Friday, February 17, 2012

Farmers' demands on India's budget for 2012

A deligation of Bhartiya Kisan Unioun (BKU Tikait) has a meeting with
Finance MInister Mr. I. S. Gujaral on February 17, 2012 at 02.00 p.m.
and submitted a memorandum on issues and concerns related to the

In discussion the Finance Minister assured to look into the matter positively.

Shri Pranab Mukherji,
Union Minister of Finance
Government of India
New Delhi
Sub: Farmers' demands on India's budget for 2012

As India's farmers we bring to your attention the fundamental role played by the agriculture sector in not only ensuring the sovereignty of our nation by securing the food of our people but also in providing livelihoods to more than half of the population. Unfortunately, misdirected policies in agriculture are leading to ecological collapse as well as social disasters like farmers suicides. In order to address this agrarian crisis, India's farmers have consistently been demanding a separate agriculture budget among other things.

The budget should strongly prioritize the agriculture sector in order to revive it. It should work to provide dignified ad sustainable livelihoods to rural men and women and ensure the food sovereignty of our country by locally sourcing the food needed to feed our nation and end hunger once and for all. It should primarily strengthen the abilities of small, medium and marginal farming men and women, as well as farm workers - those whose vocation mainly feeds us as compared to profit obsessed agribusiness. It should also work to repair our lands and restore the ecology which have been harmed by the uncontrolled use of chemicals from the green revolution technologies. A holistic budget to revive India's agriculture and farming populations is the need of the day if we are to confront the challenges of poverty, hunger, ecological devastation and climate change that face us.

Below are our specific demands on agriculture in the budget:-

  1. Since agriculture employs more than half of India's population, 40% of the total budget should be allocated to agriculture. We also need a completely separate budget for agriculture just as there exists for railways.

  2. The majority of the budget allocated to agriculture should focus on schemes to promote ecological and organic type of farming. 50% of this should focus dry land farming. These schemes need to be monitored and implemented properly. This is the only way that we can realisticaly ensure that our farmers can make the transition to ecological ways of farming and stop using harmful chemicals.

  3. The fertilizer subsidy should go directly to the farmers and not the chemical fertilizer companies. This way, farmers can have the power to chose what kind of fertilizer they want to use and the option to invest in ecological fertilizers.

  1. Agricultural loans should be provided to farmers on a 0% interest rate. Given the terrible economic condition of the farming community and high econmic burdnes they face, they are not in a condition to bear an additional interest burden on loans. Also all older loans should be waived.

  2. A social security fund for all farm households should be set up, including for agricultural workers, which includes pension, maternity benefits, life, accident and health insurance. Farmers both men and women above 60 years of age must receive a pension like all other government employees. Widows of farmers who have died must also receive a pension and all their loans must be waived off.

  3. A ‘Price Compensation mechanism’ should be set up which will ensure that farmers receive a fair price for their produce.  The National Farmers Commission recommended that farmers should be paid at least 1.5 times the Cost of Cultivation C2. The Government should set up the ‘Price Compensation mechanism’ which will directly pay the farmers the gap between the Target Price (C2+50%) and the MSP (or the average Farm Harvest Price if lower than MSP).

  4. Government should set up a Price Stabilization Fund to address the market fluctuations in commercial crops

  5. Ecological Services bonus should be paid to farmers who practice ecological agriculture and cultivate eco-friendly crops like millets.

  1. A major mission should be taken up to identify and record tenant farmers, and to provide them access to crop loans, insurance, compensation for crop loss, and all government subsidies and programs. Tenant farmers form the most vulnerable section of the agrarian community and constitute a majority of farmer suicides. A separate project be initiated for this immediately.

  2. A concerted program to update land records should be taken up in a time-bound manner, especially with a view of implementing land reforms and ensuring that the benefits of government programs and compensation for land acquisition reach the real cultivators.

  3. Drastic increase in outlay for Disaster Relief Fund for farmers, which should provide timely compensation for crop loss due to any disaster such as floods, drought, cyclone and untimely rains – at Rs.10,000 per acre on the lines of recommendations of the Hooda committee.

  1. Adequate crop insurance should be provided for all crops in all regions. Furthermore, we demand that no premium should be demanded from farmers who are not a financial position to undertake this added burden. This is one of the major reasons why farmers are not able to avail of insurance schemes.

  2. A labour subsidy should be provided of 50 person-days/hectare for agricultural operations on private lands of farmers to compensate for the steep rise in labour wages. This should be in addition to the 100-day entitlement of labour work under NREGS and should be operationalized through a pilot program involving farmer and worker collectives.

  3.  A rural livelihoods program should be introduced that focuses on agro-based processing, storage and marketing facilities to be set up in rural areas, managed by farmer collectives.

  4. Adequate research finances be provided to the NARS, especially for taking up validation of ecological farming practices and approaches so that they do not become irrelevant or puppets in the hands of private corporations.

  5. A separate fund for families of farmer suicide should be immediately set up for providing relief and rehabilitation to all those families where a farmer had committed suicide and adequate support including addressing all the outstanding debt of such families be extended through the fund.

Signed by

                        Ch. Naresh Tikait ( President Bhartiya kisan Union)

                        Sh.Yudhvir Singh  (secretary bku)`
                        Sh.Gurnam Singh ( State President, BKU Haryana)
Ajmer Singh Lakhowal ( State President, BKU Punjab)

Ch. Rakesh Tikait ( Spoksman BKU )

S.S. Cheema  (BKU Uttrakhand)

Chukki Nanjundaswamy, (Karnataka Rajya Ryot Sangha Karnataka)

KS Puttanaiah (State President Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha,Karnataka)

Sh Vijay Jawandhia (Shetkari Sanghatna Maharashtra)

Sella Mutthu (President, Tamilanadu Farmers Association, Tamilanadu)

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