About the Lecture
India was a backward agrarian economy at the time of the country's independence with recurring droughts and famines. After independence It transformed itself from a 'ship to mouth' existence to a self sufficient agrarian economy in the phase of state directed planning and capitalist development. However, after the advent of neoliberal economic policies in 1991 there has been a gradual withdrawal of the state from public investment in agriculture and rural development, a reduction in agricultural subsidies and trade liberalization as well as a host of policies that have intensified the agrarian crisis. Costs of cultivation have increased while remunerative prices are not assured making agriculture increasingly unviable. Around 4 lakh indebted farmers have committed suicide since 1995. Agrarian policies in the last 4 years have worsened the agrarian crisis after having raised high hopes through attractive promises. The peasantry have responded to the betrayal with united struggles. As a result of these struggles, farmers' issues have come on the national agenda like never before. These struggles will be discussed with emphasis on the historic Kisan Long March that took place recently.
About the Speaker
Dr.Vijoo Krishnan completed a PhD from JNU studying the impact of neoliberal economic policies on the Indian peasantry. He was Head of Department of PG Political Science in St.Joseph's College, Bangalore from its inception in 2005 till 2009. He was the President of JNU Students' Movement and is presently Joint Secretary of All India Kisan Sabha which is the largest organisation of peasantry with over 15 million members. He is also a member of the Central Committee of CPI-M. A full time worker of Kisan Sabha since January, 2009, he writes on agrarian and peoples issues regularly in Frontline and intervenes on policy issues with government bodies.