SOS e Clarion Of Dalit

November 15, 2007

dalit clarion issue.2

Filed under: dalit human rights — Tags: , , — Nagaraja M R @ 1:44 pm




In india, various multi level marketing companies ( MLM ) Like
amway, quantum, modiguard, el life , rmp infotech, guru teak ,
adishwara marketing, etc are marketing their products ranging from
consumer goods to UPS, inverters, teak wood, etc through networking.
These companies are collecting thousands of rupees from public &
appointing them as mebers or distributors, etc. hoWever there are no
legal contracts on stamp paper appointing them as members or
distributors. Some companies are accepting this money as donation.
So, clearly these public although sharing the investments in the
company are not legal shareholders. When the dissatisfied people
wants to withdraw from these companies, no refund of money is given
at all. The products these people sell through networking are most of
the times without legal bills at both entry & exit stages. They
mostly evade central & state sales tax , excise, VAT, etc. In this
way , crores of rupees of tax is being evaded & the public are even
cheated of their principal amount they have invested. What the
government is doing ? JAI HIND. VANDE MATARAM.



India’S terrible Toll In Rural Suicides
By M. Kailash

Indebtedness, crop failure and the inability to pay back loans due to
high rates of interest have led as many as 25,000 peasants in India
to commit suicide since the 1990s, according to official figures. The
systematic neglect of India’s multi-million peasantry, combined with
the free market policies implemented by successive governments, are
On February 19, Alladi Rajkumar, a senior parliamentarian from the
opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in the southern state of Andhra
Pradesh, reported in India’s upper house of parliament that over
3,000 farmers had taken their lives during the past 22 months under
the Congress-led state government. The deteriorating conditions of
the peasantry were a significant factor in the defeat of the previous
TDP administration.
Andhra Pradesh has become one of India’s leading areas for investment
by global transnational corporations. Under both Congress and TDP
governments, the state has been largely run under budgetary
guidelines formulated by the US firm McKinsey, the International
Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. While the state has been
flung open to the activities of transnationals, the rural poor have
been ignored. Andhra Pradesh has recorded among the highest number of
peasant suicides in the country. From 1997 to January 2006, over
9,000 peasants took their lives due to the failure of cotton crops.
In 2000, 22 peasants in the Kundoor district sold their kidneys to
settle their debts.
The Punjab has also recorded a high rate of farmer suicides.
According to state government claims, there were 2,116 cases between
1998 and 2005. Non-government organisations argue that this figure is
a gross underestimate. Inderjit Jayjee of the Movement Against State
Repression told the Indian Tribune on April 2: “Andana and Lehra
blocks of Moonak subdivision in Sangrur alone have reported 1,360
farmer suicides between 1998 and 2005. If all of Punjab’s 138 blocks
show roughly the same level of suicides, the number would exceed
40,000 for the given period.”
The suicide toll is by no means confined to these two states. The
western state of Maharashtra witnessed over 250 farmer suicides in
Vidarbha district during the six-month period from June 2005 to
January 2006. The agriculture minister in the national Congress-led
United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, Sharad Pawar, told
parliament last month that cases of suicide have also been reported
from Karnataka, Kerala, Gujarat and Orissa.
In an interview on November 15, 2005, with the Indian Express, Pawar
stated: “The farming community has been ignored in this country and
especially so over the last eight to 10 years. The total investment
in the agriculture sector is going down… You will be surprised in
the budgetary provision, not more than 2 percent has been allocated
for agriculture, where more than 65 percent of the population
works… In the last few years, the average budgetary provision from
the Indian government for irrigation is less than 0.35 percent.” This
neglect of irrigation, he said, forced 60 percent of agricultural
areas to “depend totally on the erratic monsoon.”
During the campaign for the 2004 national elections, Congress leaders
such as party president Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh, who became
prime minister, shed a few crocodile tears over farmer suicides. The
Congress election manifesto promised to “liberate the country from
poverty, hunger and unemployment”. In practice, however, the UPA
government has proven that its attitude toward the peasants is no
different from its predecessor. The allocation for the agriculture in
its February 28 budget was just 1 percent.
The UPA’s main policy in rural areas is the cosmetic National Rural
Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS). The government has pledged that
one member of every rural household will be provided with 100 days of
work per year, paid just 60 rupees ($US1.33) per day. Although the
scheme was part of the UPA’s so-called Common Minimum Program (CMP)
during the 2004 election, its inauguration was delayed until February
2006. Moreover, while the initial estimate for the scheme was 400
billion rupees ($US9 billion) a year, the allocation in the national
budget delivered on February 28 was just 117 billion rupees.

Rising debts
In 1928, a Royal Commission report on the plight of farmers under
British colonial rule in India stated that the peasant lives and dies
in debt. The same basic rule holds for most Indian farmers today.
The indebtedness of Indian farmers rose markedly in the 1990s
following the turn by successive Indian governments to market reforms
and the opening up of the Indian economy to foreign investors. Prior
to 1991, 25 percent of Indian peasants were indebted. Now, according
to figures provided in January by P. Sainath, the rural affairs
editor of the Hindu, 70 percent of farmers in the state of Andhra
Pradesh are in debt. In Punjab the figure is 65 percent, Karnataka 61
percent, and Maharashtra 60 percent.
Government actions have directly triggered the rise. According to a
Reserve Bank of India report in 2003, World Bank dictates resulted in
a steady decline of rural credit to small and middle peasants from
government banks and cooperative societies. Lending declined from
15.9 percent in June 1990 to 9.8 percent in March 2003. This shift in
government policy compelled small and middle farmers to turn to
private moneylenders for loans—at exorbitant interest rates of 40
percent or more per annum—to purchase seeds, fertiliser and other
agricultural inputs.
“The banks have given no loans in the past seven years,” Malla Reddy,
the general secretary of the Andhra Pradesh Ryuthu Sangham (APRS),
explained. “So many farmers are forced to depend on sources like
these for credit. The same man advises them on what to buy and then
sets the rates for the purchase.” More and more farmers have failed
to earn enough to pay back their loans and so have fallen deeper and
deeper into debt.
Across India, over 43.4 million Indian peasant families are deeply
indebted. Small and medium peasants are the worst affected. The
number of rural landless families increased to 35 percent between
1987 and 1998 and soared to 45 percent between 1999 and 2000. Between
2003 and 2005, the figure jumped dramatically to 55 percent.
At the same time, farmers have faced declining incomes. According to
a Ministry of Agriculture report, the income for West Bengal paddy
farmers has fallen by 28 percent since 1996-97. During the same
period, the income of sugar cane growers in Uttar Pradesh had dropped
32 percent, while in Maharashtra, cane growers have lost 40 percent.
A steady decline in infrastructure investment and cuts to state
subsidies, together with droughts, floods and insect infestations
have contributed to the growth of rural social misery.
According to New Delhi-based agriculture economist Rahul Sharma, the
cost of rural production has gone up by 300 percent since the 1990s,
in large part due to government policies. In Andra Pradesh, the power
tariff was increased five times between 1998 and 2003. As governments
have withdrawn support for rural farmers, prices for farming
equipment have skyrocketed.
Due to deregulation, the quality of seeds has declined. In the past,
the Indian government regulated that the minimum germination rate for
seeds had to be at least 85 percent. Following corporate pressure,
the minimum rate was reduced to 60 percent.
Indian peasants have faced greater global competition due to the
deregulation of agricultural markets. In 1999, the Bharatiya Janatha
Party (BJP)-led Indian federal government signed a pact with the
United States to grant US producers import permission for 1,429
agricultural products that were previously prevented from entering
the local market.
The UPA government of Prime Minister Singh is continuing the free
market restructuring of the economy. During US President George
Bush’s visit to India in early March, Singh signed an agreement that
further opens the agriculture sector to firms such as Monsanto.
These measures will further exacerbate the already intolerable
conditions of Indian farmers.

Edited, printed & published by NAGARAJ.M.R. at EWS 190 HUDCO 3RD
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