(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
August 01, 2010
Govt’s Obduracy Stalls
AS we go to press, the
continues to remain disrupted on the issue of the back-breaking rise in
prices of all essential commodities. The
government is refusing to accept the demand made separately by almost
non-UPA parties for a discussion in both the Houses under rules that
voting. In the Lok Sabha, the speaker
has ruled against admitting an adjournment motion which would have
voting at the end of the debate. In the
Rajya Sabha, the chair has not accepted but has not yet ruled against a
discussion under Rule 184 that entails voting at the end of the
The government continues
that it is willing for a discussion under rules where there is no need
vote. At the same time, the UPA claims
that it has a numerical majority in the Lok Sabha.
If this be the case, then why is it shying
away from discussing this issue under rules that require voting? Obviously, the government is not confident of
mustering a majority on such a vital issue that is affecting the vast
of our people very adversely. Under
popular pressure, the government is afraid that some of its allies may
support it steadfastly. In any case, the
UPA does not command a majority in the Rajya Sabha and, hence, cannot
discussion under Rule 184. This being
the case, it cannot, therefore, allow any discussion in the Lok Sabha
under a rule that entails voting.
Why are we insisting on a
under these specific rules that require voting?
This is precisely because the parliament has, so far, discussed
issue of continuous and relentless price rise on at least three
during the last year. None of these discussions had produced any
response from the government. The
government brazenly not only refuses to take any measures to curtail
rise but, on the contrary, has announced further hikes in petroleum
This has not only fuelled higher overall inflation but has directly and
indirectly imposed greater burdens on the people. By
insisting on the discussion under rules
that require voting, we hope to put the pressure on the government to
certain concrete measures to contain this price rise.
The fear of facing a vote, it is hoped, would
put sufficient pressure upon the government to concede some of the
demands that we, from the Left, have been raising.
There are at least three
concrete measures that the government can take to provide some relief
people. First, having virtually
deregulated the prices of petroleum products, the hikes announced in
must now be withdrawn. In the debate in
the Lok Sabha, on whether the adjournment motion should be admitted or
finance minister smuggled in a justification for not doing so. He admitted to have imposed petroleum duties
to the extent of Rs 1,08,000 crores. Of
this, he stated that Rs 24,000 crores will be transferred to all the
together. This leaves Rs 84,000 crores
with the centre. Employing a sleight of
hand, he claimed that the states put together have imposed petroleum
the extent of Rs 72,000 crore.
Therefore, all the states put together now will be receiving Rs
crore while the centre gets only Rs 84,000 crore. Thus implying that
governments bear a greater responsibility for burdening people than the
The sleight of hand lies
following: The entire burden of Rs 84,000 crore imposed by the centre
transferred to the people through a hike in prices.
The Rs 96,000 crore is the cumulative amount
of taxes in all the 28 states of
The second measure that
the Left had
advocated was asking the central government to release the huge amount
foodgrain stocks (more than double the quantity required for the buffer
to the states for distribution through the PDS outlets at BPL prices. This would have impacted on the market
depressing the inflationary pressures.
The government has refused to do this even at the expense of the
foodgrains rotting in its godowns. The
Supreme Court has now vindicated our position by chiding the government
allowing foodgrains to rot in monsoon due to lack of storage space. The apex court questioned the government as
to why it is not distributing the grain to the hungry instead of
allowing it to
rot. The government has only responded
with an inhuman silence.
The third measure that we
suggested was to ban the speculative futures/forward trading in all
commodities as these were driving up the prices through speculation. The volume of trade in the commodity
exchanges always reflects the degree of profitability of such trade. It is only when the prices of commodities
rise higher than what they have been traded for, that profits can be
made. The cumulative value of trade from
April 1 to
June 30, 2010 was Rs 24,55,987.26 crores.
The corresponding figure for last year was Rs 15,64,114.96
crores. This huge jump in the value of
super profitability due to inflation fuelled by speculation.
On all these three counts,
government would have been under tremendous pressure, if a discussion
take place under rules that entail voting.
It would have provided great relief to the people, if under this
pressure, the government would have been forced to take steps to
contain this price
rise. It is precisely this pressure that
the government is seeking to escape from.
In the process, it is the government’s anti-people attitude that
resulting in the proceedings of the parliament being continuously
The CPI(M) is committed to
and improve people’s welfare and their quality of life.
It shall continue the struggles to force the
government to adopt policies to this effect, both inside and outside