Letters to Editor

Crop insurance

This refers to report in MEL of 16-28 February regarding peasants’ opposition to the Budget. Through your paper I want to highlight another fraud on Indian people and peasants.

Whenever we peasants fight for various demands the Central and state governments announce various schemes with a lot of fanfare. “Crop insurance” is one such highly publicized scheme. If one believes the government propaganda about it, then one would feel that it is a big favor to Indian peasants and now peasants of India need not worry even if their crops are destroyed due to weather. But the reality is far from this. Last year 97 thousand farmers from Wardha district of Maharashtra paid 14 crore 85 lakh as crop Insurance premium to the Reliance Insurance. An equal amount was paid by the Central and state governments. Thus a total of Rs. 30 crores was paid to the Reliance company. After that Kharif crop was badly damaged, 987 farmers complained and asked for insurance payment. But none of them got insurance money! The method of conducting survey to determine insurance payable is completely in the hands of the insurance company and government officials due to which most of the claims are disqualified. It is reported that last year the Maharashtra government paid approximately Rs 3 thousand crore as insurance premium but only Rs 900 crore were given back as insurance claim. It is also reported that last year the Central government paid more than Rs 20,700 crore as insurance premium. But insurance companies gave only Rs 4,000 crore to farmers. It is thus clear that crop insurance schemes are just meant to fatten the purses of insurance companies out of government funds, people’s money. These schemes are thus a big fraud on the Indian people and peasants.

Your reader,
A farmer activist from Wardha, Maharashtra

I am also a worker and being exploited!

Dear Editor,

I am a regular reader of your paper MEL. Your paper passionately brings out the issues facing the working class of our country. Earlier I used to think that I am not a worker because I hold a doctorate degree. I used to think that my issues and hence aspirations are different from uneducated or lesser educated working people. But, the experience of the last few years has opened my eyes to the reality.

I completed my Ph.D. in Economics. My father is a farmer in a small village in Maharashtra. Hence, my entire family had to struggle a lot so that I could complete my higher education. After getting Ph.D. my family felt a great pride and we were all hoping that now I would be able to earn a good living and relieve them of hard work in fields in their old age. But when I started looking for a teaching job I was shocked to understand that no educational institute is interested in hiring permanent teachers. After a few months I was forced to start teaching on clock hour basis.

Even in government colleges no vacancies are being filled. In the government aided colleges of Maharashtra there are over 9500 vacancies. But since the Maharashtra government is pushing for reduced expenditure on education, it is actively encouraging recruitment of teachers on hourly basis. In a junior college for teaching 28 periods teachers are paid only Rs.2240/- whereas in a senior college they are paid Rs.6720/-. At the end of the year some of them are given Rs.50,400/- as honourarium. Whenever a few permanent posts sanctioned, the asking rate is Rs.30 to Rs.40 lakhs in the form of bribe! Some of my friends who have even cleared NETSET are also still working on the clock hour basis.

Some of my friends who have done M.Phil., Ph.D., and even double Ph.D. have gone back to villages to till their land or selling books or have opened barber shop. The irony is that whether it is BJP or Shiv Sena or Congress or NCP or any other big political party, none seems to be interested in improving the livelihood of teachers and the standard of education. That is not surprising since many of their leaders are shikshan saamrath.

Now I have realized that we are also part of the Indian working class. Not only we teachers but all the wage earners need to realize this. Earlier we realize this the better it will be for us. We all need to organize ourselves as working class and fight for establishing the rule of workers and peasants which your paper keeps talking about!

Thanking you,

(A worker with a Ph.D. from Aurangabad)

Bhima Koregaon

I read the statement of the CGPI Central committee on Bhima Koregaon incidents in your January issue. I would sincerely thank you for clarifying the real issues in very simple words on this sensitive topic. There is a lot of confusion on “the caste question” amongst all the progressive people. I am sure that the statement of the CGPI will help to sort out the confusion.

The statement correctly points out that the attacks on the dalit rally in Bhima Koregaon were preplanned and that the Maharashtra Government made no attempt to stop this hate campaign. It did nothing to prevent the violence unleashed against the dalit gathering on January 1. In fact post the Maharashtra Bandh of 3rd January, hundreds of Dalit youths were jailed, whereas some persons who allegedly spread venomous propaganda against Dalits were not touched. These facts further substantiate what is mentioned in the CGPI statement. It has taken more than a month for the Maharashtra state government to appoint a judicial enquiry commission! This very clearly shows that the government is not interested in unearthing the truth. How can it be if it itself is the perpetrator? It is the experience of all dalits and oppressed that such enquiry commissions are at best a farce.

The statement has rightly pointed out that the struggle that is raging in India is not a struggle between different castes. It is a struggle between the exploiters headed by the big bourgeoisie on one side, and the exploited and oppressed headed by the working class on the other. The working people of other castes are not responsible for the oppression faced by dalits. It is the capitalist system and the state that defends this system which is responsible for caste oppression. As youth of India fight for “Jobs for All”, it is important to keep this in mind, else we will be trapped in the cobweb of “caste based” fights amongst ourselves!

In admiration of your statement,
Raju, Mumbai


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