People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
June 03, 2007
POLIT BUREAU WARNS AGAINST ECHOING ‘INDIA SHINING’
Price Rise: Biggest Failure Of UPA Govt
The CPI(M) Polit Bureau has termed the runaway inflation and price rise as the biggest failure of the UPA government so far. Strongly criticising finance minister P Chidambaram for seeking to justify the present pattern of ‘exclusive-for corporates’ growth, the Polit Bureau warned the government and the UPA that such understanding would cost them dearly. The Polit Bureau called upon all units of the Party to continue to conduct struggles to ensure curbing of price rise and for food security.
Addressing the media immediately after conclusion of the two-day meeting of the Polit Bureau in New Delhi on May 26, 2007, Party general secretary Prakash Karat gave out details of the deliberations and the decisions taken. Saying that the government was talking in strange terms regarding price rise, Karat singled out Chidambaram for attack citing his callous statement that “some inflation is a price for growth”. He said this understanding is an echo of NDA’s Shining India argument and warned the government against subscribing to it. He put forth certain demands regarding this, among which included banning futures trading in all essential commodities, raids against suspected hoarders etc.
On presidential polls, Karat said that consultations are going on with a number of parties, both within and outside UPA, including Congress. He said the Left parties had met and set out certain criteria for choosing the candidate. Once UPA-Left combine comes to an understanding on a candidate that person can become the president because of the composition of the present electoral college. Saying that the ongoing consultations have not reached a stage where a candidate has been zeroed in, Karat said the Polit Bureau has asked that all options must be explored in finding such a candidate. When asked about specific names, Karat said daily a new name is being added to the list of probables in the media. He refused to comment on any name but said “nobody has been ruled in or nobody has been ruled out”.
Prakash Karat read out the text of the resolution adopted by the Polit Bureau suspending V S Achuthanandan and Pinarayi Vijayan from Polit Bureau for violating norms of the Party and clear directive of the Polit Bureau and the central committee that the state Party leadership should not air their differences publicly.
The following is the full text of the communiqué issued by the Polit Bureau after the meeting:
On Presidential Elections
THE Polit Bureau discussed the prospects for the forthcoming presidential elections. It reiterated the stand taken by the Left parties that the person occupying the post of president must have a political background and firm secular credential. The future president must be able to exercise judgement to maintain the balance between the parliament, executive and the judiciary. The Polit Bureau decided to explore all options to select the most suitable candidate in consultation with the UPA and other parties.
Price Rise And PDS
The utter failure of the government to control prices, contrary to its claims of anti-inflationary measures is a matter of deep concern. The year on year inflation rate for non-manual urban employees between April 2006-2007 was as high as 7.7 percent. Even more revealing, the food and beverages index shows a whopping 10.5 percent increase over last year. There would be a similar rise for other consumer price index for rural and industrial workers. The unacceptable huge burden due to price rise of essential commodities on the working classes and employees makes a mockery of the assurances of food security in the Common Minimum Programme. The finance minister has, in fact, argued in a most callous manner that “some inflation is a price for growth,” thus justifying the present pattern of exclusive-for-corporates growth pattern.
The CPI(M) warns the government and UPA that this understanding, an echo of the NDA’s ‘Shining India’ argument, will cost the government dearly. The CPI(M) suggests that the following steps should be taken on a priority basis: (1) Ban on futures trading in all essential commodities as recommended by the parliamentary standing committee; (2) since there is no check on inter-state movement of wheat, the centre must set central stock limits for wheat and ensure raids against suspected hoarders; (3) immediately expand the percentage of BPL lists eligible for subsidised foodgrains and bring one crore more people with specific priority to tribals in the Antyodaya system; (4e Expand commodities for APL. These are interim measures towards universalisation of the PDS.
The CPI(M) also expresses its concern about the dismal record of official procurement of wheat which is not even two-thirds of the already low target of 150 lakh tonnes. It demands that the government ensure the country’s self-sufficiency in foodgrains by making every effort to step up procurement. It is preferable to give Indian farmers, particularly small and middle level farmers, a better price than to spend national resources for the profit of big traders by importing wheat.
The Polit Bureau calls upon its party units to continue to conduct struggles to achieve these demands to curb price-rise and for food security.
Indo-US Nuclear Cooperation Agreement
The Polit Bureau noted the statement of the US representative for the negotiations on the Indo-US nuclear cooperation agreement that 90 percent of the agreement has been arrived at. The Polit Bureau had already strongly criticised the letter written by seven US Congressmen to the prime minister demanding that India terminate cooperation with Iran in the energy sector and military spheres as conditions for concluding the nuclear cooperation agreement.
In this connection, the Polit Bureau emphasises that the Hyde Act adopted by the US Congress has set out unacceptable terms on how India should conduct itself with regard to Iran and other foreign policy issues. The Polit Bureau reiterates that the 123 agreement should not be negotiated without the United States clarifying all the issues which were raised in the prime minister’s statement to parliament in August 2006.
Unorganised Workers Legislation
The Polit Bureau noted that the provisions of the bill for the social security of unorganised workers approved by the cabinet are totally inadequate. It does not meet the basic requirements of the workers in this most exploited sector. The Polit Bureau decided to prepare a critique of the draft legislation and suggest alternative provisions.
Pension Fund Decision
The Polit Bureau reiterated its strong opposition to the decision to handover the pension fund of government employees to pension fund companies in which 26 percent FDI will be allowed. The organisations of the government employees movement, both the central and state level, have expressed their strong opposition to the PFRDA Bill. This is a backdoor attempt to bring its provisions into force. The UPA should immediately rescind this decision.
Stop Repression In Andhra Pradesh
The Polit Bureau greeted the statewide struggle launched by the party, the Left and mass organisations in Andhra Pradesh. Tens of thousands of people have participated in the struggle for house sites and land all over the state. The Andhra Pradesh state government has unleashed repression on the movement. The police conducted lathicharges in 114 centres, in many places in a brutal fashion. Cases have been registered against 8,000 party cadres and people who participated in the movement. 952 people were arrested and sent to jail of which 333 are still in prison.
The Polit Bureau demanded that the Congress government stop the repression against the land movement and arrive at a settlement on their demands.
The Polit Bureau expressed its concern at the tensions and clashes which occurred in Punjab following the controversial act by the chief of the Dera Sacha Sauda. The call for a bandh by the Akal Takht and the religious extremism on display were disturbing. The Akali Dal government should take a firm stand against the manifestation for religious extremism. The Polit Bureau appealed to all sections of the people of Punjab to rebuff the extremists on both sides and ensure peace and communal amity are maintained.
One Year of LDF Government of Kerala
The LDF government in Kerala has completed one year in office this month. The Polit Bureau appreciated the performance of the LDF government headed by V S Achuthanandan. The revival of public sector units, measures to tackle price-rise, agreement on the Smart City project and the firm action by the government against encroachment in Munnar recently, have won popular approval and enhanced the image of the government.
30th Anniversary of Left Front Government of West Bengal
The Polit Bureau decided that, alongwith the Left parties, the 30th anniversary of the Left Front government of West Bengal which falls in June 2007 should be observed. For this, a countrywide campaign should be organised to highlight the achievements and the remarkable record of the Left Front government in the last three decades.
The next meeting of the Central Committee will be held from June 24 to 26, 2007 at New Delhi.