(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
May 31, 2009
Brace For Bigger Struggles
AS we go to press, the second edition of the UPA government is yet to constitute its full cabinet of ministers. Reports suggest that this will take place on Thursday (May 28, 2009), nearly a fortnight after the results have been declared. In 2004, this had taken only ten days and hours after the swearing-in, portfolios had been announced. 13 of the 19 cabinet ministers sworn-in alongwith the prime minister, last week, are still waiting for their portfolios. If such uncertainties also define the policy direction of the government, then there is very little hope for the relief that people expect in the midst of mounting day-to-day burdens.
the meeting of the Congress parliamentary party, where he was elected
to be the
prime minister once again, Dr Manmohan Singh said that this victory
the “challenge of rising expectations”.
He described the people's mandate as a verdict for “inclusive
“equitable development” and “a secular and plural
manufacturing sector, which provides a large quantum of employment and
has a nearly 80 per cent weightage in the index of industrial
its growth rate falling to a whopping minus 3.3 per cent.
The negative impact of the global recession
on international trade has been intensifying.
this means is that the existing levels of employment and its future
are set to decline significantly. This will only further widen the
between the “shining” and “suffering”
Instead of taking this only course available, India Inc., serving as euphoric 'cheer leaders' are hailing the appointment of Pranab Mukherjee as the finance minister and egging him to proceed on an unbridled course of neo-liberal economic and financial sector reforms. Gleeful at the fact that the UPA government now does not require the support of the Left, India Inc. is asking this government for large-scale disinvestment of the public sector and to immediately legislate on financial sector reforms, which the Left had prevented the last government from doing so, like the privatisation of pension funds, allowing greater equity for foreign investment in insurance sector as well as to allow the foreign banks to virtually takeover Indian private banks. Needless to say, very soon cries for full convertibility of the Indian rupee will also be raised.
India Inc. simply cannot accept the reality that unbriddled financial sector reforms, in the first place, have laid the foundations for such a gigantic economic collapse and meltdown leading to a global capitalist recession. The World Bank has estimated that 2009 would be the “first decline in world output on record”. India Inc. also cannot simply accept the fact that the pro-people policies pushed by the Left with the last UPA government and those reforms that it stalled, ironically, contributed significantly for this victory of the UPA.
Inc. seems to be learning nothing from the experience of the bankruptcy
the ‘gang of five’ financial high
priests of the Wall Street. Even the
Of course, what course the government would take would only be known in the President's Address to the joint session of the parliament on June 4. The finance minister has announced that a full-fledged budget would be presented and adopted before the end of July. This is constitutionally required as the ‘vote on account’ approved by the parliament expires on July 31. If this is not done, then a fresh vote on account, highly inadvisable, would have to be taken.
As pointed out in these columns last week, this UPA government has not presented the country with a Common Minimum Programme. In its absence, we shall have to wait for the declaration of their policy direction, not only for the economy but in all other spheres of social policy as well.
be the content of such a policy approach, it is clear that the
relief for the people and an improvement in their standards of
only come about through the pressures of popular and sustained people's
movements and struggles. Such struggles will also have to be waged for
protection and further strengthening of the secular democratic