People's Democracy

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


No. 49

December 14, 2008



Joint Convention Protests Privatisation Of ICDS

Haripada Das

THE joint convention of six mass organisations has strongly protested against the attempts of the central government to hand over the ICDS projects to private hands, leading to the dilution of a noble scheme like ICDS which looks over welfare of crores of mothers and kids suffering from mal-nutrition and undernourishment in our country. The joint platform of mass organisations gave a call for a bigger united struggle including all sections of the people against the privatisation moves of the central government. It demanded the government to, instead, universalise this scheme for the development of human resources.

The convention was held in Agartala on December 7, 2008 at the joint call of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions, All India Kisan Sabha, GMP, All India Agricultural Workers� Union, All India Democratic Women�s Association and Schedule Caste Coordination Committee. The convention was presided over by a presidium consisting of Social Welfare minister, Manik Dey, AIDWA state president, Rama Das, GMP president, Niranjan Debbarma and AIAWU state secretary, Babul Bhadra. CPI(M) Polit Bureau member and member of Rajya Sabha, Brinda Karat was the guest speaker at the convention.

Addressing the convention, Brinda Karat said, following the directions of the Supreme Court, the central government was bound to introduce ICDS in the country. The anganwadi workers made tremendous achievements in reducing mal-nutrition among mothers and children belonging to the impoverished sections, drawing them under immunisation programmes and primary education etc. Now it is at the diktat of the World Bank and imperialist countries that the central government has decided to dismantle this important social welfare sector.

Lambasting the anti-people economic policies pursued by the UPA government, she said, during the last four years, the UPA government has generously increased the quantum of concessions for the rich and big capitalists, and reduced the subsidies in various sectors that benefited the poor. Referring to the injustice meted to the anganwadi workers, she said, in the beginning, they had been assigned to undertake only six tasks, but at present they are to perform 36 jobs, with neither any additional emoluments nor any retirement benefit. Terming the proposed �Mini anganwadi centres� in place of full-fledged anganwadi centres as an initial step to dismantle this women welfare scheme, she said, now UPA government is trying to place a bill on ICDS and get it passed in the parliament without discussion. It is time for all sections of the people to unitedly rise in support of the anganwadi workers and for the survival of the ICDS schemes.

Manik Dey, Social Welfare minister informed that in Tripuram some satellite anganwadi centres were set up, which are upgraded to full-fledged centre. He sought the people�s cooperation to keep a watch over the nutrition-quality of the food provided to the children. He urged the central government to see that no area of the country is left without the cover of this noble scheme. AIKS state secretary, Narayan Kar, CITU state secretary, Pijush Nag, AIDWA state secretary, Krishna Rakshit also addressed the convention.

National Integrity Day Observed on December 6

DENOUNCING the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya in 1992 carried out by the BJP-VHP-RSS Hindu communalist forces, the day was observed everywhere throughout the state as national integrity day. Processions, seminars, conventions and rallies etc., were organised. A big rally was held in Agartala which was addressed among others, by CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat.

Commemorating hundreds of martyrs, mostly CPI(M) leaders, workers and supporters who laid down their lives for the cause of national unity and integrity, Brinda Karat said, terrorists have no caste, religion and region. But they use these, in carrying out carnage and devastation. Secularism is one of the main pillars of our constitution which enshrines the right to religious practice according to one�s own choice. Our Party respects this right and urges not to mix religion with politics. We must take a vow to alienate the so called political elements who are out to disintegrate our country in the caste and communal lines and to consolidate the secular and democratic-mined patriotic people, to prevent recurrence of any such black day in the future history of our country, she said. Referring to the series of terrorist attacks in various parts of the country, the last one being in Mumbai on November 26, last, Brinda said, the need of the hour is to plunge into concrete action against the anti-national elements, and not the squabbles of the political parties engaged in mudslinging. At the same time, central government must self-critically review the loopholes and lapses which could not be plugged in, to prevent such attacks. Brinda said, though there are differences with the UPA government on many counts, the Party is ready to extend constructive co-operation to the government to combat terrorism.

State secretariat member, Gautam Das severely criticised the central government for its discriminatory attitude towards all terrorist and communal forces. While SIMI is declared �unlawful� for the same purpose, why Bajrang Dal has been left out, Gautam Das asked. Congress party�s lenient attitude towards Hindu communalism has helped the BJP and its allies to demolish Babri Masjid, Das said.