Press Communique
The Central Committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) held a meeting from October 23 to 25, 2009 at New Delhi. It has issued the following statement:
The Central Committee took stock of the international and national situation and the developments since its last meeting held in July 2009.
Alarming Price Rise
The Central Committee expressed its serious concern at the continuing relentless price rise of food items and of all essential commodities. The unprecedented rise in the prices of food grains, dal, sugar, edible oil and vegetables is causing immense hardships to the people. Inflation measured by the Consumer Price Index (Industrial Workers) stood at 11.72 per cent in August and the Consumer Price Index (Agricultural Workers) stood at 13.19 in September 2009. Currently India has one of the highest consumer price inflation rates in the world.
In the face of this alarming price rise, the attitude of the Congress-led government is shockingly callous. All that it promises is that the prices will come down some time in the future. The demand made by the Left parties to prohibit speculative futures trading in essential commodities and a crackdown on hoarding have been ignored.
The inaction of the government on the price front has resulted in increased suffering for the ordinary people.
Agrarian Scenario
The peasantry and the rural poor have been badly hit by the severe drought which affected nearly 300 districts across the country. There has been a shortfall in the cultivation of paddy and many other crops. At the advent of the Rabi season many states are facing a situation of unprecedented floods and destruction of standing crops. Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa, Maharashtra, Assam, West Bengal and parts of Kerala have witnessed loss of standing crops due to heavy rainfall and floods. The provision of drought relief by the Centre and the concerned state governments have been either tardy or non-existent.
The Central Committee resolved to continue with the campaign against price rise, for drought relief and for food security. In this connection, the Left parties have been holding conventions and state level rallies will be held in the month of November.
UPA Government’s Economic Policy
The Central Committee noted that the second UPA government is bent upon pursuing the same neo-liberal policies. The Central Government has embarked upon disinvestment in profitable public sector units including navaratnas like the NTPC. The Government has taken a $ 2 billion loan from the World Bank to recapitalise some public sector banks. Given the World Bank conditionalities, this is a precursor for disinvestment of shares in public sector banks.
The Direct Taxes Code Bill proposed by the government has several regressive provisions and would led to a significant loss of revenue. The corporate tax rate is proposed to be reduced from 30 per cent to 25 per cent and other measures such as reducing the rate of wealth tax and capital gains and give more relief to the upper bracket of tax payers. The UPA government wants the rich to be richer by cutting taxes. This also exposes its lack of commitment in raising resources to fund social welfare measures.
The UPA government is also in the process of implementing neo-liberal reforms in several areas. The proposal to amend the FDI limit in the insurance sector and the legislation to allow FDI in higher education are among them.
The Central Committee strongly opposed the disinvestment of shares in the profitable public sector units. In this connection, the Central Committee fully supported the call of the central trade unions who are observing a protest day on October 28 on this and other demands.
Doha Round & Climate Change:
Succumbing to Pressure
The Central Committee voiced its strong disapproval of the way the UPA government is resiling from stated positions and giving in to pressure of the United States and other western countries. This is evident in the changing stance in the Doha round of the WTO negotiations and the Climate Change talks. The End Use Monitoring Agreement with the United States on arms purchased from it, is another instance of succumbing to pressures.
The Central Committee decided to mobilise public opinion against the government succumbing to such pressures and adopting positions which are not in the interests of the country.
The Central Committee adopted a resolution on Climate Change and the stand India should take in the Climate Change talks. (The resolution is being released separately.)
Nuclear Liability Law
The Central Committee noted that the proposed legislation on Nuclear Liability is being brought to favour the US companies which will supply nuclear reactors to India. Given the bitter experience of the accident at the Union Carbide plant in Bhopal 25 years ago, any law for liability in the case of nuclear accidents should ensure that the suppliers of the reactors are made to pay adequate compensation and the liability cannot rest on the operators and the Government of India.
3rd December this year marks the 25th anniversary of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy. The Party will observe this anniversary and highlight the necessity to ensure the liability of multinational companies who will supply nuclear reactors to India.
Maoist Attacks
The Central Committee strongly condemned the vicious violence unleashed by the Maoist squads in various parts of the country. In West Bengal, the Maoists have targetted the CPI(M) and have killed more than 60 members and supporters of the Party in the past few months. They have killed a CPI(M) cadre in Chattisgarh recently. The Central Committee decided to conduct a campaign against the disruptive activities and politics of the Maoists and to mobilise the people against such forces.
West Bengal
Since the Lok Sabha elections, in West Bengal there have been continuing attacks on the CPI(M) and the Left Front. In a number of places the Trinamul-Congress combine have unleashed violence directed at the CPI(M), its offices and houses of its supporters. Many families have been displaced from their homes. Such attacks are taking place in conjunction with the Maoist attacks in the border districts.
The CPI(M) will continue to organise the people for their legitimate demands and rights. At the same time, the Party will mobilise the people to resist such attacks. The Party units all over the country will step up their campaign in solidarity with the Party and the Left in West Bengal and to expose the sinister nature of these attacks.
Asean FTA
The Central Committee reiterated the Party’s opposition to the terms and conditions of the Free Trade Agreement with the Asean countries which will prove detrimental to agriculture, fisheries and certain sectors of industry.
In this connection, the Central Committee congratulated the Kerala State Committee of the CPI(M) for organising a human chain across the state on October 2 which saw the participation of 20 lakh people.
Hindutva Terrorist Groups
The recent death of two persons carrying explosives in Goa, highlights the threat from certain extremist Hindutva groups in the country. The Sanathan Sanstha which is responsible for collecting such explosives is part of the network which was uncovered after the Malegaon blast last year. Firm action should be taken against such groups to suppress such illegal activities.
Sri Lanka
In the situation obtaining after the crushing of the LTTE, two and a half lakh people of Tamil origin have been living in refugee camps in the Northern region. The Sri Lankan government had committed to rehabilitate and return people to their homes within six months. Yet, this process has not taken place as planned. The Government of India must exert all efforts to ensure the speedy return of all displaced people and their full rehabilitation. There are concerns about human rights violations which needs to be investigated and addressed by the Sri Lankan government.
The Sri Lankan Government has not yet taken any effective steps for a political solution to the Tamil problem by providing full autonomy in the Tamil-speaking areas. The Central Committee urged the Sri Lankan government to take meaningful steps in this direction. The Government of India should take political and diplomatic measures in this regard.
Rectification Campaign
The Central Committee discussed and adopted a document for initiating a rectification campaign in the Party. The process of the rectification campaign at the political, ideological and organisational level is to remove the wrong trends and shortcomings so that the Party emerges more unified and strengthened. The recent document has updated the 1996 rectification campaign report and is based on the experience of the Party in the last twelve years.
The document has prepared guidelines for strengthening democratic centralism as the organisational principle of the Party, ensuring proper integration of parliamentary and extra-parliamentary work, maintenance of communist norms and values and remoulding the outlook of the Party members towards upholding progressive values. Guidelines for conducting the rectification campaign have been set out. The rectification campaign based on this document, will be initiated at all levels of the Party.