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Farmer organizations launch nationwide campaign #KisanKiLoot
Crop prices have crashed across crops and regions. All major crops selling below their price last year, much lower than the government's own Minimum Support Price (MSP).

Farmers are likely to lose Rs 35,968 crore in the top 7 crops this season compared to MSP. The All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) has accused that the Prime Minister did not fulfill Election promise to farmers to fix MSP at cost plus 50 percent.

Farmers are estimated to lose Rs 2.03 lakh crore in the top 7 crops compared to PM's promised MSP. AIKSCC, the largest nationwide coalition of farmers' organizations launches a unique campaign "KisanKiLoot" to highlight this betrayal of farmers by this government.

Kisan Mukti Sansad, a massive farmers' rally is to be organized by AIKSCC in Delhi on November 20. This is a campaign that intends to showcase to the nation how farmers are being denied remunerative prices after all the hardships and risks that they face in producing food for the nation.

In this campaign, AIKSCC volunteers are capturing the stories of hundreds of farmers across the country, and across different crops, through info-pics of farmers, to present the real picture of how farmers are unable to recover even their cost of production. A presentation was made of a study of crop prices across the country this season.

Once again, the crops are coming to the market and farmers are facing huge losses due to low crop prices. After 4 successive seasons of drought, farmers are suffering from 3 successive seasons of low crop prices. All major crops are selling below the government's own Minimum Support Price (MSP), considering the average of official APMC market prices across hundreds of mandis over a period of 2 to 3 weeks. Just considering the top 7 crops (paddy, maize, soybean, cotton, bajra, groundnut and urad), the arrivals in mandis so far and the actual market prices, farmers have lost Rs 6,283 crore compared to the MSP.

Considering the total crop that would be sold by farmers this season (Marketable Surplus), the estimated loss of farmers compared to MSP is Rs 35,968 crore. It was noted that these are the most conservative estimates because the actual prices obtained by the farmers in many cases are much below the official APMC market prices used in these estimates. In reality, the announced MSPs are themselves highly inadequate. Prime Minister Modi and the BJP manifesto promised in the 2014 elections that the Minimum Support Price will be fixed at 50 per cent margin above the Cost of Production.

However, among the 14 crops of Kharif 2017-18, the MSPs for 7 crops have been fixed less than the C2 Cost of Production. In the other 7 crops, the margin above Cost of Production is merely 2 to 19 per cent. Considering C2 plus 50 per cent as the fair remunerative price promised by the government, the loss faced by farmers is more than Rs 2.03 lakh crore. This is the true extent of #KisanKiLoot in a single season in just the top seven crops.

This massive injustice in prices is pushing farmers into debt and suicides across the country. "This plight of our anna daatas is unacceptable. The millions of farmers who voted in the 2014 elections did so based on PM Modi's promise about the MSP. However, after coming to power, his government denied this on the floor of the Parliament and in Supreme Court affidavit. The farmers will not tolerate this betrayal. Now the government is talking about doubling of farmers' incomes. This is another 'joomla' because there is absolutely no mention of the promise related to remunerative prices, which is the most direct way of raising farmers' incomes," said VM Singh, Convenor of AIKSCC.

AIKSCC unveiled the #KisanKiLoot campaign which will place vivid pictures of this injustice in front of the nation. The campaign consists of photographs of individual farmers with a banner that displays the loss made by the farmer due to low prices. A series of photographs of farmers from Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Telangana were displayed. For example, Haryana farmer Bhagat Singh sold 19 quintals of bajra crop. While the MSP is Rs 1425 and the deserved MSP as per PM's election promise is Rs 1917, the farmer got only Rs.1135 per quintal. This meant #KisanKiLoot of Rs 14,858.

A woman farmer from Andhra Pradesh, Gaddam Lalithamma sold 31 quintals of groundnut at mere Rs 2600 per quintal while the MSP is Rs 4450 and PM's promised MSP would be Rs 6134. The #KisanKiLoot of this farmer is Rs 1,09,554. Importantly, the MSP announced does not leave any profit margin for the farmers, so how can the needs of the farmers' families be met?

It is not surprising that farmers are drowning in debt and committing suicide. The Central government should take responsibility for this state of the farmers due to their failed promises, said AIKSCC. A short video was shown of PM Modi promising in election rallies that MSP will be fixed giving 50 per cent profit margin above the Cost of Production, followed by a clip of the Agriculture Minister stating in the Parliament that Narendra Modi never made a promise about MSP, exposing the betrayal of Indian farmers.

The Kisan Mukti Yatra travelled around the country covering 10,000 km through 18 states, holding 500 meetings and making contact with 50 lakh farmers. The message from farmers in every corner is about the loot they are facing because of low prices, mounting debt, lack of support from the government, and failure of government promises.

Starting from Friday, the Kisan Mukti Yatra will cover North-East India, including Jorhat on November 10, Dibrugarh on November 11 and Guwahati on November 12. Hannan Mollah, Dr Sunilam and Raju Shetty will participate and also demand the release of Akhil Gogoi, leader of Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti and member of National Working Group of AIKSCC.

"It is to address this loot of farmers that we are congregating in large numbers in Delhi on November 20, 2017 in a Kisan Mukti Sansad (a farmers' freedom parliament) to be organised on Parliament Street. 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, for all farmers and commodities, is our main demand, in addition to a demand for freedom from debt, that includes a comprehensive immediate loan waiver as well as statutory institutional mechanism that addresses farmers' indebtedness on an ongoing basis", said the leaders of AIKSCC.

On November 20, 2017, a draft Bill encompassing the two demands will be introduced in the Kisan Mukti Sansad that will be debated and passed by the farmers' parliament. AIKSCC will invite leaders of political parties and the Prime Minister to come to the Sansad only if they are ready to support the Bill and the demands.

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