The Central Committee of the CPI(M) met in New Delhi from September 2 to 4, 2005. It has issued the following statement:
The Central Committee took stock of the political developments in the country and internationally since its last meeting held in the first week of June.
The Central Committee noted that in the recent period on a number of issues the CPI(M) standpoint was effectively taken up and implemented. These include the action to be taken on the Nanavati Report on the 1984 riots, the Rural Employment Guarantee Bill, the Indo-US agreements, the disinvestment in the Bhel and navaratnas, discussions on the women’s reservation bill and the adoption of the bill on prevention of domestic violence.
Rural Employment Guarantee Act
The Central Committee welcomed the adoption of the Rural Employment Guarantee Act. With the passing of this act an important commitment made by the UPA government in the Common Minimum Programme has been fulfilled. Due to the intervention of the Party and the Left, certain key improvements were made in the draft bill. This concerns extending the scope of the scheme to the entire country in five years, one-third of the jobs being set apart for women, fixing the minimum wage and diversification of the work offered. The Central Committee called upon the Party and the various mass organisations working in the countryside to take up the tasks to see that the Act is properly implemented in the coming days.
The situation in the rural areas is marked by acute unemployment and distress caused due to the agrarian crisis. There is the problem of drought in certain states. A large number of deaths of children have occurred due to malnutrition in many tribal areas. This is taking place in the background of the defunct public distribution system. The REGA, if properly implemented can provide some relief to the rural poor.
The Central Committee endorsed the stand taken by the Polit Bureau regarding the Indo-US military framework agreement and the Indo-US joint statement issued during the visit of the Prime Minister to Washington. The Central Committee considers the India-US Defence Framework Agreement as another step towards India serving the global strategy of the United States which is harmful for our strategic and security interests. It asked the government not to proceed with the implementation of certain clauses without further discussions.
The Central Committee wanted a broad unity of the democratic and secular forces to be forged in the forthcoming assembly elections in Bihar. The Party will work for the defeat of the JD(U)-BJP combine and will arrive at a seat adjustment with the RJD and other secular parties. The Party will conduct an independent campaign on how the problems of the people can be tackled and how Bihar’s development assured. The Central Committee instructed the Bihar State Committee to finalise the list of seats to be contested by the Party.
The Central Committee noted that in Gujarat the people belonging to the minority community continue to be treated as second class citizens. Rehabilitation in their homes, the right to resume their occupations and conduct business is being thwarted. The recommendations of the Pota review committee on those detained under Pota is being refused to be implemented by the state government. The Central government should take all the necessary steps to see that investigations into incidents of serious cases are handed over to the CBI by making suitable submissions in the Supreme Court.
Jammu & Kashmir
The Central Committee welcomed the announcement of the Prime Minister inviting the Hurriyat Conference leadership for talks. This is the first step towards initiating political talks with all the parties and groups in Jammu & Kashmir. The government should invite all the parties represented in the assembly also for such talks.
The Central Committee discussed the question of how the one-third reservation for women in parliament and state legislatures can be taken up for implementation. It decided that the Party should press for the original bill to be brought in the Winter session of parliament for discussion and adoption.
Forest Rights Bill
The Central Committee urged the government to bring the Scheduled Tribes (Recognition of Forest Rights) Bill 2005 in the next session of parliament. This is an important legislation which will assure the rights of lakhs of tribal people living in the forests.
Supreme Court Judgment
The Central Committee urged the government to bring suitable legislation in the next session of parliament so that the Supreme Court judgment allowing a free rein to private managements in the matters of admission and fee fixation and abolition of reservation quotas is reversed. The legislation, including a constitutional amendment, if necessary, has to ensure that the state governments are empowered to regulate admissions and the fee structure apart from restoring reservation in the professional educational institutions.
Petroleum Price Hike
The Central Committee noted that the continuing increase in the international oil prices is adding to the burden. The public sector oil companies are suffering losses. The Party urges the UPA government to accept the proposals put forward by it earlier. A big part of the retail prices of petrol (57 per cent) and diesel (35 per cent) is the tax component. There has to be a reduction in the tax.
First, the excise duty hike imposed in the last budget should be rolled back. Second, the additional road cess on diesel and petrol should be suspended for this year. Third, a price destabilisation fund from the cess levied under the provision of Oil Industries and Development Act (OID) 1974 should be set up and fourth the duty drawback incentive extended to private stand alone refineries should be withdrawn. Without undertaking such measures it will be unjustifiable to burden the consumers and make public sector oil companies suffer more losses.
The Central Committee heard a report about the amendment effected in the land reforms act. The purpose of the amendment was to release the land locked up in closed factories and industries which amounts to about 40 thousand acres. There was no lowering of the land ceiling or dilution of the land reforms laws. The land ceiling remains the same, 12 acres for irrigated land and 17 acres for unirrigated land. The party rejects such baseless propaganda meant to defame the Left Front government. As for land required for industrial development and other non-agricultural uses, the Left Front government is clear that the main thrust of the land reform which has helped West Bengal establish the record in paddy production will not be affected.
The Left Front is committed to the rapid development of the state, particularly industrial growth and infrastructure development. In this connection, the FDI proposals will be considered case by case within the framework of the policy document adopted by the 18th Party Congress.
The Central Committee expressed serious concern at the situation within Bangladesh which was highlighted by the number of bomb blasts all over the country on a single day. The fundamentalist forces are increasingly challenging the authority of the state and its institutions. The Khaleda Zia government is not willing to take firm measures to combat this threat. The deteriorating situation will have its impact on the areas neighbouring India particularly in West Bengal, Assam and Tripura. The Central Government should be vigilant in this regard.
The Central Committee expressed its solidarity with the democratic forces in Nepal who are struggling for the full restoration of democracy and against the king. The Central Committee noted that the people of Nepal are increasingly coming to the conclusion that the monarchy is an anachronistic institution and inimical to the democratic system. It called upon the UPA government to stop all military supplies to Nepal and to take a firm stand in defence of democracy.
Call For Movement
The Central Committee called upon all Party units to ensure the success of the September struggle on demands connected with land, food and employment. After the August campaign on these issues, the Party units should take up the concrete issues concerning the people of land, food and employment so that the demands can be achieved.
The Central Committee extended its full support to the call given by the Sponsoring Committee of Trade Unions for a one-day strike on September 29 on a 16-point charter of demands. It also supported the call given by the kisan, agricultural workers, students, youth and women’s organisations on their demands for conducting protests on the same day.
The Central Committee resolved to conduct a campaign for adoption of one-third reservation for women in parliament and state legislatures. The date for this campaign before the Winter Session of parliament will be announced by the Polit Bureau later.