The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued the following statement:
The announcements made by the Prime Minister yesterday are totally inadequate to meet the crisis of survival and livelihood being faced by crores of our people. The provision of 5 kg of foodgrains and 1 kg of pulses is grossly inadequate to meet the survival needs of the people who have been deprived of their livelihood or food for over three months. 10 kg of foodgrain per individual per month for a period of six months is the minimum that needs to be ensured.
At least 14 crore people have lost their jobs. Government itself admits that eight crore migrant workers were on the road for the last two months. Least required is a cash transfer of Rs. 7,500 per month for six months to all families outside the tax bracket. The announced Rs. 500 to all Jan Dhan accounts is a pittance. This mocks at people’s agonies.
The claim to provide jobs to all returned workers under MNREGA is a fallacy. The provision of 100 days work per year for an additional one crore people requires an allocation of Rs. 2.46 lakh crores. Budgetary allocations plus the announced measures during the lockdown amount to less than Rs. 1.5 lakh crore together. Until gainful employment is realised, unemployment allowance must be provided across the country.
PM Modi claimed that nine crore farmers have benefitted with the direct cash transfer of Rs. 2,000. The PM Kisan Yojana was announced on the eve of 2019 general elections. This was to provide three annual instalments of Rs. 2,000 each to 14 crore kisans. This announcement is the delayed second tranche of this scheme. This is re-packaging of an earlier announcement and no additional relief. Further, instead of 14 crore kisans envisaged earlier, it is now only nine crore. Five crore kisans are, thus, deprived of even this measly relief.
PM Modi claimed that India, under his government, has commendably combatted the Covid pandemic. Even with one of the lowest testing rates in the world, the positive cases (third highest in the world, after USA and Brazil) and deaths are rising menacingly. At least now the Central government must augment health facilities on a war-footing, ensure PPEs to all health workers and provide universal health care.
The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) demands that the thousands of crores of rupees collected, in the name of combating the pandemic, by a private trust bearing PM’s name must be released immediately to ensure:
- augmentation of public health facilities
- cash transfer of Rs. 7,500 to all families outside the tax bracket per month for six months.
- 10 kg of free foodgrains to every needy person per month for the next six months.