A meeting of the Left Parties was held today at New Delhi. They have issued the following statement:
On Iran Issue
The Left Parties strongly reiterated their stand that India should not support any resolution referring Iran to the UN Security Council at the IAEA Board meeting. The Left Parties decided to write to the Prime Minister regarding the stand India should take at the forthcoming Board meeting on February 2 and 3, 2006.
In this connection, the Left Parties expressed their strong resentment at the US Ambassador’s arrogant effort to influence India’s stand on the Iran issue.
The Left Parties requested the UPA government to make public the proposals handed over to the United States about the separation of civilian and military nuclear facilities. It is unfair to keep such a vital issue away from public scrutiny.
FDI in Retail Trade
The Left Parties strongly opposed the decision of the government to allow 51 per cent FDI in retail trade for single brand goods. This is a precursor to opening up the retail trade fully to foreign companies. The Left Parties had submitted a note in November 2005 to the UPA-Left Coordination Committee arguing against such a move. Without replying to this note, the government has gone ahead. It is surprising that the government has taken this decision within a few days of the AICC session in Hyderabad. In the AICC resolution on economic affairs, in the section pertaining to retail trade, there is no mention of allowing FDI in this sector. Despite this, the government has taken this step.
The Left Parties decided to contact the retail trade merchants’ organisations and to appeal to all sections so that a countrywide protest action can be organised against this step.
The Left Parties objected to the way the Delhi and Mumbai airports are being handed over to certain private parties for modernisation bypassing procedures in the bidding process. Even the Sreedharan Committee’s recommendations are being ignored.
The Left Parties demanded that the Airport Authority of India be asked to modernise both the airports as it is fully competent to do so.
Government Mints and Presses
The Left Parties urged the government of India not to go ahead with the corporatisation of the government mints and presses which are engaged in printing currency notes and minting coins. This sovereign function should remain with the State.
The meeting was attended by A. B. Bardhan, Prakash Karat, Debabrata Biswas, D. Raja, Pallab Sengupta and Devarajan.