The 32nd Conference of the AIKS is being from 7th to 10th January 2010, amidst of unprecedented crisis… a crisis that is engulfing the agrarian sector with threatening consequences. A step motherly attitude towards this primary sector, with misplaced priorities had been as old as First Plan. The natural advantage created by perennial rivers and fertile soil was undone by the short sighted and biased planning. The rules did nit learn any lesson from the frequent bouts of food crisis except from adopting some make shift alternatives. The demand of the A.I.K.S and other like minded organization and political parties for support price, eradication of middle men, sufficient subsidies and market accessibility, radical land reforms etc. was ignored. Land reform acts were made to seek political advantage. Consequently the provisions of the acts were sufficiently watered down to allow the concentration of land. The State-sponsored capitalist development pursued till 1990s allowed the landlords, rich peasants and other privileged classes to appropriate the major share of benefits leaving the tillers impoverished and indebted.
The policy of liberalization pursued after 1990 further accelerated the crisis. In the name of liberalization and privatization the State withdrew from economic activity. Its intervention has been consciously reduced in order to make way for the market forces or private sector. It was argued by the proponents of liberalization that freeing agricultural markets and liberalizing external trade in agricultural commodities would provide price incentives leading to enhanced investment and output in that sector, while broader trade liberalization would shift inter-sectoral terms of trade in favour of agriculture. Almost twenty years of experience showed that the reversal was the result. The reduced spending of Central and State governments adversely affected critical areas such as rural infrastructure, power, support price, market facilities etc. The squeegee in real expenditure by the governments on rural development and agriculture has slowed down employment generation. Reduced coverage of the PDS and increase in food prices had a substantial adverse effect on rural household food consumption in most parts of the country. The WTO commitments forced the governments to progressively reduce the import tariffs. The combined effect of import liberalization, low prices to the produce, output volatility, rising cost of production and reduced rural credit facility worsened the situation beyond expectations. The net result was non-viability of agriculture, indebtedness resulting in the mass suicides of farmers. According to a moderate estimate more than two lakhs farmers across the country committed suicide since mid 1990s.
It is in this deep crisis that the AIKS is holding its annual conference. The main theme of the conference is “Save peasant and Save the Country”. 1000 delegates from all over the country are participating in the conference to discuss the present situation, finding out the solution and preparing the peasants for enviable struggle against the anti-agrarian attitude of the rulers. Leading agrarian economists and scientists are also participating in the conference to render their valuable advice.