(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
March 25, 2012
THE WEEK IN PARLIAMENT
CPI(M) Parliamentary Office
THE first day of the budget session 2012 began, as usual, with the president’s address to the joint session of parliament on March 12. The president’s long speech, however, lacked vision and betrayed the government’s lackadaisical approach about how to achieve the lofty objectives that it preached. Subsequently, in both houses, hundreds of amendments were moved to the motion of thanks on the president’s address.
On March 14, Dinesh Trivedi, as the railway minister, presented the rail budget 2012-13 in Lok Sabha, imposing new burdens in form of fare and freight hikes. The rise in fares of second class and sleeper class was particularly onerous.
On March 15, the government presented in parliament the Economic Survey 2012-13 which indicated that steep rises in prices could take place in future.
On March 16, the finance minister, Pranab Mukherjee, placed in Lok Sabha a pro-rich and anti-people budget for 2012-13, which would lead to still sharper price rises and impose greater burdens on the working people. The increase in excise duties and service taxes across the board will impose an additional burden of Rs 45,940 crore. The cut in fuel subsidy by Rs 25,000 crore will lead to further hikes in fuel prices. Similarly, the cut in fertiliser subsidies by Rs 6,000 crore will add to the already high prices of fertilisers, affecting the livelihood of millions of farmers.
In Rajya Sabha, Sitaram Yechury, leader of the CPI(M) group, spoke on behalf of the party during the discussion on the motion of thanks on the president’s address. Excerpts from his speech are being printed elsewhere in this issue.
Speaking on the president’s
speech in Lok Sabha, Basudeb Acharia, CPI(M), said the objective of the eleventh five year plan was
inclusive growth, but the question is whether we have actually achieved
between the poor and the rich has increased as a fallout of the
economic policy being pursued. During his intervention, Acharia raised
issues including farmers’ suicides, workers’ grievances, growth in
unemployment, increase in poverty, starvation death, corruption and
proliferation of black money. He also said the Payment of Wages Act is
Speaking on the same subject in Lok Sabha, Khagen Das,
CPI(M), referred to widespread hunger and malnutrition in the country
years of independence.
Highlighting the plight of nurses during a short duration discussion in Lok Sabha, A Sampath spoke on the widespread discontent in the working class due to faulty government policies. In case of nurses in the country, he said thousands and thousands of them are not even getting the minimum wage, their work time is not at all fixed, and all labour laws are being flouted in their case.
Referring to how the august house, cutting across
party lines, expressed solidarity to the working class of this nation,
member said the single largest violator of labour laws is the
Speaking on the issue raised in Rajya Sabha in connection with the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill 2011, Prasanta Chatterjee said every political party must give its opinion on this particular issue. He demanded a discussion again on this matter as the house was adjourned sine die when a debate on it was going on earlier.
In the same house, Tapan Sen of the CPI(M) raised the matter of Employees Provident Fund, saying the government sharply reduced the rate of interest on it at a time when the rate of interest outside is increasing. He described this unilateral decision to cut the rate of interest on EPF as disrespect to the basic democratic principle. Denouncing this decision, Sen demanded that the government to immediately revoke the notification regarding it.
The next week would be devoted to discussions on the rail budget and general budget.