The national conference of Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM), held in Indore from December 7 to 9, has demanded the UPA government to immediately divorce its love for multinational companies and formulate plans to promote the agriculture in general and farmers? interests in particular. It also demanded enhancement in the budgetary allocations of agriculture from the present 6 per cent to 25 per cent. To prevent the suicides by farmers, the SJM demanded a package to write off the farmers? loans and fresh loans at 3 or 4 per cent rate of interest. ?Agriculture subsidy should also be given in the form of cash to the farmers,? a resolution said urging the government to recognise agriculture in the country as a livelihood issue.
Sahsarkaryavah of RSS Shri Madan Das, Swadeshi Jagran Manch convener Shri Murlidhar Rao, Shri S. Gurumurthy, Rajasthan BJP president Shri Mahesh Chandra, noted Swadeshi ideologue Shri K.N. Govindacharya and Rashtriya Sanghathak of SJM Shri Arun Ojha were among the prominent leaders present at the conference.
Demanding repeal of the SEZ Act 2005 and return of the agriculture land taken from the farmers with adequate compensation, the conference also demanded that the farmers should be provided with remunerative prices and mechanism should be evolved to enable them to reduce cost of cultivation. It also sought ban on import of wheat, pulses, oilseeds and other farm products and also implemention of special plan to increase their production to ensure food security. Promotion of organic and traditional farming methods with special budgetary allocation to support those activities was also demanded. ?The extensive social security measures like old-age pensions, health insurance, etc. should be implemented for small marginal farmers and landless poor. Crop insurance should be extended to all crops and the proposed Displacement and Rehabilitation Act should not be implemented without detailed survey and consensus,? the resolution added.
In another resolution the conference demanded ban on the entry of big corporate houses in retail trade to save the livelihoods of crores of people engaged in this sector. ?Encouragement be given to the retail trade to modernise and expand their business by providing all-out support including tax rebates and finance at an interest rate of 4 per cent. The entry of corporates will also affect the productivity of Indian manufacturing sector, whole-sale trade and the consumers in the long run. It may be noted that MNCs finished the shoe industry of US and led to the closure of Coats in UK. After monopolising retail trade, these companies start fleecing the consumers. According to a study made by the Fortune magazine, due to monopoly of retail trade, the MNCs sold the goods at a price of 40 per cent over the existing price in Europe leading to increased cost to the consumers,? the resolution said.
In another resolution, the conference said that the Nandigram massacre should be an eye-opener to other states involved in acquiring agricultural lands of small farmers in the name of SEZs. ?From IMF to the Finance Ministry all have pointed out the revenue loss of lakhs of crores year after year. It has also been pointed out that only shift in employment and relocation of industries will take place without addition to employment or productive capacity. The Approach Paper to the 11th Five-Year Plan of the Government of Maharashtra has pointed out that the originators of the SEZs, namely the Chinese Government, have admitted mainly real estate activities alone takes place in SEZs and the concept needs rethink,? the resolution said.
?Nandigram symbolises the widespread resentment by small land owning peasants and their refusal to part with their livelihood earning asset inherited by generation after generation. Though the opposition and agitation is spread across the country, like POSCO in Orissa and Mangalore in Karnataka, Nandigram generated so much heat leading even to disruption of Parliament and the subsequent debate putting the Marxists on the defensive. The nation started sensing the beginning of the end of Marxists Raj in Bengal. The SJM fully shares the feelings of the people of Nandigram and assures that it will stand by them in this hour of crisis and in their valiant struggle to protect their livelihood. The SJM hopes that Nandigram will lead to two desirable things: exposure of the dual face of the Marxists and death to the concept of SEZs,? the resolution added. (FOC)