The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) met online on September 12, 2020. It has issued the following statement:
Covid Pandemic; Grave Situation
India has reached a very grave situation with the Covid pandemic rampaging across the country making India the country with the highest daily record of positive cases in the world. The Central Government and the Prime Minister Modi have virtually abdicated their responsibilities and left the people to fend for themselves. As this rampage continues unabated, there is an urgent need to augment health facilities and commandeer private health providers to join this effort to combat the pandemic. The Central Government is doing virtually nothing in this direction.
Kerala LDF Government: In contrast, the LDF government in Kerala is providing free treatment to all Covid patients right from testing to hospitalisation and treatment. Consequently, only 2 per cent of the patients are utilising private hospital facilities. The charges for the private hospitals have also been fixed by the state government.
The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) demands that the Central Government must expand hospital facilities and make provisions for the free treatment of all patients and fix reasonable charges for private health facilities.
The devastation of the Indian economy that began well before the pandemic struck beginning with demonetisation and GST implementation has worsened to the extent that amongst all major economies of the world, India has registered the worst fall in GDP growth for the quarter April-June 2020 of minus (-)23.9 per cent.
Consequently, unemployment is galloping with even salaried jobs being lost to the tune of 21 million. This is pauperising crores of Indian people adding to their misery and agony.
On top of this has come the backbreaking rise in prices particularly of essential commodities, like food, vegetables, dairy products and fuel.
Under these conditions, the Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) demands:
- Immediate cash transfer of Rs. 7,500 per month for the next six months to all families outside the income tax bracket.
- Immediate distribution of free foodgrains of 10 kg per individual per month for the next six months for all the needy.
- Expand MGNREGA to ensure at least 200 days of work a year with enhanced wages. Promulgate an Urban Employment Guarantee Act. Announce unemployment allowance to all the unemployed.
Kerala Contrast: The LDF government in Kerala is providing free food to 78 lakh people in the state and social security pension per month to 58 lakh people.
While the LDF government is most effecdtively meeting the situation in such a manner, the opposition, the Congress-led UDF and the BJP are working in tandem to destabilise the government and creating obstacles at every step in the government’s work to combat the pandemic and to provide relief to the people.
Real Agenda of the Central Government
Instead of single-mindedly focussing on combatting the pandemic and providing relief to the people, this BJP central government is aggressively pursuing the RSS agenda that seeks to change the very character of the Indian Republic undermining the Indian Constitution.
The Polit Bureau noted that during the past six weeks, the government has gone about aggressively implementing neo-liberal reforms; further sharpening of communal polarisation specifically targeting Muslim minorities; intensification of authoritarian attacks on the rights of minorities, marginalised sections with activists championing these causes being arrested under draconian laws; the centralisation of authority negating federalism; undermining all independent Constitutional authorities; destabilising democratically-elected state governments through various methods including large-scale horse-trading; and further cementing India’s subordinate ally status with US imperialism.
There is a complete subversion of the criminal justice system with blatant misuse of the agencies under the central government like the Delhi Police, NIA, CBI, ED etc. to demonise political opponents in drawing up BJP’s own narrative, marking a full-fledged offensive on democracy.
The Polit Bureau demands the immediate stop to the arrest of innocent minorities, activists championing the rights of the people especially the marginalised like the Dalits/tribals on trumped up charges under draconian laws like the UAPA, NSA and the Sedition Act.
Rights of States
The relentless drive for centralisation of all power and authority by this BJP central government intensifies. The Polit Bureau reiterated that the Central Government borrow, if necessary, from the RBI and pay the states their legitimate GST dues. The Central government must transfer additional resources to the state governments that are on the frontline combatting the pandemic.
Jammu & Kashmir
The Polit Bureau welcomes the meeting of six mainstream political parties for the first time since August 2019 political lockdown in the state and their declaration to restore normal political activities demanding the restoration of state hood for Jammu & Kashmir and reinstatement of Article 370.
The PB demands that all those detained including the former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti must be released forthwith; full communications restored along with public transportation and other services.
India-China Stand Off
The meeting between the foreign ministers of India and China in Moscow on September 11 resulted in a joint statement calling for disengagement and de-escalation on the LAC and declared to continue the efforts for arriving at a peaceful solution through diplomatic and military level engagements and reiterated that ‘differences should not become disputes’.
Following the June 15 clash that led to the loss of lives of our soldiers, firing in the air by both sides has been reported recently. This is happening after 45 years. The situation is tense and serious and needs to be defused. The CPI(M) adheres to the approach of a peaceful resolution through diplomatic and military talks.
Monsoon Session of Parliament
The CPI(M) is opposed to the eleven ordinances promulgated by the government during this period of lockdown. Some of these particularly concerning Indian agriculture are extremely dangerous and damaging to our farmers, Indian agriculture and India’s economic sovereignty. The CPI(M) has moved a notice for statutory resolutions opposing these ordinances and demanding their withdrawal in both houses of parliament.
The Polit Bureau decided that Party MPs will insist that major policy decisions that the CPI(M) opposes as not being in the country’s and people’s interests like the New Education Policy, National Digital Health Mission and its associated programmes negating the protection of personal data and privatization of health care, Environmental Impact Assessment and the New Mining Regulations, must be thoroughly discussed and scrutinized by parliament before their implementation.
The CPI(M) had already raised the issue of the BJP-FB nexus and called for a thorough enquiry including a JPC.
Polit Bureau Call
The Polit Bureau decided to observe a national level protest programme from September 17 to 22, 2020 when the parliament is in session.
Issues such as the intensification of communal polarization; targeting of minorities; largescale attacks on democratic rights and civil liberties of our people; against the mounting brutal attacks on women, Dalits, Adivasis and other marginalized sections, loot of national assets through privatization and scrapping of labour laws will be highlighted along with demanding that the BJP central government urgently address the immediate needs of the people.
This campaign will focus on the following demands:
1) Immediate cash transfer of Rs. 7,500 per month for the next six months to all families outside the income tax bracket.
2) Immediate distribution of free foodgrains of 10 kg per individual per month for the next six months for all the needy.
3) Expand MGNREGA to ensure at least 200 days of work a year with enhanced wages. Promulgate an Urban Employment Guarantee Act. Announce unemployment allowance to all the unemployed.
4) Safeguarding the Indian Constitution and its fundamental guarantees of liberty, equality and fraternity for all our citizens.