The Communist Party of India (CPI) issued an open letter to the Prime Minister of India requesting for an urgent special session of Parliament on the agrarian crisis.
ICP, 16 June 2017
The letter, issued by Suravaram Sudhakar Reddy, General Secretary of the CPI and Ex- M.P. brings to the attention of the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, the unprecedented agrarian crisis the country is facing. In India, while there is famine and drought some states, there is bumper crop and good yield in others, bringing down the prices to the dismay of the peasants. The farmers are facing nature’s wrath every year, besides middle men risks after the crop yielding.
The letter reminds that in India, thousands of peasants have already committed suicides and many are on way. According to one estimate 35 farmers commit suicide per day on average “which is shocking”. The cultivable land is shrinking every year because of mines, acquisition for industries, corporates, new and expansion of roads, urbanization, etc. Millions of farmers are displaced without proper compensation. Most of farmers are transformed into agricultural workers. “The Indian farmer is born in debt, lives through the debt, dies in debt since British days, till today.”
According to the letter, “Loan waiver is only a temporary relief which is opposed by the Reserve Bank and finance authorities while they agree to help big corporates by sanctioning at throw away prices... The Minimum Support Price (MSP) is many times less than market price and does not even meet the cost of production.... Crop insurance is not insurance to farmer but insurance to bank which is lending loan to a farmer. Even 5% of farmers are not benefited by crop insurance but insurance companies are benefited in looting the peasants through premiums.”
The letter underlines the responsibility of the central and state governments with their “unjustified amendments” in the Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation Acts. The governments are committed to promote “ease of doing business than ease of doing agriculture” as commented by a prominent social activist, Sri EAS Sarma, Former Secretary of Energy to Government of India. The letter points out to the collective anger of the Indian peasant in countrywide protests.
The CPI requests the Prime Minister Modi to call a special session of Parliament for 10 working days with the only agenda of agrarian crisis.The letter to Modi suggests the reform program of the Swaminathan, Commission to be implemented. The National Commission of Farmers, constituted by the Indian government in 2004 and chaired by Dr. M.S. Swaminathan, proposes to complete the unfinished agenda of land reforms, technology access, adequate and timely institutional credit to the peasants. Among the recommendations of the Dr. Swaminathan Commission there are also issues of food security and prevention of farmer suicides.