Sunday, November 21, 2010
The Central Committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) met in New Delhi from November 19-21, 2010. It has issued the following statement:
The country has been rocked by the startling exposures of high level corruption in the recent period – the 2G spectrum scam, the Commonwealth Games scandal, the Adarsh housing fraud and the rampant corruption of the Yeddyurappa government in Karnataka.
The 2G spectrum scam is a prime example of the big business-politician-bureaucrat nexus which has now become the hallmark of the neo-liberal regime. As early as February 2008, the CPI(M) had brought to the attention of the country the blatantly illegal manner in which allocation of 2G spectrum and licences were made causing a huge loss to the exchequer. The role of the Union Minister A. Raja was also clear.
Yet, the Congress-led government refused to act. The Prime Minister preferred to overlook such massive corruption, so that his government could manage to survive. After the Lok Sabha election, in the second tenure of the UPA government, the same approach continued.
Now that the CAG has confirmed all the charges leveled at the time when the allocations were made, the Minister has been forced to resign, but the government refuses to acknowledge responsibility for the gigantic fraud. That is why the government refuses to constitute a Joint Parliamentary Committee to investigate the whole affair.
The key issue is to bring to book all those who are involved in wrongdoing. The former minister, the guilty officials and the corporates who have suborned them. The first step in fact should be to cancel the licences of all those companies who have acquired it by illegal means. Further, as the TRAI has pointed out, the licences of those companies who did not fulfill the rollout obligations should also be annulled. Fresh auction should be held to raise the revenue to recoup the losses.
The Prime Minister and his government will be judged on how they accomplish this.
The government’s approach to tackling the Commonwealth Games scandal is also deplorable. It has appointed a Committee which has no powers. What is required are investigations by a joint team of the CBI, the ED and other agencies and prosecution of all those guilty in the scams. The investigation should involve not just the Organising Committee, but should bring within its purview all contracts and dealings by the Delhi government and the Central government agencies.
Rampant Corruption in Karnataka
The BJP government headed by Chief Minister Yeddyurappa in Karnataka has set a new record in cronyism and loot of public resources. This government, which has the mining mafia as part of it, has become the hotbed for all forms of corruption. The Chief Minister himself has been favouring his sons and relatives. His defence is that previous Chief Ministers have done so too. There is no other way but for Yeddyurappa to resign as Chief Minister. The BJP is no different from the Congress when it comes to embracing the nexus of big business and indulging in cronyism.
Campaign against Corruption
There is an intertwining of the interests of big corporates and contractors, on the one side, and the ruling politicians and bureaucrats, on the other, which are engaged in promoting crony capitalism, siphoning off of public funds and dispensing favours. This is the new liberalized regime ushered in which is now polluting and corrupting every sphere of public life.
Such massive corruption, defrauding of the exchequer and siphoning off of public funds is an assault on the people and the poor. The Rs. 1.76 lakh crore loss of revenue in the 2G and other similar scams could have financed a universal Public Distribution System, expanded the Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and enabled a big expansion of public health and education systems. The people have to be mobilized for a war on corruption.
The Central Committee of the CPI(M) decided to conduct a campaign against corruption and the big business-politician-bureaucrat nexus. The week-long campaign will be held from December 5-11, 2010 during which all Party units will hold meetings, dharnas and rallies to focus on the issue of corruption in high places and the need to bring the guilty to book.
The outcome of the visit of the US President Obama has been to promote the business and commercial interests of the United States and to draw India into a closer military and security relationship. The joint statement issued after the visit has talked about opening up Indian agriculture and retail trade for American MNCs. This will be detrimental to the interests of the crores of small and marginal farmers and small retail shop owners and traders. The joint statement spells out a close defence and security relationship which involves buying US weapons on a large scale.
The Manmohan Singh government seems to be falling in step with the geopolitical strategy of the United States in order to earn the US endorsement for India’s permanent membership of the Security Council. There are no prospects in the immediate future for such a membership to materialize. When it does so, it has to be on the basis of India’s independent role and influence and when the United Nations structure is democratised.
Jammu & Kashmir
The Central Committee discussed and adopted a report on the Jammu & Kashmir problem. This report deals with the historical background of the issue and spells out the Party’s approach for a political solution for the Kashmir issue.
The Central Committee noted that no steps have been taken to remove the security structures which are oppressing the people in the Kashmir valley. Though the eight point initiative of the Centre talked about a review of the Disturbed Areas Act in force, nothing has been done in that direction.
The Central Committee expressed its disappointment at the appointment of a group of interlocutors for Jammu & Kashmir who are non-political persons. If the political process is to be taken seriously there has to be a political group which can initiate the dialogue process.
The recent arrest of the absconding Aseemanand who is the main accused in the Hyderabad Mecca Masjid blast is further confirmation of the fact that some extremist Hindutva elements are responsible for terrorist activities. The protests of the RSS that Hindu religious figures and its activities are being framed for political reasons is disproved by the hard facts and evidence that has emerged.
The Central Committee noted that inflation remains at a high rate of 8.5 per cent and the prices of food items continue to rise. The deregulation of petrol prices has led to a creeping increase in the prices of petrol. From September, through successive hikes, the price has increased by Rs. 1.48 per litre adding to the inflationary pressure.
The Central Committee reiterated its demand that the deregulation of petrol prices be scrapped. It further demanded that the speculation in foodgrains and essential commodities in futures trading be prohibited.
Micro Finance Loot
The Central Committee expressed serious concern at the exploitation by micro finance companies who are charging exorbitant interest rates on loans given to members of self-help groups. The Central Government should through legislation, introduce a cap on interest rates and strictly regulate this sector.
FDI In Retail Trade
The Central Committee warned the UPA government not to open up multi-brand retail trade to foreign companies. The ministry of Commerce and Industry is pushing for such an opening. The Central Committee decided to mobilize small traders and shopkeepers and public opinion against the entry of foreign retail chains.
The Central Committee appreciated the efforts of the Party in the Maoist affected districts of West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia where people have been mobilised to oppose Maoist violence. In the past four months, people have been coming out in large numbers and holding protest demonstrations and rallies against the depredations of the Maoists and have isolated them from most parts of Jangal Mahal. The Trinamul Congress which is openly colluding with the Maoists continues to extend support to them. The Central Committee condemned the violent attacks by the TMC combine and the Maoists who are killing CPI(M) cadres and supporters in various parts of the state.
The Central Committee paid tribute to the 319 comrades who have been killed in the state since the last Lok Sabha elections.
Call for Campaigns & Struggles
The Central Committee called upon its units to launch a campaign on the following issues:
1. For a political solution of the Jammu & Kashmir problem
2. Against the communal forces and the terrorist activities of the Muslims and Hindu extremists. Uncover the Hindu extremist network involved in terrorist activities
3. For firm action against those involved in the 2G spectrum scam, the Commonwealth Games corruption, the Adarsh Society scam and the corruption scandals associated with the BJP government in Karnataka
4. Oppose the entry of FDI in retail trade.
5. Implement the Ranganath Mishra Commission Report recommendation on reservation for Muslim minority;
6. Stop disinvestment of the profitable public sector units
7. Bring the Women’s Reservation Bill in the Lok Sabha for adoption
8. Oppose the Seed Bill which is against the interests of the farmers and in favour of the MNCs and corporates.
The Party will launch struggles for
1. Strengthening the PDS and ensuring Food security. Ensure 35 kg of wheat or rice at Rs. 2 per kg in the Universal Public Distribution System
2. A cap on interest on loans given by the micro finance companies
3. Rights of contract workers; Regularize their service in perennial jobs; Defend right to form trade unions
4. Statutory minimum wages for workers in MNREGA and introduction of Urban Employment Guarantee Act