A historic agitation of the Farmers is going on in the country. They are agitating against the new Farm laws passed by the Modi-led BJP Government for the past more than one month. The workers of the country are agitating against the four arbitrarily passed Labour Codes mutilating the existing labour laws. Government employees are fighting against Corporatisation and Privatisation in Railways & Defence, DA freeze and the draconian New Pension Scheme. Public Sector employees are fighting against selling of the PSUs. Unemployed youths are fighting for the jobs. The so called Labour reforms and agricultural reforms are not in any case going to benefit the labour and the farmers. This Government is working only for the Corporates and crony capitalists and not for the common man of this country.
The Central Government has called for the 6th time the 40 protesting Farmers Union for next round of talk on the 30th of Dec. 2020. The All India Kisan Sangarsh Coordination Committee has reacted that the centre is only showing its unwillingness to resolve the issue and its language is vague and unspecific. The Govt. is only trying to find ways to blame the farmers in order to cover up its consistent adamant stand of continuing the 3 Farm Laws and the Electricity bill 2020.
In our country every political party publishes its election manifesto before the elections with hundreds of assurances which they will implement once they come to power. No body takes these election manifestos seriously. Many of the promises given in the election manifesto are forgotten, especially by the ruling party which is in power. Let us analyse the election manifesto of the BJP which they have published during the 2019 General Elections in the name of “Sankalpit Bharat Sashakt Bharat”. In the chapter of agriculture and farmer welfare, no where it is mentioned that if BJP comes to power the following 3 Farm laws will be passed in the Parliament.
1) The Farmers produce trade and commerce (promotion and facilitation) Act.
2) Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) agreement on price assurance and Farm Services Act.
3) Essential commodities Act.
In the election manifesto of BJP with regard to the agricultural production, the following is the assurance given.
1) We recognize the role of cooperatives and farmers producer organizations. (FPOs) can play in ensuring better market linkages and opportunities in the agricultural sector and we are committed to support and strengthen them.
2) We will enable the creation of 10,000 new Farmer producer organizations (FPOs) by 2022 to ensure economies of scale for Farmers regarding access to inputs and markets.
3) To cater to the needs of big cities we will set up a mechanism of direct marketing of vegetables, fruits, dairy and fishery products through farmers cooperative organizations so as to ensure better price return to the farmers.
The new Farm laws passed by the Parliament has not given any important role to the Farmer Producer organization for marketing the products of the Farmers. Instead of Farmers Cooperatives, the private corporates are given the role to take over the entire agriculture activity. The new Farm laws will only benefit the Corporates and not the Farmers and the Farmers’ Cooperatives.
Similarly the Labour Codes which has not even included the recommendations given by the Parliamentary Standing Committee are also pieces of Legislations only to favour the Corporates and the crony capitalists. Many hard earned rights of the Indian Working Class which they achieved through relentless struggle have all been taken away in the New Labour Codes. Trade Union rights are tinkered with. Contractualisation of permanent jobs have been legalized. Definition of “Industry” has been framed in such a manner exempting many Industries under the Ministry of Defence, Atomic Energy and Space are taken out of the scope of “Industry”. In the name of Fixed Term Employment the social justice is completely taken away. Reservation in public jobs for various socially and economically down trodden communities will be the major causality, since there is no provision for reservation of jobs in contractual employment. All these provisions are made only to favour the Corporates and not to favour the labour.
Against all the above atrocities the working class and the Farmers should come together and fight back to achieve their rights. It is a matter of satisfaction that the Central Trade Unions and the Farmers Organisations are working with understanding and Coordination.
Views expressed here are those of of C. Srikumar, General Secretary of All India Defence Employees Federation and National Executive Committee Member of AITUC