Over the last 15 years more than 2 lakh farmers have committed suicide in the country due to debt related problem and an acute agrarian crisis. This phenomenon was outside the lived experience of the people of West Bengal and came only as news from distant places. But with the Trinamool Congress led government coming to power in West Bengal, a significant change has happened in West Bengal countryside, where the phenomenon of farmer suicides have now become a part of rural life in the state.
It has been argued by some economists that the present inflationary situation is nothing unusual when compared with those “high levels” of inflation that persevered in the post-independence period till the mid-1990s. However, this view is wrong.
Farmers see the ‘developers' and the corporates making profits running into several hundred times the price at which they had sold the land. Even worse is the complicity of the state whenever it uses its power to acquire land to hand over to the corporate sector, often with a subsidy element to the latter, and beyond making vague promises takes no steps to ensure that the livelihoods of the displaced are safeguarded. Prof. Utsa Patnaik provides a Marxist critique of land acquisition policies in India.
AIKS strongly disapproves the Central Government’s recent move to allow Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into agriculture and allied sectors including in the seed sector. AIKS press note on FDI on agriculture.
While there has been a lot of talk about the visit of US President Obama, the media has chosen to ignore the "Strategic Cooperation” in Agriculture, food security and related areas. The direction of these negotiations points clearly to a corporate take-over of Indian agriculture. Like any trader the American establishment came to sell their wares at the most profitable terms and they went satisfied. Indian ruling classes sold our interests and kowtowed to their imperialist masters. What was missed in the media cacophony was the impact of the visit on the Indian masses, the peasantry and the rural poor. Vijoo Krishnan writes.
The entire country is reeling under terrible spell of inflation. Prices of essential commodities and food items have reached historically high levels. The Government has done too little to control prices. A blog post.
"By creating an exclusively profit oriented banking sector through deregulation and drastically cutting the expenditure on agriculture government is crushing the farmer from all sides. Even the occasional relief of debt waiver and suspension announced by government workers against farmers as banks show reluctance in further lending to farmers who have received relief." An article on the murderous compromise in rural credit and agriculture by Srujana Bodapati.
Arindam Banerjee writes on the phenomenon of Biofuels - generated from grains that could otherwise serve as food.
An article towards understanding the political-ideological roots of the GM controversy in Indian agriculture with special reference to Marxist theory and practice, is attached with this post (in PDF format). The essay begins with setting the context of the currently raging debate on BT-Brinjal and reviewing a select set of empirical assessments of BT-Cotton in India on relevant parameters. It then moves to critically examine the role of ideology in how competing political forces comprehend the food and nutrition crisis in India.
Indian agricultural landscape seems to be changing very rapidly- small farmers gradually giving way to big corporations. In last two decades a plethora of measures were taken to make farming more difficult for the petty farmers and pave way for the likes of Monsanto, Cargill, Reliance or PepsiCo. Starting from seeds, fertilizers, credits or even marketing of their produce, farmers today are under the clutches of corporate sector.