Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Overview

The Government of India has taken several initiatives to harness the untapped potential of the sector. The centrally sponsored scheme – Blue Revolution (CSS-BR) which was launched in 2015-16 for a 5-year period with a central financial outlay of` 3000 crores to catalyse the “Integrated, Responsible and Holistic Development and Management of the Fisheries Sector”, ended in March 2020. The Government of India in October 2018 approved the establishment of a dedicated Fisheries and Aquaculture Infrastructure Development Fund (FIDF) at 7522 crores…

Realizing the potential, scope and importance of the fisheries sector, new flagship scheme Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) was launched in May, 2020 as a part of Atma Nirbhar Bharat Package by Government of India with an estimated investment of` 20,050 crores comprising of central share of` 9407 crores, state share of`4880 crores and beneficiaries’ contribution of` 5763 crores for a period of five years from FY2020-21 to FY2024-25. PMMSY aims to enhance fish production to 220 lakh metric tons by 2024-25 at an average annual growth rate of about 9 percent. The ambitious scheme will result in doubling export earnings to 1,00,000 crores and generate direct and indirect employment opportunities of about 55 lakhs in the fisheries sector over a period of the next five years. PMMSY further intends to increase aquaculture productivity to 5 tonnes per hectare (up from national average of 3 tonnes per hectare), enhance domestic fish consumption and attract investments in fisheries sector from other sources. Insurance coverage for fishing vessels is being introduced for the first time under PMMSY.”

Excerpts from the Economic Survey of India, Volume 2, 2020-21

The Budget 2021-22 is the second budget since the formation of the Department of Fisheries at the Central level. The Finance Minister’s speech focused only on the main points related to Fishing Harbours and Fish Landing Centres. This sends clear indications of the trend to expand marine fisheries into deeper waters. However, the reading of fisheries budget, along with the Economic Survey points to the fact that high rates of growth and productivity are being achieved in inland fisheries and propelling the sector’s growth. This has resulted in India’s fish production continuing to grow at 9% with plans to reach 20 million (200 lakh) tons by 2022-23. This growth rate and target is well on track to reach the goals as proposed by the ‘Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana’ (PMMSY) and the ‘Draft National Fisheries Policy’ (NFP) by 2030. As a result, it becomes important to understand that the budget must be read alongside the plans as outlined in the PMMSY and the NFP, in addition to linking it to the national plans to advance logistics such as the building of a national cold supply chain encompassing agri-produce, horticulture etc. and within the different components of the Blue Economy.

The budget speech has highlighted all major components of BE, which has committed public investments to programmes like Deep Ocean Mission, Sagarmala, Waste Management (Coastal Pollution), Oil and Gas, and Renewable Energy. Featuring them in the main speech indicates the importance attached to these programmes by the government. With the National Fisheries Policy 2020 also advocating for eventually having a Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Affairs, BE is emerging as a core of the planning process in a sense, and the Budget has reiterated this focus

Fish production related highlights:

  1. The fish production in India has reached an all-time high of 14.16 million metric tons during 2019-20.
  2. Further, the Gross Value Added (GVA) by the fisheries sector to the national economy stood at 2,12,915 crores constituting 1.24 per cent of the total national GVA and 7.28 per cent of the agricultural GVA.
  3. By mid-January 2021, proposals under the PMMSY scheme with an outlay of 6,567.20 crores were received from various States/UTs against which project proposals with total outlay of 2309.08 crores have already been approved.
  4. As of mid-January 2021, a total of 44,673 Kisan Credit Cards (KCCs) have been issued to fishers and fish farmers and an additional 4.04 lakh applications from fishers and fish farmers are with the banks at various stages of issuance.

PMMSY Allocation:

  • Proposals to the tune of 6567.57 Crores have been received from 34 States/UTs along with additional proposal in phase–II from 10 States/UTs.
  • Project Approval Committee (PAC) led by CE, NFDB has approved and forwarded to Department of Fisheries (DoF) for release of the proposals to the 2642.38 crores with admissible central share of 915.36 Crores form 34 States/UTs.
  • Proposals from Eighteen (31) States/UTs (except Tripura, Sikkim, Damn& Diu, WB and Chandigarh) at a total cost of 2267.62 Crores involving central share of 772.60 Crores have been approved and 1st instalment of Central share of 339.12 Crores have been released.
  • Proposals from 2 States viz. Tripura and Sikkim, & Additional proposals from 7 States namely Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Mizoram, Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep at a total cost of 273.72 Crores with central share of 103.37 Crores have been scrutinized by NFDB and being processed for releases.

The budget speech specifically mentions building several Fish Landing Centres in addition to Fishing Harbours in Kochi, Chennai, Visakhapatnam, Paradip, and Petuaghat to be developed as hubs of economic activity. The government also proposes to develop inland fishing harbours and fish-landing centres along the banks of rivers and waterways. FLCs indicate the central government’s attempts to woo fishers through implementing demands of some fishing villages, but through also intrude into fisheries governance at the local level stealthily as all FLCs will also be accompanied by Management Committees which will feature several government and police officials. The specific targeting of Kochi, Chennai, Vizag, Paradip for the fishing harbours indicate the government views these as the centres of the Deep-Sea Fishing and related Tuna processing units it is promoting.

As per the speech of the Finance Minister, there are plans to strengthen the fisheries supply chain through linkages to air, rail and sea transport, in addition to lengthening the chains, both domestically and internationally. The following are proposed under the ‘Kisan Rail’ project:

  • In order to effectively implement this project, the requisite initiatives as required would be taken up by the Department of Fisheries in consultation with concerned Ministries/Departments. In this context, a pilot study on Kisan Rail for transport of fish initially for following two sectors for undertaking feasibility study is under process:
    • Vijayawada – (or nearby towns) – Howrah – Guwahati, Silchar primarily catering Inland Fisheries.
    • Vijayawada – (or nearby towns) – Nellore – Chennai – Kochi primarily catering marine fisheries.

Similarly, there are also plans to integrate fish into the ‘Krishi Udaan’ project to be able to transport fish by air domestically.

The special focus on seaweed industries was highlighted in the speech through the announcement of “Multipurpose Seaweed Park” in Tamil Nadu, presumably in Palk Bay and Gulf of Mannar where these ventures have been pushed through for the last 10 years. After a massive collapse in the near shore environment leading to collapse to seaweed farming by fishers. PMMSY and Neel Kranti has re-introduced Seaweed farming to coastal people in this area, in addition to all areas with calm coastal waters. But with ‘Seaweed Parks’, the agenda of the govt seems to be seaweed farming on an industrial scale and intensity, along with facilitating private investments into value addition and post-harvest operations, creating ready to export final products. No doubt this represents a strong buy-in for the global narrative of seaweeds as the next wonder crop for global food trade, and an implementation of the vision espoused through National Fisheries Policy 2020, even before it is formally ratified. Specific to the Tamil Nadu context, it also forms part of the right-wing organisations long term plan to capture those coasts along the Palk Bay and Gulf of Mannar. 

Multiple initiatives as outlined in the PMMSY such as the formation of FPPOs, Sagar Mitras, issuance of Kisan Credit Cards, certification schemes, guidelines/action plans/model bills are well underway. All details related to these can be found in “Implementation of Budget Announcements 2020-2021“.

A. Department of Fisheries:

The overall budget sees an increase from INR 825 crores to a total of INR 1220.84 crores, indicating an increase by about 32%. The ‘Integrated Development and Management of Fisheries’ has been rescinded and been replaced by the PMMSY for which INR 1000 crores have been earmarked, a sum that is more than twice the amount spent last year.

There are a few trends within the budget allocations that need to be paid attention to:

  1. The budget allocation for the National Fisheries Development Board has been dramatically slashed. While the NFDB bill has not yet been passed, the slashing of the budget is an indication of the trimmed manner in which the NFDB shall function henceforth, with government roles and functions fused together with private actors;
  2. The allocation to the North East regions has been increased substantially as well. As seen in the PMMSY, the project costs in the region due to accessibility and distance were estimated to be higher, and the intention of the Centre to undertake fisheries production in these regions is evident;
  3. The Coastal Aquaculture Authority budget has been slashed marginally. Given the pace at which intensive shrimp aquaculture is growing, as well as its future prospects, given the under-capacity of the CAA, a budget increase should have been implemented to improve environmental monitoring of the sector;
  4. Both States and UTs see an increase in their grant amounts. Given that the PMMSY in States is set up on a 60-40 basis, in addition to most projects being Beneficiary oriented, the overall increase from the Centre will need to be further clubbed with other State/Private investments to understand the size of the fisheries investments. This is an indication of the massive unregulated and unsustainable growth of aquaculture envisaged by the government.

In the coming weeks, when the DOF presents its report to the Standing Committee on Agriculture, specific details regarding the spending over the last year shall emerge and help add more context to the direction in which this increased budget is shaping fisheries.

B. Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change:

The overall budget that falls under the purview of the MoEFCC that related to fisheries sees an increased allocation overall. Pertinent to this is the near doubling of the National Coastal Mission, the mandate of which is as follows:

National Coastal Management Programme – Ministry is responsible to ensure livelihood security of coastal communities including fisher folks, to conserve, protect the coastal stretches and to promote sustainable development based on scientific principles. The Ministry is also responsible for conserving, protecting and promoting sustainable development in the islands of Andaman & Nicobar and the Lakshadweep. A World Bank assisted Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project is implemented in the coastal States and Union Territories.

It is worrisome that the increased budget is likely oriented towards expanding the WB ICZMP, the pilot study of which was completed in June, 2020 and is likely to be extended to the entire coastline of India.

C. Sagarmala:

The allocations under Sagarmala have changed significantly in relation to the allocation for Major Ports, which has been slashed to zero, and various Schemes and Projects, which sees a 16% increase in allocation. Given the scope of the National Fisheries Policy, including the announcement by the FM on the establishment of 5 modern fisheries harbours, a monitoring of the funds allocated to Minor Ports under Sagarmala would need to be kept in order to see how they are funded. Various state governments are also building fishing harbours through the FIDF route and there is an overlap in some of the minor ports and fishing harbours.

Ports were mentioned in the FM’s speech as follows, “Our sea-ports need to be more efficient. Technology has to be used to improve performance. A governance framework keeping with global benchmarks needs to be put in place. This government would consider corporatizing at least one major port and subsequently its listing on the stock exchanges”. Read with the ‘Major Ports Authority Bill, 2020’, the changing nature of Major Ports’ operations under Sagarmala will need to be understood better. The budget speech specifically highlighted that Major Ports will be moving from managing their operational services on their own to a model where a private partner will manage it for them.

Seven major ports worth ₹2,000 crore will see their operations privatised in the year 2021-2022, Finance Minister mentioned. The Finance Minister also announced a subsidy scheme of ₹1,624 crore for a period of five years for Indian shipping companies to encourage more merchant ships with Indian flags.[1]

D. Other sectors

Other sectors that are related to Fisheries, that include spending on research, the coast guard, export councils, disaster management see an overall marginal increase in budgets, and all components have been maintained. The budget speech has reiterated its support to long term programmes like Deep Ocean Mission, while the increased allocation to the Coast Guard indicates its expanded role in militarising India’s coasts and their roles in Fisheries Management, as envisaged by National Fisheries Policy. 

Overall, the budget does not contain any of the details awaited by the fishing communities. The pandemic and lockdown had devastated the fishing sector and the communities as a whole. Increased welfare support through improved coverage for Savings-cum-Relief schemes and Ban-time compensation has not been mentioned. Among the major demands of the fishers were some relief from rising fuel costs with the fishers having organised several strikes against rising Petrol and Diesel prices, without any change to their fuel subsidies. The budget documents have not provided funding details of the subcomponents provided within PMMSY to address any of these questions.


[1] https://www.thehindu.com/business/budget/union-budget-2021-seven-major-ports-worth-2000-cr-to-be-privatised/article33721402.ece

Press Release

In the name of “Green” Solar Power Project, Azure Power and APDCL snatching lands of Ryots in Mikir Bamuni Grant

The culture, identity, life and livelihood of Karbi and Adivasi farmers of Mikir Bamuni Grant are under grave threat

Nagaon Town, Assam | 28 January 2021: Since last one year, the situation in Mikir Bamuni Grant village has been a cause for concern with news of farmers protesting forceful takeover of their land for setting up a 15 MW solar power plant by Azure Power Forty Private Ltd. In order to look into the matter an all-India Fact-Finding Team made up of Prafulla Samantara (recipient of Goldman Prize, also known as Green Nobel Prize) from Odisha, Leo Saldanha (Environment Support Group) and Bhargavi Rao (Environment Support Group and Center for Financial Accountability) from Karnataka, and Amit Kumar (Delhi Solidarity Group) from Delhi arrived in Assam on 26 January 2021 and visited the site and met with the local communities, as well as with several state officials over the course of the next 2 days. The prima facie evidence suggests that the process of acquiring the land in question is mired in several illegalities and violations of policies, laws and regulations from the nature of land appropriation, to dispossession of people, and construction of a solar power plant through the use of repressive measures inflicted upon the community by the police and state authorities.

The solar power plant is being constructed in the midst of fertile agricultural land where we could see the residue of last season crop. Not only the land, the environment and the wildlife are also threatened as we came to know that elephants keep crossing through the village. Fresh elephant dung and elephant foot marks were witnessed by the members. Prafulla Samantara point out that the state must defend its people and not take the side of the company. The land and the forest belong to the people of Assam. The project appears to violate all the existing land laws that were earned through a long struggle of peasants over the sixties and seventies. Ignoring the Rayati rights of the farmers, the sale of land to the company by the erstwhile zamindar family tramples on the spirit of the Assam (Temporary Settled Areas) Tenancy Act 1971.

Leo Saldanha pointed out that PM Narendra Modi’s ambitious proposal to generate up to 450 GW of electricity based on renewables, particularly solar, has widespread ramifications to the future of India, and also to India’s commitments under the Paris Agreement. The experience of villagers of Mikir Bamuni Grant village’s land in Nagaon district of Assam is indicative of the direct threat there is to Fundamental rights and freedoms of indigenous peoples, considering how Azure Power has been facilitated by Assam State Govt in promoting a 15 MW solar park in prime agricultural land flouting all constitutional and statutory safeguards.

Evidence gathered by fact finding team reveals that the Assam Solar Policy 2018 has been so drafted as to advantage private ventures to grab land by any means.  Besides, the January 2019 Notification of Revenue Dept exempts solar projects in particular from statutory mandate of complying with 2015 Land Reclassification law. This amounts to the Executive issuing a subordinate directive in blatant violation of a major statute passed by the Assam Legislature protecting right to land of indigenous communities, a law secured after decades of struggle.

The 2019 Assam Land Policy acknowledges how extensively land is degrading due to flooding, a direct consequence of climate change, and advocates public review and critical engagement of the highest level of Govt of any conversion of agricultural land to other purposes. This too appears to have been blatantly flouted in the case of Azure Power.

Bhargavi Rao raised the issue of violence against the local community by the police and said it is unacceptable. Stories of Women who have been beaten, kicked and subjected to trauma needs documentation and has to be addressed by all concerned authorities. The bulldozing of standing crops by Azure power company in December 2020 has taken away food security at the household level for these families and that will have serious implications on women and child health. This, especially during a pandemic year when agrarian economy was hit the hardest. It is important that Azure power realises this and lives up to the highest level of corporate ethics. It is appalling that IFC and CDPQ are funding such a project that is in complete violation of all fundamental and human rights, and a project that has caused violence against women and children.

Amit Kumar pointed out that this is just the beginning of capturing the land won by farmers under the Tenancy Act 1971, and takes us back sixty years invalidating the rights secure by them over years of struggle to end the feudal zamindari system. Many such projects are in the pipeline which endangers not only the land of the farmers but also the wildlife and environment. The youth of Assam will have to awaken to this impending threat and crisis. This takeover of land is in direct contravention of Clause 6 of the Assam Accord.

A detailed report will be available in the next couple of weeks.

For further details, contact Amit Kumar 8486944483, amitk.mayaganj@gmail.com

PRESS INVITATION

Interim Observations of all-India Fact-Finding Team

on

Police Repression and Ongoing Land Conflict in Mikir Bamuni Grant, Samaguri Circle, Nagaon district for setting up of a solar power plant by Azure Power Forty Private Ltd.

Thursday, 28 January, 2021 | 03:30 PM

Venue: AJYCP Office, Natun Bazar, Nagaon Town, Assam

Zoom Link: https://zoom.us/j/96289565603?pwd=QzRUdU1sRGt3QTVjL2QyZTIzdElHdz09
Meeting ID: 962 8956 5603
Passcode: 081633

Members of the fact-finding team

Prafulla Samantara (National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM)), Odisha
Leo Saldanha (Environment Support Group), Bengaluru
Bhargavi S Rao (Environment Support Group), Bengaluru
Amit Kumar (Delhi Solidarity Group), Delhi

Dear Friends,

Since the last one year, a grave conflict over land has been ongoing in Mikir Bamuni Grant in Samaguri circle of Nagaon district in regard to setting up of a solar power plant by Azure Power Forty Private Ltd. On learning of incidents of police violence and arrest of farmers in light of this conflict in December, an all-India fact-finding team visited Mikir Bamuni and has scheduled meetings with local administration, state officials, police personnel and officials and employees of Azure Power Forty Private Ltd.

The team has observed that the plant is being set up on agricultural, fertile land, saw evidence of recent movement of elephants on this land, and was made aware of already existing khatiyan rights of farmers over the land in question. While attempting to contact and speak with Azure Power Forty Pvt Ltd officials, we were met with an unwillingness to talk.

The team will share its interim observations with the media on this critical case that involves a threat to the land, social and cultural rights of the indigenous people of Assam.

Please join us for the Press Conference at 3.30 pm at AJYCP, Natun Bazar, Nagaon Town, Assam.

For further details, contact Amit Kumar (8486944483)

Delhi For Farmers had given a call to progressive and democratic people of Delhi to extend solidarity to Farmers on 14 December 2020.

The call was given to resident welfare associations, market associations, traders associations, transporters associations, bar associations, doctors and scientists associations, women collectives and organisations, trade unions, workers associations, teachers associations and individuals to support this call of solidarity.

Lakhs of farmers have assembled at the borders of Delhi demanding withdrawal of the 3 anti-farmer acts and electricity amendment bill. These laws not only adversely affect the farmers but also will endanger the food security of the nation. These laws will give unbridled control of big profit hungry corporates over agriculture, land and produce. Many rounds of discussions have brought about no respite to them because of the adamant, pro-corporate stand of the Modi government. The protesting farmers have stated that repealing of these laws is the only way they will call off protests. This is because the basic design of these laws is to handover agriculture n\and land to corporate and amendments will not change its basic philosophy.

Although the government is going all out to propagate that it has agreed to amendments, and the laws are to protect farmers, the fact actually is otherwise and the government has not been able to answer a single question raised by farmers. The people of the city of Delhi are concerned over the plight of the farmers, and the refusal of the Central government to respond to the genuine demands. This treatment to the ‘annadata’ – the food giver – of the nation on par with the enemies by using force, coupled with misinformation spread by BJP leaders and sections of the media about the farmer’s protest, are against the ethos of the country. After the successful call for Bharat bandh on December 8th and the standoff with the government which virtually called off the discussions, the ‘Samyukta Kisan Morcha’ and AIKSCC has given another call for ‘Delhi Chalo’ from nearby states and Nationwide protest on December 14 to mount pressure on the government. Delhi For Farmers, a platform of organizations and progressive individuals calls on all democratic and justice-seeking people of Delhi to join the call and extend solidarity to the protesting farmers on December 14, at Shaheedi Park, ITO.

Your support to the farmers Cause will definitely force the government to repeal the New Farm Laws and withdraw the Electricity bill 2020.

Dear Friends,

We are pleased to invite you to the fourth session of Ajit Roy Centenary Year Webinar Series on Marxism and Contemporary Politics; Remembering the life and works of the Marxist Reviewer

The session is titled  “Engagement with the Social: Dalit-Bahujan, Caste-Class, Patriarchy and Genders” and will be held on 12th December, 2020 from 5:00 pm to 7:30 pm.

Moderated by: Uma Chakravarty

Speakers:
Gabriele Dietrich
Sunny M Kapicadu
Sobhanlal Dattagupta

Respondents:
Kavita Krishnan
Ruby Hembrom

When: 12th December 2020, Saturday from 5:00 pm to 7:30 pm

Where: Zoom link for the meeting is https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86374179980?pwd=RExHbUxGMHk5elpGRkVHY0tMb0t6QT09

Meeting ID: 863 7417 9980
Passcode: 226415


It is our hope that the webinar will attempt to give the younger generation a feel for the period in which Com. Ajit Roy lived and worked and will help to reflect in newer ways from a progressive perspective, on present challenges that we in India face today.

The session will be open, there will be no formal registration. There will be simultaneous translation in Hindi. You will be able to watch the session on https://facebook.com/delhisolidaritygroup/live_videos/?ref=bookmarks&mt_nav=0

Yours sincerely,
Nalini Nayak, Dileep Kamat, Alex Tuscano, Babu Mathew, George Chira, Philip George, J. John, Gabriele Dietrich, Ajitha George, Vijayan MJ, Aashima Subberwal, Anil Varghese, Shankar Mahanand, Evita Das

Be it the Bhopal Survivors or the Farmers – People’s Resistance Against Corporations Remains the Same

This year, the 3rd of December marks the 36th Anniversary of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy

On the 3rd of December 1984 the fateful day in the history of India – Bhopal witnessed the world’s largest industrial disaster which led to the death of more than 20,000 people and left tens of thousands more injured. More than half a million people were exposed to the horrific gas leak during that tragic night and thirty-six years later, at least one person dies every day in Bhopal from the injuries they sustained on that night. Union Carbide Corporation, the company responsible for this incident was acquired by Dow Chemical in 2001, but Dow Chemical has refused to owe any liability towards paying just compensation to the Bhopal survivors. 

But the struggle of Bhopal Survivors against Dow Chemicals is not just about one evil Corporation. Corporations across the world have been murdering and uprooting many lives of people across the globe by being involved in unjust acquisition of land, oppression of factory workers, pollution of environment, reckless mining, deforestation, extraction of ground water, control of seeds of farmers and privatization of agricultural produce disregarding the people of the earth.

The struggles of peoples’ movements against Corporations are not isolated struggles against specific Corporations per se, but point towards the larger issues associated with the Corporate Structure. Unless we come together to resist the onslaught of Corporation, powerful Corporations will continue functioning at the cost of lives and livelihoods of people.  

In spite of the struggle for the fair and just compensation for Bhopal survivors for several years, along with prolonged efforts made at international level continue to hold Dow Chemical accountable for taking full responsibility of the incident, we still witness the harsh arrogance of Multi-National Corporations (MNCs) in suppressing larger interests of people, for the sheer pursuit of their profits. What happened in Bhopal is not an isolated case of wrong doing by one lone Corporation which refused to take due responsibility for its actions. This is a visible manifestation of growing Corporate Power globally, with Corporations under the bandwagon of neoliberalism actively suppressing people’s movements, acquiring natural resources like land, water, minerals, forests, oil, etc. and colluding with Governments across the world to concentrate the power in the hands of a few elites. 

Multinational Corporations have become so powerful with the passage of time that their annual revenues are exceeding GDPs of several nations and their lobbying activities in the respective government bodies are enabling them to dictate the agenda and policies of the State, favouring interests of Corporations than its citizens thereby continuing to grow at a rapid rate. We very well see in the case of last two decades of liberalization as how Indian Government has allowed dis-investment of a large number of Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) and privatizing basic services like electricity, water, health care and agri-produce.

The ownership of mainstream media by Corporations amplifies the message of development but in reality, they sabotage democracy by keeping elected governments as their puppets. Governments give them full-fledged support, including use of military and police wherever needed to make sure that regular business of Corporations goes uninterrupted. 

Under the guise of Corporate Accountability, as in the case of Bhopal Tragedy, Dow Chemical blatantly refused to give the due compensation to the survivors, so that it can continue to post more profits for its shareholders. Corporations have abused the term ‘accountability’ to the extent that they are neither accountable to the communities where they operate, nor accountable to the State. Corporations’ sole accountability rests with their shareholders, who invest money in a Corporation to get higher returns, without bothering much about the negative externalities generated due to the running of Corporations. The larger responsibility of the business towards people, communities and environment is totally ignored and the term ‘sustainable development’ becomes a Public Relations tool in the hands of Corporations, claiming that they are deeply concerned about the long-term sustainability of the people and communities. In the context of India, we get to hear several examples of human rights and labour rights violations by Corporations, along with severe violations of environmental regulations. 

The ongoing protests of farmers in Delhi who have gathered from all across India to protest the recent enacted farm laws are also largely towards the concerns that the government is making way for big corporate houses to dictate the terms by deregulating the sale of crops and dismantling of Minimum Support Price system. The outrage of farmers is not just a recent phenomenon but farmers have come together from time to time to resist the corporatization of agriculture and opposing corporate greed whether in the form of opposing forcible land acquisitions by corporates in the name of industrialization or urban development, or the onslaught of Multinational Corporations such as Monsanto and Syngenta who have leave no stone unturned in bringing GM Crops to India along with forcing farmers to use more pesticides and hybrid seeds. Moreover, companies like Reliance, ITC, Adani, PepsiCo and many others are getting into more and more of contract farming snatching away the independence of farmers. 

Whether it is the struggle of people from Bhopal against Dow Chemical, the ongoing protests of farmers or the several struggles of various peoples’ movements in the past such as struggle of Adivasis of Niyamgiri against Vedanta, villagers of Plachimada against Coca-Cola, villagers of Jagatsinghpur against POSCO, factory workers against Maruti Suzuki, etc. the larger message which needs to go out is, that these are not segregated struggles of peoples’ movements against few specific evil Corporations. What needs to be challenged fiercely is the unaccountable power of the larger Corporate Structure, ready to use their muscle and money power to thwart any kind of resistance targeted at them.  Although local struggles targeting individual Corporations do dent their growth in a big way, we all need to stand together against these profit-hungry Corporations, so that the voices of the people at the ground amplify multiple times and that Government cannot keep favouring Corporations at the cost of people and environment. 

We, the peoples’ movements stand together in solidarity with the survivors of the injustices of the powerful Corporations and the struggle of justice for the Bhopal Survivors. 

In Solidarity with Bhopal Survivors
Delhi Solidarity Group (DSG)

The video can also be accessed at https://www.facebook.com/delhisolidaritygroup/videos/228619078692962/

Dear Friends,

We are pleased to invite you to the third session of Ajit Roy Centenary Year Webinar Series on Marxism and Contemporary Politics; Remembering the life and works of the Marxist Reviewer

The session is titled  “Counter-hegemony, Role of Religions and threats to Constitutional Secularism” and will be held on 5th December, 2020 from 4:00 pm to 6:30 pm.

Moderated by: Prakash Louis

Speakers:
Datta Desai
Dhanaji Gurav
Teesta Setalvad

Respondents:
Meenakshi Munda
Mujahid Nafees

When: 5th December 2020, Saturday from 4:00 pm to 6:30 pm

Where: Zoom link for the meeting is https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86374179980?pwd=RExHbUxGMHk5elpGRkVHY0tMb0t6QT09

Meeting ID: 863 7417 9980
Passcode: 226415


Please find below the planned webinar chart on AR Centenary Year Webinar Series on Marxism and Contemporary Politics; Remembering the life and works of the Marxist Reviewer.

It is our hope that these webinars will attempt to give the younger generation a feel for the period in which Com. Ajit Roy lived and worked and will help to reflect in newer ways from a progressive perspective, on present challenges that we in India face today.

The sessions are open, there will be no formal registration. There will be simultaneous translation in Hindi. You will be able to watch the session on https://facebook.com/delhisolidaritygroup/live_videos/?ref=bookmarks&mt_nav=0

Yours sincerely,
Nalini Nayak, Dileep Kamat, Alex Tuscano, Babu Mathew, George Chira, Philip George, J. John, Gabriele Dietrich, Ajitha George, Vijayan MJ, Aashima Subberwal, Anil Varghese, Shankar Mahanand, Evita Das 

DSG CONDEMNS GOVT’S ATTEMPTS OF CRUSHING PEOPLE’S VOICES AND VIOLENT ATTACKS ON FARMERS AND WORKERS MARCHING TO DELHI

FARMERS AND WORKERS ARE THE BACKBONE OF INDIA’S ECONOMY AND WORKFORCE; UNION GOVERNMENT MUST AGREE TO THEIR DEMANDS AND ROLL BACK THE FARM ACTS PASSED THIS YEAR

New Delhi | November 27, 2020: In solidarity with the 300 million farmers and workers of independent India who are on strike against the Union Government of India. Since 2014 and after coming to power, the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) has been functioning at the behest of influential corporate families and lobbies. The government, in connivance with these corporate entities, has been dismantling the agricultural sector and labour unions of India. The agricultural sector includes various farmers and labour unions which play an integral part in celebrating the spirit of the Constitution of India and its socialist principles. The labour unions which are engaged in India’s agriculture sector are being operated directly by farmers and workers themselves. Since 2017, lakhs of farmers have been demanding that a remunerative Minimum Support Price (MSP) be guaranteed to all farmers and that all farmers be free from indebtedness. The Union Government of India has not been complying to this demand of the farmers and instead made false promises and launched schemes that remained unimplemented. In times of the global pandemic of COVID-19, the Union Government of India introduced and passed three agriculture bills which would lead to an increased liberalization of the agriculture sector and to the dismantling of the Mandi culture.

The farmers and workers who have been protesting all across the country understand the hidden agenda behind the malicious practices of the Union Government of India, which intends to sabotage the liberated ethos of the farmers of India. The 300 million farmers and workers who are on a nation-wide strike on the 26th of November 2020 are reminding the government of India that their liberated ethos is not dead yet. The farmers and workers of India are reminding the government of India that the empty stomachs of the 1.3 billion populaces of India are being fed by the farmers and workers of independent India every day.

Delhi Solidarity Group (DSG) salutes all the protesting farmers and workers from across the country who are being subjected to water-cannons, tear gas and barricades. DSG stands in complete solidarity with the farmers and workers of India in the whole struggle and resistance against the oppressive and exploitative state. DSG condemns each and every act of the government of India to muzzle the voices of oppressed farmers and workers. It should be remembered that in 1943, an estimated 3 million people died due to starvation and malnutrition in colonial Bengal. The liberated ethos of the farmers and workers of India remembers that year particularly. They remember how few handful oligarchs, due to their greed, murdered millions of innocent people. The farmers and workers of India are sharing this history with their representatives who are enjoying a cup of tea with the oligarchs, in order for them not to forget the historical past of the oligarchs as mass murderers. The government, hand in gloves with the corporates, should remember that whenever in history there is an anti-people actions taken by the government without their consent, people always stand united to smash such attempts.

Dear Friends,

We are delighted to invite you for the second session of Ajit Roy Centenary Year Webinar Series on Marxism and Contemporary Politics; Remembering the life and works of the Marxist Reviewer  – titled  ‘Agrarian Question in the Age of Structural Crisis’ on Saturday, the 28th November 2020, 4 pm to 6.30 pm.

Moderated by: Madhuresh Kumar, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM)

Speakers:
P. Sainath, People’s Archive of Rural India (PARI)
Sukalo Gond, All India Union of Forest Working People (AIUFWP) 

Respondents:
Nicholas, Tamil Nadu Land Rights Federation (TNLRF)
Vijoo Krishnan, All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS)
Jesu Rethinam, National Fishworkers’ Forum (NFF)

28th November 2020, Saturday from 4:00 pm to 6:30 pm

Zoom link for the meeting is https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86374179980?pwd=RExHbUxGMHk5elpGRkVHY0tMb0t6QT09

Meeting ID: 863 7417 9980
Passcode: 226415


Please find below the planned webinar chart on AR Centenary Year Webinar Series on Marxism and Contemporary Politics; Remembering the life and works of the Marxist Reviewer

It is our hope that these webinars will attempt to give the younger generation a feel for the period in which Com. Ajit Roy lived and worked and attempt to reflect in newer ways from a progressive perspective, on present challenges that we in India face today.

The sessions are open, there will be no formal registration. We hope you will share this message with your friends and like-minded persons interested in these topics.

There will be simultaneous translations in Hindi and Tamil.

You will be able to watch the session on https://facebook.com/delhisolidaritygroup/live_videos/?ref=bookmarks&mt_nav=0

Yours sincerely,
Nalini Nayak, Dileep Kamat, Alex Tuscano, Babu Mathew, George Chira, Philip George, J. John, Gabriele Dietrich, Ajitha George, Vijayan MJ, Aashima Subberwal, Anil Varghese, Shankar Mahanand, Evita Das

Session theme: The Politics of Development, the Fate of the Earth and Unity of the Working classes and the Left

Moderator: Babu Mathew
Speakers: Amarjeet Kaur & Dinesh Abrol
Respondents: Clifton D Rozario & Nalini Nayak
When: 20th November 2020, Friday from 4:00 pm to 6:30  pm

Dear friends and comrades,
November 14, 2020 marks the birth centenary of Com. Ajit Roy. He was ‘Ajit da’ for  many who were fortunate to know him. In his demise in June 2011, we lost a true Marxist visionary, who inspired generations of social activists in the latter part of the 20th century, especially in India. Some of us have come together to organise a memorial programme in his honour and a webinar series is being planned to bring back some of the ideological questions and debates he pursued.

Com. Ajit Roy (1920-20) was an active member of the Communist Party of India from 1940 to 1964, serving in different capacities as student organisation leader, journalist and district committee member, till the party split took place in 1964. He decided not to be with either of the factions and chose to build left unity from the outside. He, together with a small group of comrades, started publishing the Marxist Review in which he continued to give a studied analysis of happenings in India and all over the world for nearly four decades. This also served as a pivotal space for critical left thinkers and trade union activists. An economist by training and a socio-political analyst by engagement, his arena covered a host of subjects from the expansion of capitalism and its plunder of natural resources, government policies and schemes, the position of the Communist parties and their distancing themselves from the class struggle, the danger of rising communalism, and the machinations of the state to quell democracy. Over the years, he wrote extensively in EPW on all these issues, besides publishing several books. Ajit Roy was passionate and untiring in self-critically addressing the failures of the Indian Left to respond to the Indian situation. In his political journey, Ajit Roy also joined forces with the new breed of mass movements and engaged with the activists in making them understand Marxian tools of analysis. Until his last breath, he upheld Marxism as an integral world view. Ajit Roy’s tenacity in bringing out The Marxist Review under the most difficult conditions and his drive to address the Indian Left of different shades and interact with activists of mass organisations, had clearly to do with the “optimism of the will”, which was like an inspiring contagion for those who knew and loved him.

The planned webinar chart on AR Centenary Year Webinar Series on Marxism and Contemporary Politics; Remembering the life and works of the Marxist Reviewer is arranged in the order mentioned below: 

We are delighted to invite you to this webinar series. It is our hope that the webinars will not only highlight the specific contributions of Com. Ajit Roy to an understanding of left politics but will attempt to give the younger generation a feel for the period in which he lived and worked and  attempt to reflect in newer ways  from a progressive perspective, on present challenges that we in India face today.

We hope to see you soon in the first session – The Politics of Development, the fate of the Earth and Unity of the Working Classes and the Left on 20th November 2020 from 4:00 pm to 6:30 pm.

Zoom link for the meeting is https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86374179980?pwd=RExHbUxGMHk5elpGRkVHY0tMb0t6QT09

Meeting ID: 863 7417 9980
Passcode: 226415
We will be sending reminder emails for the other sessions closer to the dates with the zoom links
.

The sessions are open, there will be no formal registration.

Yours sincerely,
Nalini Nayak, Dileep Kamat, Alex Tuscano, Babu Mathew, George Chira, Philip George, J. John, Gabriele Dietrich, Ajitha George, Vijayan MJ, Aashima Subberwal, Anil Varghese, Shankar Mahanand, Evita Das