(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
March 13, 2011
AIDWA to Fight on Crucial Issues
MEETING on March 2 and 3, the Central Executive Committee (CWC) of the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) discussed the multiple ways in which women were getting affected by political, economic and social violence of unprecedented intensity. The CEC urged for a militant uprising against the policies of the UPA-2 government, both independently and jointly.
In context of the International Women’s Day (March 8), the CEC decided to conclude the 100th anniversary celebrations of this day of struggle with a march of women (1) against the UPA-2 government’s inflationary policies, (2) for food security, (3) for employment security, and (4) for security from the various forms of violence being perpetrated against women.
The CEC also decided upon militantly protests against the betrayal of the government in not passing in parliament the bill for 33 per cent reservation for women even one year after its passage in the Rajya Sabha.
Regarding the latest union budget, the AIDWA CEC termed it as anti-women, saying that it has failed the aam aurat (common woman) completely. In anger and condemnation, women will consign the copies of budget to the flames of a holi bonfire on March 17: “Budget ki holi jalayenge!”
The AIDWA opposed in particular the following feature of the current budget:
1) Cut in food subsidy by Rs 27 crore, which makes a mockery of women’s demands for a universal public distribution system (PDS) and a comprehensive Food Security Act, and the cuts in subsidies on kerosene and fertilisers by Rs 15,000 crore.
2) Proposal for direct cash transfer on kerosene and LPG to the below-poverty-line (BPL) families, which will push up the market prices of these items, facilitate corruption, and further exclude the poor and the women from the list of beneficiaries.
3) Conversion of RMK into a non-banking financial company (NBFC), with an allocation of Rs 500 crore, which will destroy whatever little benefits women have gained through the self-help groups (SHGs) and place them at the mercy of rapacious micro finance institutions (MFIs) and their exploitative practices.
4) Reduction in allocation for working women’s hostels from Rs 13.48 crore to Rs 8.97 crore, and for crèches from Rs 99.94 crore to 76.54 crores, as well as low funding and selective targeting of women friendly schemes like SABLA (for adolescent girls), and the IGMSY (Indira Gandhi Maternity Benefit Scheme).
5) Lack of central allocation for implementation of the PWDVA Act; inadequate allocations for SCs and STs at around 8 and 4 per cent respectively of the total expenditure; cut in allocation for the minority sector development programmes by Rs 200 crore.
The CEC said women strongly condemn a budget where agriculture, education and health have ceased to be the priorities and, instead, revenue of one lakh crore has been foregone in order to rush benefits to the elite and the corporate sections.
In regard to the upcoming assembly elections in four states and the union territory of Puducherry, the AIDWA CEC decided to work for strengthening the Left and democratic alternative.
Noting that the assembly elections in West Bengal, Kerala, Tamilnadu, Puducherry and Assam had been announced, the CEC said women’s struggle for equality and emancipation can be strengthened only if the democratic and secular alternative has an adequate political voice and representation. It therefore decided that the AIDWA would counter the increasingly evident disturbing trends that obstruct this struggle.
The CEC noted that the nexus between the votaries of neo-liberal policies and the extremist as well as communal forces is trying to undermine the Left, especially in West Bengal, in the most heinous ways. Violence and mayhem has been unleashed by the combine of Trinamul Congress (TMC) and the so-called Maoists, in which process innocent lives are being lost.
The CEC also noted that exposures of certain corruption scandals have pointed fingers towards the huge amounts that politicians of bourgeois landlord parties have been siphoning off from the exchequer in different ways. The consequent misuse of money power in the elections can distort the results, and lead to further misery for the people.
The AIDWA has pledged to take up this political task with commitment and gusto, in the interests of the women of this country. It has resolved to counter the attempts of the anti-Left, and anti-democratic forces to undermine the pro-people political alternative in this country. It has decided to join hands with other democratic forces in order to push the forces of reaction back.
Further, the AIDWA CEC sharply condemned the reverse reservation policy of the Haryana government, which is unconstitutional and anti-women. An application of this policy has reduced the percentage of women school teachers from 44 to 33 per cent and effectively raised men’s reservation up to 67 per cent. The AIDWA has decided to continue its struggle until this illegal notification of the Haryana government is revoked.