People's Democracy

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


No. 01

January 01, 2012



Greetings for Mightier Struggles to Improve People’s Life


PEOPLE’S DEMOCRACY wishes it readers a very happy new year.


As we go to press, as 2011 ends and 2012 begins at least three important developments that will determine the status of our livelihood continue to unfold.


First, a legislation for the institutionalisation of the Lokpal at the all-India level and the Lokayuktas at the state level, to combat corruption in high places, has finally been adopted by the Lok Sabha. The first time that a bill for the creation of these institutions came up before the Indian parliament was on the 9th of May 1968. Before that bill could be passed on the basis of the report of the Select Committee, however, the fourth Lok Sabha was dissolved. The bill thus lapsed. Similarly, the bill introduced on the 11th of August 1971 lapsed due to the dissolution of the fifth Lok Sabha. The bill that came on 28th July 1977, in the post-Emergency Janata Party government period also lapsed before the recommendations of yet another Select Committee could be considered with the dissolution of the sixth Lok Sabha. Once again, a bill introduced on 26th August 1985 did not see the light of the day because of lack of agreement on the recommendations of the Joint Select Committee. Post the defeat of the Rajiv Gandhi government following the Bofors scandal, a Lokpal Bill was introduced on 29th December 1989 at the insistence of the CPI(M). This also lapsed consequent upon the dissolution of the ninth Lok Sabha in March 1991. During the United Front government from 1996, again at the insistence of the CPI(M) and the Left parties, a bill was introduced on 13th September 1996. The Parliamentary Standing Committee that conducted a detailed examination submitted its report in May 1997. However, once again, before these could be finalised the bill lapsed with the eleventh Lok Sabha being dissolved. In the second 13-month instalment of the Vajpayee led NDA government, after the first instalment of the 13-day government in 1996, a bill introduced in August 1998 lapsed with the dissolution of the 12th Lok Sabha in April 1999. In the third instalment of the NDA government, a bill introduced in August 2001 was examined in a detailed manner by a parliamentary Standing Committee headed by Shri Pranab Mukherjee. Though the government lasted for two full years after the report was submitted the BJP chose not to legislate. This is the ninth occasion that the Lokpal and the Lokayukta Bill has come before the parliament. In a sense, thus, there is progress with the Lok Sabha having adopted it, finally, now.


Secondly, as it comes to the Rajya Sabha for consideration the CPI(M) will press for amendments through a vote on at least four issues in order to make these institutions more effective. These relate to the manner in which the personnel for these institutions will be selected and appointed, with a view to make them more democratic and representative; to provide for an effective and independent investigative mechanism in order to ensure that no external influences operate while combating the menace of corruption and bringing the guilty to book; the need to include in its ambit the corporates and foreign funded NGOs; and, to ensure that the constitutional rights of the states are not encroached upon or violated by a parliamentary legislation.


If any one, or more, of these amendments are carried then the legislation would have to go back to the Lok Sabha for its approval as amended by the Rajya Sabha. The government can either choose to appoint a Joint Select Committee to iron out these differences in order to make these institutions more effective or convene a joint session of both the houses for consideration and eventual adoption of this legislation.


In either case, 2012 appears all set to finally establish these institutions after a four-decade long struggle for creating institutions to combat corruption in high places. This, however, may not happen automatically. This will have to be ensured through relentless public pressure.


Thirdly, as we go to press, Anna Hazare has withdrawn his hunger strike called to coincide with the parliament session, and has also announced the suspension of his jail bharo agitation. He has however declared that he will campaign in the forthcoming elections to the state assemblies. This is welcome. In a democracy, its vibrancy is always determined by larger participation in the political process and to this extent it is hoped that Shri Hazare and his ‘team’ come out openly with their political positions and leave it to the people to determine their correctness or otherwise.


However, during the course of this entire welcome campaign against corruption in high places, a crucial issue that remains either missing or brushed aside is the fact that the large-scale corruption and mega scams that we are seeing today are directly linked with the trajectory of economic reforms that have been put in place during the course of the last two decades. Corruption has been a curse that has accompanied our society since time immemorial. But the corruption that we see around today is of a qualitatively different and higher nature associated with the opportunities for sleaze and making the ‘quick buck’ as a result of these economic reforms. It is only the CPI(M) and the Left that is today highlighting the need to bring the corporates and the private players who are party to such corruption at high levels under the ambit of the Lokpal. Combating corruption thus is not only a moral issue. It diverts humungous amount of resources away from social development denying our people a better life. The effectiveness of this fight cannot be ensured unless it is linked with fighting these economic reforms that are continuously opening hitherto unknown avenues for corruption at high places. The CPI(M) is committed to strengthen the struggles on this count, which alone can ensure that the holes that continue to be created for such corruption can be plugged.


Unfortunately for the Indian people, however, the Manmohan Singh government appears more determined now, than before, to carry forward the process of such reforms even further. On the one hand, in the background of the deepening global economic recession, this will mean further ruination of the livelihood of the vast majority of our people; on the other, the drain of our country’s wealth through corruption and sleaze will also continue. In the new year, therefore, the Indian people must brace themselves for mightier struggles against such reforms in order to improve their livelihood status.


With the relentless rise in the prices of all essential commodities continuing unabated the assaults on the people’s livelihood continue to mount. As these continue to further erode the quality of life of our people, the struggles for a better life and a better tomorrow need to intensify.


Therefore, while wishing our readers the very best in the coming new year we call upon them to strengthen the struggles and popular mobilisations aimed at creating better conditions for the Indian people to realize their true potential for creating a better India.


Greetings for mightier struggles to improve the quality of life of the vast mass of Indian people and for the creation of a better India!



(December 28, 2011)