People's Democracy

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


No. 21

May 27, 2012

Whitewashing Black Money


The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) issued the following statement on May 22, 2012.


THE finance ministry’s white paper on black money, presented in parliament, reflects a trite exercise devoid of any political will. Neither has any credible estimate of black money stashed abroad been provided by the white paper nor any concrete measures suggested to retrieve the illicit funds.


The paper states that the total amount held in the Indian deposits of Swiss banks fell from Rs 23,373 crore in 2006 to Rs 9,295 in 2010. The government seems to have no clue as to where this amount has gone. There is no assessment of Indian deposits in other offshore financial centres. The paper suggests that much of illicit financial outflows are round-tripped into India through FDI via the Mauritius route or via FII investments through participatory notes. Yet there is no specific recommendation to ban participatory notes or to scrap the DTAA with Mauritius


The paper cites the Global Financial Integrity study which estimated the current value of illicit financial flows from India between 1948 and 2008 to be around 462 billion dollars (Rs 25 lakh crore approximately). The fact that these are not gross overestimates can be seen from the information provided by the white paper: over the last two financial years (2010-2012) alone the Directorate of Transfer Pricing has detected mispricing (such as over-invoicing and under-invoicing of imports and exports) to the tune of a whopping Rs 67,768 crore in 1,343 cases. Rs 48,951 crore have also been collected by the Directorate of International Taxation in just two years, between 2010 and 2012. It is clear that these amounts detected or collected over the past two years still comprise the tip of the iceberg. 


The white paper reveals that the amounts of undisclosed income of Indians, who figure in the lists of secret bank account holders received from the German and French governments respectively, are Rs 40 crore and Rs 565 crore only. These are minor parties. The Indian individuals and entities who are holding bulk of the illicit wealth in offshore accounts, are yet to be identified. The white paper disappointingly reiterates the myriad technical difficulties involved in retrieving these huge amounts stashed abroad.


The lack of progress in this direction raises doubts over the sincerity of the UPA government on this crucial issue. The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) demands that a serious effort be made to quantify illicit funds stashed abroad by Indians and identify the culprits. Undisclosed assets of Indians located abroad should be confiscated by the government as per the provisions of the Income Tax Act.


STFI Holds Fifth Conference


THE School Teachers Federation of India (STFI) held its fifth all-India conference at Kaniyakumari in Tamil Nadu on May 17 to 19, 2012, with 826 delegates, representing 20 affiliated organisations from 14 states, participating in it.


The conference discussed the situation and trends in school education all over the country and concluded that the entire education system in India is going into a deep crisis. It also felt that the neo-liberal policies followed by the central and most of the state governments are dismantling the public education system, and providing opportunities of a big business to the private sector and corporate houses in the field of education. After having done a lot for commercialisation of higher and professional education, the government of India is now pressing the policy of public private partnership (PPP) in the name of world class education.


The conference was of the opinion that public resources and money are being transferred to private institutions, NGOs and foreign education institutes. Funds sanctioned for implementation of the right to education act, RMSA, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and teachers training programmes are being outsourced to the private sector. Funds allotted for public education system are not sufficient in any way, and yet big shares of public money are being given to private players to suppress the government schools. This trend needs to be stopped immediately.


In the name of quality education and equal standards in all the states, the central government is encroaching upon the rights of the states. The National Council for Teachers Education is busy issuing directives and passing orders regarding qualification of the teachers, syllabuses, teachers’ eligibility tests, recruitment procedures and code of conduct for the teachers. These steps, which are undesired and uncalled for, ignore the diversity of Indian society and amount to undue interference in the states’ jurisdiction. The code of professional ethics is purely a matter to be addressed by the teaching community. No doubt it is urgently needed, but it must be evolved by the teachers’ organisations.  The conference therefore said that such unilateral decisions of the NCTE are not acceptable. It said any uniform examination system will not be suitable for all the states. Therefore, this move of the UPA government must be opposed.


While saying that the private education system has grown into a big profit making business, the conference underscored that it is exploiting students as well teachers. Therefore there must be some regulation and the government must enact a law to control the fee structure, syllabus, salaries etc in private institutions. Social control over private institutions is very much required.


The status and professional dignity of teachers are under attack. Appointment of teachers on contract basis or as guest teachers, as Shiksha Mitra or Rehber-e-Taleem is a matter of serious concern. Noting that contractual appointments are made to pay much less to the teachers, the conference demanded that services of all these teachers must be regularised and full pay scales ensured for them.


Pay structures, opportunities for promotion, leave facilities and protection of teachers’ rights is another question concern.


In West Bengal and some other parts of the country, teachers are being physically attacked for political reasons. The West Bengal government is being intolerant of the democratic role being played by teachers. Some Congress and BJP ruled states are misusing the powers to change syllabuses and course contents. It is an endeavour to use education as a tool to strengthen their rule.


In this serious situation the STFI conference resolved to launch a nationwide campaign for strengthening the public education system, in defence of teachers’ rights, against centralisation and commercialisation of education, and for regulation of private education. It would strive to build a wider platform at all levels including KG to PG teachers, students, science movements, social organisations and like minded individuals. 


The conference elected a general council which, in turn, elected 21 secretariat members with Abhijit Mukarjee as president and K Rajendran as general secretary.


The big procession on the last day of the conference culminated in a public meeting, attended by thousands of teachers from Tamilnadu and Kerala. General secretary K Rajendran informed the audience here of the declaration of the conference.


Through its declaration, the STFI has made an appeal to the teaching community and the people of India to rise for quality education to all, for strengthening the public education system, for regulation of the private education system and for building a broader platform at all levels.