People's Democracy

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


No. 18

May 06, 2012



CPI(M) Parliamentary Office


THE second part of the budget session of parliament resumed on May 24, 2012 after a three-week recess. The Lok Sabha adjourned on the Telangana issue, demanding a separate Telangana state. In Rajya Sabha, a number of MPs took oath including CPI(M) MP, Tapan Kumar Sen, for his second term.


Speaking on the recent disclosure in the Bofors Gun Case in Rajya Sabha, Sitaram Yechury, CPI(M) leader expressed that for more than two decades, this issue has plagued our country. It has deeply impacted on our politics.  He said it is necessary to strengthen probity in public life and even today, defence deals are under a big question mark. Therefore, if there is anything doubtful, it must be properly investigated and the government must make all that public in the interest of the country.


Initiating the discussion on the working of the ministry of labour and employment, Tapan Sen said that the issue of labour is not at all on the agenda of the economic reforms; although it is the labour which keeps the wheel of the economy moving. This negligence is reflected in every policy of the government. He said the government should implement labour laws, stop unlawful contractualisation and discuss with the trade unions on related policy matters. The concept of ‘guaranteed pension’ has been given away and the pension will be determined by the speculators in the stock market. The Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill is aimed at creating a bigger space for private and foreign bankers and speculators at the cost of nationalised banks. As a result of the Insurance (Amendment) Bill, the insurance savings of the people would be utilised by the foreign companies. He said the labour minister has taken the initiative to propose an amendment to Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970 to establish the principle of ‘same wage and benefit for the same work done as regular worker for the contract workers’. All the state governments and all the trade unions had agreed to this. He asked why this consensus is not translated into action. He said when the interest rates are rising all around and the Reserve Bank of India is pushing up the interest rates for deposits, the Employees Provident Fund interest rate was slashed down from 9.5 per cent to 8.25 per cent. After Independence, it never happened that the Employees Provident Fund interest rate was below the interest rate on GPF. In the Central Board of Trustees, the workers’ representatives are resisting the proposition to channelise the provident fund accumulation for investment in the stock market. He remarked that the present economic policy regime is utterly contemptuous to the labour. This must be reversed, he said and urged  the government to make the entire budget exercise centre around people, labour.


In the Lok Sabha while taking up the discussion for the Demands for Grants on Budget (Railways) – 2012-13  Dr Ramchandra Dome pointed out that the rail budget presented last year was anti-people and directionless. The present financial state of affairs of the Railways is the outcome of several years of mismanagement. The 20 per cent hike in the freight rates, especially on essential commodities like coal, fertilizer, food grains, steel, cement, has further increased inflationary pressure on the country. Dome urged the minister to delete the provision of fuel adjustment component to passenger fares. Thousands of level crossings are unmanned in the country for the last so many years which are responsible for around 40 per cent of the accidents. Therefore, the priority area of the Railways should be to improve the safety and security part, he said.


Participating on the discussion on the working of ministry of health and family welfare in Lok Sabha, Dr Anup Kumar Saha pointed out that the overall increase in our health budget from 2011-12 to 2012-13 is 22 per cent, but adjusted against inflation, the increase is less than 9 per cent. Hence the policy commitment to lay emphasis on health during the 12th Five Year Plan does not get reflected in the union budget despite the pledge of the UPA government. The allocation for the National Rural Health Mission has been increased to 20,822 crores in 2012-13. Considering the huge infrastructure gap, this increase is inadequate. Reacting to extensive reports of resurgence of drug resistant TB in 2011, the Health department’s working group had recommended an allocation of Rs 5,825 crores on tuberculosis control for 12th plan. Yet in the 2012-13 budget, combined expenditure on Vector Control diseases, mental health, TB, blindness and leprosy has seen only a small increase, from Rs 2,160 crores to Rs 2,872 crores. Looking at the Budget Estimates and Revised Estimates of the last five years, it is disheartening to observe that there was substantial under-utilisation of the budgeted funds. The health ministry should streamline the monitoring mechanism and ensure proper utilisation of the already insufficient financial resources. There should be access to essential drugs at affordable price, he said.


Speaking in Lok Sabha, on the Demands for Grants – 2012-13 on the working of ministry of urban development, PK Biju said urban India is plagued by shortage of housing facilities and scarcity of land for social overheads like roads, footpaths, parks, schools and so on. The roots of these problems can be found in the inadequate, inefficient and iniquitous land policy of the country. The statistics indicate towards an alarming public health disaster in future. He said the ministry should take concrete measures to deal with this issue. Adequate fund has to be allotted for water and sanitation in the budget. Another important issue he raised was solid waste management. In many states, for example in Kerala, Kudumbasree groups participated successfully in the solid waste management. Such initiatives with community participation should be replicated in other cities of the country. JNNURM is essentially a reform-linked investment programme of the private capital targeting Indian cities. The government should pay adequate compensation for those poor people who are evicted from the SEZ area, he said.




In Rajya Sabha, while supporting the Right of children to Free and Compulsory Education (Amendment) Bill, 2010 P Rajeeve said that in our country disabled children are not getting sufficient consideration. There are certain provisions in the existing law but proper implementation is not there. With regard to the neighbourhood school concept, a better equipped special school may be more suitable. A disability-friendly curriculum should be framed. There should be some provisions to ensure training for teachers who are teaching differently-abled children, he said.


Speaking on the Central Education Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Amendment Bill, 2010 Jharna Das Baidya pointed out that the Amendment Bill proposed certain relaxations in the case of reservations and it extends the time-frame for mandatory reservation and seat-increase from three to six years. She asked why the mandatory reservation and 54 per cent seat-increase is not implemented even after three years of the CEI Act being passed, why is it the case that some of the CEIs were finding it difficult to adhere to the time limit of three years for creation of the requisite physical and academic infrastructure, why the mandatory 27 per cent OBC reservation could not be implemented even after four years of the Act being passed, and after two years the ministry of HRD had sent its guidelines to the CEIs. She questioned whether it was the lack of funds from the ministry or mis-utilisation of the funds available for implementing OBC reservations? Any further delay in the implementation of mandatory reservations and seat-increase will cause irreparable damage to the state of affairs in higher education in India, she said.


Initiating discussion by supporting the Institutes of Technology (Amendment) Bill, 2011 and the National Institutes of Technology (Amendment) Bill, 2011 K N Balagopal in Rajya Sabha said that we can accept the amendments proposed in the Bills except for some reservations about the BHU.




Prasanta Chatterjee drew the attention to a large number of incidents of violation of human rights in the country and West Bengal, in particular. The situation has gone up to such an extent that eminent persons of international repute and others sought the interventions of the prime minister and expressed their  concerns over the incident of lathi charge by police on the peaceful slum dwellers, the arrest of two eminent academicians and to keep them behind the bars and calling a victim of gang rape a conspirer. Section 144 is being clamped in several places, he said.


Seeking clarification on the written reply to unstarred question regarding the PF dues to the workers of closed tea gardens of West Bengal, Tapan Kumar Sen in Rajya Sabha expressed that the replies are incomplete and half hearted. He said, in fact, three more tea gardens are there in Darjeeling hills which have been closed long ago. The managements of these closed Tea Gardens have not deposited lakhs of rupees towards PF due to the workers. He demanded immediate action for depositing the PF dues in the account of the workers and also demanded stern action against those who helped the defaulting tea garden owners.


Raising the matter in Rajya Sabha regarding the advertisement of a cosmetic product allegedly demeaning and derogatory to women, Dr T N Seema said the advertisement constitutes an offence under the Indecent Representation of Women Prohibition Act, Indian Penal Code and Information Technology Act, 2000. No action has been taken by the government in this regard, despite being asked by women’s organisations like AIDWA, she said.

P Rajeeve in Rajya Sabha asked for a review of the decision of the government to de-control diesel prices in the country. Decontrolling the prices of diesel would create a catastrophic effect on all sectors and seriously affect the prices of essential commodities, he said.


K N Balagopal raised the issue of the website problem in the UGC site, with respect to the UGC NET examination.