The Central Committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) met in New Delhi from 25th to 28th April, 2000. It has issued the following statement:
The Central Committee of the CPI(M) expressed its deep concern at the grave drought situation facing large parts of the country. While the states of Rajasthan and Gujarat are the worst affected, drought conditions are also being reported in parts of Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana.
The lives of crores of people and livestock are severely threatened. Teams of CPI(M) MPs who visited both Rajasthan and Gujarat have confirmed the gravity and the large-scale dimension of the severity of drought. Reports of starvation deaths and large-scale migration are pouring in.
The Central Committee of the CPI(M) strongly criticised the Vajpayee government which, despite early warnings, did not take adequate measures to protect the lives of people and provide relief. The BJP-led government is callous in insisting on payment of foodgrains supplied to the states. This drought should be treated as a national calamity and immediate provision should be made of free food to prevent starvation deaths. Free foodgrains for `food for work' programmes, free drinking water and free fodder for the cattle must also be provided.
Economic Policies --
The mindless liberalisation drive undertaken by the Vajpayee government is rapidly mortgaging the Indian economy. The further opening up of almost all sectors of the economy for automatic entry of foreign capital is a decision that will adversely affect India's domestic industry. The lifting of ban on quantitative restrictions on imports, under direct pressure from the USA, will have a damaging impact on the small-scale sector and agriculture. The removal of restrictions on a whole range of agricultural and diary products will adversely affect the farmers; foodgrains production already on the decline, will be worst hit and food security of the country will be seriously threatened.
The Vajpayee government has most shamelessly adopted a course of complete subservience to American imperialist interests in mortgaging the Indian economy. The extent to which this government can go to appease foreign finance capital was seen when Mr. Yashwant Sinha, the Finance Minister, got the income tax department to withdraw the tax notices issued to seven foreign institutional investors. These companies were evading paying taxes by registering in Mauritius.
Savage Attacks on the People
The hike in the administered prices of foodgrains and cuts in the food subsidy has led to increase of 68 per cent in the prices of wheat and rice. The prices of kerosene has been doubled and cooking gas increased by over 30 per cent. The vast sections of peasantry are adversely affected by a 15 per cent hike in the price of urea and the hike in the railways freight charges for carrying fertilisers from 12 to 48 per cent. While such savage burdens are being imposed on the people, the Vajpayee government continues to offer tax concessions to big business and tax exemptions to its sister organisations like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad which receives crores of rupees in donations.
The Central Committee demanded rescinding the cuts in food and fertiliser subsidies in the budget proposals.
Vajpayee government has stepped up the drive for privatisation of the public sector. The government share in nationalised banks is being reduced to 33 per cent while many other public sector undertakings are being privatised to the tune of 74 per cent. This is resulting in widespread loss of jobs. With the unemployment situation already worsening, such privatisation will only impose widespread economic insecurity amongst the people.
11th May General Strike
The Central Committee of the CPI(M), while noting the growing resistance amongst the people to these economic policies, decided to extend its complete support to the NPMO's call for a nationwide general strike on May 11th. The Central Committee of the CPI(M) supported the struggle of the coal workers against privatisation.
The Central Committee calls upon the people to come out in large numbers to resist these policies which are attacking their livelihood.
The Sankhyavahini-IUNet controversy shows how the BJP-led NDA government is jeopardising not only the economic sovereignty of the country but also compromising national security. Sankhyavahini is the high speed internet backbone that is being setup as a joint venture between Government of India entities and IUNet, a shadowy US company. Eventhough the government will hold 51 per cent of the equity in the company, the company will be controlled by IUNet with 49 per cent equity. Department of Telecom will provide not only 10,000 km of existing installed optical fibre for this, but also provide all other infrastructural facilities.
The future of the internet in the country is not only vital for the future of communications in the country but also crucial for India's long term security interests. It is now clear that a substantial portion of long distance calls in the future will be through internet telephony. Thus, whoever controls the high-speed backbone will not only control internet access but also a large portion of the long distance traffic. Sankhyavahini is thus being allowed to control a vital future resource of the country. Further, it is now public that the US has a Project Echelon, which monitors civilian telephone communications world-wide and collects strategic information through this. With Sankhyavahini being controlled by a US company, the danger of such intelligence gathering increases manifold.
It is instructive to see how the government is dealing with VSNL, the public sector undertaking which has pioneered internet, and the US company IUNet. Even till today, VSNL has not been allowed to secure a National License and can offer only internet services in six cities, while even small private internet service providers have been given national licenses -- they can operate anywhere in the country. VSNL's proposal with British Telecom (BT), a couple of years back to build a high speed backbone for the internet was turned down by the government and they were asked to go in for public tenders. IUNet, in contrast, has signed a contract with the government, not only in record time of a few months, the contract was signed even before IUNet was formally registered in the US as a company!
The hurry over IUNet and sabotaging of VSNL is in keeping with BJP's policy of compromising India's economic interests and national security in its anxiety to please USA.
The Central Committee strongly condemned the brutal police attack on the students inside the Jamia Milia University campus. In the recent period, such attacks have been witnessed in minority institutions such as the Aligarh Muslim University, Jamia Hamdard and Shibli National College in Azamgarh district of Uttar Pradesh.
Simultaneously, a spate of attacks have been unleashed against the Christian minority institutions in Uttar Pradesh. Far from ensuring measures to create a sense of security amongst the minorities, the BJP-led government, both at the Centre and in Uttar Pradesh, are virtually allowing such minority bashing.
The RSS and its affiliates are busy vitiating the atmosphere by relentlessly spreading communal poison against the minorities. The Central Committee of the CPI(M) decided to undertake programmes of mass mobilisation against such activities of the communal forces and in defence of the secular democratic character of the Indian people.
The Central Committee expressed deep concern at the deteriorating situation in the Kashmir Valley. The attitude and role of the Central government has contributed to this aggravation. The intensified attacks by the extremist groups, the Chattisingpura massacre and the police atrocity in Anantnag district are evidence of the worsening situation.
With the situation in Kashmir deteriorating, instead of suggesting corrective measures that seek to improve the situation, the Home Minister, Mr. L.K. Advani, on the floor of the Lok Sabha made a most provocative statement asking the Indian Muslims to oppose Pakistan's Jehad call.
The Central Committee noted that in the talks being held between the Central government and AASU, it is reported that the question of identifying indigenous people is being discussed. The reported proposal to make the 1951 National Register of Citizenship and the 1952 electoral rolls the basis would be retrograde. It would create serious tensions and threaten the interests of a large number of citizens belonging to different communities.
The main direction of the foreign policy pursued by the BJP-led government is to act in the interests of US imperialism. Both at the NAM Foreign Ministerial meeting in Cartagena, Colombia and at the G-77 Summit in Havana, the Indian government sought to make its only concern the exposure of Pakistan. All other issues of economic and political domination by imperialism were studiously avoided. At a time when, through the WTO, IMF and the World Bank, imperialism is imposing greater and greater burdens on the third world, India's role as a leader of the third world countries is seriously undermined by the present government. While supporting the demand for restoration of democracy in Pakistan, the Central Committee warns that a foreign policy whose sole concern is centered around Pakistan will have serious repercussions.
The Tripura Tribal Autonomous District Council elections are to be held on 30th April and 2nd June. In order to disrupt these elections and impose candidates of its choice, the extremist group NLFT has begun a campaign of terror and intimidation. The Central Committee strongly condemned the kidnappings of family members of candidates contesting the elections. It expressed its deep concern at the incidents of arson and violence by the NLFT and the Bengali chauvinist forces which seek to disrupt communal amity.
The Central government has consistently refused to deploy the army and effective paramilitary forces to check the extremist activities from across the border. The Left Front government is earnestly working to ensure peace and security for the polls. The autonomous council structure is in the interests of the tribal people. The Central Committee of the CPI(M) deeply appreciated the resolute efforts of the Party and the Left Front in the state to uphold the democratic process rebuffing the violent attacks.
Draft of Updated
Party Programme finalised
The Central Committee unanimously adopted the draft of the updated Party Programme. It will release the document for a three-month discussion at all levels in the Party. Subsequently, a special conference will be convened in October, where the Programme will be adopted.