(Report of the Virtual Meet of All India Peoples Front held on 5.12.2020)
In order to save the corporate economy undergoing a period of deep economic crisis, the Modi government legislated three anti-farmer acts by passing them in a highly undemocratic manner in Parliament. Similarly, by creating anti-worker Labour Code, all the rights acquired after long struggles have been trampled. Even provision has been made to extend working hours from 8 to 12 hours. In fact, the Modi government is attacking the common people of the country for the profit of capitalists like Adani-Ambani. It should be fought collectively by all sections of the citizens. These observations were made by Akhilendra Pratap Singh in the virtual meeting of All India People’s Front organized for active support of the ongoing farmers movement for the withdrawal of anti-farmer laws.
He said that out of the three anti-farmer laws, the first one, Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020 states that a capitalist or a group of capitalists can buy and store any amount of agricultural products such as wheat, rice, pulses, oilseeds, vegetables etc. And the government can’t exercise any control over it. That is to say, if Ambani wants, he can hoard crop products as much as he wants, buy crops from farmers at a cheaper rate and sell as high as he can. Due to this, inflation will increase sharply and the common citizen including the consumer will be destroyed. It is clear that there is nothing in this act except the loot of the farmers.
The second law is The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act 2020 which is the law of contract farming. Under this act, the capitalist, after contracting with the farmers, takes over their cultivation and if that corporate acts arbitrarily, then the farmer cannot sue him in court. The Britishers also did not dare to enact such a black law as the Modi government is doing. The third act, Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020 gives the private sector full right to buy crops, and the government cannot force the corporates to pay the minimum support price.
Akhilendra said that it is the intention of the government to hand over the agricultural market completely to the corporate. Whereas for the betterment of the country’s economy, as well as for the benefit of the farmers and citizens it was needed that the government should enact laws for procurement of crops at the minimum support price and guarantee the procurement and payment for the produce. It is known that the farmers have been demanding for a long time for remunerative prices at the rate of one and a half times the cost price of the crops as per the recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission Report.
Today, the need was to form large scale cooperatives with farmers and citizens representatives, which would also prevent corruption by the government machinery as well as ensure procurement and storage of crops at village and town level and strengthen PDS to guarantee food security for citizens. For this, the government needed to spend more on agriculture sector in the budget, which the government is avoiding. It is a well-known fact that under the pressure of international finance capital and domestic as well as foreign corporates, during Atal Bihari government, the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act 2003 was brought to limit the fiscal deficit to 3 percent, today it must also be repealed immediately.
Akhilendra said that the world has seen that the market economy did not benefit the citizens. Even, during the Covid epidemic, it is well known how common people died in America and Europe, who are the advocates of market economy. Therefore, in order to save the lives of common citizens including farmers and improve the economy of the country, it is necessary that the government must rein in the corporate economy and the expenditure on education, health and employment should be increased. Instead of doing this, the Modi government has mounted assault on the people. The persecution, suppression, conspiracy and malicious propaganda against the farmers is continuously going on. We need to remember that the BJP and RSS are playing the Hindu-Muslim card only to attack the common people. It is necessary to be vigilant and maintain unity among all sections of the people.
In any case, fight for repeal of all three anti-farmer black laws, four Labour Codes and 12 working hours, Electricity Amendment Bill 2020 and all black laws and provision for occupational security, health and education must be carried out. Mazdoor Kisan Manch and All India People’s Front should communicate with the public on these questions and register our protest together with the ongoing agitation of the farmers.
AIPF Bihar Spokesperson and Ex. MLA Ramesh Singh Kushwaha, Lal Bahadur Singh, UP President Dr. BR Gautam, General Secretary Dr. Brij Bihari, Shagufta Yasmeen, Vice President Umakant Srivastava, Rajesh Sachan, Eng. Durga Prasad, Yogiraj Singh Patel also spoke in the meeting. The meet was presided over by SR Darapuri and conducted by Dinkar Kapoor.
SR Darapuri, National Spokesperson, All India Peoples Front