Two days before the Parliament meets for the winter session, the All India Kisan Sabha, the largest farmers' organisation in the country, will be ready to ensure that the agrarian crisis is taken note of by our MPs again.
The agrarian crisis and the issue of farmers' suicides were raised repeatedly during the last two Parliament sessions. To ensure that MPs indeed take up the issues in the coming session as well, the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS)—the farmers' wing of the CPI (M)—is organising farmer's rally on November 20 in the Capital.
For the first time, four AIKS rallies (jathas), from four different parts of the country, will reach the Capital on that day and merge in a rally at the Ram Lila grounds. The four jathas will begin from Kanyakumari (south), Mumbai (west), Kathua (Jammu & Kashmir) and Sabrum in Tripua and Behrampur in Orissa (east). Lakhs are expected to attend the final rally in the Capital on November 20.
"It is going to be a national rally on a large scale. Farmers from all over the country will come to Delhi to voice their concerns. It is expected to be a big rally," CPI (M) general secretary, Prakash Karat, said.
AIKS says that there are three main reasons for lakhs of farmers committing suicide in the country. The first is the falling prices because of removal of restrictions on agricultural commodities and the withdrawal of the state from market intervention measures such as minimum support price mechanism procurement.
The second reason, according to AIKS, is the shrinkage of institutional credit facilities. "Only 27 per cent of the peasantry are getting institutional credit. 73 per cent of the remaining peasantry are depending on non-institutional sources such as money lenders, traders, contractors and other middlemen for their credit requirements," AIKS said in a document being circulated among its members.
The third reason is the increasing prices of agricultural inputs. "The government has reduced subsidies to agricultural inputs like fertilizer, persticides, power, water, diesel, kerosene etc. This has increased the burden of the peasants," AIKS says.