AIKS says govt has betrayed farmers on legal guarantee of MSP, debt relief, etc
AIKS, the farmers’ wing of the CPI, feels betrayed by the government as the latter has not been able to keep its promises. In a memorandum to Droupadi Murmu, the President of India, the AIKS says that issues like a legal guarantee of MSP, complete debt relief and other demands raised by the farmers are pending even a year after the government’s assurances that led to the calling off of farmers’ protests.
The All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), the farmers’ wing of the Communist Party of India (CPI), feels betrayed by the government as the latter has not been able to keep its promises. In a memorandum to Droupadi Murmu, the President of India, dated January 26, the AIKS says that issues like a legal guarantee of Minimum Support price (MSP), complete debt relief and other demands raised by the farmers are pending even a year after the government’s assurances that led to the calling off of farmers’ protests. This was stated in an AIKS press release.
Signed by Vijoo Krishnan, the AIKS Secretary, the memorandum reminds the President of the promises the government made to the farmers. The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) — a coalition of farmers’ unions that includes AIKS — in a letter to the Union Government dated 21 November 2021, had drawn its attention towards six pending demands. In response to this, on 9 December 2021, Sanjay Aggarwal, Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, wrote a letter to the SKM. In this letter, he gave assurances on behalf of the government on many issues and urged the farmers to withdraw the movement. Relying on this letter, the SKM decided to end the protest demonstrations on 11 December 2021.
Among the issues raised by the AIKS once again, the foremost is a law to guarantee MSP for all crops, using the C2 + 50 per cent formula, based on the recommendation of the Swaminathan Commission. AIKS feels that the committee constituted by the Union Government on MSP and its stated agenda is contrary to the demands of the farmers. This committee should be dismissed, and a new committee on MSP should be re-constituted, with due representation of farmers, by including representatives of SKM as promised by the Union Government, for legal guarantee of MSP on all crops, says the letter.
Waiving off all loans of all the farmers is another major demand. The reason behind this, according to the letter, is: “Due to rising input costs in agriculture and not receiving remunerative prices for their crops, more than 80 per cent of the farmers are trapped under massive debt, and are forced to commit suicide.”
The memorandum also says that the Electricity Amendment Bill, 2022 should be withdrawn. According to AIKS, Aggarwal’s letter had given a written assurance that “The bill will be introduced in Parliament only after discussion with the Morcha.” Despite this, the Union Government introduced this bill in Parliament without any discussion.
Lakhimpur Kheri is another contentious issue. AIKS feels that Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra Teni, the “main conspirator in the murder of four farmers and a journalist at Tikonia” in Lakhimpur Kheri district of Uttar Pradesh should be dismissed, arrested and sent to jail. Besides, the innocent farmers imprisoned in the Lakhimpur Kheri massacre should be released immediately and the fake cases registered against them should be withdrawn immediately. Compensation should also be provided to the families of the martyred and injured farmers.
Comprehensive and effective crop insurance and a farmer pension scheme of Rs 5,000 per month are among the major demands raised by the farmer organizations.
In conclusion, the AIKS memorandum requests the government to stop “challenging the patience of the farmers.” It also threatens that if the government continues to renege on its promises, the farmers will be left with no option but to intensify the struggle.