National Commission on Farmers (NCF) : In 2004, UPA Government formed National Commission on Farmers. This Commission was formed to submit their recommendations on food and nutrition strategy, farming systems in India, strategy for rural credit, measures to improve the competitiveness of farm products, protecting agro markets from exports and special programmes to address the issues of dry regions. The commission was headed by Professor MS Swaminathan and hence the report of this commission is known as Swaminathan Report.
MS Swaminathan Reports : Prof. Swaminathan is a geneticist, known as “Indian Father of Green Revolution” for his key contributions in Green Revolution (1960s) where he introduced high yielding varieties of wheat. Under his leadership, the committee submitted its report in five instalments over the period from December, 2004 to October, 2006. These reports made several recommendations for improvement in the situation of farmers in India. While several criticized the Government for not implementing the recommendations of this committee properly, other few questioned the recommendations itself.
Key Findings & Recommendations of the Report : The major causes of the agrarian crisis are: unfinished agenda in land reform, quantity and quality of water, technology fatigue, access, adequacy and timeliness of institutional credit, and opportunities for assured and remunerative marketing. Adverse meteorological factors add to these problems. Land Reforms were considered necessary and key suggestions in this regards were to distribute ceiling-surplus and waste lands; prevent diversion of agricultural land & forest to corporate sector for non-agricultural purposes; ensure grazing rights & seasonal access to forests to tribals and pastoralists; establish a National Land Use Advisory Service, etc.Timely and adequate supply of credit is a basic requirement of small farm families and to enhance the same key suggestions of the committee were: expand the outreach of Credit facilities System; issue Kisan Credit Cards to women farmers; establish an Agriculture Risk Fund to provide relief to farmers in the aftermath of successive natural calamities, etc. 28% of the families in India were found to be Below Poverty Line and therefore, food security needed attention.
The committee recommended: ensure availability of quality seed and other inputs at affordable costs; Set up Village Knowledge Centres (VKCs) or Gyan Chaupals in the farmers’ distress hotspots; need for focused Market Intervention Schemes (MIS) in the case of life-saving crops; have a Price Stabilisation Fund in place to protect the farmers from price fluctuations, etc.Improving the competitiveness of the small farmers was considered necessary.
Suggestions in this area included: improvement in implementation of Minimum Support Price (MSP); MSP should be at least 50% more than the weighted average cost of production; availability of data about spot and future prices of commodities through the Multi Commodity Exchange (MCD) and the NCDEX, etc.The committee highlighted the need to create productive employment opportunities and to improve the quality of employment in several sectors such that real wages rise through improved productivity. For this purpose committee recommended emphasizing on relatively more labour intensive sectors and inducing a faster growth of these sectors and ensuring that the net take home income of farmers should be comparable to those of civil servants.The committee also recommended development of measures to reserve traditional rights of access to biodiversity and conservation, enhancement and improvement of crops, farm animals & fish stocks through breeding, etc.
10 years passed but still piece of papers : It’s been around 10 years from the date of submission of Final Report by Swaminathan Committee, however, still the recommendations of the same have not been implemented entirely. One may blame any Government for the delay in implementation, but the truth is farmers have suffered in the end. Prof. MS Swaminathan and his team had made some worthy recommendations, but amongst other reasons, the failure of Government to implement these recommendations, has worsened the situation of farmers in India.
There are demands being made to conduct a separate parliamentary session to discuss about this Farmer issue and develop strategy to combat the situation on the basis of Swaminathan Report, however, it is up to the Political Agenda of the Political Parties if working on farmer crisis is a part of their promotion.
In the 8th Congress of the CPC in 1956, when Chinese people had completed the anti-imperialist, anti-feudal tasks of democratic revolution and entered the stage of socialist revolution the socialist forces under the leadership of Mao put forward that hereafter the principal contradiction shall be between the proletarian forces striving for socialist transition and the bourgeoisie which shall continue to strive for returning to power with the support of world imperialist system. But the capitalist roaders within the CPC led by Liu Shaochi and Deng Tsioping put forward their notorious ‘black cat, white cat theory’ against it, saying the principal task is to develop the productive forces by any means. Since the usurpation of power in post-Mao years by the capitalist roaders, the Dengist line was pursued, and what Xi says now is nothing but this capitalist path.
Though the modern day Mensheviks in India like CPI and CPI(M) still call it a communist party and China s socialist country, their transformation to capitalist path and in to a bureaucratic bourgeois state was fast completed after the adoption of the so-called Four Modernization Policies in 1978. Presently the main task before this Congress is to consolidate the bureaucratic control of the Xi Jinping group in the party, state and army, beating back the attempts of advocates of bourgeois democracy to transform China in to a Western model multi-party bourgeois democratic state. In the present situation in China it is evident that Xi’s power is going to be further consolidated in the Congress.
It does not mean that the contradiction between the bureaucratic capital system, or the corporate system, and the toiling masses is insignificant or non-existent. Reports from China reveal that this is a growing contradiction in spite of total bureaucratic control in all fields. Ultimately it is this contradiction between the capital and labour which is going to determine the future of China on long term basis.
Various other economic indicators show this as well. Growth of credit flow to industry is at an all-time low, the index of industrial production is dipping, and wages in industry are stagnant. It is a crisis which is engulfing even those who own means of production, barring perhaps the big players.
The Labour Bureau’s data reveals a much bigger problem – the piling backlog of unemployed. Although the working age population increased by 4.66 crore between 2011-12 and 2015-16, those who were working increased by about 1.1 crore only. In other words, about 1.2 crore people become ready to work every year but only 0.2 crore actually get jobs.
The difference of about 3.5 crore comprises some who are not looking for jobs at all, like women or students. But the majority is of those who are unable to find jobs. If this backlog of unemployed keeps accumulating every year, a stupendous task confronts the government in coming years.
Rural areas, home to the country’s biggest workforce in agriculture, showed a small annual increase of only 1% in employment while jobs grew at 1.8% in urban areas. This reflects the over saturation of the agriculture sector with working people and its diminishing capacity to absorb new workers. Since jobs in industries and services do not seem to be opening up at a fast enough rate, the jobless are caught in a vicious cycle.
Another aspect, repeatedly brought out in various reports is the disguised unemployment rampant in India. A very large number of people are working at very low wages, or part time, or for a few months in different jobs interspersed with periods of joblessness.
The Labour Bureau report for 2015-16 shows that just 61% of workers actually work for all 12 months of the year. The rest work less than that. In rural areas, this proportion is even lower at 52%.
Falling employment is just the big symptom of the crisis. Workers have been affected also by stagnating or falling wages. Take the growth in salaries and wages paid to workers/employees by the corporate sector. According to an analysis of RBI data on corporate finances by CMIE, the average annual growth in real wages during the past three years (2014-15 through 2016-17) works out to 3.9%, far lower than the long term annual average of 6% and a median of 5%. It also compares very poorly with the real GDP growth rate of about 6 per cent during the same period.
The prospects for the future are looking dim because all the underlying factors seem to be in a fatal tailspin. Between July 2016 and July 2017, the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) released by the govt’s. Central Statistical Office (CSO) has increased by just 1.2% indicating almost no improvement. This means that industrial production is hardly growing. In which case, there is very little scope for increasing jobs and with an army of unemployed available, industrialists are likely to push down wages even more.
Similarly, between August 2016 and July 2017, bank credit to industry grew by just 0.4% and for the services sector by 4.6%, according to RBI data. Credit is a measure of how much economic activity is going on. A growth of this kind is negligible and is like no growth. This is likely to cast a long shadow in the coming months because Modi sarkar has no clue about how to revive production and growth. India is facing a dark economic crisis and sadly, the reins of power are held by people who are only interested in helping their cronies.
(SAVERA, October 16, The Citizen online portal.)
Donald Trump taking office marks a general tendency towards open reaction and has geopolitical consequences. The termination of the Global Climate Agreement is part of a rollback concerning environmental policy. As to economy Trump stands for an intensified protectionism and as to politics for a reactionary migrant policy, open anti-communism and an aggressive foreign policy. This is going to aggravate contradictions and provoke struggles on a worldwide scale.
The shift to the right of the new US government is a reaction to a progressive swing in the mood of the masses. In the election campaign this was revealed in a close neck-and-neck race between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders as advocate of socialism. There was no real alternative in the presidential election.
The reactionary rightist trend visible in Brexit and in Europe (including the winning of AFD in Berlin provincial election, etc.) and in Latin America (Brazilian coup made in US etc) are further strengthening with Trump’s victory such that it will encourage neo-fascist forces everywhere and may bounce back with intensified vigour in the forthcoming elections in France, Germany, etc. The world people to be cautious about this impending danger and be ready to confront it.
For this, the alternative against the imperialist system should be built up based on rectification of the hitherto ideological-political mistakes of the left, and its inability to evaluate the concrete situation including the discontent of the people which is not reflected in mainstream media analysis. It should be correctly analyzed why the ruling class is successful in deviating people’s fury to the advantage of far right. It calls for the need for ideologically, politically equipping the workers and making them recognize why the people are voting for Trump as the vote for him has an anti-establishmentarian, anti-institutional element.
The crisis of bourgeois parliamentarism has become a general phenomenon. All over the world the masses are searching for a societal alternative to the imperialist crisis system. The conclusion can only consist in strengthening real alternatives all over the world. That means: priority to the construction of strong Marxist-Leninist parties in all countries of the world, union of the revolutionary forces in coordination and cooperation in the ICOR, the union of the revolutionaries of the world.
For peace, freedom and democracy – for socialism!
Strengthen the ICOR!
“No pessimist ever discovered the secrets of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new heaven to the human spirit.”
Helen Keller, born into a wealthy white Alabama family, was struck deaf and blind in her early childhood. The story of how she learned to communicate with others with the help of her teacher and longtime companion, Anne Sullivan, is depicted in the acclaimed Hollywood film The Miracle Worker. Advocating for the disabled, she came to oppose discrimination against Afro-Americans and supported women’s suffrage and labor rights. She campaigned for Socialist Party leader Eugene Debs for President of the USA and courageously and correctly opposed World War I as an imperialist war. As she became more active politically, Helen Keller was vehemently opposed by privileged sectors of U.S. society. Helen Keller was optimistic for all humanity, and identified with the most advanced revolutionary leader of her time, Vladimir Lenin, the outstanding leader of the Great October Socialist Revolution.—Rose Brown, Asst. editor, Revolutionary Organisation of Labour, USA.
Presently, when the fascist danger is growing around us, both internationally and in our country, it can be resisted and defeated only from a genuine democratic and socialist stand point, which means striving for overthrowing existing ruling system led by the imperialist forces, and for empowering the people through transforming existing forms of ruling systems, including that of the pseudo socialists and pseudo communists, to people’s power at grass root level. To achieve this, the present development models should be thrown out and replaced with development that is sustainable and egalitarian. Capitalist concepts like consumerism and the culture that generates it should be smashed. Marxist perspectives should be developed according to the present situation to create and strengthen these revolutionary aspects.
When the CPI(ML) Red Star calls for developing people’s upsurges against the ruling system and for capturing political power through a countrywide people’s uprising, it stands for transcending existing bourgeois democracy with people’s democracy, with all power to the people, and to build a sustainable and equitable alternative development perspective. It also calls for uncompromising struggle against the feudal and capitalist culture, habits and traditions, and for the creation of a people’s culture which ensures equality at all levels and all round democratization. It is because of this wide gulf of ideological and political differences, no political alliance is possible with the CPI(M), as we totally reject any political alliance with all those parties from BJP, Congress to regional parties who serve the ruling class interests.
In Punjab, Dainik Bhaskar has a report about the first big fake new currency case. In the case from Mohali, two cousins charged a 30 per cent commission to convert black money to white and distributed fake Rs 2,000 notes to their ‘clients’. They bought a second-hand Audi using the same fake currency and put a red light on top of it to use it as their delivery vehicle. Meanwhile, salaried class is bearing the brunt of demonetisation in the state as the salaries have been credited and banks are out of cash to dispense. Banks have refused to allow withdrawals of Rs 10,000 as they don’t have the cash. 70 per cent ATMs have not been recalibrated yet and they are not working. Bankers in the state say things are unlikely to improve till December 5. The problem has been compounded by the fact that 90 per cent of the new currency in banks is in the form of Rs 2,000 notes. In Punjab’s agricultural mandis, farmers, traders and labourers continue to wait for payments to be made. Districts continue to be cashless and coverage has been focused on the plight of those standing in queues.
In MP, the situation is similar to that in Punjab with banks running out of cash and the pressure of payday looming. The problem has become bigger for banks in Bhopal because most of the cash they have received is in the form of Rs 2,000 notes. In a place like Rajgarh, cash arrived after one week and that too in the form of Rs 2,000 notes and the report talks about people struggling to buy items of daily use. In Indore, banks have received only one third of what they need to dispense on payday.
In Haryana’s Ambala, police had to be called to a bank as the crowds protested. As per reports the state government is concerned about the large crowds outside banks as cash crunch continues to be an issue in the state. In Gurgaon, angry villagers blocked Delhi-Gurgaon-Alwar highway as patience ran out after weeks of cash crunch. Similar scenes in Rohtak city as angry crowds blocked roads at two places. About 10 per cent of the ATMs in the city were dispensing cash.
In UP, Meerut saw violence as a result of the continued cash crunch. Syndicate Bank employees were taken as hostage. There was stone-pelting and the PM’s effigy was also burnt as anger boiled over. Violence and traffic jams were also reported from other places in Meerut. Papers also report about hundreds of handloom units having shut down due to the shortage of cash. Jams and protests due to cash crunch seem to be the general sentiment across UP with reports from Agra, Allahabad and Kanpur saying the same. Jagran reports that cash has almost run out of 900 rural branches in Agra.
In Rajasthan, Patrika reports that banks have been getting only 35-40 per cent of the cash that they actually need from RBI. Its local editions narrate similar incidents of the general public losing patience due to the continued scarcity of cash at banks and ATMs.
In Maharashtra, Saamana Hindi talks about a new code word for conversion of old currency notes into new ones in the black money market. Traders now use the phrase “Give Gandhi and Get Modi” where ‘Gandhi’ refers to old currency notes and ‘Modi’ refers to new currency notes. It also reports that even after 22 days have passed, there has been no improvement in the ground situation with long queues outside bank and most ATMs failing to dispense cash. Saamana in Marathi talks about the harassment the salaried class is having to face with payday here and little cash in banks. Lok Satta also paints a grim picture of the cash situation in Maharashtra with ATMs and banks running low on cash. Lokmat echoes this sentiment by saying there is practically no cash in banks.
In Satara’s Maan taluka the CEO of a local co-operative bank has complained about the dire situation thanks to cash crunch. Most of the people dependant on her bank are self-help groups, women’s groups, NGOs and they have not been able to help them. They converted their own van into a cash dispensing machine. They distributed coins worth Rs 12 lakh in a market.
In Karnataka, Vijaya Karnataka reports on a lathicharge by police on a crowd gathered outside an ATM in Gulbarga and also reports that no cash is reaching rural Karnataka. Vijayavani reports that 80 per cent of the ATMs are not functioning.
Stories from all over India, bear a resemblance. They talk about long queues outside banks, non-functional ATMs and a changing public mood as the ground situation has not come under control 22 days after the announcement to ban old currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 was done.