People's Democracy

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


No. 18

May 06, 2012


On Violence against Women


This 20th Congress of the CPI(M) expresses deep concern over the steep escalation in crimes against women, and is alarmed by the barbarity and savagery of the atrocities being  committed at a time when women are entering public life, institutions of learning, and diverse work spheres in increasing numbers. The crude commodification of women and the portrayal of women as sex objects in the mass media is highly objectionable and is not only demeaning to women but creates an environment which trivialises the crime of sexual harassment and violence against women.


In the period between 2006 and 2010, crimes against women have registered an increase of as much as 29.3 per cent.  While registered cases of domestic violence against women have increased by five per cent over the previous year to 94, 041 cases the number of dowry deaths is as high as 8,391 in 2010. Yet there is a retrograde campaign to dilute even the inadequate clause 498 A which deals with this issue, which must be resisted.  The  increase in the number of cases of sexual assault and rape show that the safety and security of women is deeply compromised. There were over 94,000 rape cases registered in 2010, in other words in every hour, seven women/children became victims of rape. Many cases go unreported because the victims belong to the poorer socially oppressed sections who have little access to justice. In particular sexual assaults on tribal and dalit women are greatly under-reported. Shockingly, the conviction rates  in crimes against women is just  26 per cent which means that three fourths of the criminals get away scot-free. The failure to punish the criminals and the long delay in the judicial process is undoubtedly one of the reasons for the increase in rapes and gangrapes being witnessed in several parts of the country.


This Party Congress condemns the failure of the central government to make the essential changes in the legal framework even though Bills are pending for several years. India is one of the few countries which does not have a special law against child sexual abuse even though such crimes are increasing. Working women face increased cases of sexual harassment at the workplace, including horrific cases against young women in the IT sector, even twelve years after the Supreme Court guidelines in the Vishakha case, the government has still not enacted the required law. Even though crimes in the name of honour have increased the government has refused to enact a comprehensive legislation because of powerful casteist lobbies.


This Party Congress protests against the anti- women and utterly insensitive statements made by some political leaders who blame the victim or who call into question the veracity of her complaint. Recent outrageous statements by the West Bengal chief minister calling complaints of rape a political conspiracy against her government, even while the investigation confirmed the truth of the victims’ complaints are an assault on the rights of victims for justice. In Karnataka the ruling party, the BJP has refused to take criminal action against ministers watching pornographic films during the assembly session. In Rajasthan, the Congress government initially did its best to shield a senior minister and MLAs from charges of sexual exploitation and subsequent murder of a dalit health worker who threatened to expose their misdemeanors. The law gets compromised and victim becomes doubly victimised by such insensitivity and  blatant bias by some political leaders and officials.

This Congress demands sound, effective legal intervention to enforce time-bound punishment of the guilty. The social, political, and economic factors leading to escalating violence against women must also be addressed in a comprehensive and gender sensitive manner.


The 20th Party Congress of the CPI(M) reiterates its commitment to fight against the increasing violence against women and for stringent punishment to the criminals in all such cases.



On Unemployment


The 20th Congress of the CPI(M) expresses deep concern at the failure of the Indian State to ensure adequate employment opportunities for the masses in rural and urban areas. The most recent data point to a grim future for millions of young men and women if the present policies are to continue. It also shows that the much proclaimed growth story of the Indian economy is a jobless and jobloss growth.


According to the National Sample Survey data for 2009-10, there is a sharp decrease in employment growth in India, from an annual rate of around 2.7 per cent during 2000-2005 to only 0.8 per cent during 2005-2010. Growth in nonagricultural employment fell from 4.65 per cent per year to 2.53 per cent, even at a time when annual GDP growth was above 8 per cent, during the latter period. The MGNREGA has not been able to ensure more than 40 to 50 days of work per household in a year, despite the statutory commitment to provide 100 days of work.


The unemployment rate for the youth in the 15 to 29 years age group remains at very high levels.  For rural young males it was 10.9 per cent and for rural young females, 12 per cent. The figures in urban areas is equally disturbing, at 10.5 per cent for young men and as high as 18.9 per cent for young women. In both the rural and urban areas, unemployment rate among the educated (secondary and above) persons of 15 years old and above was higher than those whose education level was lower than secondary school.


Even though large numbers of unemployed do not register themselves at the government employment exchanges, the number of job seekers registered with the 966 employment exchanges across the country stood at a staggering 3.81 crore at the end of 2009, out of which 2.9 crore were educated jobseekers and 90 lakh uneducated jobseekers. As against the registration of over 62 lakh job seekers in 2011, only 4.7 lakh placements were made through employment exchanges.   


In this situation of galloping unemployment, the 20th Congress of the CPI(M) strongly protests against the virtual ban on recruitments by the central government and public sector units. The 20th Congress also strongly protests against the policy of abolition of vacant posts in various government departments being pursued by the government.  There are above 10 lakh vacancies lying unfilled in various central government departments, with the number of unfilled vacancies in the police and defence forces alone amount to over seven lakh. The number of vacancies in Group C and erstwhile Group D posts in the railways as on April 1, 2011 was over 2.2 lakh. Vacancies also exist for skilled professionals such as teachers, doctors, scientists, statisticians, economists etc. Half of these vacancies belong to SC, ST and OBC categories.


Since the government which is the main employer in the organised sector refuses to take measures to expand employment opportunities, it is hardly surprising that the total organised sector employment in India was only 2.87 crore in 2010, out of a total workforce of over 46 crore (i.e. around six per cent). Employment in the organised sector, public and private combined, has grown by only 2.3 per cent in 2009 and 1.9 per cent in 2010.


This reveals the real nature of India’s much proclaimed growth story. An utterly lopsided pattern of growth has meant that while agriculture’s share in GDP has declined to just 15 per cent today, the workforce dependent on agriculture still remains as high as 52 per cent. Growth in the services and industrial sectors is failing to generate adequate jobs to absorb surplus workforce from agriculture. Such jobless growth is also creating a growing divide between the urban and the rural areas and widening socio-economic inequalities in an unprecedented manner.


The 20th Congress of the CPI(M) calls upon its units to organise the unemployed people, particularly the youth, and launch agitations on the following demands:

v    Lift the ban on recruitment in different central and state government departments and PSEs; Stop the policy of abolition of vacant posts and fill all vacancies

v      Provide unemployment allowance to the registered unemployed; Modernise employment exchanges

v      Expand the scope of the MGNREGA to all individuals (not only to households) and enhance the cap of 100 days

v      Initiate Urban Employment Guarantee Scheme at minimum wages with a minimum of one-third jobs reserved for women

v      Enhance financial support for self-employment schemes, SHGs and small enterprises

v      Release employment data along with quarterly GDP estimates

On the Establishment of

Legislative Assembly for Andaman & Nicobar Islands


    The 20th Congress of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) notes that India being the largest democratic country should provide its people in its various parts with structures of elected governance to address their concerns.  But even after the passage of over six decades after independence, the government of India has failed to provide a democratic set-up with a legislature for the Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. 


The Congress notes with concern that bureaucrats reign supreme in the Island territory on the basis of their own subjective whims and fancies.  The people have no say at all in the governance of the Union Territory.  The budget allotted by the union government is also not being properly used for the benefit of the people.  This came under sharp focus in the aftermath of Tsunami  and consequently the relief and rehabilitation suffered severely. 


    The Party Congress feels that people of the Islands in general  and the working people and the poor in particular are deprived of their legitimate demands and democratic rights.  Democratic public opinion in the Islands  has been time and again, demanding the establishment of a legislative assembly for many years.  Attempts have been made by CPI(M) MPs in the parliament for accepting this demand.  But these have not yielded any fruitful results  because of the lack of positive response from successive governments at the centre. 


   The Party Congress believes that unless a legislative assembly on the lines of Puducherry is provided for the A & N Islands, the problems of islanders cannot be redressed in a  democratic manner.  Significantly, prime minister Manmohan Singh on his visit  to the Islands had assured an all-party meeting that this demand would be given a due consideration. 


    Therefore, the Congress urges upon the government of India to take immediate measures to provide legislative assembly for the Island territory on the Puducherry model thereby fulfilling aspirations of the island’s citizens.