People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
July 23, 2006
‘LF Govt Will Proceed Along An Alternative Path Of Development’
DEVELOPMENT is for the sake of the toiling masses, and the Bengal Left Front government will never deviate from the path of alternative development. This was said by Bengal chief minister and senior CPI(M) leader Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee who was addressing a packed gathering in Kolkata on a topic that was of relevance and importance. The topic was ‘Along which path do we proceed?’
Buddhadeb in his important address explained at some detail the background in which the Left Front government was operating. He also dealt with the issue of the alternative path of development. Buddhadeb declared that a Left Front government ‘never remained the ultimate be-all and end-all for us,’ and he spoke about the struggle ahead in terms of developing the interest of the working class.
The Left Front government continued to proceed along unchartered pathways and the road ahead has been carved out as it has proceeded with fervour taking the people into confidence. The path is being charted out based on the national and international experience. Buddhadeb pointed to the change in the power equation and equilibrium on the world scene with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the eastern European bloc countries.
The task of the communists around the globe is to find ways and means to secure and then develop Marxism-Leninism, and to find out an alternative path of development for the toiling masses. The struggle is against the uni-polar attempts by the international capital in the form of IMF, and World Bank to clamp down a hegemonistic control across the world.
Buddhadeb drew the attention of the assemblage to the economic dysfunction marking the world today. The toiling masses of the third world in particular were under increasing pressure. In developed and developing countries, the economy was characterised by the increasing poor-rich divide, jobless growth, unemployment, and shrinkage of the social security net.
Noting the alternative path of development being carried forward in Latin American countries, Buddhadeb said that countries like Brazil, Venezuela, and Bolivia were boldly initiating measures against the incursion of US-backed capital. In Europe, countries like France have witnessed waves of workers’ protests. Italy has seen the evolving of the centre-left government. The bright economic successes chalked up by China and Vietnam shone out as examples par excellence of development. The success would certainly encourage a new turn of events in the securing of interests of the toiling masses across the globe.
Explaining the role of the Left in the national scenario, Buddhadeb said that it was compulsion and not affection that had made the Left support the UPA government. He identified the more important points of difference between the Left and the UPA government as in the cases of pro-US foreign policy, disinvestment of the public sector, allowing foreign players to roam free in the internal market, reform of the labour regulations and acts etc. The struggle against such policies will go on.
Buddhadeb clearly identified the main characteristics that differentiated a Left Front government from its counterparts elsewhere in the country. He said that whereas in other states, the chief impediment to development was the control by the landlords of numerous big and middling land chunks, in Bengal, 72 per cent of the land belonged to the poor. The alternative outlook of the Left Front has been reflected over the years in distribution of patta rights, in barga records, and in re-distributive land reforms.
The other set of alternative policies of the Left Front government, said the speaker, comprised decentralisation of power to the level of the districts, sub-divisions and the blocks with rural Panchayats and urban local bodies playing a crucial role in plan formulation and plan implementation.
Enunciating the industrial outlook of the Left Front government, Buddhadeb said that foreign capital was brought in principally in sectors that cried out for higher technology. Investment is being made in such realms as information-technology and chemicals. The alternative outlook of the Left Front government militates against hire-and-fire policy. “We prefer IBM over Wal-Mart all the time”, pointed out Buddhadeb.
The alternative outlook is also ingrained in the drive taken up by the Left Front government for quite some time now in strengthening small and medium industries as growth engines for employment generation. The state government also works at consolidating the self-help groups into millions of micro enterprises across Bengal. The self-help groups are engaged in the task of protecting the marginal people who have been the victims of market economy.
On the national scenario, pointed out Buddhadeb, the pressure of liberalisation had already made many a state government and the union government, too, to adopt a ‘hands off’ policy vis-à-vis health and education. This was not the policy of the Bengal Left Front government. Buddhadeb mentioned in passing how the state government could introduce mid-day meal schemes in no less than 68,000 primary schools. Seventy per cent of the people enjoy hospital services in Bengal, in stark contrast to the picture elsewhere in the country.
PARTY OF THE WORKING CLASS
The CPI(M), said Buddhadeb, remained firm as the party of the working class, and nothing could make it deviate from securing the interest of the people at large, especially the poor. The imperatives of slum improvement and supply of essential services to the poor in particular would always lead the list of priorities of urban renewal.
The class outlook of the Left Front governance, said Buddhadeb in conclusion, was reflected in the priority it attached to the interests of the workers, kisans, khet mazdoors, and the toiling masses in general.