(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
April 05, 2009
CONGRESS-LED GOVT FAILS THE TEST
An important issue which featured in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections was rolling back the twin onslaught of communalization and commercialization of education which the BJP-led regime had unleashed on the people of this country.
Detoxification of Curriculum: While some measures for detoxification of NCERT textbooks were taken, the mandate to CABE could not be fully realised.
Allocation : When the UPA took office the share of total expenditure
by the States and Centre on education in GDP was 2.67% (2004-05).
This figure increased to 3.08% in 2008-09, far from the CMP promise
of 6 % allocation of GDP. In fact state governments account for a
significant part of the increase.
To Education Bill : Thus the most required legislation for the right
to education was virtually scarped by the Government. This was a
grave injustice to the more than 380 million people denied literacy
in the country.
Of Education: While private sector institutions including the schools
sector flourished, charging exorbitant fees, government failed to any
Cuts in Allocation: The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan saw a decline in expenditure which went down from Rs 12,020.2 crore in 2007-08 to Rs 11,940 crore in 2008-09 and has been further decreased to Rs 11,933.9 in this year’s interim budget. A large number of teaching positions have not been filled up on a regular basis. Instead, of lakhs of casual teachers, like parateachers, are in place who get wages even less than the minimum wage.
HEALTH SECTOR: TRAIL OF BROKEN PROMISES
The slogan of Health for All, continues to be a mirage in India. Contrary to what was promised, the Congress-led government brazenly trod the path of neoliberal reforms and continued the trends that were set in motion in 1991. Today in India the health profile of our people has deteriorated.
The early conception of the NRHM emphasized population control, and a
few targeted interventions on child health. The CPI(M) championed the
cause of a comprehensive and universal public health programme. The
sustained pressure led to a reconceptualisation of the NRHM, with
introduction of measures to strengthen public health infrastructure.
However the NRHM continues to be plagued by problems of grossly
inadequate funding and of measurers that promote privatization under
the garb of “Public Private Partnerships” and introduction of
“user fees”. The NRHM had envisaged expenditure of Rs. 55,000
crore per year by 2012 but for past 2-3 years it has stagnated at
about Rs. 10,000-12,000 crore per year. ASHA, the community health
worker in the scheme, receives an average allowance of 600 rupees.
This is unjust and unsustainable.
Financial Support To Public Health: The overall public expenditure on
health has stagnated at 0.9 per cent of GDP, among the lowest in the
world and ahead of only five countries—Burundi, Myanmar, Pakistan,
Sudan, and Cambodia. This belies the CMP commitment that: “The UPA
Government will raise public spending on health to at least 2-3 per
cent of the GDP over the next five years, with focus on primary
of Children: There has been very little improvement in coverage of
children by vaccination in the last five years under the Universal
Immunization Programme. 56 per cent of our children still do not
receive all the vaccines listed in the national programme. The
decision to close four vaccine producing units in the public sector,
led to rampant shortages of vaccines and rising costs. Under pressure
from the CPI(M), the Government gave an assurance that it would
reverse this decision.