The Central Committee of Communist Party of India (Marxist) met from December 14 to 16, 2005 at New Delhi. It has issued the following statement:
Departure From Independent Foreign Policy
The Central Committee took stock of the national situation. It expressed concern at the manner in which the UPA government has departed from an independent foreign policy. The most glaring instance was the vote against Iran in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on September 24. The United States continues to exercise pressure on India to line up with its strategic interests. Keeping the Indo-US nuclear cooperation agreement for ratification in the US Congress in the forefront, the United States exercises pressure on the UPA government for further concessions. Under the various agreements signed, Indo-US cooperation in the military sphere is being stepped up and the US is urging India to buy a whole range of weaponry from it.
In this connection, the Central Committee congratulated the CPI(M) unit and the Left Front of West Bengal for their powerful protest against Indo-US air exercises at Kalaikunda airbase.
The Central Committee decided to step up the campaign to mobilise the people for an independent foreign policy.
Volcker Committee Report
The Central Committee reiterated the Party’s stand that the Volcker Committee’s report cannot be taken as final and conclusive. For twelve years, Iraq was subject to brutal sanctions which the CPI(M) had opposed as illegal and unjustifiable. Iraq had every right to circumvent these sanctions and protect its national sovereignty. The Justice Pathak inquiry should be able to establish whether there was any wrong-doing in the oil contracts pertaining to India. In this connection, the biggest oil contracts in India and the non-contractual beneficiary was a private oil company. How this occurred under the BJP-led government must be enquired into. The UPA cannot be seen to be shielding one of the biggest beneficiaries of the oil contracts.
The Central Committee expressed serious concern at the plight of the peasantry and the rural poor due to the agrarian crisis. Falling prices of commercial crops, indebtedness and unemployment plague the rural population. Malnutrition and hunger related deaths are taking place while the public distribution system has collapsed in many places.
The Central Committee called upon its Party units to take up the issues of land, food and employment for mobilising people for further struggles as the response to the Party’s September movement on these issues met with a good response.
EPF Rate of Interest
The Central Committee objected to the rate of interest of the Employees Provident Fund being reduced to 8.5 per cent. The trade unions have demanded that the present rate of interest should be maintained at 9.5 per cent. The government’s stand that the EPF organisation should find the resources for paying the interest is unacceptable as it does not have the resources to do so. The government should enhance the rate of interest on the Special Deposit Scheme (SDS) where over 80 per cent of EPF corpus stands invested which will enable the Employees Provident Fund Organisation to maintain the interest rate at 9.5 per cent. The Central Committee urged the UPA government to take such a decision.
The Central Committee discussed the issues before the World Trade Organisation ministerial conference being held currently in Hong Kong. The agreement on agriculture, the Non-Agricultural Market Access, TRIPS and General Agreement on Trade and Services are all issues which will vitally affect the people and the country. The government should not accept any terms and conditions which will prove detrimental to the farmers and the people of the country.
Pension Fund Bill
The Central Committee reiterated its opposition to the Pension Fund Regulatory Authority Bill in its present form. The CPI(M) is opposed to the privatisation of pension funds. The government cannot abdicate its responsibility to ensure to its employees the rate of pension which employees were getting earlier.
Tax the Rich to Raise the Resources
The liberalisation policies have boosted the fortunes of the rich and the big business while starving those sectors of resources which concerns the people. Corporate profits have risen sharply in the recent period. The super-rich in the country are indulging in obscene levels of conspicuous consumption. Crores of rupees are spent on luxury cars, jewellery, weddings and lavish parties.
The government should tax such luxury consumption and take steps to increase the tax-GDP ratio which alone can generate resources for rural development and social sector expenditure. This is the path to follow rather than disinvestment of shares in profitable public sector enterprises.
The overall direction of the UPA government is not in favour of the working people and the poor. The Central Committee called for a change in the direction of economic policies.
The prices of various commodities have been going up sharply in the recent period. There has been a shortage of LPG cylinders. Due to the shortage, the blackmarket price of LPG cylinders shot up. Due to inadequate supply of kerosene and diversion, poorer sections of the people have been suffering with the price of kerosene oil in the black market going up from Rs. 15 to Rs. 16 per litre. The prices of onions and vegetables and edible oils have also gone up in many places.
Another burden on the people is the rising prices of medicines and drugs. The government claims that inflation has been brought down but this does not reflect the ground realities where shortages and black marketing is pushing up prices.
The Central Committee demands that the government take steps to remove shortages and bottlenecks in the supply of essential commodities. The public distribution system should be strengthened instead of being curtailed.
Take Firm Steps Against Corruption
The Central Committee condemned the corrupt practice indulged in by certain members of Parliament in receiving money for asking questions. The exposure of such corrupt practices should lead to firm action against those found guilty. It is noteworthy that no Communist or Left MP figured in the list of eleven MPs who were caught taking money on the film.
Malicious Lie Exposed
The Central Committee condemned the malicious and false charges made against Anil Biswas, member of the Polit Bureau and Secretary of the West Bengal State Committee of the Party by a Congress MP, Adhir Chowdhury. The absurd charge that Anil Biswas has a foreign account with huge deposits of money has been proven to be totally false. The Central Committee supported the decision taken to bring defamation charges against the Congress leader, who is now in jail facing murder charges.
US Hegemonic Moves
The Central Committee of the CPI(M) took stock of the international situation. It noted that the United States continues to pursue its hegemonic aims in the name of “fighting terrorism” and promoting “democracy”. Despite mounting opposition to its occupation of Iraq, the United States is now targeting countries like Iran and Syria with the aim of extending its domination over the whole of West Asia.
Torture In Secret Prisons
The real face of the US war against terrorism has been exposed in the way the CIA has been abducting people of various countries suspected to have links with terrorist groups and transporting them in CIA planes secretly to prisons in eight countries where they could be tortured. Coming after the torture of the Guantanamo base prisoners and the detenues of the Abu Ghraib prisoners in Baghdad, this episode has further shattered the image of the United States which so loudly champions rights in other countries.
The government of India should condemn this practice of illegal abductions and terrorism by the CIA and demand that the human rights and the sovereignty of countries be respected by the United States.
The Central Committee welcomed the reported agreement arrived at between the seven-party combination and the Maoists in Nepal to work for the restoration of democracy and the setting up of a constituent assembly. The mass campaign for the restoration of democracy is picking up. The UPA government should not provide legitimacy to the King and should be firm on not resuming military supplies.
The Central Committee expressed its serious concern at the situation in Bangladesh where extremist organisations such as Jamat-ul-Mujahideen have been resorting to terrorist violence. Despite the government’s claim that steps were being taken to curb the activities of such fundamentalist groups, attacks have continued to be mounted against judiciary and secular forces. Some of these attacks have been caused by suicide bombers. Many of the separatist groups operating in the North East continue to take shelter within Bangladesh. The Bangladesh government should take firm action against such forces.
Observe Anti-Imperialist day
The Central Committee called upon all the Party units to observe January 24, 2006 as an `Anti-Imperialist Day’ wherein the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, solidarity with the Palestinian people, the targeting of Iran, DPRK and Syria and the hostile manoeuvres against Cuba and Venezuela by the US will be highlighted.