BOSTON: Kshama Ananthapura , a Management Consultant in the Boston area involved in various community support areas including environmental issues, climate consciousness, women and elderly, presented a brief report about the two-day conference, titled, “Wither India and Karnataka: Current Political Situation – A Discussion” to the members of the MIT Wednesday Group, Cambridge, MA.
This was organized under the joint collaboration of Jana Sangrama Parishath, Karnataka Swaraj Party, Sarvodaya Karnataka Party, Swaraj Abhiyan at Vidhyavardhaka Sangha Dharwad on 9th and 10th of July. Kshama was invited by the organizers of this conference to gain an understanding of the current burning issues that are affecting lives of common people in India and especially in Karnataka.
She shared those issues with the open-minded and progressive RIs here in their efforts to find solutions.
More than seven hundred pro-people activists, learned persons, libertarians, journalists and others who are interested in building the nation on proper democratic principles, met and discussed what should be done to get rid of shattering and upsetting situation in India and especially in Karnataka. This event was attended by leading thinkers of the country like S. P. Shukla, Prashanth Bhushan, Yogendra Yadav, Akhilendra Pratap Singh, Prof. Anand Kumar and others.
The program was inaugurated by the children planting trees on the first day and a group of local singers singing a very enlightening ‘Lavani’ that narrated how the struggle of common people and Dalits is still going on even though many reformists came and went with their policies and preaching.
Participants in this first session discussed on how and why India has been caught in a very critical situation. They were of the opinion that its central and state governments are sidelining the very essence of the Constitution and making way for the pro-corporate economic policies since two and half decades. The present Government, they said, had added more thrust to these policies as well.
On the one hand the life of common people is getting worse and becoming unbearable as the prices of essential commodities and life-saving drugs have sky rocketed and on the other hand, the pulses and vegetables have almost vanished from common people’s plate. Getting quality education and health care facilities, medicines from the nearby areas at affordable fees have become distant dreams.
The afternoon session was dedicated to the discussion of how the agrarian crisis is happening and farmers’ situation is becoming unbearable because at present, more than 3 crore hectares of fertile agricultural land has been converted to nonagricultural purposes.
These lands have been given on a platter to the capitalists and the real estate profit-oriented groups who are robbing and cheating customers in the day light. Not just this, there is also a plan to acquire four times the land for the proposed 18 industrial corridors.
Second day morning sessions started with discussion on how the agricultural sector has been the biggest contributor in terms of employment. Over the last few decades this sector has been on a decline and as a result the country is facing a huge unemployment problem. The Dalits, tribal people, rural artisans, agricultural laborers, women, minorities, and unorganized workforce in the urban areas all together forming more than 80 per cent of the country’s population has been neglected due to the present economic policies. As a result of this, in recent years, more than 3 lakh farmers have committed suicide in the country.
Afternoon discussion panels focused on the effects of various government policies and said that when the situation in the country is getting worse, the government has cut the budget grants to Employment Guarantee Scheme, Education, and Health sectors.
Panel members expressed their disappointment over the current programs like Make in India, Stand up India, Skill India” which have not improved people’s conditions as they promised. Most of the Prime Minister’s ‘Jan Dhan’ bank accounts are having zero balance. On the much talked about black money and tax havens issues, they expressed their frustration about the misuse of people’s tax money by government people and yet they are patiently waiting to see when this money will be routed to India.
The present government is now marked off with corruption, nepotism and maladministration and is blamed for allowing illegal mining, banning of the Lokayukta institution, misusing of welfare schemes like ‘Anna Baghya’ and not strictly implementing the laws to protect natural resources such as forests, land, sand, minerals and rights of common people.
Before ending the conference, the participants jointly passed resolutions for their ‘Search for ‘People’s Alternative.’ The organizers of the conference thanked everyone for their active participation and served them with good delicious north Karnataka food, snacks, and tea for two-days.
“The registration of the participants went beyond or expectation. We could not turn them down since we wanted to build Maha Maitri (a Grand Alliance of People’s Movement). We had to change our venue at the last minute to accommodate the large group of over 700 participants,” said S. R. Hiremath with a big beam on his face.