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AIKSCC’s Plan of Action announced at the end Kisan Mukti Sansad, Nov. 20th & 21st 2017

In its existence of less than six months, the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) has revived and revitalised the farmers’ movement in India at the national level. It has created the largest ever coalition of farmers’ organisations in the country, cutting across states and agro-climatic regions. It has also bridged the divide between different classes of farmers and conflicting ideologies, to pave the way for a historic unity of the Indian farmers. It has begun a new phase of farmers’ activism that leverages information, uses new media, intervenes in policy debates and takes recourse of judicial activism, besides street mobilisation and ground struggle. It has built a rural-urban bridge and has received support from unusual quarters including employees, artists and traders. Urban consumers are stepping forward in solidarity with the farmers.
By organising Kisan Mukti Yatras covering nearly 10,000 kms over three months, the AIKSCC has created a nation-wide footprint for itself, besides deepening of consciousness among the farming and the non-farming communities.
The massive Kisan Mukti Sansad has been a major milestone in this journey. It demonstrated the capacity of this coalition for ground mobilisation across the country and succeeded in registering the plight of the farmers and their demands before the country. The first ever Women’s Parliament was a critical acknowledgement of the role of women as farmers. By formulating and presenting two Bills centred around its two demands (Click here to download), the AIKSCC has demonstrated that it is not merely about protests and opposition, it is a common resource for policy alternatives on Indian agriculture.
The Government has shown no inclination to listen to the farmers’ woes, despite thousands of farmers including hundred of farm suicide affected widows marching to Delhi. Neither the PM nor any of his ministerial colleagues has cared to come to this historic Sansad and listen to the farmers. This Kisan Sansad therefore resolves to intensify the struggle, widen its ambit and deepen its reach to the grassroots. The next phase is thus for intensification of the movement on our twin agenda, besides spreading awreness about both the bills and organisational improvements.

1. Nation-wide Campaign to spread public consciousness about two bills: beginning on 26th of November in Baardoli (Gujarat), AIKSCC will carry out a nation-wide communication campaign by way of seminars, public discussion, social media campaigns and publications. The campaign will culminate in a Kisan Mukti Diwas on 26th of January all over the country. The campaign will include:
• Organising 500 Kisan Mukti Charchas/ Seminars across the country at district and sub-district level: each charcha to be centred around the two Bills released by AIKSCC;
• Handing over the Bills to Members of Parliament;
• State level conventions/charchas will be organised;
• A short documentary on Kisan Mukti Yatras and Kisan Mukti Sansad will be created and released;
• Booklets of FAQs on the two Bills will be created and released.

2. Ground Action around dual agenda for Rabi 2017-18: Kisan Mukti Abhiya
• Not below MSP/Nynatam se nyun nahin : Protests in Mandis against sale below MSP, or non availability of Mandis.
• No stigmatisation campaign/ Na-Kurku, Na Munadi: Disruption of any auction of indebted farmers’ property and against any attempt to name-shame indebted farmers
• “Chetavni Satyagrah” on Kisan Mukti Diwas on the Republic Day.

3. Organisational consolidation/
• Formal membership of existing member organisations will happen;
• Enrolment of new organisations will take place;
• Constitution and/or rules will be evolved.

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प्रेस नोट – अखिल भारतीय किसान संघर्ष समन्वय समिति नई दिल्ली, 14 अक्टूबर 2017

अखिल भारतीय किसान संघर्ष समन्वय समिति का ऐलान, 20 नवम्बर को होगी किसान मुक्ति संसद।

ऋण मुक्ति और डेढ़ गुना समर्थन मूल्य का बिल पारित कर संसद को भेजा जायेगा।

अखिल भारतीय किसान संघर्ष समन्वय समिति ( AIKSCC) द्वारा 20 नवम्बर को किसानों की ऋण मुक्ति और किसानों की उपज को लागत से डेढ़ गुना समर्थन मूल्य पर खरीद सुनिश्चित करने की मांग को लेकर दिल्ली के संसद मार्ग पर किसान मुक्ति संसद का आयोजन किया जायेगा। किसान मुक्ति संसद में उक्त आशय का बिल पारित कर सरकार से उसे संसद में पारित कराने की मांग की जायेगी। इस बिल को सभी राजनीतिक दलों को भी भेजा जायेगा तथा जिन पार्टियों की ओर से संसद में बिल के समर्थन में लिखित आश्वासन दिया जायेगा उनके एक सांसद प्रतिनिधि को किसान मुक्ति संसद को बिल पारित होने के बाद संबोधित करने के लिए आमंत्रित किया जायेगा।

किसान मुक्ति संसद के माध्यम से आत्महत्या करने वाले किसानों के परिवार की व्यथा समाज और देश के समक्ष रखा जायेगा। यह निर्णय अखिल भारतीय किसान संघर्ष समन्वय समिति की सामान्य आम सभा की बैठक में आज 14 अक्टूबर को एन डी तिवारी भवन में संयोजक बी एम सिंह की अध्यक्षता में लिया गया। बैठक में 20 राज्यों के 180 किसान संगठनों के प्रतिनिधियों ने भाग लिया. बैठक में विभिन्न राज्यों के किसान प्रतिनिधियों ने विभिन्न कृषि उत्पादों के दामों में लगातार हो रही कमी, किसानों की बढती आत्महत्याएं, 260 जिलों में बारिश की कमी से उत्पन्न सूखे की स्थिति, राज्य सरकारों के बढ़ते दमन पर चिंता व्यक्त करते हुए किसानों के बीच बढ़ते आक्रोश और असंतोष की जानकारी दी। सामान्य आम सभा की बैठक में 20 नवम्बर के कार्यक्रम की तैयारियों की समीक्षा की गयी तथा 13 अक्टूबर को अखिल भारतीय किसान संघर्ष समन्वय समिति की कार्यकारिणी की बैठक में हुए निर्णयों की जानकारी भी सभी सदस्य संगठनों को दी गयी। इस सामान्य सभा में अब तक हुए खर्चे तथा संभावित खर्चे की जानकारी भी सचिवालय की ओर से प्रस्तुत की गयी। बैठक में किसान नेता घंसी राम नयन, पुरुषोतम कौशिक, यवतमाल जिले में कीटनाशक के प्रभाव से मृत 38 किसानों, एवं आत्महत्या किये हुए किसानों को श्रद्धान्जलि दी गयी।

अखिल भारतीय किसान संघर्ष समन्वय समिति के संयोजक बी एम सिंह, राष्ट्रीय किसान मजदूर संगठन के पी कृष्णाप्रसाद, अखिल भारतीय किसान सभा, आशीष मित्तल, अखिल भारतीय किसान मजदूर सभा, प्रेम सिंह गहलावत, अखिल भारतीय किसान महासभा,डॉ दर्शन पाल, भारतीय किसान यूनियन भाकौन्दा, योगेन्द्र यादव, जय किसान आन्दोलन- (स्वराज अभियान), किरण विस्सा रैयतु स्वराज वेदिका, लोकसभा सांसद राजू शेट्टी, स्वाभिमानी शेतकारी संगठन, प्रतिभा शिंदे लोक संघर्ष मोर्चा, आईया कन्नू नेशनल साऊथ इंडिया रिवर लिंकिंग फार्मरस एसोसिएसन, डॉ सुनीलम, किसान संघर्ष समिति- जन आन्दोलनों का राष्ट्रीय समन्वय (NAPM) ने आज चंद्रशेखर भवन में प्रेस वार्ता कर देश में अब तक 14 राज्यों में हुई तीन चरणों की ‘किसान मुक्ति यात्राओं’ के जानकारी और अनुभव साझा किए तथा आगामी 29 अक्टूबर को कलकत्ता से शुरू होने वाली पूर्वी भारत की यात्रा की जानकारी दी। यह यात्रा पश्चिम बंगाल, ओडिशा, झारखंड एवं बिहार जाएगी। पूर्वोत्तर में गुवाहाटी की यात्रा 12 नवम्बर को होगी तथा हरियाणा और पंजाब की यात्रा 10 से 14 नवम्बर से निकाली जायेगी। किसान नेताओं ने विभिन्न राज्यों में किसानो की स्थिति तथा किसान आन्दोलनों सम्बंधित जानकारी भी प्रेस को दी।

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Kisan Mukti Yatra begins at Champaran on Oct 2, to arrive Allahabad on Oct 6.

Press Statement – 03.10.2017

Leaders of All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee, AIKSCC, conducting a Kisan Mukti Yatra all over the country shall be arriving at Allahabad October 6, 2017. The AIKSCC was formed in the aftermath of killing of 6 peasants in Mandsaur, MP by the BJP govt. Present Yatra started on October 2 from Champaran and held successful meetings in Bettiah and Motihari after garlanding of Mahatama Gandhi’s Statue at Bihitarwa yesterday and reached Siwan.

Kisan Mukti Yatra is mobilizing the peasants against indifferent, anti people and repressive attitude of the NDA/ BJP govts on severe losses being suffered by the peasantry. During elections, Prime Minister Modi promised to waive  farmer debts, prevent farmers from dying any more, pay 1.5 times the cost of production of all crops as Minimum Support Price as per the Swaminathan Commission recommendations of 2006 and double farmers income. Since 1995 more than 3 lac farmers have committed suicide and they continue under Modi rule. Farmers debt has risen by only 55% in these 3 years from Rs. 8.1 lac cr to Rs 12.6 lac crores. UP govt. has left out most of the indebted farmers, restricting waiver dues upto 2016. While farmers still owe lacs of rupees, it is waiving miniscule amounts of Rs 1 and 10.

Central govt has said it has no money for farmer loan waivers and in the Supreme Court it has said Swaminathan Commission cannot be implemented. However to help big corporate it has recently transferred Rs 6.7 lac crore of their debts into NPAs. Like the past years it has foregone corporate taxes worth Rs 6.11 lac crores in 2015-16.

The MNCs and their Indian associates are at the core of benefiting from anti peasant policies as they sell costly seeds, fertilizers, insecticides, machinery and diesel. They also purchase crops at low price and sell costly food products like bottled drinks, juices, ketchups, chips, etc. Present pro MNC policy is anti farmer and unpatriotic.

At Allahabad the AIKSCC leaders shall address a massive farmers meet at Ghoorpur at 1 pm and a meeting of intellectuals focussed on agricultural policy, WTO regulations and survival of Indian agriculture at Sadhna Sadan at 5 pm.

The speakers expected include Sri VM Singh (Convenor AIKSCC), Raju Shetty (Member of Parliament, Swabhiman Shetkari Sangathan), Dr. Sunilam (ex MLA Betul), Dr. Darshanpal (BKU Bhakaunda),  Bechan Ali (AIKKMS), Raja Ram Singh (AIK Mahasabha), Avik Saha (Jai Kisan Andolan), Akhilendra Pratap Singh (Swaraj Abhiyan), Dr. Ashish Mital (AIKMS) and others.

Issued on behalf of the Reception Committee: – Comrade Zia ul Haq, Justice Janardan Sahai, Sri Ravi Kiran Jain, Sri TP Singh, Umesh Narian Sharma, Prof OP Malviya, Prof AA Fatmi, Prof Ranjana Kakkar, Prof Nisha Srivastava, Zafar Bakht, Farman Naqvi, Com Harish Chandra Dwivedi, Pranay Krishna, Vijay Arora, Com Ravi Misra, Khursheed Naqvi, Prof Lalit Joshi, OD Singh, Raju Jaiswal, Prof. Sri Ballabh, KK Roy, Naresh Sahgal, Pancham Lal.

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KISAN MUKTI YATRA COMPLETES ITS SOUTH INDIA LEG SUCCESSFULLY

ALL INDIA KISAN SANGHARSH COORDINATION COMMITTEE PRESS RELEASE

KISAN MUKTI YATRA COMPLETES ITS SOUTH INDIA LEG SUCCESSFULLY –

MOBILISES STRONG SUPPORT FOR AIKSCC’S TWO MAIN DEMANDS ON FARM DEBT & PRICES

MODI GOVT MOST ANTI-FARMER GOVT EVER; WILL FACE WRATH OF FARMERS UNLESS DEMANDS ARE MET”, WARN AIKSCC LEADERS

Bangalore, September 23rd 2017:  The 8-day, 5-state South India leg of the Kisan Mukti Yatra ended in Bangalore here today after successfully mobilising strong support from various quarters of society towards its two main demands around farmers’ debts and farm prices. Undertaken under the aegis of All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), a nation-wide joint platform of more than 160 farmer unions and movements of India, the yatra created ripples in the states it travelled in, with the participation of thousands of farmers and some unusual allies extending solidarity. The Yatra ended on a strong note in Bangalore today, after traveling through Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka. Leaders of the AIKSCC warned the Modi government against the farmer-unfriendly policies being adopted by the government and labelled the current government as the most anti-farmer government in independent India.

“Our next step is to take up such Yatras in other regions of the country too, after the Western and Southern region Kisan Mukti Yatras. The culmination of the yatras would be in a Kisan Sansad in Delhi on November 20th 2017 when the Winter Session of the Parliament begins, where tens of thousands of farmers are expected to participate. There is an unusually large mobilisation happening from the South Indian states too, from what we could gather throughout the Yatra. It is clear that farmers all over the country have now chosen to break their silence and struggle unitedly for their rights”, said V M Singh, Convenor of AIKSCC and President of Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sanghatan, Uttar Pradesh.

“It is clear that Narendra Modi has betrayed farmers of this country and has reneged on his commitment and promise. Farmers had the power to elect him and his party to power, and they also surely hold the power to remove him in the next elections, if just demands and existing commitments are not met immediately”, said Raju Shetty, Lok Sabha Parliamentarian and well-known farmer leader from Maharashtra. His party, Swabhimani Paksha, took a decision to walk out of the NDA recently.

Yogendra Yadav, Member of the National Working Group of AIKSCC and President of Swaraj India said that the Kisan Mukti Yatra has been successful in mobilising more organisations to join the AIKSCC, as well as support from unusual allies like state level Traders’ Association, All India Bank Officers Association, film artists, consumer organisations etc. What is unusual is to see farmer organisations uniting under a single umbrella on a commonly agreed programme around two demands – freedom from debt and full, remunerative prices, as rights of all farmers. This certainly bodes very well for farmers of this country. This includes agricultural workers, women farmers, adivasi and dalit farmers too.

Vijoo Krishnan, General Secretary of All India Kisan Sabha pointed out that a similar alliance on land rights of peasants had met with huge successes in the past, and that the current alliance would be more successful, given that it is expanding continuously.

“When we speak about freedom from debt, we are demanding a comprehensive and institutional relief mechanism with a statutory basis, and not the meaningless loan waivers that are being announced and implemented by some governments now. Similarly, when we talk about full, remunerative prices, in addition to the main demand of 50% margin over cost of production, we are also demanding that cost estimations should be real and that an improved MSP regime should become an entitlement of all farmers”, said Kavitha Kuruganti of ASHA-Kisan Swaraj.

Starting from when the Yatra entered Karnataka from Kerala at Gundlupeta in Chamarajanagara district, meetings in Mysuru, Pandavapura (Mandya district), Tumkur and Bangalore saw thousands of farmers and others participating.

Kisan Mukti Yatra in Karnataka saw the participation of farmer leaders like Kodihalli Chandrasekhar, Puttanaiah (sitting MLA from Melkote), Bayya Reddy, Basavaraj, Chamarasa Patil, B Nagendra, Chukki Nanjundaswamy, Anasuyamma, Nandini Jayaram and also agricultural worker union leaders like Chandrappa Hosakere, GN Nagaraj, Diwakar (RKS), Meenakshi Sundaram, Shoba and others.

For more information, contact:

  1. Badagalapura Nagendra, KRRS: 9036446838
  2. Kodihalli Chandrasekhar, KRRS: 9844293908
  3. Bayyareddy, Karnataka Prantha Raitha Sangha: 9448230121
  4. Kisan Vissa, Raithu Swarajya Vedika: 9701705743
  5. Kavitha Kuruganti, ASHA-Kisan Swaraj: 8880067772
South India (2017), Uncategorized

Kisan Mukti Yata in South India – Day 2

“The nation is indebted to farmers by at least 1.5 lakh crores annually:

When farmers ask for freedom from debt, they are asking for a legitimate right and not charity”

Vijayawada, September 17th 2017Leaders of the Kisan Mukti Yatra which entered Andhra Pradesh today on the second day of its South India tour asserted that it is the nation and government which owe the farmers, and not the other way round. “When we ask for freedom from debt, it is a completely justified and legitimate demand from farmers, and this is not just about loan waivers. We understand the limitations as well as meaningless loan waiver schemes that are being implemented right now and what we are asking for is a policy-based and statutory institutional mechanism for debt relief”, said the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) in a statement today.

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The Yatra was welcomed into Andhra Pradesh from Telangana this morning in various places, on its way to Vijayawada, where a large gathering of farmers awaited the Yatra. Veteran farmer leader, Kolli Nageswara Rao was felicitated by national and local farmer leaders for his enormous contributions to protecting farmers’ rights in the country. A citation presented to him presented his numerous fights and achievements over the many decades. Two telugu books authored by Shri Vadde Sobhanadreeswara Rao were also released on the occasion (“Amaravati: Navyandhra Praja Rajadhani Ayyedela” and “Raithanga Samasyala Parishkaram Kosam – Raithanga Samarabheri Aavasyakata”).

Presiding over the function which saw more than a thousand farmers participating, Shri Vadde Sobhanadreeswara Rao of Raithu Rakshana Vedika flagged three main issues as pressing matters for farmers in the country – rights over resources like land; remunerative prices which also address the fact that farmers get priced out due to free trade agreements being signed by governments; and comprehensive debt relief.

“Initial calculations show that just as a consequence of the Farmers’ Commission recommendation for remunerative prices (cost of cultivation + 50%) not being implemented over the past ten years, farmers were denied at least 15 lakh crore rupees that is legitimately due to them”, said Yogendra Yadav, Member, National Working Group of AIKSCC. He congratulated farmers of Sikar for the tough fight that they put up in the recent past, by drawing in the support of all stakeholders in the society, to secure a loan waiver for themselves in addition to an assurance on various other demands. He also recalled the inspiring spontaneous struggles by farmers in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh and exhorted farmers in all other states to take up such struggles as well as join hands for securing justice.

Speakers like V M Singh (Convenor, AIKSCC) and Malla Reddy (Vice President, All India Kisan Sabha) said that BJP should realise that farmers are going to vote the government out of power in the next elections for the cheating that they are being subjected to by the government, when it reneges on promises made. V M Singh emphasised that the Kisan Mukti Yatra demand is not just about bank loan waivers. In a state like Andhra Pradesh, a vast majority of farmers are tenant farmers who do not access formal credit and would not benefit from such loan waiver schemes with limited objective, he pointed out.

Raju Shetty, Member of Parliament and a former constituent of the NDA said that while the government is busy hyping its promises of doubling farmers’ income, official data clearly shows that it is the loans of farmers that are more than doubling and not their incomes. He also cautioned that while he recently walked out of the NDA alliance arrangement because Modi’s government is claiming that it cannot implement the Farmers’ Commission formula for price-fixing, if the government does not accede to the two demands of the Kisan Mukti Yatra, he will put in efforts to pro-actively campaign against BJP and Narendra Modi from being re-elected.

Justice Gopal Gowda, retired Supreme Court Judge, spoke at length about the constitutional and legal rights of citizens/farmers against forcible land acquisition and narrated several progressive judgements from the Court. He was speaking in the context of land acquisition for the new capital city for Andhra Pradesh, Amravati.

Retired Cabinet Secretary, E A S Sarma demanded that there should be a separate Parliament session for at least seven days to debate issues of farmers and the agrarian crisis in the country. He also urged farmers to prepare a clear and strong manifesto for themselves and push for implementation of the same.

The South India leg of the Kisan Mukti Yatra started yesterday on September 16th 2017 in Hyderabad and after covering several parts of Telangana, entered Andhra Pradesh today. The yatra will hold meetings in Anantapur and Madanapalle tomorrow, and will enter Tamil Nadu on the 19th of September. It is scheduled to end in Bangalore on September 23rd. The yatra is being held under the aegis of All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee, which consists of more than 160 farmer organisations all over India.

For more information, contact: Kiran Vissa at 9701705743

South India (2017), Uncategorized

Kisan Mukti Yatra gets off to a strong start in south India

Telangana resonates with demands of freedom from debt and remunerative prices
Hyderabad/Suryapet/Nakrekal/Khammam, Sept 16th,  2017:
The nationwide Kisan Mukti Yatra saw the participation of thousands of farmers in Telangana on the first day of its South India leg. More than 25 organisations joined hands to highlight farmers’ legitimate demands around debt relief and profitable prices. The Yatra is being organised by the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) which consists of more than 150 farmer organisations. Prominent leaders and activists who joined the yatra include V.M Singh (Convenor, AIKSCC), Raju Shetty (Member of Parliament), Prof. Kodandram (Telangana JAC), Yogendra Yadav (President, Swaraj India), Dr. Sunilam (Kisan Sangharsh Samiti), Malla Reddy (AIKS), Vemulapalli Venkataramaiah (AIKMS) and others.
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Addressing a large gathering of farmers in Suryapet, V.M Singh recalled how the Modi government has brazenly reneged on its poll promise of implementing assured price with 50% margin over cost of cultivation.
Raju Shetty urged farmers to join in large numbers the Kisan Mukti Sansad on November 20th 2017 in Delhi to make the Centre accountable towards farmers’ well-being.
Women farmers from Mahila Kisan Adhikaar Manch lamented the lack of remunerative prices at the end of a season full of hardships and risks.
Exhorting Telangana farmers not to be left behind in a series of victorious farmers’ struggles in different states of India in the recent past, Yogendra Yadav reminded them of Telangana’s rich history of peasant uprisings.
Pointing out that the Telangana government is on the one hand urging farmers to collectivise themselves better, Prof. Kodandaram highlighted the duplicity of the government in repressing farmers’ movements in reality.
Malla Reddy explained that the loan waiver scheme of Telangana government with its many shortcomings ended up burdening farmers more than relieving from debt. As the loan waiver debate hots up in the country there is much to learn from Telangana on how not to design loan waivers, he said.
Dr. Sunilam cautioned governments to take note of the unprecedented confluence of all farm organisations in the country which will only gather more strength in the days to come.
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Press Release: Hyderabad, 14/09/2017

Press Note: September 14, 2017

Telugu Press Note – Kisan Mukti Yatra Curtain Raiser

Nationwide Kisan Mukti Yatra coming to South India from Sept. 16th 2017:

25 Farmer Unions and Organizations join hands in Telangana

Curtain-raiser Press Meet at Somajiguda Press Club at 11 am today, addressed by Prof. Kodandaram (Telangana JAC), Sarampally Malla Reddy (All India Kisan Sabha), Vemulapalli Venkatramayya (All India Kisan Mazdoor Sabha), Kirankumar Vissa (Rythu Swarajya Vedika), Ravi Kanneganti (Telangan Rythu JAC), Ashalatha (Mahila Kisan Adhikaar Manch), T. Sagar (Telangana Rythu Sangham), Achutha Ramayya (All India Kisan Mazdoor Sabha), Gurijala Ravinder (Telangana Vidyavantula Vedika), Veeranna (Telangana Rythu Coolie Sangham), P. Shankar (Dalit Bahujan Front), Sajaya (Caring Citizens Collective)

All across the country, we are seeing intense agitations by farmers. Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and now in Rajasthan – farmers are coming on to the roads everywhere because they realize that the government policies and failures are behind the crisis in agriculture. On the one hand, the governments have tried to suppress the movements; in Madhya Pradesh, the police firing killed 6 farmers. On the other hand, governments and political parties are also recognizing that their future is at stake unless they are seen supporting the farmers. This is a critical time when farmers across the country should come together and build unprecedented pressure on the Central and state governments.

Kisan Mukti Yatra: In this context, the nation-wide Kisan Mukti Yatra is being organized. The first phase began in Mandsaur district, Madhya Pradesh at the village where farmers were killed by the police and covered the Western states. It received tremendous response and ended with a large rally in Delhi on July 18th. The second phase of the Yatra will cover South India from September 16th to 23rd – beginning at Hyderabad, going through Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka. The Yatra is being organized by the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC).

All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) consists of more than 160 farmers’ organizations from across the country. After a long time, so many farmers’ organizations have come onto a common platform and taken up a common public mobilization campaign. The 18-member national working committee includes Sardar V.M. Singh of Rashtriya Mazdoor Kisan Sanghatan, Yogendra Yadav of Swaraj Abhiyan, Hannan Mollah of All India Kisan Sabha, Raju Shetty of Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatan, Medha Patkar of National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), Ashish Mittal of All India Kisan Mazdoor Sabha, Kavitha Kuruganti of ASHA-Kisan Swaraj, Dr.Sunilam of Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, and Avik Saha of Jai Kisan Andolan. Many other organizations are joining the platform.

The two core demands of the Yatra are “Freedom from Debt for farmers” and “Remunerative Prices for all farmers, with 50% margin above the Cost of cultivation.”

Kisan Mukti Yatra – South India: The Phase-2 of the Yatra in South India will take place from September 16th to 23rd, beginning at Hyderabad. The Yatra will go through Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka, ending at Bengaluru on Sept. 23rd. The Telangana program on Sept. 16th is as follows:

8.00am:                             Press Meet by national leaders at Sundarayya Vigyana Kendram

9.30am-10.30am:            Flagging off of Bus Yatra at Gun Park, opposite Assembly

12.30am:                           Public Meeting at Suryapet

4.30pm:                             Rally at Khammam

5.30pm:                             Public Meeting at Khammam

The leaders participating from the national committee include V.M.Singh, Yogendra Yadav, Raju Shetty, Dr.Sunilam, Kavitha Kuruganti and Avik Saha. The key leaders participating in Telangana include Prof.Kodandaram of Telangana JAC, S.Malla Reddy of All India Kisan Sabha, V.Venkatramayya of All India Kisan Mazdoor Sabha, Justice Chandrakumar, Ravi Kanneganti of Telangana Rythu JAC, Kirankumar Vissa of Rythu Swarajya Vedika, Dr.Rukmini Rao of Mahila Kisan Adhikar Manch, and Achutha Ramarao of All India Kisan Mazdoor Sabha.

As the Yatra enters South India, it is important to remember that 3 South Indian states are among the top 5 states in the country in farmer suicides – Telangana, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Most of South India is reeling from a second successive year of drought. In Tamil Nadu, this is considered as the worst drought situation in more than 100 years. Despite the Supreme Court orders on drought relief, there is a clear failure of the governments to provide substantive relief to the farmers, and most importantly, to protect them from falling into deep debt.

South Indian states also have the highest share of indebted households – 91% in Andhra Pradesh, 89% in Telangana and 82.5% in Tamil Nadu. A large portion of the debt is from informal sources. “Freedom from debt” is definitely a big rallying cry for farmers in all these states. But the farmers of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have an important learning to share with the rest of the country –about how not to implement a loan waiver! In both the states, the governments came to power in 2014 with a big promise to waive agricultural loans. However, it turned into a farce because the loan waiver was implemented in 4 installments rather than in one go. Not only is the loan waiver still incomplete, but the farmers had to pay interest on outstanding loans, and most importantly, banks refused to provide fresh loans as per scale of finance to farmers in the past 4 years! So, the farmers had to borrow heavily from private moneylenders.

Hence, when Kisan Mukti Yatra is demanding “Freedom from Debt”, it is not limited to a one-time waiver of bank loans. It is only when private indebtedness is also addressed, and when it is ensured that the farmer doesn’t fall back into debt the next year, does ‘Freedom from Debt’ have a true meaning. For this, a comprehensive “Agricultural Debt Relief Act” should be brought in on the lines of the Act in Kerala, which is being implemented since 2007. Telangana passed a similar law but has not yet implemented it or even framed the rules.

To prevent indebtedness, it is also crucial to provide remunerative prices. Both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have recently seen large agitations by chilli farmers whose prices dropped to less than Rs.4000 per quintal. Tur dal farmer suffered last year due to a steep fall in prices from Rs.9000 to Rs.4000 per quintal – triggered by huge imports of dal by the Central government! Kisan Mukti Yatra demands that remunerative prices – as defined by Swaminathan Commission at 50% margin above cost of cultivation – are guaranteed by the government. It is not sufficient to fix Minimum Support Prices. Whenever the price falls below the remunerative price, the government takes the responsibility for either timely market intervention to increase the price, or paying the difference to the farmer as cash payment.

The nation-wide Kisan Mukti Yatra will culminate in a mega-rally in Delhi on November 20th when the winter session of Parliament begins.

For more details, Contact:
Kirankumar Vissa: 9701705743; T.Sagar: 9490098055; V.Venkatramayya: 8639873720; Ravi Kanneganti: 9912928422;

 

Curtain-raiser Press Meet photo