Demands for loan waiver and public procurement are entirely just! It is the State’s duty to ensure prosperity and protection for peasants! We are not asking for charity! Secure livelihood is our basic right!

Call of the Central Committee of the Communist Ghadar Party of India, 20 November, 2017

At the call of the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee, peasants from all parts of our country have gathering in Delhi today. The demands being raised include a one-time waiver of agricultural loans advanced by banks and guaranteed public procurement of all agricultural produce at remunerative prices.These are entirely just demands. They need to be fulfilled in order to provide a secure livelihood to the tillers and to lift agriculture out of crisis.

Communist Ghadar Party calls on all political parties and mass organisations of workers, women and youth to support the demands of the agitating peasants of our country!

It is to be noted that today’s mass protest by peasant organisations is taking place soon after the massive 3-day protest by workers’ unions during 9-11 November. The National Convention of Workers, which coordinated that mass workers’ protest, extended full support to the agitating peasants and their demands. It is a sign of the growing unity between workers and peasants in defence of our basic rights.

Prime Minister Modi claims that his government has been working hard to double the incomes from farming. The result has been the exact opposite. The condition of poor and middle peasants is so precarious that their children want to get out of farming. Net incomes of even relatively prosperous farmers have declined in recent years. So-called support prices have fallen below the cost of production. It is not incomes but losses which have doubled, while debt has increased. Many farmers have dumped their produce on the roads in frustration. Many are driven to suicide each year.

The reason why the central and state governments headed by the BJP, Congress Party and other ruling parties are refusing to fulfil the just demands of peasants is because they are committed to fulfil the greed of monopoly capitalists. Instead of expanding the role of public agencies, they are expanding the space for the companies owned by the Tatas, Birlas, Reliance and other monopoly houses to reap maximum profits from trading in agricultural inputs and outputs. In the name of “liberalization” and “minimum government”, parties of the capitalist class are competing to fulfil the greed of Indian monopoly houses and of Monsanto and other foreign agri-business companies.

The Indian State is guaranteeing maximum profits for monopoly capitalists. Peasants are being left to “fend for themselves” in a market that is dominated by such companies. Trade liberalization, which has led to devastation and ruin of millions of farmers all over the world, is being promoted as the path to ensure “development for all”.

It is a universally accepted principle in our society that those who till the land need to be looked after by the State. A secure livelihood for the cultivators of the soil is a matter of right. It is the duty of the State to provide irrigation and other vital inputs and ensure that peasants are looked after, in return for their vital contribution to society. Today, this principle is being trampled in the mud by the capitalist class in power, and the governments in their service.

Spokesmen of the capitalist class claim that if peasants are paid remunerative prices for their crops then that will lead to higher food prices in the retail shops. This is nothing but lying propaganda to turn the rest of the people against the peasants.The truth is that the average price received by peasants for their produce is less than one quarter of the final selling price in the retail stores. The reason for this huge gap lies in the huge profits pocketed by private traders and capitalist trading companies.

It is perfectly possible for peasants to receive remunerative prices for their produce, at least one and half times the cost of material inputs, without any increase in the final retail prices. It is possible provided the harmful role of private traders is eliminated from the sphere of agricultural input supply and procurement.

What is needed is for the central and state governments to fulfil their duty of creating a public procurement system covering all food and non-food crops. They must ensure that peasants are provided with agricultural inputs at affordable rates and all farm output is bought by public agencies at stable and remunerative prices. They must connect the public procurement system to a public distribution system geared to ensure the availability of all essential consumption goods at affordable prices for all. Workers’ and peasants’ organisations and people’s committees in the villages and towns must monitor the public system and ensure that there are no leakages caused by private profiteering interests and corrupt officials.

The Reserve Bank Governor and other government spokesmen claim that the banking system cannot afford to waive all agricultural loans. However, thousands of crores of rupees have been allocated in the central Budget to bail out big capitalist loan defaulters. When the lakhs of crores of rupees which the capitalist class has robbed year after year through agricultural trade is taken into account, the demand for a one-time loan waiver only amounts to a small part of the loot being returned to the peasants.

The way forward for the peasants is to strengthen their own fighting unity and their unity with the working class. Workers and peasants need to get prepared to take political power in their hands, like they did in Russia 100 years ago.

The Communist Ghadar Party of India is committed to work in unison with all communists and all mass organisations of the people to build and strengthen the worker-peasant alliance against the ruling capitalist class. Let us prepare for a revolution that would end capitalist rule andestablish workers’ and peasants’ rule in our country!


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