Farmers to protest in Delhi, demand ‘freedom from debt’

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New Delhi | November 18, 2017 10:40 PM

According to the AIKSCC "steady rise in input costs, like fuel, pesticides and fertilisers and even water, and slashing of subsidies by the government" were the key factors behind cost versus income imbalance presently been faced by the farmers.

Farmers from all over India will participate in a two-day protest from November 20. (PTI)

Farmers from all over India will participate in a two-day protest from November 20 here under the banner of the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) demanding “better prices for their produce and complete freedom from debt”. According to the AIKSCC, members of around 180 farmer organisations are expected to participate in the protest. “Our main demand will be full remunerative prices as a legal entitlement with correct cost estimations and at least a 50 per cent profit margin over the cost of production,” All India Kisan Sabha president Ashok Dhawale said. “We will also demand freedom from debt, including an immediate comprehensive loan waiver, as well as statutory institutional mechanism to address farmers’ debt on an ongoing basis,” he said. Even though Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his Lok Sabha poll campaign, had promised that farmers would get good prices for their crops and he would implement the Swaminathan Commission recommendations, nothing has been done so far, Dhawale claimed.

According to the AIKSCC “steady rise in input costs, like fuel, pesticides and fertilisers and even water, and slashing of subsidies by the government” were the key factors behind cost versus income imbalance presently been faced by the farmers. “This massive injustice in prices is pushing farmers into debt, forcing them to commit suicide and ignite repeated protests across the country. To address their plight we are congregating in large numbers in Delhi on November 20 in a ‘Kisan Mukti Sansad’,” an All India Kisan Sabha leader said.

The AIKSCC, an umbrella forum of farmers, will also organise ‘Kisan Mukti Sansad’ or farmer’s parliament at the venue of their protest. On November 20, a draft ‘bill’ encompassing the two demands will be introduced and passed after debate by the farmers’ parliament. Farmers from Tamil Nadu said they were mulling over beginning a third round of protest in the national capital. “We might continue the protest in Delhi once again after consulting farmers from other parts of the country,” media coordinator of the agitating farmers Prem Kumar said.

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