People's Democracy

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


No. 19

May 13, 2012



CPI(M) Parliamentary Office


WHILE speaking on the working of the ministry of home affairs in Lok Sabha, Khagen Das said the home ministry has got just 4.9 per cent of the total budget allocation, which is much less than what some other ministries have got. This hampers work and needs to be enhanced. The modernisation of police force started in 2000 with the objective of meeting the emerging challenges to internal security in the form of terrorism, naxalism etc. But even after more than a decade, the objectives are still to be achieved. The scheme is totally under-funded and its allocation needs to be increased. While the ministry provides weapons under this scheme, the states have been demanding ammunition as well. As for the NCTC, the home minister said it is absolutely necessary but Das asked how the union government could encroach upon the jurisdiction of states in a federal system. No democratic society can give powers to conduct operations to an intelligence agency which is not under the oversight of parliament and courts. The NCTC cannot be implemented until and unless there is consensus among all chief ministers of the country. The home ministry has failed to control the Left-wing extremism in the country. As for the BSF Act, the proposed amendment is against the principles of federalism. During his intervention, Das also raised some other issues like arms and fake currency smuggling, particularly in Jammu & Kashmir, North East and some other parts of the country; desertion of nearly 46,000 jawans of paramilitary forces in the last five years; too many vacancies of constable posts, etc, about which the home minister must inform what the government proposes to do. Das also said four battalions of the CRPF deployed in Tripura have been withdrawn since August 2009, which is a matter of serious concern. These should be redeployed in the state, for continuing the operations against insurgents. There is in Tripura continuous presence of over 36,000 Reang refugees, migrated from Mizoram, for the last 14 years, which is giving rise to financial, social, and law and order problems. These families must be repatriated with honour to their original state at the earliest.


During a short duration discussion in Rajya Sabha on reservation for SCs and STs in promotions, T K Rangarajan asked how many directors and chairmen in public sector enterprises are there from the SC and ST categories, how many posts have been filled up with these people and how many promotions have given them. Even today, eligible and efficient people are not considered if they belong to these groups. This attitude has to change. The member also demanded representation of these groups in the selection committee for promotions.


In the same house, Shyamal Chakraborty spoke on the working of ministry of coal. Here the use of contract workers is in violation of the Contract Workers Act 1970. The government committed to fix the salary of contract workers in parity with permanent workers, but did nothing. It is reluctant and casual about safety measures also. The hospitals meant for coal workers are in deplorable condition due to inadequate facilities. Also, there are no hospital facilities for retired employees. The government has not taken any step to set up a regulatory commission for coal price. There is also the need to provide free education to all children of coal workers. At Raniganj and Jharia, the level of thermal power generation is low due to the Coal India’s inability to supply the required quantity of coal. It is evident that the future scenario of coal’s demand and supply is quite gloomy. The government has been allotting open cast coal blocks to different PSUs to boost power generation. But many PSUs, instead of exploring the allotted blocks, have given them back. The member also raised issues like West Bengal’s deprivation of coal royalty for a few years, need of a compensation package at market rates, serious actions against illegal coal mines and coal mafias.


Initiating the Lok Sabha discussion on the working of the ministry of commerce and industry, Saidul Haque said the country’s trade deficit is fast increasing. The share of India in the world GDP is 5.7 per cent whereas the share in world export is just 1.9 per cent. High volatility in the exchange rate is creating uncertainty in exports and adversely affecting the exporting sectors. To enhance our share in world trade, it is important to extend support to the micro, small and medium enterprises that create employment opportunities. Industrial growth has slowed down and the cumulative growth between April and December was just 3.6 per cent. Apart from various other schemes under the ministry, the member also talked about the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor whose completion is still pending due to lack of proper monitoring. He then urged for the creation of a Delhi-Kolkata Industrial Corridor. The other issues raised by him included the restructuring of the Tariff Commission, the setting up of National Investment and Manufacturing Zones under the National Manufacturing Policy, various free trade negotiations, proposals to allow FDI in retail and in pharmaceuticals sector and their impact, corporate control in domestic market, and the development of trade and commerce in the North East etc.


In the Rajya Sabha discussion on a Calling Attention motion on the discrimination and racial profiling faced by students and other people from the north eastern states in some parts of the country, Jharna Das Baidya said both women and men are not safe in the country, and more so in the metro cities. She urged the government to assure the security of north eastern people all over India.


Speaking on the Marriage Laws (Amendment) Bill 2010 in the same house, Tapan Kumar Sen said the bill was a reflection of the biased mindset against the weaker and vulnerable sections of society. In the matter of sharing of the marital property, it is necessary to consider the children’s share too. In such cases, while making an assessment of the marital property, it also has to be ensured that the real income of the household is properly disclosed. It should not be left to the understanding of the court. Ensured provision must be made for women and children in the matter of a house. The laws relating to the maintenance for women and children must be strengthened to ensure that they receive an adequate amount of maintenance. There must be some special arrangement so that women facing a divorce case do not have to suffer the legal hazards they normally face.


On the Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill, Dr Anup Kumar Saha asked why the government was continuing its ad-hocism and not taking proper steps to run the MCI, which is an autonomous and elected body. It is found that the Board of Governors is constituted arbitrarily and that its members are chosen mainly from Delhi and Mumbai. Why is there no representation for the eastern and north eastern zones? The member also raised issues like doctors not prescribing generic medicines or prescribing unnecessary investigations, the number of persons booked by the MCI for unethical practices, how the present Board of Governors could be regarded as better than the erstwhile MCI, etc. Urging the government to ensure proper representation for every state in the formation of the MCI, Saha asked the health minister to do away with flawed policies in order to improve the healthcare system and medical education system in India.


In the same house, P Rajeeve spoke on the Chemical Weapons Convention (Amendment) Bill 2010. He said the bill intended to give more powers to the executive and would open more avenues for corruption. Fearing that several chemical companies would be free from compulsory registration, he urged that there must not be any threshold limit for registration.