People's Democracy

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


No. 47

November 22, 2009




Winter Session Must Focus On People�s Hardships


THE day we went to press, the winter session of parliament convened. It was summoned nearly two weeks later than what was promised to the leaders of the opposition parties by the UPA government. The Left parties have always been demanding that the parliament should sit at least for 100 days in a calendar year. The government is continuously refusing to do this, despite the fact that the speaker of the Lok Sabha has also articulated a similar position.

In our constitutional scheme of things, besides discharging its main responsibility of legislation, the parliament has also an equally important responsibility of making the executive or government accountable to the legislature. The latter in turn is accountable to the people. This is how the sovereignty of the people is envisaged in our constitution. When the parliament does not have adequate time, the sovereignty of the people gets compromised. If the parliament has to meet for a hundred days in a year, then calculating at five sittings per week without any disruption, it is imperative that the winter and the monsoon sessions last for at least six weeks each and that the budget session continues for two months. In this instance, the winter session has been curtailed to meet for only four weeks. It is imperative that any government must be mandated, through a constitutional amendment if necessary, to ensure that the parliament meets for at least a hundred days a year.


This session should focus on the hardship being faced by the Indian people on the economic front. The rise in the prices of essential commodities continues relentlessly, forcing many a required item outside the purview of the common man's budget. The recent drought and the floods following them are bound to reduce the foodgrains production, which will further exacerbate the situation. It is essential that the government is forced to universalise the public distribution system and completely ban all speculative trading in essential commodities. Unless these steps are taken, rushing relief to the common man appears impossible.


The agrarian crisis continues to deepen. The damage to land and crops due to natural disasters needs to be speedily overcome if the forthcoming rabi crop is to compensate for the losses in the just ended kharif season. This would require large-scale investment in agriculture and immediate hike in the subsidies to the farmers in providing them seed, fertilisers etc.


Refusing to learn from the experience that helped India manage the impact of the global crisis, the UPA-2 government is going ahead with disinvestment in the public sector enterprises, including the navaratnas. It is now pushing forward the financial sector �reforms� whose implementation the Left had prevented during the UPA-1 government  and it was because of this fact that India was saved to a large extent from the disastrous impact of the global recession. In the interests of the country and its people, this direction must change. The Left will articulate these issues in the forthcoming session.


Various issues of corruption are rocking the country. The CBI, which functions under the PMO, has conducted raids against telecom ministry officials regarding the scam involved in the allocation of 2G spectrum licences. We had earlier, through these columns, exposed the scam which is nearly to the tune of Rs 60,000 crore at least. On the other hand, former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda, involved in alleged scams of thousands of crores of rupees, has threatened to expose all the �higher-ups.� The government has withdrawn the case against Ottavio Quattrochi, thus effectively burying the Bofors case. These issues are bound to put the government in the dock in this session.


Apart from these major areas, the issue of the government's position on the ongoing international treaties on climate change and in the Doha round of negotiations are bound to figure prominently. In its eagerness to strengthen its strategic relations with US imperialism, the government may well renege from India's long-standing positions which were taken to protect the interests of the Indian people. These need to be resisted.


Many of the promises the UPA-2 government made for fulfilling in its first hundred days, like reservation for women and food security, remain unfulfilled so far. The government needs to be pressurised to adhere to its own commitment that it had voluntarily made to the country when it assumed office.


The CPI(M) will take up all these and other important issues with the objective of strengthening India's sovereignty, protecting the people from further onslaughts and for an improvement in their livelihood standards.


The struggles that will take place on the floor of parliament will naturally find their echo in people's struggles on these issues in the streets, and vice versa.