(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
January 29, 2012
63RD REPUBLIC DAY
Intensify Struggles for Basic Rights
On a similar occasion two
drawing from the wisdom of ancient civilisations, including
Unfortunately, for this
of the people of
In these columns, during the last three weeks, we had detailed the growing conditions of misery of the vast mass of our people. The continued state of ill-health of our people was ironically summed up by the prime minister himself when he released a report on the status of malnutrition in the country by saying that this “is a national shame”. Yet, nothing substantial is being done about it. Worse is the attitude to allow the matters to remain without any intervention by the government. Health and education are increasingly going beyond the reach of the common Indian. The spending on public health continues to remain less than one per cent of our GDP. The mushrooming of private health centres are designed only to cater to the rich.
Likewise education has
thoroughly privatised and commercialised.
There are widespread reports of the closure of government
schools. Despite the government accepted target of spending at least 6
of our GDP on education, we are still nowhere near the half mark. This is the sorry state of affairs inspite of
the fact that the parliament has amended the constitution to provide
right to education for all our children between the age groups of six
fourteen. This right has to be delivered through public spending. Rather than delivering we seem to be moving
away from fulfilling this commitment to our younger generation – the
How much does it cost to put every child in school? The NCERT has estimated that we would require to spend Rs 35,000 crores every year for five years to fulfill this target. A period of five years is required for the building of new schools, recruiting lakhs of new teachers, make provisions for mid-day meals, textbooks etc etc. Cumulatively, this amounts to Rs 1,75,000 crores over five years. This amount is a thousand crores less than what has been looted in the 2G spectrum scam!
Likewise, the commitment for food security for our people continues to remain on paper. It has been estimated that to provide 35 kg of foodgrains at Rs 3/kg, the CPI(M) has been demanding that this should be at Rs 2/kg, for all families in the country (APL+BPL), would cost the exchequer an additional expenditure of Rs 88,000 crores annually. This is exactly half the amount looted in the 2G spectrum scam!
It is not that
Yet, this UPA-II government continues to refuse to allow the parliament to enact an effective Lokpal and Lokayuktas to combat corruption at high places. It is not that the government, in the process is merely abdicating its responsibilities to fulfill the obligations made to the people by our republican constitution. It is abdicating these responsibilities through a shift in the priorities of the State which today are focused on facilitating profit maximisation by creating new avenues for the loot of our country’s resources.
Clearly, unless the trajectory of the economic policies are made to radically shift away from favouring profit maximisers towards improving people’s welfare, our constitutional obligations can never be fulfilled. Through these columns in the past, we had shown that if the massive tax concessions to the rich were instead deployed through public investments, particularly in agriculture, then much of the distress of the Indian people that is leading to an increase in the inhuman distress suicides of our farmers can be prevented. This would have also generated the much-needed additional employment vastly improving the livelihood quality of our people.
This is not to suggest
This 63rd Republic Day,
beckons all patriotic Indians to strengthen such struggles, so that
rights of the people can materialise into the reality of a better
(January 25, 2011)