People's Democracy

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


No. 36

September 08, 2013





CPI(M) Parliamentary Office


ON August 26, the Lok Sabha passed the ambitious National Food Security Bill, 2013  that seeks to provide highly subsidised foodgrains to nearly 70 per cent of the population of our country. Initiating discussion on the resolution expressing disapproval of certain measures in the National Food Security Bill, CPI(M) MP, A  Sampath criticised the government in Lok Sabha. Speaking in his mother tongue Malayalam, he faulted the Planning Commission for categorising people as above poverty line and below poverty line based on utterly false criteria. There were so many committees that were constituted for this purpose and each report contradicts the other.


The CPI(M) MP criticised the narrow interpretation of food security by the government. Apart from foodgrains, edible oil and pulses are equally crucial in ensuring food security for the people. “Pulses provide the protein requirements for the people of this country at affordable prices. When we talk of food security, why are we silent about the edible oils used in cooking? Without ensuring cooking oil and pulses, how can you ensure a healthy life for the masses?”, he questioned. Without the distinction of APL and BPL, the legislation must provide the right to food security universally to all. In this context he stressed the need for having a universal public distribution system in place. Sampath felt that the government was bringing this bill with an eye on the ensuing 16th Lok Sabha elections. 


While moving the amendments, Sampath demanded that sugar, edible oil, cooking oil and pulses should also be included under the purview of the Bill. At least 7 kg of foodgrains per person and 35 kg foodgrains per household should be made mandatory. Referring to the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General regarding the FCI godowns, he pointed out how required labourers are not being employed and how FCI’s own godowns and warehouses are being mortgaged to private companies. The point that foodgrains are rotting in FCI godowns was highlighted. In light of this state of affairs, he questioned how can the government strengthen the PDS without first strengthening the FCI godowns. Sampath concluded the speech with a request to accept the amendments moved by him. But all the amendments were negatived during voting.


Sitaram Yechury, leader of CPI(M) group in parliament, referring to the developments around Syria stressed that India should take a forthright position today in terms of international relations. We have always respected the sovereignty and integrity of all countries. The government of India must come out strongly against any unilateral aggression against Syria, he said.




Speaking on developments surrounding 84 Kose Parkarma and the arrest of 1700 Hindu saints in Ayodhya, Yechury expressed his deep concern and anguish at the conscious attempts to sharpen communal polarisation in the country. He said in the last five years, nothing much was heard of this Parikarma but suddenly it has been made a ground for sharpening the polarisation for political benefit. He felt this was not in the interest of the country. He asserted that if anybody tries to spread communalism in our country, stringent action must be taken as per the laws of the land. 


Speaking about the economic situation in the country, CPI(M) MP Khagen Das said in Lok Sabha that the situation as grave and alarming. It is matter of shame that after 66 years of Independence the country has the largest number of hungry people in the world. 84 crore of people in India are living on less than Rs 20 per person per day. About 1000 children die every day of malnutrition and preventable disease. Two-thirds of the people of our country have no access to potable drinking water. Seventy per cent of our population have no proper sanitation facility. About 60 per cent households do not have electricity connections. The sky rocketing number of unemployed has already unnerved the entire political scenario. He pointed out that a mere 10 per cent of the country’s population controls 53 per cent of the assets of the country while the poor 10 per cent control only 0.2 per cent of the assets of the country. Speaking about unprecedented levels of corruption in India, Das called for breaking the politician-corporate-bureaucrat nexus. The disturbing magnitude of economic divide between the haves and have-nots is leading to social disruption in many parts of the country.


The CPI(M) MP said the country is passing through economic slowdown with industrial production growing at the rate of less than one per cent in the past year. The GDP growth rate declined to less than 5 per cent in 2012-13 as against 6.2 per cent in 2011-12. The prices of all essential commodities have gone beyond the reach of the common people. The steady depreciation of the rupee is a symptom of the worsening situation of the economy. The balance of payment position has worsened with the rising import bill and the fall in exports. The fall in the value of the rupee cannot be attributed only to the external factors. He felt it is a result of economic mismanagement by the government and the neo-liberal policies being pursued. The economic difficulties had led to capital flows from abroad. India has a foreign debt of nearly $400 billion while its foreign exchange reserves have fallen to $277 billion. The repatriation of profits and dividends on investments constitute a big part of the outflow of foreign exchange. The rising oil price is increasing the production cost of all other items. Gold and jewelery import cost $70 billion last year. The government hopes that increased flow of foreign capital will help bridge the current account deficit, but this is unlikely to happen. The fact that the UPA government works in the interests of the big businesses is well known. The hike in price of natural gas to benefit a particular big company will lead to increase in the prices of fertilizers, power and cost of public transport, he felt.




Basudeb Acharia, leader of CPI(M) in Lok Sabha, making his views on the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill stated that the new Bill has many good things like the social impact assessment, resettlement, rehabilitation, compensation, etc. But when one goes through the various provisions, like the exclusions provided in the Bill, all these good proposals are going to waste; the peasants, the farmers will not benefited out of this Bill. He thanked the minister for accepting his six amendments. There are a large number of sharecroppers recorded and unrecorded. A condition saying ‘for the last three years from the date of acquisition’ has been imposed. This condition should be removed. When repealing an Act of 1894, the government must bring in an all encompassing and comprehensive Act, he said. Rehabilitation and resettlement packages should be given immediately after the enactment of the Act.


He faulted giving of arbitrary powers to the collector in cases of emergency and exigency. There would neither be social impact assessment, nor environment impact assessment, nor any rehabilitation and re-settlement after the acquisition in such cases. He said peasants are being exploited for the last 20 years of implementation of neo-liberal economic policies, when lands were liberally acquired at cheap rates and then sold to the corporate houses. “What is the basis of deciding the quantum of compensation? How can a land loser be rehabilitated if employment in that project is not given to him? Farmers are barred from going to the civil court against the decision of the collector. This is unconstitutional. This Act will not protect the interests of the farmers. Rather it will go against the interests of the farmers. It will serve the interests of the corporate house and that is why there is a need for further modification of the Bill”, felt Acharia.



Saidul Haque moved in Lok Sabha a statutory resolution regarding the disapproval of Securities and Exchange Board of India (Amendment) Second Ordinance and Securities and Exchange Board of India (Amendment) Bill. Initiating the discussion he stated that  the first Ordinance was promulgated on January 21, which has been passed in Raya Sabha but lapsed in Lok Sabha and that is why a second Ordinance was brought on May 29, 2013. He felt the government should have brought the Bill without promulgating the second Ordinance, and discussed it in the House. Using Ordinance route means that the government is conveying a sense of urgency. But it is not the case here with the post of presiding officer in SEBI remaining vacant for around two years. The SEBI is the regulator for the securities market of India. But SEBI is not able to play its role. Referring to the statement of the SEBI chairman a few months back about protecting the interests of small investors, Haque said the experience of Saradha Group scam in West Bengal or the Sahara Pariwar or the case of Reliance does not inspire confidence. The Saradha Group failed after collecting huge sums of money. They then cheated the common people. These companies like Saradha got approval of SEBI but they brazenly flouted all the guidelines. SEBI is the nodal central agency and the recent verdict of the Supreme Court in 2012, clearly directed SEBI to be the agency for necessary action. But it was not acting. 


After elaborate discussion in the House, while replying to the statutory resolution, Saidul Haque made three specific requests to the finance minister. Appoint those judges in SAT who are beyond any doubt and who are having experience of more than seven years. Secondly, strengthen SEBI and shield it from any interference of the finance ministry. Thirdly, instruct SEBI to take suo motu action against Saradha Group and other chit fund companies in coordination with SFIO and even with CBI so that such kind of fraud and cheating are stopped. The Statutory Resolution was, by leave, withdrawn.


Jharna Das Baidya, speaking on the Marriage Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2010, pointed that we are moving the main amendment to the official amendment. Our amendment is that the property acquired during the subsistence of marriage be divided equally between the husband and wife because of the three reasons. First, equal share on the property is woman's right. Second, leaving the decision to court to fix the quantum of the share would create adverse effects. Third, by clubbing the share of wife and children together, the equal share of the wife gets reduced. We will move the amendments for equal share as we cannot be party to liberalisation of divorce laws without necessary protection of women and safeguarding of their equal rights.


C P  Narayanan in Rajya Sabha, taking part in the discussion on the Representation of the People (Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2013, pointed that in our country, if a case is foisted on a person, and a lower court gives a verdict against him or her, they have got a right to move the higher courts. What the Supreme Court is doing here is that it is denying this to the elected representatives of the people. That is against the principle of justice. That has to be corrected. The government has to bring in Fast Track Courts. In a case, of any kind, against a legislator, the lower court gives a verdict. If she or he moves the higher court, it takes years. To prevent that, enough number of Fast Track Courts should be allowed, he urged.