Amid the uproar of workers and trade unionists for their rights at the Mahapdaav in Delhi, the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) on November 9 launched its ‘Kisan Ki Loot’ campaign to highlight how farmers are being denied their rights.
The AIKSCC, a nationwide coalition of more than 180 farmer organisations, works to create a dignified and sustainable livelihood for farmers and agricultural workers.
The AIKSCC members held a press conference in Delhi, where theydisplayed a series of photographs portraying the penury of farmers from states such as Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Telangana.
“Bhagat Singh, a farmer from Haryana, was forced to sell his 19 quintals of Bajra crop for Rs 1,135 per quintal where the MSP exists as Rs1,425 in papers,”said an AIKSCC press statement, which elaborated on how the government has been looting the farmers.
The AIKSCC conducted a study, based on crop prices across the country this season,which underlined how farmers are suffering massive losses as they are compelled to sell their crops at prices below government’s proposed Minimum Support Price (MSP).
“Considering the top 7 crops (paddy, maize, soybean, cotton, bajra, groundnut and urad), the arrivals in mandis so far and the actual market prices, farmers have lost Rs6,283 crores compared to the MSP. Considering the total crop that would be sold by farmers this season (Marketable Surplus), the estimated loss of farmers compared to MSP is Rs35,968 crores,” the study notes.
PM Modi came to power by promising farmers that the MSP would be fixed at 50% above the cost of production, but he has betrayed the farmers, said the AIKSCC.
“Among the 14 crops of Kharif 2017-18, the MSPs for 7 crops have been fixed at less than the cost of production. In the other 7 crops, the margin above the cost of production is merely 2% to 19%. Considering the cost of production+50% as the fair remunerative price promised by the government, the loss faced by farmers is more than Rs2.03 lakh crores,” the AIKSCC stated.
“Our campaign clearly captures the fact that farmers across the country, whatever they might be producing, don’t get the MSP that is promised. Importantly, the MSP announced does not leave any profit margin for the farmers, so how can the needs of the farmers’ families be met? It is not surprising that farmers are drowning in debt and committing suicide. The Central government should take responsibility for this state of the farmers due to their failed promises.”
The campaign was preceded by the KisanMuktiYatra, which had travelled around the country covering 10,000km through 18 states. Reaching out to 50 lakh farmers, the yatra addressed the issues of farmers including low prices, debt bound farming, lack of support from the government, and failure of government promises.
The AIKSCC leaders – includingHannanMollah of All India Kisan Sabha, DrSunilam of KisanSangharshSamiti, Yogendra Yadav of Swaraj Abhiyan, MedhaPatkar of National Alliance of People’s Movements, and Raju Shetty of SwabhimaniShetkariSangathan– urged the farmers to turn out in large numbers for the ‘KisanMuktiSansad’, a farmers’ freedom parliament.
The Kisan Mukti Sansad, scheduled to be held on November 20, will put forward the draft of the bill encompassing the demands. It will be debated and passed by the farmers’ parliament. The AIKSCC will invite leaders of political parties and the Prime Minister to come to the Sansad,but only if they are ready to support the Bill and the demands, said the statement.