Skip to main content

Delhi farmers' rally seeks complete loan waiver law from Lok Sabha; leaders agree, farm incomes have nosedived

By Our Representative
A Kisan Mukti Sansad (Farmers' Freedom Parliament), held in New Delhi after completing Kisan Mukti Yatra of more than 10,000 kilometers under the leadership of the All-India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) in 19 states, saw its leaders introducing a draft Farmer’s Freedom From Debt Bill, 2017, seeking it's approval in the winter session of Parliament.
Held on November 20, since morning, thousands of farmers started marching with flags and sloganeering from Ramlila ground, Ambedkar Bhavan, Gurudwara Rakabganj and different railway stations to reach the Sansad venue at Parliament Street, carrying red, green, yellow and blue flags.
The Sansad started with paying tribute to the farmers martyred in Mandsaur and other police firings, to farmers who have committed suicide, and to farmers of Yavatmal, who died due to pesticide poisoning. VM Singh, convener of AIKSCC, welcoming the farmers who arrived for the Sansad, said that farming has become a loss making activity. Ironically, his views echoed the government view that, as farm incomes were declining, more and more people should shift from agriculture to industry.
Singh, however, said, the solution lay in farm loan waiver and doubling farmers' income. "All the previous farm loans must be waived off", he insisted.
Kavita Kurungati, a woman farmer, and convener of the Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture (ASHA), put forward the issues of women farmers in detail and emphasized on the need of passing the bill for loan waiver and ensuring that the price of farm produce is raised at least by 1.5 times of the input cost.
Several women related shocking stories of the families of farmers who have committed suicide. They felt for the first time someone is listening to their grievances and were hopeful that in future other families would not commit suicide but would resist for their demands.
While addressing the Sansad, Medha Patkar of the Narmada Bachao Andolan said that this was a historic moment, as women from all over the country had gathered there to discuss their issues, supporting the bill aimed at bettering the lives of farmers, peasants, farm workers, adivasis, landless, tenant farmers, fishworkers. She added, the government has displaced more than 10 crore farmers from all over the country, including farmers of the Narmada Valley, without complete rehabilitation.
Hannan Mollah, president of the All-India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), reading out the Farmer’s Freedom From Debt Bill, 2017, said that the government has looted farmers by paying them less continuously, and forced them into debt. This in turn has caused the suicide of more than 5 lakh farmers in the country.
"Farmers will not allow the exploitation now", he said, adding, "Farmers' organizations from all over the country have consistently demanded loan waiver. Here we have a draft bill, which Parliament must discuss and approve. Small loan waivers cannot work for farmers, we need a comprehensive bill to ensure freedom from debt cycle."
Raju Shetty, MP, said, "We will not spare anyone found cheating farmers. We have the capability to overturn the ruling government. It is only because of farmers' faith that Narendra Modi was able to come with clear majority on the promises of raising farmer’s income to minimum 1.5 times of the cost."
Yogendra Yadav, of the Jai Kisan Andolan and Swaraj Abhiyan, said that the Sansad was a milestone in the history of farmers’ movements. "This is the first time when farmers bearing red and green flags have come together. And with yellow and blue flag bearers also joining in, it has become a rainbow."
Atul Kumar Anjan of the AIKS said that corporates are looking towards corporatization of farming looking at the need for seeds, fertilizers, pesticides etc., adding, the narrative propagated by the government and a few economists about less production due to small and medium farm size is totally false, as 54% of wheat production and 57% rice are being produced from these small and medium farms only.
Butta Singh Burjgil of the Bhartiya Kisan Union said that the Congress in Punjab had promised to waive off farmers' loan in its manifesto, "and following our struggle, it waived off crop loan of farmers having land less than 5 acres, but put a cap of aggregated crop loan, including principal amount and interest, of Rs 2 lakh. Even here, the waiver is only for those farmers who have taken loan from cooperatives. This comes to less than 10% of farmers indebted in Punjab."
V Venkat Ramiyaa, a senior organiser of the Sansad, said that the government had promised to double the income of farmers, but in reality it is keeping the support prices lower than the actual cost in the case of nine out of 17 crops, for which the scheme is offered. "This is pushing the farmers into debt trap. Hence the demand for comprehensive loan waiver."
Dr Sunilam, national convener of the National Alliance of People’s Movements, said, "Due to GST and demonetization, already, the farmer’s income are on decline. In the last three years, public sector loans have increased to Rs 10.65 crore from 8.11 lakh crore. This is happening when farmers have raised the production of fruits, vegetables, and crops by 1.5 times to 534 crore tons in the last decade".
During the Sansad, speakers demanded unconditional and immediate release of Akhil Gogoi, leader of Assam's Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti, who is imprisoned for the last year under sedition charges and National Security Act. Speakers called it murder of democracy and dissent, deciding to form committees in states to fight for the release of Gogoi.
In all, representatives from 184 farmer’s organizations from 25 states participated in the Sansad.

Comments

ALSO READ

India failing to dictate diplomatic preferences of Nepal, Bhutan, is unfairly blaming Beijing: Chinese daily

By Our Representative
In a sharply-worded editorial, a top Chinese media outfit, described by BBC as state-run, has said, commenting on India's foreign relations with its neighbours, that "speculation and suspicion" is "certainly not diplomacy". Published in "China Daily", the largest circulating English Monday-to-Saturday newspaper with branches across the world, the editorial notes (September 20) that "several recent events" in Nepal and Bhutan, are "gnawing worrywarts in New Delhi".
The editorial -- which comes close on the heels of a sharp critique of India's foreign policy in a state-supported Russian media outfit, Sputnik International, calling India's anti-Pak diplomacy as having "gone awry" following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "half-baked" push for anti-terror drill down "others' throat" -- says, the " worrywarts" include "Nepalese troops taking part in a joint…

Accused of being RSS plant, Modi man, Hyderabad Urdu varsity chancellor asks President to probe "irregularities"

Counterview Desk
Refused entry in the Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU), the central university's newly appointed chancellor Firoz Bakht Ahmed, who claims to be grand nephew of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, has, in a letter to the President of India, said that MANUU vice-chancellor (V-C) Dr Aslam Parvaiz has accused him of being an RSS plant and a Modi man, whose sole aim is to "interfere in the working of the university".

Ahmedabad, GIFT, Adani city get 1.68 lakh acre ft Narmada water; Gujarat's rural areas just 4.27 AF: Letter to CM

Counterview Desk
Well-known farmer rights leader Sagar Rabari, in an open letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, has demanded a transparent account of Narmada water, saying, while he has received a "routine reply" from him to his earlier, the data emerging from his RTI application show huge quantity of water being directed to Ahmedabad, the 10 km stretch of Sabarmati for the Ahmedabad riverfront, and nearby elite urban areas, including the Adanis' Shantigram township and GIFT City.

17 lakh Jharkhand elderly, widows, differently abled do not receive pension: Public hearing told, aadhaar is a hurdle

By Our Representative
Hundreds of elderly, widows, single women and differently-abled persons from different districts of Jharkhand gathered near the Raj Bhavan in Ranchi for a public hearing organized by the Jharkhand Right to Food Campaign and Pension Parishad demanding the right to universal social security pensions ahead of World Elderly Day on October 1.

Ethnocide in Caribbean island filmed following award winning docufilm on Jamaica's anti-colonial Indian roots

International awards winner for Best Feature Documentary Linda Aïnouche for “Dreadlocks Story” (2014), which shows how Indians are entangled in the Jamaican society, and how Hinduism was a source of inspiration for the Rastafari movement, is all set to release her new documentary, “Marooned in the Caribbean”, which aims at documenting the awful desolating living conditions that Raizal people, the native inhabitants of San Andres Archipelago, endure.
Sons of slaves, these islanders have fallen prey to what the Colombian government calls Colombianization. “It’s a process”, according to her, “which kills the Raizal culture; it’s the killing of the Raizal soul. Colombianization subjugates Afro-descendants of San Andres to an ethnocide.”

Explorer, director and producer, Linda Aïnouche writes exclusively for Counterview: ***
Nobody escapes from blood and thunder in Colombia, and definitely not in the archipelago of San Andres, situated closer to Managua and Kingston than Bogota. The Raizal p…

India to deport Rohingya refugees, as the world moves towards prosecuting Myanmar for genocide

By Tapan Bose*
Seven Rohingya Muslims refugees who were held at a detention centre in Assam since 2012 will be handed over to Myanmar. The Supreme Court of India has refused to stop their deportation. The new Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gagoi said, "We are not inclined to interfere on the decision taken".

An elite Kutir set up by Modi far from the "madding" crowd: This Gandhi museum is formal, unapproachable

By Rajiv Shah
Have you ever heard of a Gandhi museum, sough to be projected as the “largest” on the Mahatma, yet totally inaccessible, in sharp contrast to Ahmedabad’s humble, approachable and unassuming Gandhi Ashram on the banks of Sabarmati, set up by the Mahatma during the heydays of the freedom movement? It exists about 30 kilometres away, its idea was conceived by none other than a person who has today become even more inaccessible than he ever was: Narendra Modi, India's Prime Minister.

History less known: Kasturba's role as an independent woman and a freedom fighter in her own right

By Nandini Oza*
Even the most deserving of women do not find a place that equals their worth in history. Kasturba is one such woman whose contribution to India’s struggle for freedom has been exemplary, and yet, it has not received the recognition it deserves. Kastur Makhanji Kapadia was born in the year 1869, the same year and in the same town of Porbandar in Gujarat as Gandhiji. In fact she was older than Gandhiji by a few months.

Hyderabad-based Urdu university "bars" entry of its new chancellor, who had "initiated" reforms in institute

Counterview Desk
In an unusual controversy, Aslam Parvaiz, vice-chancellor of of the Hyderabad-based Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU) has restricted the entry of its newly appointed Chancellor, Firoz Bakht Ahmed, allegedly because he was trying to initiate reforms, including setting up of a Maulana Azad Center for Composite Culture and Progressive Studies, Model Madrasa, Center for Empowerment of Muslim Women, Course for the Development of Legal Vocabulary and Legal Consciousness in Urdu, and so on.

Poor response to tenders for Gujarat's bid for the world's tallest statue, no international firm shows interest

By Our Representative
The Gujarat government’s claim that its decision to build the world’s highest statue in the world, in the memory of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, would attract “tremendous” response top international construction companies, has gone phut. The state government floated international tenders in August to build the statue, which is slated to be 182-metres high. Despite the “international” character of the tenders and big claims, well-informed Sachivalaya sources close to Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi say, “not one international firm has come up to offer to carry out the construction activity.”