People's Democracy

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


No. 20

May 15, 2011




UTF Conf Resolves to Fight Privatisation


ON May 9, Sitaram Yechury, member of the CPI(M) Polit Bureau, inaugurated the 12th state conference of the United Teachers Federation (UTF), amidst an environment of the participants’ enthusiasm, at Martyr Appaari Venkataswamy Nagar in Kurnool city of the state of Andhra Pradesh.


The UTF is affiliated to the School Teachers Federation of India (STFI).


On this occasion, Yechury stressed the need of building up a movement at the national level, in order to fight back the twin threats of privatisation and foreign intrusion into the education sector. He said the role and responsibilities of organisations like the UTF have increased in the current situation and they have to be a part of the fight against the anti-educational policies of the government at the national level, without being confined to this or that particular state. He expressed concern over the burdens being increasingly imposed on the common people, including employees and other sections of the middle class, because of the neo-liberal economic policies of the UPA-2 government. He told the audience to support the people’s agitations against these detrimental economic policies, adding with emphasis that the Congress and the BJP are in fact two sides of the same coin, in so far as the implementation of these pro-rich economic policies is concerned. The role of the government in the education sector has to be reversed by fighting back against its privatisation drive and the intrusion of foreign universities in our education system.


The inauguration ceremony followed the arrival of jathas at the venue for the 12th conference in Kurnool. These jathas had started from 11 different locations in the state, where the previous 11 state conferences of the UTF were held. State office bearers of the organisation received the UTF flags brought by these jathas. Senior leader and former MLC, D Rami Reddy, received the STFI flag and M A K Dutt, another senior leader, hoisted the flag of the UTF at the venue. A large number of teachers participated in the huge procession organised from the STBC College to the Montessori High School. State UTF president S Narayana presided over the inaugural meeting that was held after this procession. The delegates observed a moment of silence over the demise first state UTF president, Koduri Narayana Rao, after Ch Subhash Chandra Bose introduced the condolence message.


Addressing the audience, Sitaram Yechury said there are two Indias now within the country. The number of the billionaires in the country has increased form 26 to 69 in the last two years and the value of their wealth now amounts to one third of the country’s GDP. On the other hand, more than 80 crore people are surviving on a bare minimum of 20 rupees a day. While first one is the ‘shining’ India, the second one is the suffering Bharat where utter poverty is looming large. Condemning this state of affairs, Yechury said the neo-liberal economic policies being pursued by our central government, as a part of the globalisation drive are adding to this huge gap between the rich and the poor. The profits of the capitalist class are increasing, whereas the purchasing power of the vast masses of the people is on the path of decline, he reminded the audience. He further said the petroleum and gas prices would be raised in the country soon after polling in the state of West Bengal ended.


Saying that the UPA-2 government is now implementing dangerous policies, Yechury said it has passed or is in the process of passing four of the bills that the UPA-1 regime could not pass because of the breaks applied by the Left parties. Here he quoted the example of the Pension Fund Regulatory Development Authority (PFRDA) Bill. While this bill was stalled by the Left parties under the UPA-1 regime but now the UPA-2 regime has introduced the same bill in the parliament, because it is now not dependent upon the support of the Left parties. He informed that when the bill was introduced in the parliament, there were 60 Congress members, 57 BJP members and 43 members of the Left parties in the house but the main opposition party, the BJP, voted in favour of the bill, resulting in the passing of the PFRDA bill with 115 members voting in its favour. Thus there is no difference at all between the economic policies of the BJP and the Congress party, he emphasised. It is thus evident that the strength of the Left parties in the parliament must increase in order to fight back these policies, he reiterated.


The other dangerous policies the government is trying to introduce are concerned with privatisation of the pensions corpus, invitation to foreign direct investments in the insurance sector and retail trade, permission to the private Indian and foreign banks to enter and dominate the banking sector, and accepting the currency conversion, Yechury pointed out. These policies would directly lead to imposition of burdens on the employees and teachers, he warned. The numbers of the contract and outsourced employees in the government departments is increasing and the number of permanent employees is getting reduced, he added. Policies to allow the foreign universities are being shaped by the central government which is also trying to tighten its grip on supervision of the school level education, he revealed. The funds meant for the government educational institutions are being diverted to the private and foreign institutions, he added. The Planning Commission had estimated that Rs 1.75 lakh crore are needed over a period of five years to implement the Right to Education law, but the central government and several state governments are pretending helplessness in this matter, by saying that they have no resources for the same. On the other hand, the 2G spectrum scam alone involved the siphoning off of an amount of Rs 1.76 lakh crore, he pointed out, asking why this money could not be used for the spread of education in the country. If this amount were utilised, the Right to Education bill could be implemented in a comprehensive way, without burdening the state governments, he suggested. It is because of such dangerous policies of the government that the role of struggles by organisations like the UTF has increased manifold, he stressed. We need to bear in mind that in this situation we all have to fight against the attempts of the government to withdraw itself from the education, health and other vital sectors, he reiterated. The UTF has to focus on educating the people with regard to these anti-people policies of the government. There is also the pressing need of electing the right kind of representatives to the state assemblies and the parliament, he emphasised.


Speaking on the occasion V Gopal Reddy, chairman of the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of employees, teachers, workers and pensioners, said that the teacher have to play a great role as the pathfinders for the people of the country. He expressed the hope that the government would accept the resolutions of the UTF conference.


Chukka Ramaiah (PDF leader in the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council), PDF floor leader MVS. Sharma, V Balasurahmanyam, K S Lakshman Rao, George Victor, K Nageswar, Y Srinivasulu Reddy, M Geyanand (all members of the Legislative Council), Satyapal Sivach (treasurer, STFI), G Pullaiah (chairman of the invitation committee for the conference), M AGaffur (former CPI(M) MLA), Telakapalli Ravi (state convener of Saahiti Sravanthi, a literary forum), I Venkateswara Rao (AP state general secretary of the UTF) its state secretaries and other office bearers also participated in the conference.