The agrarian crisis can be defined as the “corporate hijack of Indian agriculture,” which is simulated by “predatory commercialisation of the countryside,” said P. Sainath, Founder Editor of People’s Archive of Rural India.
He was speaking at a session on ‘Political Economy of Agrarian Distress- Kisan Long March and the Way Forward’ organised by the Bengaluru Collective and Law and Society Committee at the National Law School of India University in Bengaluru on Saturday.
Citing instances of the manifold increase in the cost of agriculture (three- to five-fold) in a span of a few years, he attributed it to privatisation of farm inputs.
“Farm credits were increasingly being cornered by “agri-businesses” instead of actual cultivators, between 2000 and 2007 in Maharashtra. The number of loans of less than ₹50,000 are slashed by 50%, while the number of loans of over ₹10 crore to ₹25 crore doubled or even trebled,” he said.
Stating that all these are a result of glaring inequality and the cruel effects of capitalism, he said: “Unless these inequalities and capitalism are fought, the agrarian crisis cannot be addressed.”
He also explained how water is increasingly being privatised in a nation where droughts are seen frequently, while the water resources are increasingly being cornered by the elite classes. “This is a nation which nationalises rivers and privatises water,” he said.
Vijoo Krishnan from All India Kisan Sabha explained the solidarity built among the toiling rural masses on various issues, not merely loan waiver and minimum support prices, but also on land ownership, land rights, and forest rights.
He spoke about the various struggles leading to the Kisan Long March from Nashik to Mumbai last year.