Sixty per cent of the farmers in the country will benefit if just 50 per cent of the recommendations made by the National Commission on Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Security of India (National Commission on Farmers) headed by M.S. Swaminathan were implemented, Akhil Bharat Kisan Sabha general secretary Atul Kumar Anjan said on Monday.
“Not implementing these recommendations is tantamount to criminal negligence,” he said, inaugurating the three-day 16th State conference of the Andhra Pradesh Rythu Sangham.
Mr. Anjan said the importance being given to agriculture was diminishing with each five-year plan. While 20 per cent of the total outlay was allocated to agriculture in the first plan, the percentage had been reduced to 4.5 per cent in the 11th five-year plan. But 73 per cent of the population still depended on agriculture and allied sectors for their livelihood.
Though the situation in the country was bad the Government was trying to paint a rosy picture. While the Government was saying that 220 districts were affected by drought, Mr. Anjan said according to his estimate 380 out of the 640 districts in the country were affected. The situation was further aggravated by “untimely rains” and floods. These factors would reduce production and productivity of different crops. The production of rice would be less by one crore tonnes when compared to previous year, while production of pulses and oil seeds would also be low. The government was banking on a good Rabi, but everything depended on the weather that was always playing spoilsport, he said.
Mr. Anjan said, Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh chose to address only trade bodies and business associations to seek their help in achieving a growth rate of six per cent, ignoring the fact that agriculture alone would contribute a growth rate of 4 per cent. He urged all Left and democratic forces, including the Maoists, to unite and fight for the cause of the farmers. He said unless the farmers waged a united struggle it would be difficult for them to wrest remunerative prices, comprehensive insurance and other benefits like old-age pensions that they richly deserved.
CPI State secretary K. Narayana said Rythu Sangham should be the nodal organisation to bring all farmers associations to launch a united struggle against attempts by the State government to undermine the rights of farmers under the guise of cooperative farming. He said the fixing of compensation that was not on a scientific basis should also be fought.
Former MLA and Rythu Sangham president K. Ramakrishna presided. Former MLA and CPI city secretary K. Subba Raju welcomed the gathering.