KERALA

Call to extend NREGP to all adults

POLICY MATTERS: State Planning Board Vice-Chairman Prabhat Patnaik; Presenjit Bose, CPI(M) leader; Sitaram Yechury, Polit Bureau member; and West Bengal Minister Suryakant Mishra; in discussion during a national seminar on ‘Global Financial Crisis and Indian Peasantry,’ organised by the All India Kisan Sabha and the All India Agricultural Workers’ Union, at Kalpetta in Wayanad district on Sunday.

POLICY MATTERS: State Planning Board Vice-Chairman Prabhat Patnaik; Presenjit Bose, CPI(M) leader; Sitaram Yechury, Polit Bureau member; and West Bengal Minister Suryakant Mishra; in discussion during a national seminar on ‘Global Financial Crisis and Indian Peasantry,’ organised by the All India Kisan Sabha and the All India Agricultural Workers’ Union, at Kalpetta in Wayanad district on Sunday.   | Photo Credit: — Photo: S. Ramesh Kurup

Special Correspondent

Farmers’ seminar makes out a case for increasing expenditure on agriculture



Seeks compensation for displaced people

‘Ensure remunerative prices for peasants’



KALPETTA: A two-day seminar on “Global financial crisis and Indian peasantry,” organised jointly by the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) and the All India Agricultural Workers’ Union (AIAWU) has called upon the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the Centre to extend the National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme (NREGP) to cover all adults in the country and to institute transparent mechanisms to ensure that displacement of rural communities occurs only with the consent of the displaced.

A charter of demands adopted by the seminar, which concluded here on Sunday, also wanted the government to ensure that adequate compensation and rehabilitation is available to the affected community before displacement occurred. On the NREGP, it wanted work to be available to all adults for as many as required and permission for taking up work on land of small and marginal farmers.

Pointing out that the stagnation of agriculture and lack of public expenditure have translated into growing unemployment for rural labour, the charter called upon the government to increase public expenditure on agriculture and rural development so as to enhance the purchasing power of the rural poor and to increase productivity in agriculture. Investment should not be limited to large-scale infrastructure but also small and medium scale irrigation projects, other improvements in rural infrastructure and agricultural extension work, it said.

The charter said in order to protect the peasantry from the vagaries of world commodity markets, which were witnessing sharp price fall, the government should follow a procurement policy that ensures remunerative prices for the peasants.

The government should also provide comprehensive debt relief and cheap institutional credit to peasants. Further, the government should enact a comprehensive law for agricultural workers to ensure for them minimum wages, right to bargain collectively and measures of social security such as pensions and accident compensation.

The charter also demanded enhanced public funding for research and extension and strict regulation on private agricultural research, particularly with regard to bio-safety, protection of biodiversity and safeguarding of traditional knowledge rights.

The seminar was followed by a joint meeting of the Central committees of the AIKS and the AIAWU, originally scheduled for Monday, late in the evening.

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