BusinessLine | 23 October 2019
Telangana farmers plan protests against RCEP on Oct 25
The All-India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) will organise protests across all the districts in Telangana on October 25, demanding the Union Government to withdraw from the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
The Telangana unit of the AIKSCC has appealed to the State government to stand with farmers and write to the Union Government asking it to withdraw from the free trade negotiations that have entered the final stages now.
The AIKSCC is an umbrella association of about 200 farmers organisations and other stakeholders in the primary sector in the country.
The committee said the Telangana government should take a cue from States such as Kerala, Punjab and Karnataka that have stood with the farmers.
What RCEP wants
The RCEP seeks to establish a free trade zone encompassing India, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and 10 ASEAN (Association of South-East Asian Nations) countries. The final Ministerial Round will begin on November 1. The Heads of State meeting to sign the agreement is scheduled on November 4.
The AIKSCC held farmers’ against RCEP meet to chalk out the agitation programme. Representatives from Mahila Kisan Adhikar Manch, All India Kisan Mazdoor Sabha, Vyavasaya Karmika Sangham, Akhila Bharata Raitu Coolie Sangham, Rythu Swarajya Vedika Telangana Rythu Sangham and Rythu Swarajya Vedika participated in the meet.
“RCEP will be a big blow to farmers’ livelihoods and small industry in the country. At a time when farmers are faced with poor prices for their produce, RCEP will flood the market with cheap imports, which will further bring down the prices,” Kirankumar Vissa of Rythu Swarajya Vedika said.
“We demand that India should completely keep out of RCEP. The Governments of Kerala, Punjab and Karnataka have already written to the Centre opposing the RCEP. Telangana and Andhra Pradesh Governments should emulate them,” he said.
S Malla Reddy of All India Kisan Sabha alleged that the negotiations were being held in secret and that the interests of the farmers were at stake.
“More than four crore farming families are dependent on milk production in the country. They will make huge losses if the milk prices drop further due to imports, post RCEP,” V Venkataramayya of All India Kisan Mazdoor Sabha said.
He said per cow yields in countries like New Zealand are higher than that of in India. This difference could adversely impact the interests of our dairy farmers,” he said.