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'Great betrayal'! Miffed with COVID-19 stimulus, farmers' body plans nationwide protest on May 16

Joe C Mathew     May 15, 2020

All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) has urged Indian peasantry and rural workers to protest against the "pro-agribusiness anti-peasantry package" unveiled by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman through the third tranche of COVID-19 stimulus today. The Left organisation wanted peasantry and rural workers across the country to come out on May 16 at 9.30 am to protest against the "great betrayal of the peasantry by the BJP Government".

In a statement issued today, AIKS said the package ignores the fact that agriculture production in the country will be severely affected due to COVID-19. "At a time of crisis when the peasantry is badly in need of compensation at the real cost for the losses suffered due to lock down, when they lost their crops as they were unable to harvest and unable to reach markets in the towns, the package is silent on this except claiming that it has spent on procurement. The fact that market arrivals of wheat and other rabi crops are very low is being concealed," AIKS general secretary Hannan Mollah and president Ashok Dhawale said.

The association also criticised the central government of allowing free interstate trade for agricultural commodities and deregulating agri-business to promote free trade under the slogan of one nation, one market. "Who will be benefitted out of these reforms is pretty clear, not the peasantry and rural workers. The agribusiness corporate houses and multinational corporations will take the advantage. The Agriculture Produce Market Committees will be sidelined and the powers of the state governments will be eroded. The peasantry at large will be at the mercy of the Agri Business Corporations since there will not be any arrangements for price support and price stabilisation for crops", AIKS statement said.

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