Contain price rise of essential commodities!

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Contain price rise of essential commodities! Strengthen public distribution system!

The prices of essential commodities, food, medicines, house rents, health, education, transport –most essential for the people in their day to day lives – have been continuously going up. But the wages for most of the workers, particularly in the unorganised sector, continue to remain the same. How do we survive?

This is not just the demand of the workers. It is the demand of all sections of working people – peasants, agricultural workers, artisans, employees – almost everybody, except of course, of those who benefit from this rise in prises.

Why are food prices rising?

Are the peasants who produce our food getting higher prices? Are they getting richer? Are they experiencing ‘Acche Din’?

NO. The cost of inputs for agriculture, fertilisers, pesticides, seeds etc have gone up. But the peasants are not getting remunerative prices. In many places they are burning their crops, throwing them on highways or distributing free to the people as mark of protest because they do not even get the cost of transport to take them to the markets.

Most of the peasants do not get cheap institutional credit. They are compelled to borrow from private money lenders at high interests. Unable to repay their debts many farmers are committing suicide. In the last twenty years, around 3 lakh farmers have committed suicide. Agriculture continues to be in crisis.

Then who is benefiting from the rise in food prices? Where is our money going? – Into the pockets of big traders and big business. With the benign blessings of the government - the government policies are so formulated to benefit the big business. The government is dismantling the public distribution system on the one hand. On the other, it is patronising corporate traders engaged in hoarding and speculation in commodity market, particularly in food and related commodities. It is these speculators who are becoming richer and richer while the working poor are forced to go hungry.

In addition, the drastic curtailment of subsidies on fuel and fertilisers, deregulation of electricity tariff and various other public utility services is creating a cascading effect on the already rising prices. The price of crude oil in international market has drastically come down by half in the last three years. But the government refuses to pass on this benefit to the people by reducing the prices of diesel and petrol.

The government has many tricks under its sleeve to dismantle the public distribution system. Large numbers of people have already been pushed out of its purview through a ridiculous poverty line. The Food Security Act is yet to be implemented in most parts of the country. The government has decided upon cash transfers to bank accounts linked to Aadhar. It has decided to allow FDI in multi brand retail trade on the deceptive pretext that this would bring down prices and provide better returns to the farmers, even when worldwide experience proves otherwise.

The working people - working in the factories or mines, in the offices, schools or colleges or in the hospitals or in the fields - are being made sacrificial lambs to increase the profits of the traders’ lobby, both domestic and foreign.

Today, the policies of the government that are deliberately designed to result in price rise to benefit the big traders, middlemen and big business. That is the reason for price rise causing misery to ordinary people.

What do we want?

The trade unions have demanded the following concrete measures to curtail price rise:

• Strengthen and universalise the public distribution system
• Ban speculation and futures trading in essential commodities

But the government is totally deaf to this just demand.

That is why the central trade unions and almost all industrial federations have called the 3 days’ massive relay dharna on 9-11 November 2017 near Parliament

Reach Delhi in lakhs

To warn the government of still stronger struggles if it still chooses to remain adamant

We are determined to continue our struggles till we achieve our demands

 

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