(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
June 02, 2013
CPI(M) Picketing Opposes Cash Transfer Scheme
MORE than 50,000 cadres of the CPI(M) courted arrest on May 24 while staging an agitation across Tamilnadu in opposition to the anti-people policies being pursued by the ruling UPA government. The agitation was in response to a call of the party’s Central Committee.
Protest actions were held in front of all the central government offices located at district headquarters across the state.
The agitation was led by CPI(M) Polit Bureau member K Varadharajan in Trichy and by another Polit Bureau member A K Padmanabhan in Tirupur. CPI(M) state secretary G Ramakrishnan led the picketing in Chennai.
While staging the protest actions, the party demanded implementation of the recommendations made by noted scientist M S Swaminathan to safeguard agriculture, control on the inflation which is currently very high, ensuring of food security for all, and refusal to allow foreign direct investments in multi-brand retail trade, among other demands.
T K Rangarajan, MP, U Vasuki, K Balakrishnan, MLA, and P.Sampath, members of the party's Central Committee, took part in the protest actions, as did the CPI(M) state secretariat and state committee members as well as MPs and MLAs representing the party.
These protest actions were held in a total of 402 centres across the state. Nearly ten thousand women were arrested along with 202 children.
K Varadharajan, who had addressed a massive protest action in Trichy, said the wrong economic policies of the centre had brought untold sufferings to the common man. The incessant rise in the prices of essential commodities was hitting them hard. “Around three lakh farmers have committed suicide in the recent past, but the centre is not bothered about it,” he noted.
The centre’s direct cash transfer scheme would jeopardise the free rice distribution scheme and the sale of rice for Rs 20 in Tamilnadu, he added. He said that such a move would not only ruin the livelihood of farmers but also impose heavy financial burdens on the common man. He was of the opinion that the size of cash transfer would not match the commodity prices ruling the market. Moreover, there was a chance of the cash getting frittered away on requirements other than essential commodities. Therefore, the proposed scheme would render the food security an unviable proposition. He said he would not be surprised if such a measure led to starvation deaths. The cash transfer scheme would leave the market open for traders to rake in exorbitant profits by jacking up the prices.
Varadharajan further said that while the state government had opened the direct purchase centres (DPCs) to buy paddy from farmers for the public distribution system, these centres would face imminent closure once the direct cash transfer system came into force. He also noted that kerosene now being supplied through the fair price shops at Rs 11 a litre would become a rare commodity. Education and health sectors had been highly commercialised.
“Charges of large-scale corruption, running into several crores of rupees, were being made against the union ministers. Even the prime minister has not been spared,” he said, while adding that the Left parties had been pressing for alternative economic policies to safeguard the common man.
The protestors also demanded an amendment to the Land Ceiling Act for distribution of land to the landless agricultural workers, issue of housesite pattas to those needing them, and guaranteed food security for all.
In Puducherry, the police took about five hundred CPI(M) cadres in custody when they attempted to picket in five places including Lawspet, Bahour and Villianur. V Perumal, secretary of the CPI(M) unit in this union territory, was among those arrested. As many as 50 women also took part in the picketing. Raising slogans, the protestors demanded a ban on online trading and on foreign direct investment in retail trade, among other thing.