The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) met in Kolkata on May 27-28, 2006. It has issued the following statement:
Earthquake In Indonesia
The Polit Bureau expressed its deep shock and grief at the loss of over
3000 lives in the earthquake in central Java in Indonesia. The Polit
Bureau requested the Government of India to send relief material and other assistance to Indonesia for the earthquake-affected people. The Polit
Bureau conveyed its heartfelt condolences to those who have suffered due
to this natural calamity.
The Polit Bureau assessed the political situation in the country after the
assembly elections in five states. The Polit Bureau discussed the draft
report on political developments to be presented to the Central Committee
meeting in June, at Hyderabad.
The Polit Bureau decided that in view of the Left victories in West Bengal and Kerala assembly elections, the Party should conduct a nationwide political campaign projecting the political and policy issues which the CPI(M) and the Left stand for. The Central Committee will work out details of this campaign.
The Polit Bureau expressed serious concern at the increase in prices of
all essential commodities used by the people. Prices of food items are
going up continuously. The prices of sugar, kerosene, oil, cement and
medicines have also increased steeply. The UPA government has failed to
deal with the situation and instead takes satisfaction that the rate of
inflation has come down to four percent.
It is in this context that the deterioration of the public distribution
system is affecting the people. The UPA government sets limits for
distribution of BPL cards in the states, which have no relation to the
number of poor people. It is necessary to immediately strengthen and
expand the public distribution system.
The problems arising from the agrarian crisis have not been tackled
properly. Suicides by farmers are continuing in states like Maharashtra,
Andhra Pradesh, Tamilnadu and Kerala. The foodgrain production in 2004-05 fell to 198.4 million tonnes as compared to 213.2 million tonnes in 2003-04. In 2005-06, the estimated production is 210 million tonnes which is still less than the 2003 figure. The shortfall in production and
procurement has led to the government deciding to import three million
tonnes of wheat after the earlier import of half a million tonnes. The
farmers have got higher prices from private traders than the minimum
support price (Rs. 650+50 bonus) and the procurement will be less than
what is targeted. There is a projected deficit of 30 lakh tonnes as on 1st
April 2007. With declining procurement, food security and the public
distribution system are bound to be affected.
Petrol Price Hike
The government is considering an increase in the prices of petroleum
products citing the increase in the international oil prices. Already in
the last two years, the government has increased the prices of petroleum
products four times. The government refuses to review the taxation
structure for petroleum products by which the government has imposed a big burden on the people. Without reduction of the tax burden on petroleum products, any attempt to impose added burdens on the people will have no justification and has to be strongly resisted.
The Polit Bureau decided that a powerful countrywide movement must be
launched against any proposed petroleum price hike. For this, the CPI(M)
will contact all democratic and secular parties to jointly conduct a
Reservation in Education for OBCs
The Polit Bureau reiterated its stand on the question of OBC reservation
in education. OBC reservation has to be provided for in educational
institutions under the purview of the central government. As distinct from
the SC and ST categories, the CPI(M) has maintained that there should be a socio-economic criteria which ensures that the needy sections among the OBCs benefit from the reservations. The Party had also advocated a
commensurate increase in the number of seats in central government
educational institutions when OBC reservation is introduced. The Polit
Bureau supports the stand arrived at the UPA Coordination Committee
meeting along with the Left parties regarding the OBC reservation in
educational institutions under the purview of the central government.
The Polit Bureau appealed to the students and other sections who are
agitating against the reservation for OBCs to understand that the proposal
put out by the UPA and the Left parties will provide a equitable and
balanced solution keeping in mind the interests of all sections.
The Polit Bureau criticized the UPA government for pushing for
privatization of the airports under the guise of modernization. The Polit
Bureau reiterated that the government should not sideline the Airports
Authority of India which is a profit-making public sector enterprise.
After arguing that the modernization of Delhi and Mumbai airports should be done by private parties because the funds of the Airports Authority of India are required for the modernization of the other airports, the government is now moving for privatizing the other airports including the Kolkata and Chennai airports. The Polit Bureau demanded that the AAI should be entrusted with the task of modernizing the existing airports under its jurisdiction.
The Polit Bureau warmly greeted the people of Nepal for their historic
success through the popular struggle in getting the King to rescind his
authoritarian rule. Parliament has taken away certain powers of the King
including control of the armed forces. Nepal has been declared a secular
State. The seven-party alliance has declared that elections will be held
to set up a Constituent Assembly. Negotiations with the Maoists have begun for the political process to be worked out. The CPI(M) expresses its support for the efforts by the democratic and secular forces for the
constitution of a democratic republic of Nepal.