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Mainstream, VOL 61 No 34, August 19, 2023

AIKS Demands Parliamentary Probe Forces Behind Corporatisation of Indian agriculture | Aug 18, 2023

Friday 18 August 2023


All India Kisan Sabha

18th August 2023

Press Release

Modi-Adani-Niti Aayog Project to Corporatise Agriculture Exposed

AIKS Demands Joint Parliamentary Committee Probe

The recent investigation by The Reporters’ Collective has exposed the sinister nexus and larger design of the Modi-led Union Government, the Niti Aayog, and leading corporates led by Adani, to loot Indian farmers and consumers by corporatising Indian agriculture. The two-part investigative series, titled “Ahead of Farm Laws, an NRI Seeded Idea to Corporatise Agriculture” and “Adani Group Complained Against Farm Law. Gov’t Diluted it to Allow Hoarding by Corporates’’ established with documentary evidence about the corporate-Modi regime collusion to corporatise Indian agriculture. It reiterates the fact that the historic united farmers’ movement led by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) was a patriotic struggle against the International Finance Capital-Monopoly Capital (IFC-MC) combine and their poster boy, the BJP-led Union government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The first part of the investigation shows how Sharad Marathe, a “BJP friendly NRI businessman” running a software business with zero expertise in agriculture or any allied subjects acted as the linchpin in promoting the idea to corporatise Indian agriculture: “a future where farmers lease out farmland to corporate-style agribusiness companies and effectively work as their cogs”. Marathe submitted a concept note titled “Doubling of Farmers’ Incomes Through Market Driven, Agri Linked Made in India” to the then Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar in October 2017 and also to the Prime Minister’s Office.

Based on this note, the Niti Aayog constituted a Special Task Force (STF) by January 2018 with Ashok Dalwai as its head. Sharad Marathe and other “experts’’ handpicked by him largely constituted the Task Force. It is interesting that the same Ashok Dalwai was the chairman of a more formal Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on Doubling of Farmers’ Income, which was constituted by the Prime Minister on 13 April 2016. The genesis of this IMC can be traced back to Narendra Modi’s promise of doubling farmers’ incomes by 2022, a year marking 75 years of India’s independence, made on 28th February 2016, at a farmers’ rally in Uttar Pradesh.

While the IMC on Doubling Farmers’ Income recommendations was basically pro-big business in nature, for legitimacy’s sake, it consulted a “diverse set of activists, economists and industry leaders”. But the STF headed by Dalwai was straightforward in its agenda; it merely “consulted handpicked big corporates such as the Adani Group, Patanjali Ayurved, Mahindra Group and BigBasket”. It acted as the mouthpiece of big business houses, worked with a conviction that “the time is right to move from agriculture to agribusiness”. The expose suggests that the pro-corporate recommendations by the STF—which are not yet made public— played a major role in shaping the three draconian Farm Laws by the Modi regime.

The second part of the investigation exposes how monopoly houses, especially the “Adani Group discreetly lobbied with the government in April 2018 for the removal of restrictions on hoarding of agricultural commodities” via the Niti Aayog Special Task Force on Doubling Farmers’ Income. According to The Reporters Collective, as far back as two and a half years before the Farm Ordinances were enacted, the Adani Group’s representative at a meeting of the task force set up by Niti Aayog aimed at doubling farmers income’ by 2022 said: “The Essential Commodities Act is proving to be a deterrence for industries/entrepreneurs”. This “first recorded instance of the Adani Group’ s official advocacy for the repeal of the Essential Commodities Act” was carefully and loyally incorporated by the Modi regime in drafting draconian Farm Laws.

The AIKS demands that a Joint Parliamentary Committee be set up to investigate how big business houses and their NRI collaborators conspired to sabotage all established procedures of the government and pushed anti- farmer draconian Farm Laws. The historic 380 day-long struggle against the black laws saw the martyrdom of 735 farmers. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his cronies cannot wash their hands off this engineered killing of brave Indian farmers.

All India Kisan Sabha commends The Reporters’ Collective for this significant journalistic intervention. AIKS warns the Modi regime to desist from all direct and indirect attempts to corporatise Indian agriculture or face united resistance by the peasantry.


Ashok Dhawale

Vijoo Krishnan
General Secretary

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