The CPI-ML released an extensive socio-economic survey of Bihar, which shows 60.74 percent families living in the rural areas of the state as landless and grossly deprived on human development indicators. The survey, released by CPI-ML General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya in the presence of CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat and CPI national Secretary Atul Anjan, encompasses over 2 lakh rural and 6,634 urban families spread over 23 out of 38 districts of the state. It was conducted between July and September this year.
An estimated 36.61 percent of surveyed families were indebted to private money lenders, with the average loan amount pegged at Rs 34,346 per family. They are forced to pay interest as high as 60 to 120 percent per annum, and at times the indebted families had to work for free for moneylenders. "This is a meticulous survey done by our trained workers and volunteers with an extensive questionnaire. It is a fact that 60.74 percent of rural families are landless. If we consider those families which have less than 1 acre of land with them, then the percentage will rise to 92.2," he said.
Bhattacharya said the landless families are forced to live a life of penury and deprivation. This also reveals the feudal structure of the society and feudal face of political parties like JD(U), BJP, RJD and Congress, which have ruled the state so far. The survey also pointed out the need for land reforms in the state. The CPI-ML leader said that the report shows that with agriculture increasingly becoming unprofitable and no other means of livelihood, around 47.08 percent of the surveyed families were victims of intra-state, inter-state and even international migration.
The survey presents a 15-point charter involving issues like land reforms, development of agriculture, checking acquisition of agricultural land by government, employment, social security, housing, food, education, health, justice, and removal of village moneylenders.
Bhattacharya said the survey was a weapon against the fudged data supplied by the government agencies and vowed that CPI-ML will launch a movement based on the survey results, which will continue till the coming Assembly elections. "This will start with a joint rally by Left parties early next year," he added.
Karat on his part congratulated CPI-ML for conducting the socio-economic survey and said it presents the true picture of the hardworking people of Bihar.
"The survey also shows the extent of exploitation and reveals the identity of exploiters in the society. There have never been any land reforms here. The Bihar Chief Minister promised land reforms 10 years ago, but backtracked," he said.
The senior CPI (M) leader stressed on the need to battle against the prevailing situation in the state and said no development can take place until land regulations are improved. He urged Left parties to unite and fight together. "Since the state government is not ready to work for the poor, the Left parties will launch a movement for the deprived. I want all Left parties to adopt the 15-point charter of demands in their movement. This report shows us the direction in which we have to fight," Karat added.
Among the surveyed families, 44.69 percent belonged to SC and ST categories, 24.31 percent were from Extremely Backward Castes (EBC), 15.76 percent were OBC, 11.45 percent minorities, and the remaining 3.78 percent were of other castes and classes.