Central ’Government formed the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) to enter the market on eve of the harvest season, purchase cotton from the growers, store for supply to the textile mills, and maintain stable cotton prices. The 22nd National Conference of the AIKS regrets to record that the CCI has not proved equal to the task. Besides the shortage of funds at its disposal for the purchase of the total marketed cotton, it has in-adequate storage arrangements, and no plants for ginning and baling. Moreover, it does not enter the market in time to make adequate purchases, and above all, because of its class composition, it becomes a handy tool in their manoeuvers to loot greedy big traders and industrialists, in their manoeuvers to loot the peasant. Its purchases seldom exceed 5% of total cotton crop. It has often been reduced to a cotton importing agency by the government. Similar is the case with the National Co-operative Federation (NAFED).
The Maharashtra Government set up its own purchase agency under cotton monopoly purchase scheme, which was given an annual credit of Rs. 85 crores to carry on its business. But subsequently, under pressure of the vested interests in Textile Industry, the loan was curtailed to Rs. 40 crores per annum and finally stopped during 1977 under the Janata Government. The story of cotton marketing and prices is a tale of agony since 1976-77. On eve of the harvest season, the mill-owners published their own “estimates” of low production in 1976-77. Prices rose and simultaneously, rose the pressure of the textile magnets for import of cotton. The Central Government led first by the Congress and then by the Janata Party, came to the help of the textile monopolists and took up so-called “remedial steps” against high prices. It imposed control on the stock of the mills. Credit from the Reserve Bank of India for purchase of cotton was frozen, and CCI was asked to import cotton. 14 lakh bales at Rs. 640/- per Qtl. were ordered. Besides, a good quantity of artificial fabrics was simultaneously imported, ans mills were ordered to compulsorily blend it with cotton. When 10.8 lakh bales sanded in India, the textile magnets refused to lift the stocks under pretext of higher prices than the indegenious cotton. The CCI had no godown. Bombay port authorities had to auction a large number of bales, as there was nobody to take delivery. Then, the Government offered 20% subsidy in prices, Rs. 75 crores as loan at concessional rates of interest from the Reserve Bank, for purchases and Rs. 50 Crores as remuneration for manufacturing the standard cloth. Control cloth prices had already been increased by 35%, but the same government refused to give remuiterative prices to our own cotton growers. The cotton crop .proved to be much better, consequently there was “glut” in the cotton market and prices crashed. Many peasants were ruined. The decline in cotton prices, however, was not passed on to the purchasers of yarn, the handloom weavers, nor to the .consumers of cloth. George Fernandes in a recent statement has admitted that while the cotton prices have fallen by 17%, the cloth prices have risen by 3i%. Though these figures of fall in cotton prices and rise in cloth prices are lower, than in the actual market, yet the statement bears out our charge, that the peasant is being looted, both ways, as producer of cotton and then as consumer of cloth.
The cotton monopoly lobby, and high traders are propagating that low prices of cotton are due to the excessive production of cotton. It is a totally fallacious contention. None of the textile mills are working to their full capacity, but utilize only 60 to 70% of their capacity. A recent survey has shown, that one per cent rise in the capacity utilization of all the mills will consume 90,800 more bales of cotton. Secondly, while in 1951 the per capita consumption of cloth was 10.99 meters, it rose to 15.22 meters per capita in 1964 and fell to 11.36 meters per capita in 1976, while at present it is again round about 10 meters the 1951 level. Thus, the textile magnets are not only looting the cotton growers but the consumers are also victim of their exploitation, along with the handloom weavers, who purchase yarn for their looms and livelihood. While working out-cost and prices, the mill owners claim that cotton prices constitute 45% of the mill gate prices of cloth. In actual practice, we find that the cotton growers get hardly 15 to 20% of cloth prices.
The government was forced to appoint a, Cotton Nexus committee to go into the relative costs and prices of kapas, cotton, yarn and cloth. The Committee submitted its report in 1976. The Government is sitting tight over the report. No publication of the report, what to talk of any action on the recommendations and suggestions in that report. The Bureau of Tndustrial costs also went into the problem of cost of cotton textiles and that report has also met the same fate. These reports have been thrown into the waste paper basket, only because they demolish the claim of textile mill owners, that they have been incurring huge losses during the last many years. The present Janata Government has gone further in the race to appease the textile magnets, not only in defending their old -exploitation but also, in providing new concessions for the loot of cotton growers and consumers and extra-profit to the monopolists. For example
- All textile mills have been exempted from the obligation to produce a certain quantity of controlled cloth meant for the common man.
- Control on cloth prices has been withdrawn.
- Free Import of foreign cotton has been allowed.
- Relief has been given in excise duty on fine and superfine mill made cloth, but a substantial increase in the excise duty on curse, lower, medium, and higher medium mill made cloth, has been made which will transfer the burden of upper class consumers to lower class consumers.
- Over and above all this, the support price fixed for cotton this year was Rs. 255/- per quintal, much below the cost price as calculated by various Agricultural Universities as Ludhiana and Flissar etc. Rs. 433/ and Rs. 417/- respectively for American F. 320 popularly known as Narma.
The 22nd National Conference of the AIKS is glad to note that the growers have not been watching all this silently, but they have been fighting every step of the Government taken in favour of the monopolists. About 75,000 peasants demonstrated in Maharashtra before various courts, then 15,000 courted arrests in 1976. There have been boycot of Mandies in Punjab, then demonstrations at Districts Head Quarters. There were demonstrations in Haryana and Rajasthan. There was an agitation in Andhra Pradesh and Tamilnadu. Growers from Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan staged a Dharna at the Boat Club and submitted a memorandum to the Industry Minister George Fernandes in 1977. This year, besides Mandi boy-cot, there was one month satyagraha in Punjab, demonstrations in Haryana and Rajasthan and then Satyagraha before the Parliament on 12th Deember, 1978. Besides conventions on local, district and state level in various cotton growing states, there was an All India Conference of the Cotton Growers in Nagpur, which decided to observe 19th December, 78, as “Demands Day” and 1st week of January 1979 (2 to 7th) as demands week to popularize the demands of the cotton growers. While congratulating the cotton growers for their various actions to promote the unity of the growers, propagate their demands and adopt various forms of struggle to achieve these demands, the 22nd National Conference of the AIKS demands:
- Minimum price for cotton be fixed from Rs. 400/- to 800/- per quintal according to staple and count. Rs. 400/- for Bengal Desi, Rs. 550/- for Narma (American F. 320) Rs. 500/- for L/147 & 1007, Rs. 800/- for Varalakshmi, H-4 and other long staple varieties.
- A Scheme for the Monopoly Purchase of Cotton on the lines of Maharashtra be introduced in all the main cotton growing states.
- Cotton Corporation of India should be bound to purchase all the marketed cotton at the fixed prices and make payment on the spot.
- Ginning and processing mills be installed in sufficient: number in all the cotton growing areas in State/Co operative Sector to facilitate processing.
- The National Textile Corporation should purchase all its needs from the CCI and other State Purchase Agencies.
- Import of cotton and artificial fabrics be stopped. Growers be given incentive and guidance to make up the deficiencies, in the production of needed varieties of cotton.
- Reports of Cotton Nexus Committee, and of the Bureau of Industrial Costs be published, or other wise a new All Party Committee be: set up to go to into parity of prices of kapas, cotton yarn and cloth.
- Publication of Cost-Price-Audit Reports be made compulsory for all the textile: mills.
- Representatives of the Cotton Growers be taken in the Agricilthral Price Commission.
- The textile industry be nationalized, to safeguard the interests of cotton growers, textile workers, handloom weavers and consumers of cloth and for ensuring remunerative prices to growers and cheap cloth to consumers.
The Conference directs all its state, district, and lower units to organize the cotton growers in their areas, and strengthen the All India Cotton Growers, Association, and All India Kisan Sabba as their instruments of struggle to achieve the above demands.
ON THE PRICE, OF SUGARCANE AND SUGAR
The sugar and sugarcane policy of the Janata Government is one of the most glaring examples of the gross betrayal of the interests of the sugarcane growers, the sugar mill workers and the common people who are the common consumers of sugar. It also shows the Government, abject servility to the sugar monopolists. Taking advantage of the prolonged shortage of sugar in the internal as well as the external markets, the sugar mill owners had been earning fabulous profits by selling the so-called “free” sugar at prices ranging from Rs. 5/- to Rs. 7/- per kg., while refusing to pay a remunerative price to the tens of millions of peasants who produced the sugarcane. The minimum price of sugarcane was pegged by the Central Government at the absolutely unremunerative level of Rs. 8/- to Rs. 8.50 per quintal which was subsequently raised to Rs. 12.50 to Rs. 14.50 per quintal in the northern States, under pressure of the cane growers’ movement. In Maharashtra the peasants received a price of even Rs. 16.35 per quintal. Responding to the1 call of the Central Government to increase the production of sugarcane, when the peasants produced a record crop of 185 million tonnes last year, then the sugar barons started their conspiracy to reduce its prices in order to raise their profit in an international market of falling sugar prices. The sugar mill owners raised a hue and cry about an “over production” of sugar, which was nothing but a false alarm for forcing the Government to’ decontrol sugar, reduce sugarcane prices and then allow the sugar barons complete freedom to raise sugar prices at will, For, the total production of 65 lakh tonnes of sugar last year, after allowing for the export of 6.5
akh tonnes under the International Sugar Agreement, woi. leave only 59.5 lakh tonnes for internal consumption which: worked out at less than 10 kg per head per year, which was less than one-third of the consumption in Punjab and Delhi.
Disregarding the pretests of the sugarcane growers, the sugar mill workers and the consumers, the Janata Government bowed? to the dictates of the sugar monopolists and ed-controlled sugar- in August, 1978. The sugar mill owners resorted to a crude fraud by allowing sugar prices to fall to Rs. 2.25 per kg. in order to create a justification for reducing sugarcane prices to Rs. 10/- per quintal, Consequently, the prices paid by Khandsari manufacturers crashed down to Rs. 5/- to Rs. 6/- per quintal and sugarcane growers incurred a loss of Rs. 800/- crores of rupees.
But as soon as the sugar mill owners had purchased the bulk of the cane at these reduced prices, they entered into a secret collusion with the Janata Government to set up a “cartel” with the declared objective of “regulating” the monthly releases of sugar in the internal market, in flagrant violation of the Mono polies and Restrictive Trade Practices Act. Consequently, sugar prices have risen at the average rate of rupee one per kilogram which means an additional profit of Rs. 600 crores to the sugar barons
After thus cheating the sugarcane growers and looting the sugar consumers, the Janata Government has once again “intervened” to take over the “regulation” of “monthly releases” of sugar in the internal market. The object of this crude manoeuvres is to maintain sugar prices at their present high level, for which there is absolutely no justification. Prior to decontrol, 65 per cent of sugar production was taken over by the government as “levy” and. sold through ration shops at Rs. 2.15 per kilogram. The remaining 35 per cent, known as “free” sugar, was sold in 1977-78 at a price of Rs. 3.50 to Rs. 4/- per kg. in the open market. The weighted average of the two prices worked out at Rs 2.75 per kg, with which the mill- owners were fully satisfied. Since then the price of sugarcane has been reduced on the average, by Rs. 3/- per quintal, thereby, reducing the cost of production of sugar by Rs. 307- per quintal.
Moreover, the Excise Duty has been reduced from 27.5 per cent to 18 per cent, thereby, further reducing the price of sugar by Rs. 19/- per quintal. Hence, there is no justification for selling sugar above the price of Rs. 2.15 per kg. today. The actual selling price should be even less, because the- sugar mill owners are known to conceal the actual percentage of recovery of sugar, because the linking of sugarcane prices to this so-called “recovery” provides a material incentive for manipulation and theft. The twenty second National Conference of the All India Kisan Sabha strongly condemns this unholy conspiracy of the Janata Government with the unscrupulous sugar monopolists and demands:
i. Abandon this deceptive policy of “De-control” of prices and control of “monthly releases” of sugar and take over the entire production of sugar mills for sale to the public at the per-decontrol price of Rs. 2.15 per kg, through the public distribution system;
ii. Guarantee a minimum price of Rs. 15/- per quintal to the sugarcane growers uniformly applicable throughout the country;
iii. De link the sugarcane price from the so-called “recovery” of sugar in the mills and link it to the Sucrose content of the cane produced by the growers in their fields.
iv. Immediately clear all arrears of sugarcane prices with interest at 15 per cent as provided for in the Central Sugarcane Control Order;
v. Guarantee fair wages, bonus, gratuity and off-season allowance to sugar mill workers;
vi. Nationalize the sugar industry in the private sector and democratize the management of the cooperative sugar mills which the right of unrestricted admission for all! sugarcane growers
vii. Reorganize and modernize the sugar mills by increasing the capacity of small, outmoded, uneconomic mills to economically viable size and setting up necessary additional plants for full economic utilization of all bye-products like baggage, press-mud and molasses, so as to reduce the cost of production of sugar.
viii. Form popular committees of sugarcane growers at the level of every sugar mill and every weighting station;
ix. Make adequate arrangements for drinking water and shelter for cart men and bullocks.
x. Pay subsidy on sugarcane purchased during the 1978- 79 season in all the cane growing states so as to fully compensate the losses suffered by cane-growers due to reduction in sugarcane prices.
The twenty second National Conference of the All India Kisan Sabha congratulates the cane growing peasantry and the Cane growers’ Association in different State for putting up organized mass resistance to reduction in sugarcane prices and for immediate payment of arrears of cane prices together with interest at 15 per cent per annum. The Conference calls upon the cane-growing peasantry and the cane growers’ associations to launch immediate preparations for a massive, united and militant cane growers struggle throughout the country in the coming cane season for the realization of the aforementioned demands.
ON THE PRICE OF RAW JUTE
The twenty second National Conference of the AIKS records its gf|ave concern the unremunerative pride of raw jute and consequently, the growing disparity between the prices of raw jute and its industrial products. The; Janata Govt, is helping the Jute-monopolists by fixing Rs. 150/- per qiintal as the minimum support price of raw jute which is unremunerative. and does not meet even the cost of production. Even the Agriculture Minister of West Bengal Government has demanded Rs. 250/ per quintal as minimum price. With the increasing grip of the big commercial and industrial bourgeoisie over the rural market, disparity in prices has become one of the main forms of exploitation of agricultural producers, above all of the working peasants, at the hands of the monopolists and multinationals. The export of jute goods to the U.S. and other imperialist countries proves how low prices of jute products are passed on to the peasants in the, form of low price of raw jute and even to the agricultural labourers in the form of low wages-lower than the minimum fixed by the Government. Central Govt.’s machinery to buy raw jute, the J.C.I., has not come to the market for monopoly purchase. Even the J.C’.I. is not buying more than 12% of raw jute and thus jute growers are exploited through various manipulations of jute barons. The poor and middle peasants are worst sufferers through distress sale; The State Governments, including the Left Front Governments of West Bengal and Tripura, have not yet come out for monopoly purchase of raw jute.
The struggle for remunerative prices for raw into is essentially a struggle against one of the main forms of exploitation of the peasantry by big industrial and commercial bourgeoisie, headed by the monopolists and the multinationals who have emerged as the main exploiters of the peasantry in the post- independence period. Experience has proved that neither the Congress nor the Janata Govt, has been able to protect the peasantry from this, growing exploitation.
The twenty second National Conference of thei All India Kisan Sabha hails the developing resistance movement of the peasantry in State after State. The AIKS congratulates other Kisan organizations of jute growers which have developed since the Bhatinda Conference at regional, state and even all India basis, uniting various peasant organizations and pro-peasant parties and groups in the movements. The AIKS pledges its full solidarity with and support to those united movements and struggles. The AIKS hopes that certain Kisan Organizations and pro-peasants elements, which have been keeping aloof from these united movements, will’ give up their hesitations and join the ranks of the fighting peasantry.
The twenty second National Conference of the All India Kisan Sabha calls upon the jute growers all over the country to join hands to launch a united powerful and militant mass movement for the realization of the following demands:
i. Fix the minimum price of raw jute at Rs. 300/- per quintal (Assam bottom variety) so as to fully cover the cost of production including fair remuneration for the peasants’ labour.
ii. Nationalize Jute Industries and the wholesale trade of raw jute and export and import trade of jute goods.
iii. Central and State Governments of jute growing states must introduce monopoly purchase of raw jute farming state trading corporations and through cooperatives. Adequate financial and should be given by the Central Government and nationalized banks. More direct purchasing centers of the Governments and cooperatives should be opened in jute-growing areas.
iv. Legitimate demands of the jute workers should be fulfilled. Closures, lay-off and retrenchment should be stopped.
v. All sorts of illegal collections in purchasing centers from the jute growers should be stopped.
This conference calls upon all its units to take immediate steps to build up a jute growers united movement hand in hand with jute mill workers to achieve all the above demands, uniting all peasants and trade union organizations and other democratic forces.
RESOLUTION ON COCONUT
The 22nd National Conference of the All India Kisan Sabha expresses its deep concern at the most unhelpful attitude of the Government of India. to the development of coconut cultivation and for safeguarding the interests of the coconut cultivators in India. Coconut is a commercial crop grown in the States of Kerala, Karnataka, Tamilnadu, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, West Bengal, Asssam, Goa, Pondicherry, Andamans Lakshadcep. and Minicoy Islands. But the main producer of •coconut in India is Kerala State. Out of a total area, of 10.5 lakhs hectares of coconut cultivation in India about eight lakh hectares are in Kerala state.
Coconut played a most important role in the economy of Kerala from very ancient days and that importance of coconut continues today. It is estimated that the income acquired from coconut products annually by the people of Kerala at the existing price rates will be about Rs. 450 crores. The number of peasants engaged in coconut cultivation will be roughly two million. Another one million people earn their living in jobs connected with the coconut cultivation directly or indirectly as agricultural workers, tody tappers, etc. Coconut also supplies the raw materials for the coir industry of Kerala which -gives employment to nearly 10 lakh workers. From all these factors the socio-economic impact of coconut on the people and the economy of Kerala can well be understood.
It should also be noted that coconut is essentially a crop of small farmers. In India, the average size of coconut holdings is as small as 0.20 hectares and more than 90 per cent •of the holdings are under one hectare.
The coconut cultivators were facing a number of problems and difficulties for the past many years. It is the sad experience of the coconut cultivators that the price of coconuts falls and fluctuates every now and then. The peasants in Kerala or in other states have no say in fixing the price! of the coconut they produce. It is fixed at the dictates of the monopoly traders and big industrialists-both Indian and foreign monopoly industrial concerns like the Liver Brothers Ltd., and the Tata Oil Company which are the big purchasers of coconut oil. The policy of the government of India to give to those monopoly concerns permit for the import of foreign copra and coconut oil on a large scale had been the main cause for the frequent fall in the price of our coconut. Even now the Central Government is sticking to that polity even though lakhs of poor coconut cultivators are ruined by it.
The coconut cultivators in India, and especially in Kerala, are having other handicaps also. A dreadful disease known as “Root Wilt” is destroying coconut trees in large areas. ’This disease had started to attack coconut trees in Kerala 80 years back. But the research centres have not succeeded so fat in finding any effective remedy for this devastating disease. Actually this disease has become a nightmare to the coconut cultivators in Kerala.
Under these circumstances, for the development of coconut cultivation, for improvements in production and for safeguarding the interests of the coconut cultivators the 22nd session of the All India Kisan Sabha demands that the following steps should be taken urgently by the Government of India and the concerned State Governments:—
- Stop all import of copra and coconut oil as a first step for assuring remunerative price for the coconut produced in our country;
- Fix Rs 1000/- (Rs one thousand) as floor price for one thousand nuts;
- Coconut cultivators should be given the necessary financial help through banks and cooperative institutions on easy terms for installing pump sets for irrigation purposes, for manuring, and for replanting where coconut trees are destroyed by diseases.
- Strengthen research activities for finding effective remedy for the wide spread disease of coconut trees.
- The proposed Coconut Development Board should start: its work immediately with the above objectives and for implementing all other measures required for the well being of the coconut cultivators and the development of coconut cultivation in India.
RESOLUTION OF RUBBER
The 22nd National Conference of the All India Kisan Sabha records its dissatisfaction at the recent order of the Government of India re fixing the floor price of the national rubber produced by our cultivators. The agitation of the rubber cultivators for refixing the floor price of rubber at a higher level was going on for the past many years in Kerala where 98 per cent of the rubber in India is produced. Rubber cultivators association and the Kerala Karshaka Sangham had been demanding that the price of rubber should be fixed at Rs lOOO/- per quintal. But the Government of India fixed it at a low rate varying from Rs 725 to Rs 825 per quintal. It should be noted here that the price of rubber in the open market is above Rs 1,000’ at present.
When the price of rubber went down steeply a few years back, and the situation continued for a long period, the rubber cultivators in Kerala were on the verge of ruin and many of them thought of changing over it other crops. At that time, a big agitation was started in Kerala for enhancing the floor price of rubber. Even the Kerala Government and Kerala Legislative Assembly had requested the Central Government to fix the floor price of rubber at higher rates. But the Central Government, influenced by the pressure of the Monopoly tyre factory owners, refused to intervene to save the peasants at that time.
In 1978-79, due to climatic conditions, tapping of rubber was delayed for a few weeks and this led to the sudden temporary rise in the price of rubber in the open market. Immediately the monopoly tyre factory owners began to raise a big hue and cry that there is acute “shortage” of rubber in our country and, therefore, rubber should be imported for the running of our industries. The Government of India readily agreed to this demand and within days hence was given for the import of 30000 tonnes of foreign rubber. It should be noted here that the price of this imported rubber was much higher than the open market price even of the rubber in our country. Now, the Government of India has not only refixed the floor price of rubber at a rate far less than the price in the open market, but it has also declared that the import of rubber will be continued in the interests of the industry. It should be noted here that our country is producing more than enough of natural rubber for the requirement of our Industries at the present rate of consumption.
This Conference is strongly of the opinion that under these circumstances these measures of the Government of India are designed to help the monopoly traders and industrialists and are against the interest of the poor rubber cultivators The conference, therefore, demands that: —
- the floor price of the rubber produced in our country should be refixed at Rs 1,000/- per quintal.
- the import of foreign rubber should be stopped.
BREAK THE MNOPOLY HOLD IN THE TOBACCO INDUSTRY TO ENSURE REMUNERATIVE PRICES FOR GROWERS
Flue Cured Virginia (FCU) tobacco is one of the important cash crops in India. As such it plays a vital role in the national economy. India occupies 4th place in the production flue cured tobacco. Andhra Pradesh grows 95% of the country’s flue cured Virginia tobacco. The Central Government is getting 110-120 crores of foreign exchange, Rs 450 crores, of Excise Duty and Rs 5 crores by way of export duty annually. Due to this industry other ancillary industries like transport, coal and fuel etc. are growing. It helps the welfare of the tobacco growers and agricultural labourers on the one side and the national economy on the other. Such a vital industry is under the grip of the monopolists like I.L.T.D., which is a multi-national company, I.T.C. another multinational company, Navabharat, Golden Tobacco Co. etc. The tobacco growers have no say in the fixation of prices. Whatever becomes is determined by the minopoly concerns the price for the growers. The monopoly companies fix the prices without taking cost of production into account, basing on demand and supply which is the well recognized concept of the capitalists to loot the growers.
Neither the tobacco grower nor the State Government has any say in determining prices. But the rates are fixed by the Centre through its agency A.P.C. at the dictates of the monopoly concerns. The Central Government has not fixed support price for such an important commercial crop like tobacco till now. Since the last one decade, more particularly sine the last 4 years, the growers of tobacco are. being exploited by tobacco industrialists by market manipulations. The 22nd All India Kisan Conference notes with great concern this exploitative situation of the growers and urges the Central Government to come to the rescue of the growers by purchasing the tobacco through its agency STC. The A.P. Ryatu Sangham and other Tobacco Growers Associations represented their plight to the Central Government which unwillingly accepted to purchase 10 million kgs. of tobacco in the year 1978. The STC did not enter the market as promised, thereby allowing the private traders to purchase tobacco at a throw away prices from the growers, which in turn helped the monopolists.
The Tobacco Board which was formed in 1976 to help the growers could not help them due; to its hasty and fallacious policies. The Board by introducing a voucher system hastily made the big and the small traders combine to loot the growers by entering into the market very late. This year the Central Government decided to purchase 15,000 tonnes of tobacco through its agencies. Tobacco. Board, STC and Markfed, State agency. In practice the STC so far has not entered the market, while tobacco board purchased only 50 per cent of its allotment at low prices, the Markfed has not yet purchased from the growers except giving notice for purchase.
Before the entry of the tobacco board into the market the private dealers paid Rs. 1175/ per quintal of V, variety, after its entry the prices fell down as the Board purchased V, varety at Rs. 950/- per quintal despite the fact the A.P.C. fired the rate at Rs. 1050/- The Board, it seems, decided to introduce. Floor Auction Sales in this season only. If this auction is introduced without a support price and godown facilities to store buffer stocks, the system is bound to fail and the growers would be left to their own fate. The Central government has not included tobacco in the N.C.D.C. which covers 93 items of agricultural commodities; which fact shows the apathy of the Central Government towards tobacco. At present, the tobacco1 growers are fully exploited by the monopolists including multi-national companies, as a result of the capitalists pursued by the Central Government through its agencies as referred above.
The All India Kisan Sabha demands for following programme to be implemented in order to save the growers and the industry from being exploited: —
- the Central Govt, has to take over the foreign licenses of tobacco export. At least 25% of the production to be purchased by the STC at the minimum export prices.
- Support price has to be fixed and the Central Govt, should purchase whatever is left unpurchased in the market.
- Minimum export price has to be determined keeping the production expenses in view.
- The Tobacco Board has to be reconstituted giving 50% representation to the growers. Necessary amendment to the Tobacco Board Act be introduced in the ensuing session of parliament.
- Floor Auction sales may be introduced after necessary pre-requisites are gone into.
- A permanent Central Government agency be set up to deal with buffer stocks.
- The State Government has to set up a State Tobacco Board and Tobacco Corporation to ensure better deal for the growers.
- All the foreign agencies that trade in tobacco in our country be nationalized.
- The Export grades and the grades at the growers 2 level should be one and the same.
- Representatives of the Tobacco growers be taken in the APC.
- The recommendations of the parliamentary public undertakings committee regarding tobacco be implemented forthwith.
ON THE STRUGGLE FOR LAND REFORMS
The twenty-second National Conference of the All India Kisan Sabha hails the heroic resistance put up by the toiling peasants—tenants, share-croppers, tribal peasants and allottees of surplus lands, waste-lands and house-sites—against the violent and bloody offensive of the landlords for evicting them en massed even from the tiny patches of land still under their possession or ownership, which has expressed itself in the mounting wave of “atrocities” against the rural poor—many of them Harijans— which have increased more than two fold under the Janata Raj. The AIKS salutes the memory of thousands of peasants and landless labourers who have laid down their lives in defence of their homes, lands and crops and for a basic transformation of the inequitable agrarian set up through the implementation of radical land reforms.
The responsibility for this tragic situation must squarely be placed on the bourgeois leaders who have ruled the country in the post-Independence period. Cynically violating the solemn pledge of the national movement to abolish landlordism and distribute surplus lands among the tillers, the national boor- geoisie has pursued the reactionary policy of gradually transforming feudal landlordism into iapitalist landlordism and developing the economy of rich peasants, which, inevitably, has resulted in the forceble eviction of millions of tenants all over the country. The present wave of atrocities is only a more ruthless and violent drive to “clear” the lands of the remaining tillers. The dismal record of the Congress rulers is proved by the fact that despite a series of ceiling and tenancy laws, always passed under pressure of the mass movement, the total area of land distributed under the old ceiling laws was only 18.8 lakh acres which was less than 0.6 per cent of the total cultivated area in the country. Even the amended ceiling laws which drastically reduced the ceiling limit to 10-18 acres of double cropped irrigated land for a family of five persons, did not yield any better results. Upto 31st July, 1977, the total additional surplus land distributed was only 12.9 lakh acres out of a potential total surplus of 215 lakh acres as estimated by the Planning Commission. The Janata Governments which were established at the Centre in March 1977 and in the majority of States in July, 1977, have, together with the non-Janata State Governments, distributed only 2.9 lakh acres of land out of the 8 lakh acres aleady taken possession of by the Congress Governments but not yet distributed. The record of the State Governments run by the Cong(I) and the AIDMK is no better than the Janata Government. The Akali-Janata Coalition of Punjab has distributed just 3 acres of land in two years.
The reason for this still more dismal record of the Janata Government is the avowdly reactionary and shamelessly pro landlord policies of the Janata rulers who have put the whole question of land reforms on the reverse gear. Chaudhury Charan Singh has declared ceilings to be a “delusion”. Prime Minister Morarji Desai wrote an official letter to the Andhra Government, pleading for the exemption from ceiling of. about 3,000 acres of land owned by the notorious raja of Challapalli. Orissa, Gujarat and certain other State Governments, run by the Janata Party, have openly proposed reactionary amendments to the Ceiling Laws. The bureaucracy and the police have been aiding and abetting the landlords in perpetrating “atrocities” on the rural poor with a view to evict them from the tiny patches of land allotted to them by the Congress Governments under pressure of the mass movement. This despicable record of the Janata Government is the sharpest exposure of its demagogic claims of “banishing” poverty and unemployment in the rural areas by according “top most priority” to agriculture.
Experience of the post-independence period has proved that progressive measures of land reforms have been implemented only in those States in which united front governments: with the participation of Left and Democratic parties have come to be established. The pride of place belongs to the United Front Government of Kerala which has granted full ownership rights to 34 lakh tenants cultivating 21 lakh acres of land, has granted house-sites to 4 lakh agricultural labourers and urban poor, distributed over 4 lakh acres of waste lands including 55,000 acres acquired from the British owned Kannan Devan Hill Produce Company without compensation and distributed 55,000 acres of ceiling surplus land, distribution of the rest being held up due to Court injunctions.
The Left Front Governments of West Bengal and Tripura have made a good beginning by ensuing peaceful harvesting of their crops by the share-croppers, by launching a systematic drive for recording of share-croppers in West Bengal and by taking initial measures for the restoration of illegally alienated lands to the tribal peasants. The AIKS hopes that the Left Front Governments of West Bengal and Tripura too will speed up the process of implementation of land reforms by setting up a democratic machinery as in Kerala and by associating all kisan and agricultural labour organizations in the work of implementation, including recovery and taking over of all surplus land, as well as its distribution.
Experience of the post-independence period has also proved that implementation of land reforms is inseparably linked with the political complexion of the government and the class character of the State. No bourgeois government, either of the Congress or of the Janata Party or of the DMK, Akali. Dal or the Anna DMK, has been able to implement land reforms as the United Front Governments of Kerala, and to a lesser extent, the Government of West Bengal have done.
Experience of the post-independence period has further proved that, powerful and united mass movement of the peasantry for land can compel even the bourgeois governments to enact comparatively progressive land reform laws and even take certain limited steps to implement them, even though haltingly Reviewing the state of the present day Kisan movement in the light of this historical experience, the twenty second National Conference of the AIKS feels that one of the main factors that has enabled the Janata and the Cong(I) Governments to sabotage land reforms is the weakness, fractionalization and scattered character of the kisan movement in the country today.
The AIKS, therefore, appeals to all Kisan and Agricultural Labour Organizations, as well as to all political parties, groups, organizations and individuals, interested in the well-being of the peasantry, economic development of the. country and defence of democracy and popular freedom, to. join hands to launch a united, powerful; militant, countrywide mass peasant movement for the speedy and popular implementation of land reform laws and measures on the basis of the following guiding principles:
i. Amend the Land Ceiling Laws on the lines of the Kerala Land Reforms Act so as to provide for the declaration that all surplus lands, including those of trusts as well as so-called tank fisheries, as in West Bengal, above the prescribed ceiling shall be automatically deemed to have vested in the state with effect from a notified date and all landlords who fail to surrender such surplus lands to the. government within a specified period shall be liable to pay rent at the rates prescribed for share croppers apart from suffering other penalties and punishment (including imprisonment), as provided in the law.
ii. Amend the Tenancy Laws on similar lines so as to provide for the automatic vesting of full ownership right in the tenant of various categories cultivating the land, without any right of resumption to the landlords, and with full onus of proof on the landlord in case he claims to be cultivating any particular piece of land, and provision for suitable accommodation to small owners without any other source of livelihood.
iii. Suitable amendment to the existing Homestead Tenancy Law to ban eviction and to provide for automatic conferment of full proprietary rights on every agricultural laborer family free of cost with effect from a notified date and responsibility on the Landlord to! apply to the Government for compensation (or rent) as provided in the law.
iv. Suitable amendment in all Tenancy Laws providing for automatic annulment of all sales, mortgages or other transfers by any person belonging to a “Scheduled Tribe” to any person not belonging to such tribe and automatic restoration of such land to the tribal peasant with provision for realization of penalty at prescribed rates from the purchasers who fail to surrender the land on the notified date.
v. De-grabbing of all Government waste lands, forest lands, Goon Samar lands and tanks illegally grabbed by the landlords and distribution of all waste and surplus lands among landless labourers and poor peasants.
vi. Complete abrogation of all debts and interests outstanding against agricultural labourers, and poor peasants and suitable scaling down of debts outstanding against other peasants.
vii. Eviction, debt slavery, keeping bonded labourers, and filling false returns in cases involving land reforms, to be declared cognizable offenses attracting severe punishments.
viii. Placing all the Land Reform Laws under the 9th Schedule of the constitution and barring the jurisdiction of Civil Courts in matters relating to the land reforms laws.
ix. Constitute on of popular committees, consisting of elected representatives of landless labourers and poor and middle peasants or representatives of various mass organizations of agricultural labourers and poor, small and middle peasants for assisting the authorities in implementation of Land Reforms Laws.
x. Replacement of existing system of Land Revenue by a system of graded land tax, exempting all un-economic land- holdings.
xi. Stop use of police interference against land reforms and legitimate peasant movements. Withdraw all criminal cases pending against agricultural workers and poor and small peasants lodged by the police in collusion with landlords and userers, in order to suppress their legitimate struggles.
The Twenty-second National Conference of the All India Kisan Sabha calls upon the peasantry to unite their ranks, forge full unity with agricultural labourers and launch a planned nation-wide militant mass movement for the implementation of Land Reforms on the basis of afore mentioned principles, seeking solidarity and support from Trade Unions and other Left and Democratic organizations, groups and individuals. As a part of this movement, poor and small peasants, in co-operation with Agricultural workers, should not only resist all evictions by landlords and userers, but also go forward to occupy surplus land of big and notorious landlords and thus force the government to take over and distribute all surplus land.
RESOLUTION ON CREDIT
Credit is an important input for Agricultural production. With the rise in the costs of production and with the spread of high yielding varieties, the requirements of credit have gone up very much. In spite of tall claims by the government, the share of institutional credit in the total cash credit available to the peasantry does not exceed 30 per cent. A major portion of this goes to the landlords and rich peasants. The small and marginal farmers, tenants and share croppers who are resource less and are in need of credit more than the other sections are not supplied necessary credit, because of the security oriented credit policy pursued by the commercial banks. The cooperatives are dominated by the richer sections, who are utilizing these institutions for their selfish interests.
The rate of interest charged by the commercial banks as well as cooperative institutions is very high which the agricultural economy cannot bear. The cooperatives and the commercial banks are charging 11 per cent on short term loans. On long term loans they are charging an even higher rate. Not only this. The commercial banks compound the interest every 6 months, while the agricultural development banks charge penal rate on all arrears. While the government of India is getting the money from world agencies at concessional rate, the ultimate borrower is charged more than 11 per cent.
Agriculture is often the victim of natural calamities like drought, floods, hailstorm, etc. and the peasant loses not only the crop but also the huge amount invested. In the absence of crop insurance, the peasant is ruined and he finds himself unable to repay his debts.
The 22nd National conference of the All India Kisan Sabha, taking into consideration all the above facts, resolves as follows:
a. The scheduled commercial banks should set apart at least 50 per cent of their advance to the agricultural sector, of which at least 50 per cent should go to the marginal and small farmers. Banking policies should be radically changed to help the small and middle peasants.
b. The time consuming and cumbersome procedure should be simplified and the borrower should be supplied with a credit book and indicating the limits sanctioned. In the case of agricultural labourers, tenants, marginal and small farmers, group guarantees or third persons’ sureties should not be insisted upon,
c. Credit on nominal interest should be supplied to agricultural labourers,, marginal farmers and tribal by all the institutions. Institutional credit should be supplied to small farmers at 4 per cent interest and other agriculturists at a rate not exceeding 5 per cent.
d. All the arrears of loans outstanding from the marginal farmers, agricultural labourers and tenants to the commercial banks, cooperative and to the government should be cancelled. All the interests accumulated on the loans advanced to the small farmers should be cancelled.
e. All such loans outstanding from the agriculturists to banks, cooperatives and to the government should be cancelled if double the principal amount is already paid.
f. In case of natural calamities all installments due to the institutions should be cancelled.
g. Attachment of milch animals, agricultural implements, pump sets, bullocks, grains kept for seed or for personal consumption, ornaments of women etc. should be banned.
h. The present practice of compounding the interest and charging penal rate of interest should be discontinued.
i. Separate cooperatives for credit and for service should be organized for the landless, marginal and small farmers.
j. Money Lenders Acts and Debt Conciliations Acts should be strictly implemented specially regarding rates of interest, cancellation and scaling down of old debts.
This conference calls upon all sections of the peasants to carry on agitation on these points and build a powerful united movement so as to force the government to accept these justified demands.
ON AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION
Agriculture is still a major sector of the Indian economy. While providing food for the nation, and raw material for the Industry, it contributes about 40% in our Gross Domestic Product (G.D.R.).
Inspite of all tall talk of “according pride of place to the programme for agriculture” (2nd five year plan), “first priority necessarily belongs to Agriculture” (3rd Plan), “highest priority to Agriculture” (4th plan), “main targets of crop production fixed” (5th plan), our agriculture lags much behind its potential and our national needs. During 1951-65, when our industrial production increased at a compound rate of 7.7% per annum, increase in agricultural production was only 3.2% and during 1965-75 it has been 2.1% against 3.6% of industrial production. According to the Planning Commission, “the growth, rate in food production was 1.85% per annum during 1961-77 while population increase during, this period has been 2.4% annually.” (Draft 6th plan, p. 6). The same Planning Commission during its official survey during 1974-75 has remarked, “the unsatisfactory performance of the agriculture sector is the root cause of the stagnation of our national economy.” The Janata Party in its resolution on “New Economic Policy” says, “The Janata Party is of the view that in the past the full potential of agricultural development has not been realized But the record of the Janata Government is no better.
The 22nd National Conference of the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) expresses its grave concern over the fact, that a small increase in agricultural production due to the traditional patriotism and hard labour of the peasantry, is being propagated as “excess production”, “glut situation” through a clever device of the b:s traders and monopolists in collusion with the Government officials and high-ups, with a view to depress the prices of agricultural products. The crash in prices of agricultural produce as experienced recently, is partly a result of the above class propaganda, carried on by vested interests in order to loot the peasantry.
It is a matter of shame for the Government, that this propaganda of “excess production”, “situation of glut” is going on, when according to its own Planning Commission, “…the most important objectives of planning have not been achieved” (6th Plan, p. 2) and when “48% in the rural areas and 41% in urban areas or about 29 crores people are living below poverty line (Ibid p. 3) and when the Janata Party admits that “full potentials of Agriculture have not been realized.”
The 22nd National Conference of the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) puts on record the urgent need to increase agricultural production, to achieve national self reliance in food and raw materials. Before proceeding to achieve this goal, we must note the findings of the World Bank, which says, “Historical experience suggests, that poorer members of the population are unlikely to share equitably in economic growth, mainly, because, they have less access to the productive assets, needed to generate income, as land, credit, education, and jobs in the modern sector”. These remarks fully apply to India, where feudal and semi-feudal relations in agriculture act as restraints to increase in production. In the case of small and marginal farmers, the capacity of investment no longer exists and the capital required for better seeds, fertilizers, and pesticides are not made available to them. Their animal power is of low level and the urgent task of replacing animals with power tillers etc. are beyond the capacity of the small and marginal farmers. Hardly 25% of the cultivated area is under irrigation, and vagaries of nature still effect agricultural production. Drought and floods often bring untold miseries for the peasants. Incomplete implementation of the River Valley Projects inhibit irrigation and electrification and cause floods which ruin standing crops. Since the installation of the Janata Ministry, less priority is being given to the major schemes and relatively more emphasis is placed on medium and small schemes. The use of these medium and small schemes is also shrinking due to frequent non-availability of Diesel oil. and shortage of electricity, which has developed in alarming proportions as in West Bengal. No crop insurance scheme is introduced to protect the peasantry from unforeseen natural calamities. Agricultural expertise, as devoted in the agricultural Universities does, not reach the mass of the peasantry, as the extension services reach only the few rich farmers, and adopt bureaucratic methods. Agricultural education has created an educated elite, completely isolated from the practical life of the toiler peasant. And lastly, the peasant have been dragged into the vortex of capitalist market mechanism and placed within two blades of scissors, of rising prices of inputs and necessities of life, on the one hand, and un-remunerative low prices of agricultural produce, on the other hand. This Conference, therefore, demands that the following measures be: immediately taken by the Central and State Governments to remove the obstacles and unleash the productive forces in Indian agriculture.
- Immediate end of all feudal and semi-feudal relations.
- To provide cheap credit to small and middle farmers as also the bargadars (share croppers) and other tenants;
- To end all private trade and distribution of seeds, fertilizers and pesticides, especially controlled by the multinationals operating in this sector and to build up strong public sector producing units and distribution mechanism in all such agricultural inputs;
- The production of small mechanical implements in the public sector to replace animal power and outmoded implements gradually;
- The completion of the major irrigation projects as conceived at the: beginning of planning to expand irrigation and to take all flood control measures;
- Expansion of cheap and regular supply of electricity in the rural areas and the proper maintenance of the lines and the transformers.
- Introduction of crop insurance schemes, for bargadars, tenants, small and marginal farmers at the beginning and to extend them gradually to: all sections of the: peasantry;
- To expand the extension services of the agricultural universities and the government;
- To reorient the existing education system heavily biased against productive labour by opening agricultural polytechnics in largo numbers in all the block areas of our country;
- To fix remunerative prices in consultation with the kisan organizations;
- To reduce the freight charges of the railways and other transport agencies so that the large profits made by transport operators can be eliminated;
- To build up public procurement, storage and distribution system for all major agricultural products;
- Argo-service centres be expanded in large numbers wherever necessary and agricultural implements and machinery be supplied from these centres at subsidized rates to the tune of 50%;
- Small and minor irrigation works such as tube wells, lift irrigations and big diawells be constructed at full government cost in large numbers for poor and small peasants;
- Diesels, mobiles and other agro-implements be supplied to peasants regularly on priority basis;
- Priority be given to transport of agricultural outputs and implements;
- Existing markets should be expanded and new markets for products be established in large numbers;
- 50% subsidy be given on fertilizers and pesticides for small and marginal farmers;
- In matters of irrigation, hilly and pathari areas should be given priority;
- The Government should take all responsibility and bear all costs of reclaiming lands made uncultivable due to floods, cyclones, etc.
ON THE STRUGGLE OF TAMILNADU PEASANTS
The 22nd National Conference of the AIKS extends its hearty congratulations to the fighting peasants of Tamilnadu in their brave and just struggle. The peasants are being looted on an unprecedented scale by the grinding machine of the capitalist market, the state apparatus and the laws of capitalist economy. The three-pronged attack on them consists of:
i. Low prices for agricultural produce;
ii. High taxes and other charges and levies.
iii. High prices for industrial goods as also inputs; which together, have ruined them.
The struggle for survival of the Tamilnadu peasantry, therefore, is a just struggle which every patriotic Indian should support. This conference of the AIKS strongly condemns the government of Tamilnadu for the terrible repression it has unleashed against the peasants of the State. Repeated firings resulting in the death of nearly a dozen peasants including women, lathi charges, mass arrests, and foisting of innumerable false cases have become common, without conceding the very just demands of the peasants like:
i. cancellation of all government and cooperative loans;
ii. remunerative prices for the peasants’ produce;
iii. and reduction in electricity charges;
Instead if conceding these just demands, the government with the power of the police and the bureaucracy, is daily attacking the peasants. This conference urges on the Government of Tamilnadu to
a. End all repressive measures;
b. Release all prisoners connected with this movement;
c. Withdraw all police cases against the peasant leaders
d. Punish the guilty police officers who brutally assassiated or assaulted the peasants and instituted false cases against them;
e. And concede the just demands of the peasants.
The twenty second national conference of the All India Kisan Sabha calls upon all units and members of the AIKS to extend full support to and pledge solidarity with the fighting peasants of Tamilnadu.
ON THE CYCLONE IN ANDHRA PRADESH
The 22nd Conference of the All India Kisan Sabha expresses its immense grief and profound sorrow and sympathy at the colossal losses suffered by the State of Andhra Pradesh due to the severe cyclone that ravaged the costal districts of the State in general, and Prakasam and Nellore Districts in particular, on 12th May, 1979. The State was subjected to three severe attacks of cyclones during the short period of three consecutive years, the last ghastly one being in the year 1977 which took a toll of about 10,000 human lives. The present cyclone which crossed the coast in Nellor district with heavy gales, caused great havoc with lives and properties in a number of districts of the; State, hitting hard Prakasam and Nellore Districts.
According to the estimates available by the leaders of the State Kisan Sabha who toured the affected areas, as well as estimates by many political and social organisations, apart from the estimates from the State Govt., not less than one thousand human lives were lost and the loss of properties like agricultural crops, agricultural implements, tobacco barons, companies including machinery, sheep, cattle, poultry, grain etc. would be to the tune of about 1,000 (one: thousand) crores.
In Prakasam Distric alone, out of 1,000 villages affected, 250 villages were hit seriously, some of them were washed away without a trace. The loss caused to the tobacco leaf, brons, godowns and machinery by the cyclone amounts to nearly 50 crores. 70 to 75% of the Virginia tobacco grown in the country, is from this area of devastation which fetches 80 to 90 crores of foreign exchange and provides employment to lakhs of workers in the tobacco industry. The loss of cattle is very great, numbering nearly a lakh, as cattle rearing is next to agriculture in this area of Nellore and Prakasam districts. The food grains being spoiled is very extensive and on a large scale. Fodder for the cattles, being washed away, has become an acute problem in the affected areas. The losses caused to peasants by tidal wave along the coast line by sand crests and with salinity, the severe damage to the agricultural wells along Gundlakamma, Paleru, Musi, Pennar etc. Rivers is beyond repair of the victims. Innumerable tanks have been washed away, cultivable lands have been eroded, silted up and cut-off due to the syclone, Similar is the situation in Mahabubnagar, Nalgonda, Khammam, Krishna and West Godavary Districts.
It is the prime responsibility of the Governments, both Central and State, to provide money and machinery necessary for reclamation and make the marooned lands fit for cultivation for the ensuing season. On the whole, the agriculture economy of the peasantry in the State in general, Prakasam and Nellore districts in particular, is shattered and in shambles, due to the devastation. Nothing concrete has been done by the Government to help the victim farmers to mitigate their sufferings. Millions of huts and houses have been damaged and millions of people are thus rendered homeless. They are taking shelter under trees and they have no work to fall back upon presently. The village artisans, including weavers, have lost their houses and implements. The fishermen were the worst sufferers who lost their nylon nets and dwelling huts. The All India Kisan Conference shares the grief of the victims of this ghastly cyclone at this hour of grave peril and calls for emergent relief and rehabilitation measures, both temporary and permanent, by the State and Central Governments, on a massive scale. The AIKS is surprised to learn that the State Government and its Chief Minister, Dr. M. Chenna Reddy, who appeared to have been alert and active in the relief and rehabilitation measures, have in practice failed to help the cyclone victims in the rural areas. The rice distribution of 20 kgs for each family and the cash grant of Rs. 75/- and Rs. 150/- for each victim is totally inadequate and even this small relief which is emergent has not reached many villages even now. The delays in enumeration work of the victims, the decision making, the bureaucratic practices of administration, above all the signal failure of the Government in taking the cooperation of all parties and social organization at a time of such grave national calamity as this., have all contributed to thei failure of the State Government in the matters of relief operations. That relief operation only started a fortnight after the devastation, is a proof positive of the failure.
The AIKS is even more surprised at the slow-pace and nigardly approach by the Central Govt, in meeting the challenge thrown by the national calamity of such a magnitude. It is clear beyond all doubts that such a national calamity can only be met by the prompt action on the part of the Central Govt, on a war-footing without waiting for the exercise of detailed estimates and analysis. The very fact that the P.M., visited the area of devastation after 20 days and even after such a time-, could not spell out the quantum of Central help for relief and rehabilitation shows the callous attitude of the Centre. It only adds to the anger and anguish of the millions of unfortunate victims of the cyclone.
The 22nd Conference of the AIKS strongly feels that the meagre amounts provided by the State Government could not be sufficient even to touch the fringe of the problem. Therefore, the Centre should provide funds to a tune of 500 crores to meet the severe situation as a special grant. The relief and rehabilitation measures have to be carried on in cooperative with the All Parties Committees only. Simple reliance on administrative machinery for relief operations, does not deliver goods at this critical juncture.
The AIKS demands 500 crores as a grant to undertake all the relief and rehabilitation programme on a warfooting. The AIKS calls all the State Kisan Sabhas to collect cyclone relief fund and to come to the rescue of the peasantry of the State at this hour of crisis.
The AIKS hails and commends the services rendered by the members and leaders of the Kisan Sabha! of A.P. and the youth squades in a variety of relief and rehabilitation works, hand in hand with other political parties and. social organizations to the cyclone victims in this hour of great grief and sorrow.
DIVERSION OF KRISHNA RIVER WATERS TO RAYALSEEMA (ANDHRA PRADESH)
The 22nd All India Kisan Sabha Conference strongly feels that Rayalaseema is a famine hit region of Andhra Pradesh. Even according to the Planning Commission there is. 60% of the famine affected area in Southern India, out of which 60% is in Andhra Pradesh and out of this 60% in Rayalaseema, Such, is the appalling condition again. Every year or alternative year, famine visits Rayalaseema. Even though an agriculture well is dug to a depth of 120 feet, it irrigates hardly two acres. The situation is getting aggravated. In 1938, in composite Madras State, the elders and leaders of Andhra Region promised to help this, parched area with Krishna Waters and entered into the agreement called “Sri Bagh Pact”. According to this agreement, Rayalaseema region was to get Krishna waters on a priority basis. This was rightly reiterated again in 1953 when the Krishna Pennar Project was given up and the Nandikonda Project was taken up. The Krishna River waters dispute was settled by the award of Batchawath, but diversion of Krishna waters to Rayalaseema has remained a dream. Several hurdles are coming in the way of Krishna, waters being, diverted. Moreover, the already existing water supply to K. C. Canal has got diminished, creating a new problem. Hence the AIKS strongly demands that Krishna, waters be diverted to Rayalaseema, allotting Rs. 100 crores for the Right and Left Canals immediately. This Conference further feels that steps should be taken expeditiously in this regard which would banish famine from this area and also contribute to the removal of regional imbalance and pave the way for balanced growth of the economy of the State of Andhra Pradesh.
DECLARATION OF THE ALL INDIA KISAN SABHA
On a united countrywide movement for remunerative prices of agricrltural produce and public distribution of essential commodities and inputs.
We, peasants, who constitute the overwhelming majority of the Indian people, are facing today unprecedented trials and travail. We fought for freedom so that we may enjoy the fruits q our labour, as the national leaders then told us.
Thirty two years have elapsed since India became free, but we have still not secured that right. Forty two per cent of us have been evicted from the lands their forefathers tilled; now they are being smoked out of the huts they used to live in. Another forty eight per cent who are small and middle peasants, are sliding down the slope of landlessness year by year. We have increased food production more than two fold, yet half of us do not get even two square meals per day. We have increased production of raw materials more than twofold, yet we continue to be deprived of the bare necessities of life. Moist of the poor and the unemployed are to be found in our ranks. And their number goes on increasing day by day. Earlier, our rulers told us that we will perish if we do not increase production. Now, they tell us that we have to perish because we have increased production. Why should it be so?
It is so because we do not get a fair remuneration, for our labour. We are cheated when we sell our products; we are cheated again when we buy our needs. And the gap between the prices we receive and the prices we pay, goes on widening. It was so under the Congress Raj, it is so under the Janata Raj. If anything, the gap has widened still, further after Choudhury Charan Singh’s so-called “Kisan budget”.
Who gains from this cheating? None else but the “captains” of industry and trade, the monopoly capitalists and the multinationals. In fact, the monopolists and multinationals have emerged as the main exploiters of us,, working peasants, today though other exploiters like landlords and moneylenders are still there. We have fought them and shall continue to fight them till ’the last of them disappear.
But the monopolists have become the biggest exploiters of the peasantry. They do not spare even the big farmers and the cultivating landlords, though they better have the power to secure better prices for what they sell and pay a little lower prices for what they buy. Moreover, they can reduce their cost by recourse to mechanization, which we cannot do. Even then they suffer. But we, working peasants, are the main sufferers of this “price loot”, which ruins our economy. This “price loot” has increased under the Janata Raj— from 1700 crores in 1976-77 to Rs. 2300 crores in 1977-78. to Rs. 3500 crores in 1978-79.
Can this loot be stopped?
Yes, it can be stopped if we, peasants, too unite like workers and fight the capitalists and the government. The Tamilnadu peasants are fighting, unitedly. Peasants all over the country can launch a similar struggle.
The delegates assembled at the twenty-second national conference of the All India Kisan Sabha, meeting at Vijayawada, do, hereby, resolve to launch a united movement for the realization of the following two demands—
Pay remunerative prices for agricultural produce; Supply essential industrial goods including agricultural inputs at cheap rates. Can the government fulfil these demands ?
Yes, it can if it fixes remunerative prices and set up requisite official machinery to purchase what peasants want to sell at the fixed prices. Similarly, it can take over the entire production of essential industrial goods at fixed rates directly from the factories and sell them to the peasants through the public distribution system. This arrangement will benefit the consumers in the urban and industrial centres as well. It will not harm the small shop-keepers. It will eliminate the exorbitant profits of only the big capitalists and big merchants. We, therefore, call upon the entire peasantry to launch this united movement by holding demonstrations and dharanas before government officers on Monday, the second July. We appeal to rural and urban workers and employees, indeed, to all people, to join this nationwide demonstration. Form joint committees of all participants at different levels. Organize united conventions and conferences which will chalk out a comprehensive programme for developing the movement. We appeal to all peasant and pro-peasant organizations, and to all parties and groups interested in the well-being of the peasantry, to join hands in the momentous national struggle for justice to us, peasants. These struggles have to be strengthened and broadened in the coming days, so that a mighty peasant movement, fighting against all forms of exploitation and oppression, sweeps our land. We are confident that true to the best traditions of the Kisan movement in the country, this movement, too, will successfully force reaction to beat a retreat and create a situation in which the peasantry, in alliance with other working people, can victoriously march forward to a fundamental restructuring of the entire socio-economic system.
MESSAGE CF GREETINGS 10 THE 23RD SESSION OF THE ALL INDIA KISAN SABHA (by CPM)
On behalf of the Central Kisan Committee (CKC) of the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), I bring to your conference warm fraternal greetings and ardent wishes for success in its deliberations, and sincere olfsr for joint struggle for the realisation of the common goal of radical land reforms and democratic re-organisation of the entire socio-economic set up of the country, in close cooperation with the working class and other democratic classes and strata.
Our two Kisan Sabhas are not only the joint inheritors of the glorious traditions of heroic struggles waged under the red banner of the AIKS during the last four decades, but are still inspired by Common goals, are facing common tasks and are engaged in common struggle against common class enemies—landlords, monopolists and imperialists.
The unfortunate division in our ranks weakened the organised peasant movement and weakened its weight and role in the democratic movement, precisely at a time when the bankruptcy of the capitalist path, persued by the ruling classes, is becoming more and more apparent and the need for an alternative path of development, based on worker-peasant alliance and unity of all left and democratic forces, is becoming more and more pressing-
Our two Kisan Sabhas still remain the premier national organisations of the working peasantry and unity of action between them will definitely play a crucial role in galvanising the mass^ movement for defending the interests of the peasantry and forging the left-democratic alternative to the bankrupt bourgeois rule.
Our Kisan Sabha stands for sincere cooperation between our two organizations and has submitted several proposals for the, including a Ten-Point Charter of Demands which could serve as a basis for evolving an agreed platform for unity of action between the two Kisan Sabhas, as well as with other organizations, and parties, groups and individuals interested in the well-being of the peasantry.
We have felt greatly enthused by the growth of joint work between our two Kisan Sabhas at the local level in certain states during the recent past. But, we hope, you will agree, that this cooperation is yet too small in the context of the needs and possibilities of the situation.
We ardently hope that your conference, meeting at this crucial hour in the history of our country, will chart out an appropriate programme of unity of action between our two kisan sabhas as well as with other parties, organizations and groups, standing for the defence of the interests of the peasantry.
Allow me, Comrades, to greet you once again and to wish full success to your deliberations.
With fraternal greetings.
Indradeep Sink a
30 March, 1979 To
Com. Harkishen Singh Surjeet, M.P.
All India Kisan Sabha,
Camp: VARANASI (UP)
MESSAGE OF GREETINGS TO THE TWENTY SECOND NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF THE ALL INDIA KISAN SABHA
by K. Chattunni Master M.P., General Secretary AIKS (CPM)
Comrade President, delegates and distinguished friends,
On behalf of the All-India Kisan Committee of the All-India Kisan Sabha, I warmly greet the Twenty second Session of the All-India Kisan Sabha being held in Vijayawada.
Your conference is meeting at a time when the peasantry in our country is in ferment. No other section of the Indian people has suffered so much under the economic crisis as the mass of agricultural workers and peasants. Every slogan raised by the bourgeois-landlord Government, whether of the Congress or the Janata Party, to woo the peasantry, has resulted in reducing the rural masses to destitution. Whether it was the slogan of land reforms, green revolution, 20-point programme of the Congress Party, or the slogan of rural orientation of the Janata Party, all have failed to solve any of the basic problems facing the peasantry and have resulted in increasing the disparity’ among the rural population. Even after thirty two years of Independence, land monopoly remains and millions of share croppers and tenants are faced with evictions. Hardly a day passes when We do not hear reports of atrocities on Harijans.
Millions of acres of land has been kept by the landlords under benami transactions, in spite of the ceiling laws. Agri cultural workers are yet to be provided even house-sites. They are paid extremely meagre wages and that, too, not during the whole year- Taxes have been enhanced by the Centre and the State Governments to squeeze the peasantry. The peasantry is groaning under heavy indebtedness which is to the tune of more than Rs. 6000 crores. Moreover, as a result of the fall in prices of agricultural produce and the rising prices of articles of consumption, the peasants are being ruined. A favorable atmosphere has been created for resisting these burdens by the measures taken by the two Left Front Governments of West Bengal and Tripura. Sharecroppers are being recorded and made hereditary making lawful eviction impossible; non-issue of receipts by landowners for their share of the rent has been made a punishable offense; the onus of proving that a person is not the sharecropper on a particular plot of land has been placed on the landowner; lands forcibly taken over by landlords are being restored to those who were given possession of these lands in 1967; ownership of house-sites has been conferred on agricultural workers, sharecroppers and artisans who are in possession; ownership of land is also being conferred on poor peasants; those peasants, holding four acres of irrigated or six acres of unirrigated land, have been exempted from land revenue and a legislation is on the anvil to levy on the landowners tax on agricultural income; major concessions have been given in the matter of repayment of tagavi loans and of loans to commercial banks; facilities have been provided for easy credit to the poorer sections—these are some of the beneficial measures taken by the West Bengal Government.
The Tripura Government has assigned high priority to the speedy implementation of land reform measures. Land alienated from the tribal people by non-tribals are being restored to them and the poor refugees from the erstwhile East Bengal who might get displaced in this process are being resettled in new areas with generous financial and other assistance. A programme for financially assisting share-croppers for securing agricultural inputs is being launched from this year.
Such measures taken by the two Governments should be of immense help to the organized kisan movement to carry forward the agitations and struggles of the peasantry all over the country- The Twentythird Session of the All-India Kisan Sabha held in Varanasi in March last, took note of the seething discontent in the rural areas and also that various sections of the peasantry were moving into action spontaneously to resist the Government’s efforts to throw the burdens of the deepening economic crisis on to their shoulders, and that in many places where organized peasant movement exists, united actions had taken place to win the demands of the peasantry. Such actions have been developed by our two organizations during the last one year in many states. The Varanasi Session of the All-India Kisan Sabha welcomed these united actions and called upon all its units to intensify such actions. It gave a call to eschew all types of sectarianism so as to join hands with all types of organizations, platforms and forums as long as the interests of the peasantry are served. It felt that the present situation provides immense opportunity to strive for unity of action. The ruling classes are making all efforts to disrupt and divide the peasantry by raising casteism, communalism, obscurantism, etc. United actions will also help to raise the level of political consciousness of the peasantry and make it easier to fight the manoeuvres of the ruling classes. We are sure that your conference will also take decisions which will facilitate united actions, so that the efforts of the ruling classes to throw the burden of the crisis on the shoulders of the peasantry can be defeated and the interests of the peasantry defended.
Once again, Comrades, 1 greet you and wish all success to the deliberations of your conference.
K. CHAATHUNNI MASTER
VIJAYAWARD, 7-10TH, JUNE’79
LIST OF OFFICE BEARERS AND MEMBERS OF THE CENTRAL KISAN COMMITTEE (CKC) ELECTED AT THE 22ND SESSION OF AIKS
VIJAYAWARD, 7-10TH, JUNE’79
- Dr. Z.A. Ahmad President
- Shri Jangir Singh Joga Vice President
- ,, Biswanath Mukerjee ,,
- ,, Y.V. Krishna Rao ,,
- ,, Bhogindra Jha ,,
- ,, Jharkhande Rai ,,
- ,, Gopala Krishna Menon ,,
- ,, S. Algiri Swami ,,
- ,, Indradeep Sinha General Secretary
- ,, Chhajju Mal Vaid Joint Secretary
- ,, Phani Bora Treasurer
- ,, Ch. Rajeshwar Rao Member
- ,, Poola Subaiya ,,
- ,, N. Rajeshwar Rao ,,
- ,, Keho Ram Hazarika ,,
- ,, Tej Narain Jha ,,
- ,, Pitamber Singh ,,
- ,, Suraj Prasad ,,
- ,, Sat Pal Singh ,,
- ,, Paras Ram ,,
- ,, E.K. Pillai ,,
- ,, T.C. Narayanan Nambiar ,,
- ,, Srinivas Gudi ,,
- ,, Vakil Rao Langhe ,,
- ,, Raja Ram Patil ,,
- ,, K.C. Bansal ,,
- ,, Ram Chandra Misra ,,
- ,, Nazar Singh ,,
- ,, Jogindar Dyal ,,
- ,, Harumal Tolani ,,
- ,, Prem Chand Jain ,,
- ,, Sarjoo Pandey ,,
- ,, Dhir Singh Shastri ,,
- ,, A.P. Tewari ,,
- ,, Ananta Majee ,,
- ,, Ajit Ganguli ,,
- ,, Kanai Bhowmik ,,
- ,, Adimoolam ,,
- Post of one joint secretary vacant, yet to be filled up.
MEMBERS OF THE ALL INDIA KISAN COUNCIL A.I.K.C
- Shri Y.V. Krishna Rao Andhra Pradesh
- ,, Ch. Rajeshwar Rao ,,
- ,, Poola Subaiya ,,
- ,, Sanku Appa Rao ,,
- ,, P. Venkateswarlu ,,
- ,, Alluri Venket Ramaraju ,,
- ,, K. Ramchandra Reddy ,,
- ,, K. Kishtayya ,,
- ,, N. Rajshekhar ,,
- ,, I. Sada-sivan ,,
- ,, N. Venkata Swami ,,
- ,, Kehoram Hazarika Assam
- ,, Phani Bora ,,
- ,, Indradeep Sinha Bihar
- ,, Bhogindra Jha ,,
- ,, Pitamber Singh ,,
- ,, Tej Narain Jha ,,
- ,, Suraj Prasad ,,
- ,, Theveni Sharma Sudhakar ,,
- ,, Zakir Hussain ,,
- ,, Mani Ram Singh ,,
- ,, Barhma Nand Mandal ,,
- ,, Deo Nath Parsad ,,
- ,, Gauri Shankar Jha ,,
- ,, Nitya Nand Jha ,,
- ,, Paras Ram Himachal Pradesh
- ,, Nauki Ram Betab ,,
- ,, Surat Singh Haryana
- ,, Satpal Singh ,,
- ,, E. Gopala Krishna Menon Kerala
- ,, E.K. Pillai ,,
- ,, N.C. Nambiar ,,
- ,, T.C. Narayanan Nambiar ,,
- ,, M.C. Chacko ,,
- ,, P.G. Velayudhan Nair ,,
- ,, Srinivas Gudi Karnataka
- ,, Atamijt Singh Jammu
- ,, _ _ Ranjoor Kashmir
- ,, Kedar Chand Bansal Madhya Pradesh
- ,, Rajesh Sharma ,,
- ,, Raja Ram Patil Maharashtra
- ,, Vakil Rao Langhe ,,
- ,, Nam Deo Rao Kale ,,
- ,, Dhani Ram Jadhav ,,
- ,, Balasahib Nagavade ,,
- ,, Ram Chandra Mishra Orissa
- ,, D.K. Panda ,,
- ,, Jangir Singh Joga Punjab
- ,, Chhajju Mal Vaid ,,
- ,, Shamsher Singh Josh ,,
- ,, Dr. Jogindar Dyal ,,
- ,, Nazar Singh ,,
- ,, Wadhwa Ram ,,
- ,, Gurbax Singh Kala Adghana ,,
- ,, Basant Singh Asr. ,,
- ,, Harumal Tolani Rajasthan
- ,, Prem Chand Jain ,,
- ,, Y.N. Handa ,,
- ,, M. Adimoollam Tamilnadu
- ,, S. Alagiri Swami MLA ,,
- ,, S. Alagiri Swami ,,
- ,, S. Ganesham ,,
- ,, N.K. Palanis Werry ,,
- ,, Jharkhande Rai Uttar Pradesh
- ,, Sarjoo Pandey ,,
- ,, A.P. Tewari ,,
- ,, Dhir Singh Shastri ,,
- ,, Pabbar Ram ,,
- ,, Udal Varansi ,,
- ,, Biswanath Mukherjee West Bengal
- ,, Ananta Majee ,,
- ,, Kanhai Bhowmik ,,
- ,, Ajit Gangauli ,,
- ,, Deben Das ,,
- ,, Bhupal Panda ,,
- ,, Monoranjan Sur ,,
- ,, Lateman Ali Molla ,,
- ,, Aswini Rai ,,
- ,, Durga Sen ,,
- ,, Swadesh Chaki ,,
After filling the Vacancy of the Joint secretary the total Strength of AIKC will be 81.
Date: Aug, 1979