The Central Committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) met at Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala on January 6-8, 2017. It has issued the following statement:
The demonetization of the 1000 and 500 rupee notes announced by the Prime Minister on November 8 has caused immense loss to a large part of our economy plunging crores of people into agony and loss of livelihood. The Prime Minister’s appeal for a fifty day time frame after which he assured things will come back to normalcy is over and normalcy is far from being reached. On the contrary, the agonies of people continue to mount. The restrictions on cash withdrawals from the people’s own money deposited in banks continue.
None of the four objectives – combatting black money; corruption; counterfeit currency and terrorist funding -- that the Prime Minister listed as the reason for the demonetization are achievable through this move. More than 90 per cent of the black money, the Prime Minister himself publicly said is parked in tax havens abroad. Not a rupee of this has been touched nor is there any move to pursue the recovery of these monies. With almost all the demonetized currency now returning to the banking system it is clear that whatever black money was held in cash has now been converted into white money and lies deposited in the banks. Final figures for the deposits in the banks are yet to be made public. If it exceeds the value of recalled notes then it means that all the counterfeit currency in circulation has also been legitimised. The seizure of huge quantum of new notes is indicative of the fact that high level corruption exists. Far from eliminating corruption, this move has only created newer and higher forms of corruption.
As far as combatting terrorist funding is concerned that this demonetization has not made any dent is obvious from the fact that since the September 30 ‘surgical strikes’ happened, 33 security personnel have lost their lives due to terrorist attacks. The consequent death toll of security personnel in 2016 has been recorded as double the death toll in 2015.
Lives of crores of Indians have been devastated by this demonetization. This is bound to impact upon the economic inequalities in the country. Already in the two years since this BJP government assumed office inequality has sharply risen. In 2014, 1 per cent of India’s population, the ultra-rich held assets worth 49 per cent of our GDP. By 2016 as a result of PM Modi’s neo-liberal policies this figure went up to 58.4 per cent. With these effects of demonetization the enriching of the rich and the impoverishment of the poor is bound to intensify.
With all the declared objectives not being met, the real objective of this demonetization became clear with the thrust for shifting from a cash economy into a digital economy
The talk of shifting to digital payments is ridiculous because in rural India only 13 per cent, 108 of the 834 million people have access to internet connections. Only 26 per cent of the people have access to smart phones. Given this predominant dependence on cash transactions, the devastation of many of the sectors has been enormous.
Simultaneously, its thrust to move towards digital transactions is a bonanza for profit maximization to international finance capital and corporates. Each digital transaction carries a transaction cost which is an additional burden on the consumer and the source of profit for the corporates. Clearly this demonetization exercise has been undertaken by this government as part of India’s subservience to it neo-liberalism.
Central Committee Call
The CPI(M) will mobilize people around the following demands:
1. Since the deadline of December 30 is over, all restrictions on the withdrawal of money by people from their own hard earned money in the banks must be removed forthwith.
2. Immediate debt waiver for farmers suffering due to the disruption of normal agricultural activities.
3. Double the allocation for the MNREGA to increase rural employment for all those who are enrolled.
4. Immediate compensation to families of those who lost their lives standing in line to change withdrawn notes or draw their own money.
5. Compensate all those who lost their jobs and livelihood, particularly agricultural workers and daily labourers.
6. Provide tax rebate to small and medium enterprises whose economic activity has come to a standstill as they are conducted mainly in cash transactions.
7. Remove all restrictions on deposits and withdrawals of funds from the cooperative banks. If there are any specific cases of malpractices against any bank, they should be proceeded against on criminal charges, but the cooperative banking system which is the backbone for rural India cannot be destroyed.
8. The Centre must compensate the state governments for the loss in revenue that they are incurring.
9. No coercion should be employed forcing people to shift to digital transactions.
10. All ration card holders must be ensured supplies. The condition of making Aadhar card compulsory has led to a very large number of people being denied their rations. This should be revoked.
a) The CPI(M) will conduct an independent campaign in the last fortnight of January exposing the real intention of the demonetization as a part of this BJP government’s commitment to neo-liberal economic reforms and on the above demands.
All the mass organizations associated with the CPI(M) will take up protest actions on the agonies being faced by the specific sections like the unorganized, daily wage labours; agricultural workers and the plight of the kisans; the impact on women, youth etc.
b) The CPI(M) with other Left parties will initiate protest actions on the above demands.
c) On the demands of (1) immediate withdrawal of all restrictions on people to draw on their own money from the banks/ATMs and (2) no coercion on people to move to digital transactions, the CPI(M) will cooperate with all parties and movements for joint protest actions.
Prime Minister Modi has asked all political parties to come clean on their funding and be transparent. The Prime Minister must first answer how the BJP is funding his political rallies all across the country and public declare the expenditure on each. Till date, the country does not know how much PM Modi spend on his 2014 election campaign. Will the Prime Minister accept the CPI(M)’s suggestion to ban all corporate funding to political parties? Will the Prime Minister accept that the expenditure of political parties incurred during elections will be included in the ceiling prescribed by the Election Commission on the candidates?
Simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly Elections
The CPI(M) considers this as a completely anti-democratic suggestion. Independent India’s electoral history began with simultaneous elections in 1952.But this was disrupted by the ruling parties at the Centre indulging in gross misuse of Article 356 and dismissing democratically elected state governments. Further, in a democracy, a coalition government can collapse making it inevitable to go back to the people. Precluding this would mean the denial of elementary democratic rights and gross violation of federal structure of our Constitution.
Forthcoming Assembly Elections
The Central Committee discussed the tactics the CPI(M) will adopt in the forthcoming assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur. The CPI(M), along with the other Left parties, will contest these elections independently projecting the Left alternative policies against the dangers of the current neo-liberal economic offensive on the people and threats of communal polarization.
PB Commission on Kerala
The Central Committee approved the report of the PB Commission on Kerala. It warned Comrade V. S. Achuthanandan about the violations of Party norms pinpointed in the report and asked him to abide by the organizational norms and discipline of the Party.
The Central Committee adopted the following resolutions:
1) Drought situation faced by southern states of India.
2) On Land Issues
3) Implications of NFSA implementation in Kerala
4) Legislate “Rohit Act”
(Hari Singh Kang)
For CPI(M) Central Committee office