The four Left Parties – Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India, Forward Bloc and RSP – have issued the following joint statement:
Protest against the Budget Proposals
The Union budget proposals for 2001-2002 is a naked display of the pro-big business and pro-MNC approach of the BJP-led government. Unjustifiable concessions have been given to the corporate sector and MNCs through reduction of direct taxes and excise duties. The budget proposals have been hailed by the big business and foreign financial circles for this generosity.
The BJP-led government has launched a vicious attack on the working people through the budget proposals. The minimum support prices for the farmers and the procurement system is going to be dismantled which will put the farmers at the mercy of big traders and speculators. The Public Distribution System is to be dismantled with the states being saddled the responsibility to procure foodgrains and cheap foodgrains being made available only to a limited number of people in the below the poverty line category. The farmers who are faced with the threat of cheap imports of agricultural commodities do not find sufficient protection after the implementation of the WTO rules.
The workers are going to face more retrenchment and loss of jobs if the proposals to amend the Industrial Dispute Act to allow "hire and fire" policies for enterprises employing up to 1000 workers is adopted. The Provident Fund interest of the workers and employees have been cut and the interest on small savings by the common people reduced. Employment in Central government is to be reduced and the benefits of employees including pension curtailed.
While big concessions are given to foreign capital and big business, the privatisation of the public sector units is to be speeded up by selling off public assets at ridiculously low prices.
The increase in price of postal articles, sugar and the increase in excise duties from 8 to 16 per cent on a number of goods of mass consumption will affect the lives of the common people.
All this is nothing but a policy of looting the poor and benefitting the rich. The Left parties strongly oppose all these anti-peasant, anti-worker, anti-people budget proposals. It calls upon all their party units to jointly organise protests all over the country from March 12 to 18. The various state units will decide the form and dates of the protest.
(Harkishan Singh Surjeet), CPI(M)
(A.B. Bardhan), CPI,
(Debabrata Biswas), Forward Bloc,
(Abani Roy), RSP