Monday, May 7, 2012 to Sunday, May 6, 2012
May 7, 2012
The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) met in New Delhi on May 6, 2012. It has issued the following statement:
Hillary Clinton’s Visit
The US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton is visiting India. She held a meeting with the Chief Minister of West Bengal, Ms. Mamata Banerjee during her visit to Kolkata. What is significant about this meeting is the issues which were reportedly discussed. The sharing of Teesta waters is a bilateral issue between India and Bangladesh. The raising of this matter by Hillary Clinton, that too with the state Chief Minister, is an uncalled for and unacceptable intrusion into a strictly bilateral issue.
The US Secretary of State will seek to utilize the visit to continue to pressurize India to open up retail trade to US and multinational companies. The Polit Bureau warns the UPA government not to proceed further with allowing FDI in retail trade which has met with widespread opposition in the country.
The US Secretary of State will also demand that India stop oil imports from Iran and curtail trade and economic ties. So far, the Manmohan Singh government has succumbed to US pressures on the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline and on the Iran nuclear issue. India needs the oil and gas supplies from Iran. The country expects the UPA government to act on the basis of the vital interests of the country.
The Polit Bureau discussed the forthcoming Presidential election. The Congress and the UPA cannot get a candidate elected on their own strength. So a Presidential candidate, based on a wide agreement, should be selected. The CPI(M) will consult with the Left and other secular opposition parties before taking a final stand.
Struggle for Food Security
The Polit Bureau discussed the concerted attempts being made by the Central government to cut down people’s entitlements in the name of an utterly flawed Food Security Bill. Even with a stock of over 5.35 crore tonne foodgrains, which is expected to substantially increase with the rabi procurement, the Government is stubbornly refusing to universalize the public distribution system and prefers to let the stocks rot in the open. The cost of holding such huge buffer stocks will escalate even as millions remain at levels of unacceptable hunger. The present Bill further increases targeting and at the same time encroaches on the rights of state governments. The Polit Bureau calls upon the government to give up its utterly unreasonable and illogical approach determined by its neo-liberal obsession to cut subsidies even on a critical issue like food. It endorsed the call for struggle on the issue of Food Security given by the Left parties.
Mining and Adivasi Rights
The Polit Bureau expressed serious concern about the present draft of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill 2011 which seeks to push through a policy framework of deregulation and privatisation of the mining sector at a time when illegal mining scams have cost the exchequer lakhs of crores of rupees. Leave alone recognizing the rights of adivasi communities as stakeholders in mineral wealth, it eliminates the right of adivasi communities to be consulted and to give prior informed consent before any lease notifications are made. Taken together with the weak provisions in the Land Acquisition Bill a new offensive against small and marginal farmers including adivasis is under way. The Polit Bureau calls upon the Central government to suitably amend the land related and mining related legislations to protect the rights of small farmers and adivasis.
The Polit Bureau demanded that the government bring forth the Lokpal Bill to be adopted in this session of Parliament itself. The Bill should be suitably amended to ensure that an effective Lokpal body is constituted.
Financial Sector Legislation
The Polit Bureau reiterated its strong opposition to the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority Bill, the banking and insurance amendment Bills which the government proposes to push through in Parliament. These legislations are retrograde. The pension Bill will deprive employees in the government and other sectors of their existing rights. The banking and insurance bills will further open the financial sector to foreign capital and introduce volatility and instability. The government should learn the lessons of the global financial crisis and desist from these measures.
The Polit Bureau discussed the division of work and responsibilities of the Polit Bureau and Party Centre and the formation of the sub-committees of the Central Committee. It will place a report containing these proposals before the Central Committee for its approval.