People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)

Vol. XXX

No. 45

November 05, 2006



Lies About The Bengal IT Sector Nailed


FOR some time now, the corporate media, audio-visual and print, have been angling for a ‘story’ to embarrass the Bengal CITU as well as the Bengal Left Front government about the Information Technology (IT) sector. The basic thrust of the campaign of lie and deception was two-pronged: the setting up of an association of IT professionals at the Salt lake complex was degenerate in a general way for production and management. In addition, the setting up of an association per se meant strike action impending.


Bengal CITU president Shyamal Chakraborty has come forward with arguments that give the lie to the campaign making the rounds in the corporate media and amongst the ranks of their clients in the rightist political outfits. He noted that the setting up of an IT employees’ association was a confluence of ideas of both the workers-employees and of the TU leadership of the state.


The CITU leader emphasised that the formation of the association meant that now the IT workers-employees had an umbrella organisation over their heads to offer them the security of their hard-earned rights. The formation of the association itself never meant only strike actions, pointed out Shyamal Chakraborty. 


The association includes IT professionals, employees, and workers. The association, which is headed by CITU leaders Amitava Nandi as president, and Somnath Bhattacharya as secretary, has Shyamal Chakraborty as its advisor. The association while not affiliated to CITU has been described as ‘CITU-friendly.’ 


There is no supposed ‘difference of opinion’ with the state Left Front government over the setting of this association. It has never been the outlook of the LF government that no union/association should function in the IT sector. As the Bengal chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has said, ‘the law of the land prevails in Bengal.’ The state government has gone in for three important amendments in the shops and establishments’ act to cater to the uniqueness of the sector.



On the issue of the association placing a charter of demands, Shyamal Chakraborty said that the IT managements had stated that they had done everything possible to cater to the demands and welfare of the workers-employees. The CITU leader wondered that if this was really so, why should the issue of a charter of demands be raised as a kind of a bogey in the media?




UNDERWRITING again the place of importance in which agriculture is paced in the policy outlook of the Bengal Left Front government, chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee declared that the state government would purchase paddy from farmers in the lean season at a rate that is Rs 40/quintal over the rate prescribed by the union government for such an exercise. The fixed rate is Rs 580/quintal.


The LF government, said Buddhadeb, would purchase a target amount of 19 lakh metric tonnes of paddy from the farmers and this exceeds by two lakh metric tonnes the target set last year. The target has been re-fixed this year keeping in mind possibilities of natural calamities like drought and inundation.


The lean season comprises the months between November and March. The procurement of paddy will continue throughout the year. The farmers who would sell the paddy produced in the lean season would benefit from the Rs 40/quintal ‘bonus,’ pointed out the chief minister.


A practice that was started last year in the task of procurement of paddy would be continued this year as well. This involves asking the self-help groups especially those run by women to procure the paddy from the farmers. The rice that will be produced out of the paddy thus procured will be utilised also for mid-day meals in schools as well for food-for-work projects. The various organisations of the government including BENFED, CONFED, and NAFED, will be asked to procure a certain amount of paddy as in the past. A supervisory committee has been set up to ensure that the process of procurement went along in the correct manner throughout the year, especially during the lean season.




THE complexity of a new situation the world over confronts workers. The need of the hour is to battle the policy of imperialist globalisation that has been spreading its tentacles across the world. For this, the workers must be able to raise their political consciousness. They must also fight unitedly. CITU state secretary Dipak Dasgupta said this while addressing a seminar on the tasks before TUs.


Besides fighting for economic demands, as before, the workers must also, said the CITU leader, become more equipped politically. Besides, they must undertake wide-ranging political struggles as well to change the basis of the policy of imperialist globalisation. Local demands must be fought for but the bigger picture, in the sense of the all-India struggle against globalisation, must never be glossed over.


Besides battling the economic dictates of the process of imperialist globalisation, commented Dipak Dasgupta, the workers should wage political battles against the forces of disunity and disruption like communalism, casteism, and sectarianism, forces that were ever engaged in trying to split the working class movement. The process of political-ideological enrichment must be taken down to the factory level for the thrust to be a success.




MIDNAPORE west recently witnessed the beginning of involvement of 13 self help groups of the area in various services in the electricity sector. The process commenced with 130 men and women from the self-help groups receiving a training course at the CITU-run Monoranjan Roy centre, in such tasks as metre reading, circulation of electricity bills amongst consumers, maintenance of electricity wire network, and being able to go in for minor repair work including mending of burst fuses.


The consumer/subscriber-based earnings look like this:


No of Consumers                             Yearly income of a self-help group (in Rs)
          600                                                                         24,600
        1000                                                                         27,000
        1300                                                                         28,800


Each self-help group has been assigned the maintenance of 40 km stretches of wiring and have been involved in minor repair work. The income generated here is this:


Year         One         Rs 1,06,320
Year         Two         Rs 1,84,060
Year         Three      Rs 2,31,440


The self-groups have been equipped with a bicycle each. (B P)