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Indian Peasants Threaten Government with Nationwide Uprising against the Recent Killings in MP

The MSP is a fixed price at which the government purchases crops from farmers so they don’t suffer extreme losses in case of low yields

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Indian farmers gather on a footpath during a protest in Chennai where they demanded profitable prices for their crops, June 9, 2017. Benar News
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  • Peasant leaders across India threatened on Friday to launch nationwide protests against the recent killings of five farmers by police in Madhya Pradesh
  • The MSP is a fixed price at which the government purchases crops from farmers so they don’t suffer extreme losses in case of low yields
  • MSP is a fixed price at which the government purchases crops from farmers

Mumbai, June 06, 2017: Peasant leaders across India threatened on Friday to launch nationwide protests against the recent killings of five farmers by police in Madhya Pradesh state during an agitation over unfulfilled government promises.

On Tuesday, farmers in the central Indian state’s Mandsaur district had come out on the streets demanding loan waivers and a hike in the minimum support price (MSP), when police opened fire, killing five protesters and injuring dozens. The state’s government has confirmed that the five died from police fire.

The MSP is a fixed price at which the government purchases crops from farmers so they don’t suffer extreme losses in case of low yields.

“We have already issued an ultimatum to the BJP-government in Maharashtra for a total loan waiver and a hike in the MSP,” Raju Shetti of the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghtana (SSS), an influential union based in Maharashtra state, told BenarNews.

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“Leading peasant organizations will hold a meeting in New Delhi on July 16 to chalk out a strategy,” Shetti said, adding that “intensifying the stir was very much on the cards.”

Reports of sporadic violence, arson and road blockades by agitating farmers in Madhya Pradesh kept trickling through on Friday, despite a curfew clamped by the state government the day before.

On Thursday, the police detained Rahul Gandhi, the principal leader of the political opposition to India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), while he and his Indian National Congress (INC) party colleagues were attempting to enter Mandsaur district.

The rightwing nationalist BJP government accused opposition leaders of instigating the farmers.

“[The government is] sensitive to the needs of farmers and [is] doing everything to meet the farmers’ demands and end protests,” Home Minister Rajnath Singh told reporters in New Delhi, while declining to respond to questions on the farmers’ killings.

M. Venkaiah Naidu, a senior BJP leader, slammed opposition parties for what he described as “politicizing” the farmers’ anger.

“The protests are being fueled [by opposition parties] to tarnish the image the BJP government,” Naidu told reporters in south India’s Tamil Nadu state.

‘If the hay is dry’

But not many are buying BJP’s barbs at its opposition.

“If the hay is dry then a single match can set the entire field on fire. This is what is happening in the rural areas where farmers have become a dying breed because of lop-sided government policies,” political commentator Rakshit Sonawane told BenarNews.

A large majority of farmers voted for the BJP, which had promised them relief, during election campaigns, said scholar Pravin Nadkar, who has spent more than three decades in India’s hinterlands studying agrarian issues.

“The sinking of these promises is a slap on their hopes,” Nadkar told BenarNews.

“Moreover, there has been a tectonic shift by successive governments from agriculture to industrialization. Not that the farmer earlier lived an idyllic life, but today, even a big landholding farmer is facing the sting of this paradigm shift. And alienation is high,” he said.

More than 12,000 farmers in India commit suicide every year because of failed crops or unpaid debt, according to government figures.

“The government is totally indifferent toward the problems farmers face,” Kishore Tiwari, leader of the Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti, which has been documenting farmer suicides in Maharashtra, told BenarNews.

“Loan waiver for farmers was the BJP’s promise during all its election campaigns,” he added.

“A hike in the MSP is a key solution for the farmers’ woes, but the government has come out with an excuse that it does not have requisite infrastructure like gunny bags and warehouses to purchase from farmers at a high MSP. So the farmer is left with no exit other than agitate,” Tiwari said. (Benar News)

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Diverse Gathering To be Adressed This World Biofuel Day: PM Modi

The Prime Minister will address the gathering on how biofuels can help reduce import dependency on crude oil and their contribution to a cleaner environment, generate additional income for farmers, and generate employment in rural areas

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Modi will be the chief guest for the inaugural session of the programme on Friday which is being held at Vigyan Bhawan by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas. Wikimedia Commons
Modi will be the chief guest for the inaugural session of the programme on Friday which is being held at Vigyan Bhawan by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas. Wikimedia Commons

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address a diverse gathering here consisting of farmers, scientists, entrepreneurs, students, government officials and legislators to mark the World Biofuel Day 2018, a government statement said on Thursday.

Modi will be the chief guest for the inaugural session of the programme on Friday which is being held at Vigyan Bhawan by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.

The programme would witness participation of sugarcane farmers, scientists, entrepreneurs in biofuels, students of agriculture, science and engineering streams, members of parliament, ambassadors, officers of Central and State government and companies involved in the bio-energy sector, said the statement.

The Prime Minister will address the gathering on how biofuels can help reduce import dependency on crude oil and their contribution to a cleaner environment, generate additional income for farmers, and generate employment in rural areas, it added.

The World Biofuel Day, which is being observed by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas for the last three years, is observed on August 10. IANS
The World Biofuel Day, which is being observed by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas for the last three years, is observed on August 10. IANS

Biofuels have synergies with various government initiatives, including enhancing farmers’ incomes, and Swachh Bharat, said the statement, adding, as a result of the efforts of the Centre, ethanol blending in petrol had increased to 141 crore litres in financial year 2017-2018, as compared to 38 crore litres recorded in financial year 2013-2014.

“The Government also approved the National Policy on Biofuels in June 2018,” the statement said.

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The World Biofuel Day, which is being observed by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas for the last three years, is observed on August 10 to create awareness about the importance of non-fossil fuels as an alternative to conventional fossil fuels. (IANS)