P.B. Communique

June 3, 2020

Press Communique


The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) held its first meeting through video conferencing on June 2, 2020. It has issued the following statement:


Kerala Model


The Polit Bureau hailed the people and the LDF government for the exemplary manner in which the state is combating the Covid-19 pandemic. Having flattened the curve of the rise of infections, Kerala has now intensified its efforts to meet the challenge of the second wave as people are returning from abroad and different parts of India into the state. The ‘Kerala Model’ has been lauded internationally. But in India the central government refuses to learn from this experience.


Modi Government’s Failure


In contrast, the central government has now virtually left the Indian people to fend for themselves in combatting the pandemic. PM Modi, having declared an unplanned, unilateral, abrupt lockdown, has neither used the period of sixty three days (before easing restrictions) for either augmenting the health facilities required to combat the pandemic nor in providing relief to the people who have been agonized cruelly  by not getting any time to prepare to meet the consequences of the lockdown. Having unilaterally declared, without consulting the state governments, the central government is now shifting the burden of bearing the consequences of the lockdown, particularly the humungous humanitarian issue of crores of migrant workers with their families moving across the country on to the shoulders of the state governments. Modi refuses to part with the thousands of crores of rupees he is collecting in a private trust fund under the PM’s name, to the states.


The easing of restrictions, is, once again happening in an unplanned fashion with the central government abdicating its responsibilities and leaving it to the States to decide. Instead of containing or controlling the spread of the pandemic or the death toll, the lockdown period has seen a constant spike in the numbers. On March 24, 2020 India had 564 active cases and 10 deaths. Two months later on May 24, 2020 the were 74,560 active cases and 3,867 deaths. As of June 2, these figures stand at 1,01,077 active cases and 5,815 deaths.


All through the period of the national lockdown, instead of single-mindedly focusing on combating the pandemic and providing relief to the people, the central government went about systematically implementing its aggressive agenda of communal polarization and the pursuit of neo-liberal economic policies. The Polit Bureau condemned the targeting of the Muslim minority community, the arbitrary arrests and detention of those who took part in the peaceful protests against the CAA, NRC, NPR and all voices of dissent under draconian laws like the Sedition Act, UAPA and NSA. This lockdown period is also being used by the central government for the centralization of all authority and power in its hands completely negating a basic feature of our Constitution –  federalism.


Financial Packages


On June 1, 2020, the central government announced some more financial packages over and above the Rs. 20 lakh crore package announced earlier. This Rs. 20 lakh stimulus was a re-packaging of earlier schemes with the additional commitment of expenditures being around a mere 1 per cent of our GDP. The package was essentially one of making available loans which is not government expenditure on grants that can provide relief.


This financial package is the blueprint for implementing the neo-liberal economic reforms, creating new avenues for profit maximization by foreign and domestic corporates,  aggressively pursuing privatization of all national assets, sale of public sector units and opening up all sectors of the economy for FDI.


This is accompanied by a vicious attack on the labour laws. In at least ten states, these laws are being virtually nullified using the pretext of the national lockdown.  This will be firmly resisted by the people.


Latest Announcements: On June 1, with much fanfare the government announced new Minimum Support Price (MSP) for certain agricultural products. The increase compared to last year’s MSP is merely 2 per cent for paddy and likewise for the rest of the commodities. This increase is much less than the cost of production that has gone up during the last one year. Far from providing any relief this is bound to push our peasantry into greater indebtedness. The government once again announced several measures of making loans available for the MSME sector. Loans are not relief. What the MSMEs require is relief. The earlier 20 lakh package included the previous RBI announcement of Rs. 5.2 lakh crore of loans for the MSME sector at borrowing rates lower than in 2010. But there were no takers. Commercial banks were forced to redeposit this money back with the RBI. It is simple. Unless people have the purchasing power to buy what the MSMEs produce, the economy simply cannot revive. No amount of loans can revive the economy unless the people’s capacities to buy increases. This can happen only through direct grants. This, the Modi government refuses to do with contemptuous callousness.


Economy Battered


The Indian economy was already in a tailspin plunging into a recession before the Covid-19 pandemic impacted us.  The GDP growth rate figures for the year 2019-20 have been officially released on May 29. This is a eleven-year low of 4.2 per cent against 6.1 per cent in 2018-19.  The GDP growth rate slipped to 3.1 per cent in the fourth quarter, i.e., January-March, 2020.  Many international rating agencies and independent domestic institutions estimate the fall in the GDP growth rate to be even more than this.  This data pertains to the period before the lockdown except in the last week of March. 


The pandemic and the subsequent lockdown have further destroyed a large part of economic activities, that severely impacted on the living conditions of the vast majority of our people.


Fiscal Packages: Most of these packages are simply unrealistic, apart from being totally useless to providing relief to the people, because the revenue collections of the government have fallen drastically. The Gross Tax Revenues (GTR) has fallen by over Rs. 70,000 crore and the Corporate Tax Revenue (CTR) by over Rs. 1,06,000 crore. The actual GTR collected was 7.1 per cent and the CTR is 8.8 per cent lower than the revised estimates presented in the February 2019 budget. With such a massive shortfall in governmental revenues, all these grandiose announcements will only remain on paper. Despite all announcements of cheaper loans, the gross investment in the economy has fallen by more than minus 6 per cent.


Attack on States’ Finances: This shortfall in governmental revenues will reduce the share of the states who are already starved of finances. The GST compensation dues have not still been paid by the Centre to the states.  All states have been seeking financial assistance to combat the pandemic and the economic impact of the lockdown. The Centre has refused to transfer funds to the states who are in the frontline of combating the pandemic. 



Public Health


This period of more than two months has clearly exposed the total inadequacy of the public health services infrastructure in the country. In its drive to privatise everything, the Modi government has virtually dismantled public health care that is taking its toll in this pandemic. The Polit Bureau reiterates its demand that, at least now, the central government must spend a minimum of 3 per cent of the country’s GDP on public health care.


Digital Education


The lockdown came as the academic year was ending and when examinations were about to take place. This has disrupted the future of a generation of students. This also disrupts the future of our country. Using the lockdown, the central government is seeking to implement its retrograde education policy, unapproved by parliament and imposing digital teaching/learning methods. The digital divide should not be super-imposed on our country’s education system, adversely affecting the future of India. The Party had all along opposed and continues to oppose the replacement of traditional pedagogical teaching in schools and colleges with digital methods. During this period of the pandemic and the consequent disruptions, digital methods may be employed so that the academic year is not disrupted. But this can never be the replacement. Even this must only be utilized only where there is universal access to digital equipment by all students in a concerned area. The Party opposes any digital divide in education.


The central and state governments should reschedule the academic session so that examinations can be conducted in the normal way and students do not suffer the loss of a year.


India-China Standoff


The Polit Bureau noted with concern the standoff that has occurred in various places on the Line of Actual control in Ladakh and Sikkim. It expressed the hope that the talks being held through the established mechanism at the defence and diplomatic levels will help to resolve the issue and maintain normal relations between the two countries. 


CPI(M) Relief Work


The Polit Bureau noted that the CPI(M), its members and all its units made concerted efforts in all the states to provide  relief to the people who lost their jobs and livelihood and food to the hungry during the period of the national lockdown.  The Polit Bureau called upon all Party members and units to continue its relief activities, particularly the much-needed relief for the migrant workers.


Central Committee Meeting


The Polit Bureau decided to convene a Central Committee meeting in July, using digital technology like done for this PB meeting.


All India Protest


In the current situation when at least  an additional 150 million people have been rendered unemployed during the lock down period adding to the overall huge numbers of the unemployed. A vast section of our people have lost all means of livelihood. The heart rending experiences of hungry migrant workers on the roads marching back home has shown the depths of huger that a sizeable section of our people are suffering today. The PB decided that protests against these conditions must be organised all across the country. These protests will scrupulously observe the regulations and restrictions prevailing in each area maintaining physical distancing,  wearing protective masks etc.  The Polit Bureau has given a call to observe an all India protest day on June 16 demanding the following:

1.    A cash transfer of Rs. 7500 per month for a period of six months to all families outside the income tax paying bracket.

2.    Free distribution of 10 kg foodgrains, per individual, per month for a period of six months.

3. A minimum of 200 days employment under MNREGA with enhanced wages. Extend employment guarantee scheme to the urban poor. Immediately announce an unemployment allowance to unemployed persons.  


4.  Stop the loot of national assets, privatization of the public sector and stop the scrapping of labour laws. 


P.B. Communique

September 9, 2012

Press Communiqué
The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) met in New Delhi on September 8-9, 2012. It has issued the following statement:
Prime Minister in the Dock
The coal allocation scandal has exposed how the “captive coalmine route” has led to corruption and crony capitalism. This was a route devised and utilized to bring backdoor privatisation of the coal industry which is still a nationalized sector by law in India.
The coal ministry was under the Prime Minister during most of the period which has been examined by the CAG. Under his watch, the Prime Minister’s office intervened to ensure coal blocks to certain private parties and to provide undue benefits for those allocated coal blocks such as the use of excess coal.
The Prime Minister in his statement tabled in parliament has sought to defend the indefensible. The Prime Minister is in the dock for the policies and decisions which have led to high-level corruption in the coal block allocations.
The Polit Bureau demands a high level enquiry which should encompass the role of the Prime Minister’s office in the allocation of coal blocks. All those found responsible for wrong doing and causing loss to the exchequer should be proceeded against. In the meantime, the coal block allocations to private companies which have been done in an irregular fashion and those who have violated the terms and conditions should be cancelled forthwith.
There are certain lessons to be learnt from this coal allocation episode. Coal is a fossil fuel and a non-renewable natural resource. The State holds these reserves in public trust and it should not be featured as a means of maximising revenue or enabling windfall profits for private companies. That is why the CPI(M) is resolutely opposed to the privatisation of the coal sector.
The present arrangement of assigning coal blocks to private companies for mining for certain end-use should be stopped. Allocation of coal for private sector power and steel plants should be done through the nodal agency, the Coal India Ltd. Blocks allotted for such enterprises should be mined by the CIL and its subsidiaries. In the states, state-run mining corporations can be involved in the process. The rights of the coal-bearing  states have to be safeguarded while the production of coal and its allocation for the entire country should be done in a planned manner.
The BJP which stalled parliament on this issue is itself responsible for the coal allocation policy during the NDA government. It sought to privatize coal allocation by bringing legislation to that effect. There is no difference between the BJP and the Congress as far as allowing private companies to loot the coal reserves of the country.
Other CAG Reports
Two other CAG reports were tabled along with the report on coal allocation. One of the reports is on the Sasan Ultra Mega Power Project. Here permission was given to use the excess coal produced from the coal block allocations to the UMPP. This was a post-bid concession to the Reliance Power Company  getting a benefit of Rs. 11852 crore. Action should be taken to realize the amount.
The other report pertains to the PPP for the Indira Gandhi International Airport with the GMR group. Under the agreement a big part of the total land area of the airport was given to the private airport company at a lease amount of Rs. 100 per annum. The provision of land which can be used for commercial exploitation of this is valued on a conservative basis as Rs. 24000 crore.  Further the project cost is financed by development fees charged to passengers which amounts to Rs. 3415 crore. This user development fees itself is not legal. The Polit Bureau demands the revision of the PPP agreement with GMR and the cancellation of the user fee charges.
The Polit Bureau discussed the situation in the Bodo Territorial Autonomous District (BTAD) area since the clashes which took place a few weeks ago. Even today there are 2.4 lakh people living in relief camps. The Polit Bureau wants steps to be taken expeditiously for the return and rehabilitation of all the people in the relief camps. The administration should provide adequate security for the people to return to their homes and for restoration of normal life. The Party condemns the efforts by various extremist forces to further the communal and ethnic polarization in the state. There has to be the speedy updating of the National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC) based on the 1971 voter list and distribution of photo identity cards to all citizens based on that.
Communal & Divisive Forces
The situation in Assam have been utilized by various communal and divisive forces in the rest of the country. Both Hindu and Muslim extremist organisations have sought to fan passions. There was an exodus of people of the North East from various places like Bengaluru, Pune and Chennai.
There have been a spate of communal incidents in Uttar Pradesh particularly in the western part of the state. Communal violence occurred in Kosi Kalan, Bariely, Saharanpur, Pratapgarh and some other places. The Hindutva outfits have been conducting a systematic campaign against the minorities. In Maharashtra, the MNS leader, Raj Thackeray has been conducting a hate campaign against the Biharis branding them as infiltrators.
The right of workers and citizens to work and stay in any part of the country has to be protected and ensured. The Polit Bureau calls for vigilance against the activities and designs of the communal and divisive forces. The efforts to disrupt the unity of the people on communal or regional lines should be strongly rebuffed.
The Polit Bureau greeted the Kerala unit of the Party for the successful siege of the secretariat and the district collectorates on August 22. Over five lakh people participated in these protesting demanding food security; a universal public distribution system; 35 kg of foodgrains at a maximum rate of two rupees a kilo per family per month etc.
The UDF government continues to target CPI(M) leaders and cadres by implicating them in false cases. The secretary of the Kannur district committee, two other state committee members, some district secretariat, area and local committee members of the Kozhikode and Kannur districts have been implicated in three cases of murder. In the T.P. Chandrasekharan murder case, the police have chargesheeted 76 persons, of which many are CPI(M) cadres and members who have been falsely implicated.
The CPI(M) had stated at the outset that the Party is not involved in the murder of T.P. Chandrasekharan. The CPI(M) had said that a proper investigation should be conducted and the culprits brought to book. However, even after the investigation by the state police which has been done under political pressure, the demand for a CBI investigation has been made by the RMP. Their claim is that a CBI investigation is required as the state leadership of the CPI(M) has not been brought into the net of the accused. The political intention for a further probe is evident i.e. to implicate the leaders of the CPI(M) who have not been found involved in the case by the SIT. The Home Minister of Kerala has stated that he has no objection to a CBI enquiry. The CPI(M) warns against any such motivated enquiry and calls upon the people to realize the conspiracy behind such a move.
Food Security
The Polit Bureau reviewed the movement for food security conducted by the Left parties in July-August. It decided to make the September 12 Food Security Day observance a success.
Trade Union Call

The Polit Bureau welcomed the call given by the central trade unions in the national convention organized on September 4 for the next phase of the struggle. The Party will extend its full support to the joint struggle which will culminate in the two-day general strike in February 2013.