Friday, March 26, 2010
The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) met in New Delhi on March 25, 2010. It has issued the following statement:
The Polit Bureau took stock of the overall political situation in the country and discussed developments connected to the budget session of parliament.
The Polit Bureau was of the opinion that the Union Budget of 2010 is of a pro-big business, pro-rich orientation. This is evident from fact that Rs. 80,000 crore tax concessions have been given to the corporates and on the other hand there is a Rs 3000 crore cut in fertilizer subsidy and Rs. 400 crore cut in food subsidy. Direct taxes have been reduced and there is an across the board increase in indirect taxes which burden the common man. A particularly objectionable feature is the increase in the excise and customs duties for petrol and diesel which alone amounts to Rs. 26,000 crore. Instead of taking steps to curb price rise, these measures are going to fuel inflation.
The Polit Bureau demanded that the government rescind the increase in customs and excise duties for petrol and diesel. If this is not done, the Party will move a cut motion on the Finance Bill in this regard. The Party will hold consultations with all the secular opposition parties to coordinate the opposition to the Budget provisions.
Nuclear Liability Bill: The Polit Bureau reiterated its firm and total opposition to the Civil Nuclear Liability Bill. The CPI(M) was the first to point out the harmful provisions in this Bill which have been devised in the interests of the American companies who wish to sell nuclear reactors to India. Neither the exemption of liability for the foreign suppliers of nuclear equipment nor the cap on the liability for the operator can be supported.
The Polit Bureau expressed satisfaction that a large number of parties cutting across the political spectrum have come out against the Bill which does not safeguard the lives and the interests of the people.
Food Security Legislation: The Polit Bureau expresses its strong opposition to the present version of the Food Security Bill as a travesty of food security. In its present form it will create food insecurity. Instead of enhancing entitlements it reduces them as follows: present quota of 35 kg is cut to 25 kg; Antodaya entitlement is not specified at all; APL cardholders, i.e. those earning more that Rs. 12 a day, are totally eliminated. Even the price of the reduced quota is not fixed. The proposal of cash transfer of subsidy is objectionable and will mean putting consumers at the mercy of the market at a time when food inflation is extraordinarily high. Worst of all, it accepts the totally flawed estimates of poverty by the Planning Commission as the basis of entitlement which excludes vast numbers of the poor from the subsidized food entitlements. In a disturbing addition, the draft Bill wants specific identification of BPL even in presently universalized programmes such as NREGA, ICDS, Mid-Day meal schemes which is unwarranted and unnecessary unless the government has a future plan of curbing universal access to these schemes. The CPI(M) demands that the government withdraw this anti-poor Bill and come up with a legislation for a universal PDS with entitlements of at least 35 kg of foodgrains at Rs. 2 a kilo. This will be below 2 per cent of the GDP, much less than the amount of tax forgone in each of the last few budgets.
Education Bills: The Polit Bureau strongly criticized the Foreign Education Providers Bill proposed to be introduced in parliament. Allowing foreign direct investment and foreign teaching shops into the country will distort the already elitist educational structure in the country. It will make education more commercial and there will be no regulation or control over such institutions. The CPI(M) will lend its full support to the struggle of the teachers, students and education community against this Bill.
In this connection, the Polit Bureau noted that the UPA government is seeking to centralize all powers within the educational sphere to the detriment of the states. The proposal to set up a Commission for Higher Education & Research is one major step in this direction. The UPA government is behaving as if education is not a concurrent subject. The Polit Bureau called upon the government not to move ahead with the setting up of this Commission till all the state governments and all those who have a vital stake in higher education are consulted and their views taken on board.
WOMEN’S RESERVATION BILL
The Polit Bureau welcomed the adoption of the Women’s Reservation Bill in the Rajya Sabha. The Government should bring the Bill in the Lok Sabha in this session itself for adoption. The Party rejects some of the criticism and comments directed against the Bill which is coloured by sexist and male chauvinist attitudes.
APRIL 8 PROTEST ACTION
The Polit Bureau heard reports of the preparations for the Left parties mass picketing and court arrest programme on April 8 on the issues of price rise, land and employment. Given the big response to the call, the Polit Bureau is confident that the mass participation will far exceed the target of 25 lakh people. The Polit Bureau called upon all Party units to make the April 8 action a big success.
The PB decided to hold consultations with other secular opposition parties to intensify the anti-price rise movement.
The latest development vis-à-vis the “Afpak” policy of the United States has exposed the blind spot in India’s foreign policy and the counterproductive nature of the Manmohan Singh government’s strategic alliance with the United States. Contrary to the repeated assertions of the Indian government that the United States should stay the course in the fight against the Taliban, both the United Stats and President Hamid Karzai are moving for negotiations with sections of the Taliban to ensure an early exit for the US-Nato forces. Pakistan, whose ISI has close links with the Taliban, has come into the picture for any future negotiated settlement. India has been virtually left out in the cold. The US-Pakistan partnership is being strengthened. A high level US-Pakistan strategic talks has just been concluded in Washington.
The United States is stepping up its military assistance to Pakistan while at the same time it has got the UPA government to buy large scale weaponry worth billions of dollars from it. Even on the vital issue of terrorism, the United States is refusing to have any reciprocity as evident in the manner in which it has denied Indian authorities access to David Headley so far.
The illusion perpetuated by the Manmohan Singh government, since the first tenure of the UPA government, that the United States considers India as its primary strategic ally in the region now stands exposed. The Government must answer why it is embarking on buying billions of dollars of US equipment and getting further tied to the United States when it is amply clear that the Afpak strategy is central for the United States in this region.
The Polit Bureau had a preliminary discussion on the draft Rectification Report of the Central Committee. It decided to place this report in the next meeting of the Central Committee.
EXTENDED C.C. MEETING
The Polit Bureau discussed the preparations and the time table for holding the extended meeting of the Central Committee in the beginning of August. These proposals will be placed before the next meeting of the Central Committee.
NEXT CC MEETING
The Polit Bureau decided to hold the next meeting of the Central Committee on May 5, 6 & 7, 2010 at New Delhi.