SKM to Hold National Convention in Jalandhar on January 16
Representational Image. File Image
The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) will hold its national convention in Jalandhar on January 16. The primary agenda for the convention includes planning the next steps for the struggle for minimum support price, advocating for a one-time loan waiver from all banking institutions, and opposing the privatisation of the electricity sector through the Electricity (Amendment) Act.
The collective of farmers’ organisations which spearheaded the historic farmers' struggle against three farm laws at the borders of the national capital, has also been demanding the suspension of Minister of State for Home Affairs Ajay Mishra for his alleged role in protecting his son Ashish Mishra – accused of murdering four farmers and one journalist in Lakhimpur Kheri. The Morcha has already launched its door-to-door outreach campaign which aims to engage with about 12 crore families to mobilise public opinion over farmers’ demands.
The government and the farmers' organisations have been locking horns over the formation of a committee to give legal validity to the minimum support price. The unions had earlier declined the invitation from the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare to be part of the panel after the inclusion of pro-market experts who had supported now-repealed farm laws.
In a statement, SKM said that the farmers had suspended the 13-month-long historical farmers' struggle at Delhi borders on November 26, 2021, in which 735 farmers were martyred, in the context of the written assurances made by the Modi government on December 9, 2021.
It added, “Full two years have passed. But the Prime Minister, who is boasting on “Modi Ka Guarantee” to hoodwink all sections of the people in the forthcoming Lok Sabha election has no scruples since he did not implement any of the written assurance made to farmers including MSP@C2+50% for all crops with legal guarantee as recommended by M S Swaminathan Commission, waiving the debt of farmers and farmworkers, stop enforcing privatisation of electricity and putting smart meters on farms and farmers households.”
It further read: “Farmers who faced natural disasters that spoiled all the crops made out of their hard work and life investment did not get insurance and adequate compensation in large part of the country since the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana functions for corporate profiteering rather than protecting farmers and agriculture.”
In a reply to the question in Rajya Sabha in July last year, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar had said that the insurance companies saved Rs 57,000 crore under the scheme in the last seven years. In 2022-23, the insurance companies received Rs 27900.78 crore as premiums; whereas, paid Rs 5760.80 crore in claims.
Jagmohan Singh, secretary, Bharatiya Kisan Union Dakaunda, told NewsClick over the phone that the Desh Bhagat Yadgar Hall was chosen for two reasons for the convention: it can easily accommodate 1,000 people and we have only a few venues in the state to hold such a big meeting. Second, it is a place associated with the memory of Ghadar martyrs.
He added that the farmers’ organisations will take a call on further struggles in association with central trade unions. The farmers' unions had staged a three-day dharna between November 26 and 28 last year on the second anniversary of farmers' victory.
Hannan Mollah, vice president, All India Kisan Sabha, said that the farmers' organisations will announce the next course of action to press for our demands. “We have already announced our door-to-door campaign and tractor rallies will be held in more than 500 district headquarters on Republic Day Parade. The convention will further our demand that the pursuit of corporate policies in agriculture must end. Our farmers are laden under the burden of debt as much of seeds, fertilisers and equipment markets have been handed over to big corporate players.”
He added that the convention will challenge the narrative of corporate development based on GDP rate and India becoming a three trillion-dollar economy that hides the decline in the per capita income, growing income inequality and denial of minimum support price to farmers and minimum wage to workers.
Get the latest reports & analysis with people's perspective on Protests, movements & deep analytical videos, discussions of the current affairs in your Telegram app. Subscribe to NewsClick's Telegram channel & get Real-Time updates on stories, as they get published on our website.