- Date 1.3.2013
- Bring a Separate Budget for Agriculture
- Comprehensive Agrarian Reforms Needed not Cosmetic Allocations
- Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers Movements and National Alliance of People’s Movements to Protest Land Grab and Neglect of Agriculture from March 18th at Jantar Mantar
New Delhi : Finance Minister, in his budget speech talked about spreading the gains of the Green Revolution to Eastern States but also acknowledged the stagnation and loss in fertility and other ills in Punjab and other states and accordingly made allocation for crop diversification. But why is the same scheme not spread out to other states, why would one wait for the same problems to manifest and then start the same prescriptions. The state of Indian agriculture and Indian farmers are critical today. It is not only due to farmers suicide (16,000 to 17,000 year) but those alive are also not better off. The changes proposed by the Finance Minister are cosmetic and will have no impact on the state of agriculture.The focus on urbanisation, industrialisation and infrastructure will not be able to absorb the large work force which is currently engaged in agrarian sector. They will be worse off, than what they are today. With a huge population base, the push for contract and commercial farming, the food security and employment will be jeopardised.There has been an increase from 17692 crores to 27049 crores proposed but no change in the Minimum Support price…Whatever was increased last year… so procurement of 1,18,000 crores for the Food Security Act will not indicate any benefit through increased prices, to the farmers. A big amount of agriculture budget and overall focus is on credit – opening of credit network for crop loan, to scheduled private commercial banks beyond public banks and cooperative credit societies and banks. This can open up scope for fraudulent bidding and it need not be true redressal of the problem of indebtedness leading to suicides.Its good that atleast now it’s recognised that nutritional crops – millets like bajra, maize with wheat need to be brought back. But only pittance 200 crores for pilot projects. Agriculture biotech management institutions in Chhatisgarh, jharkhand, Karnataka is welcome step but at the same push for BRAI and introduction of bt seeds is leading to complete loss of farmers control over the input. These will continue to make them more dependent on the market.There is severe drought in the state of Mahrashtra and other states due to poor Monsoon, which needed attention but has been neglected. Budget offers no concrete time bound plans to deal with such situations. Farmers groups have already rejected the budget and feel that this year too the effort has continued to be the same and nothing concrete has been done, since the attempt is only on increasing foreign investment.Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture (ASHA has termed the budget in denial mode about the farmer’s crisis. They added that the Economic Survey focuses mostly on the production numbers and not the net returns to the farmers – and even on the production front the target growth rate of 4% was not met. The MSPs are mentioned but not the fact that in many states they are below the Cost of Production. The Price Support Scheme and Market Intervention Scheme are given lip service, but they were used minimally in just 5 states, that too in just 1 or 2 crops in each state. It is necessary to have a Price Guarantee policy and a Farmers’ Income Commission to make the incomes of farming families as the central concern of the agricultural policy. The Budget should have announced at least Rs.2000 crores for Price Stabilization or Market Intervention fund – that would have incentivized the farmers to meet production targets as well as helped them make a decent living. The farmers’ crisis is strongest in the rain-fed areas which are more than 50% of the cultivated area but receives less than 10% of the benefit of subsidies and support systems. A massive program of focused attention is needed for rainfed areas in a new paradigmatic approach, but it doesn’t find any mention,”We strongly feel that there is a need for separate Agriculture Budget to be presented on lines of Railway Budget, every year, which looks at issues comprehensively and makes a sincere effort at addressing the crisis.The scourge of land acquisition continues to haunt the farmers and the new bill, Right to Fair Compensation, Transparency in Acquisition, Resettlement and Rehabilitation Bill, will not provide any relief to them. The Bill neglects the Parliamentary Standing Committee recommendation that no agricultural land should be acquired.In light of these impending crisis and government’s neglect of agriculture “Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers Movements and National Alliance of People’s Movements alogn with other groups will hold Kisan Khet Mazdoor Mahapanchayat at Jantar Mantar from March 18th onwards.
- Land rights – no to acquisition for private purpose and a moratorium on land acquisitions until government comes up with a white paper on all the land acquired, utilized and not utilized, status of resettlement and rehabilitation for the project affected people.
- Farmers income – which includes Farmers Income Guarantee Act /Farmers Income Commission, fair remunerative prices of crops and minimum assured income
- Sustainable technologies –NO TO GMO’s yes to Agroecology (agricultural science that valorizes farmers local innovations, natures own processes and traditional knowledge), Stop BRAI bill!
- We oppose all the new legal frameworks that are against food and farmers sovereignty- No to free trade, No FDI In retail, No commodity and futures trading in agriculture, create universal PDS and support local farmers
- Stop farmer suicides – acknowledge them and provide fair relief and rehabilitation to victims, recognize women farmer’s suicides and conduct special parliament sessions on farmers suicides.
Yudhvir Singh(BKU)Rakesh Tikait(BKU)K PuttanaiahChamarasa Patil (KRRS)Nandini Jairam (KRRS)Chukki Nanjundaswamy(KRRS)S Kannaiyan (SICCFM)MedhaPatkar, Narmada Bachao Andolan;Dr. Sunilam, Kisan Sangharsh Samiti (MP)Suniti S R, Ulka Mahajan,Vijay Diwan, NAPM Maharashtra;Madhuresh Kumar (NAPM)Prafulla Samantara, NAPM Orissa;J. P. Singh, Rupesh Verma, Kisan Sangharsh Samiti UP;Bhupender Singh Rawat, Bhumi Bachao AndolanSudhir Vombatkere, NAPM Mysore