Sunday, September 6, 2009
The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) met in New Delhi on September 5-6, 2009. It has issued the following statement:
Overall Political Situation
The Polit Bureau noted that the Congress-led government's record in the first hundred days of its tenure have confirmed that it will pursue the same neo-liberal policies. It has announced that it will further liberalise foreign direct investment in various spheres, go in for disinvestment of the profitable PSUs on the pretext of ensuring "people's participation" in the public sector and provide for further tax concessions to the corporate sector.
The direct tax code announced by the the government is regressive. Persons earning above Rs. 10 lakhs annually get a cut in their tax rates, corporate taxes are being reduced from 30 to 25 per cent and there is a further dilution of the wealth tax. This at a time when big business has earned enormous profits and the wealth of the richer sections has increased substantially.
Price Rise & Drought
The first three months of the UPA government have been marked by the relentless rise in the prices of food and essential commodities. There has been a steep rise in the prices of dal, edible oil, sugar and foodgrains. Half the country has been hit by drought owing to deficient monsoon. The government has done little to address the situation besides liberalising imports of commodities like sugar and announcing a diesel subsidy for the farmers.
The drought is going to lead to a fall in agricultural production with rice production being badly hit. This will further aggravate the price situation. The drought will cause great hardship to poor peasants and agricultural workers who will suffer from lack of employment. Poor peasants are being forced to sell their cattle for lack of fodder. In many places there is a scarcity of water.
The Polit Bureau reiterated the steps to be taken immediately to check price rise. These include ban all future trade in essential commodities, strengthening the public distribution system, ensure de-hoarding and taking of strong action against hoarders and black marketeers, and withdrawing the price hikes in petrol and diesel.
In drought affected areas the urgent steps required are: ensure distribution of food grain to all affected families in drought hit areas on an emergency basis; help State Governments through urgent allocation of resources to start widescale NREGA projects to ensure real incomes of at least rupees one hundred per work day in drought areas. Remove ceiling of 100 days and give work on demand. Where required food grain can also be used as part payment along with cash; ensure regular supply of drinking water and ensure fodder for cattle.
The Polit Bureau endorsed the call given by the National Convention on Food Security and Against Price Rise and the Left parties to hold state level conventions on the issue of food security, drought and price rise. This is to be followed by rallies in the state capitals in the month of November, The Polit Bureau appealed to all its Party units to make this campaign a success.
Free Trade Agreement with ASEAN
The Polit Bureau noted with concern that the government has signed a free trade agreement with the Asean countries despite apprehensions raised about its adverse effects. The state governments which are going to be affected by such an agreement were not consulted. The free trade agreement is going to lead to abolition of tariffs or lowering of duties on a range of agricultural commodities and industrial goods. Kerala is going to be badly hit as commodities such as pepper, tea, cardamom and palm oil are all items which will see liberalised imports.
The informal ministerial meeting held in New Delhi on the Doha round of negotiations in the WTO has decided to resume the negotiations on agriculture and NAMA at Geneva shortly. The Indian initiative to break the so called deadlock is intriguing. The negotiations had got deadlocked last year when India had taken a firm stance in defence of Indian agriculture and farmers. The text being negotiated does not provide effective protection to the livelihood of millions of small and marginal farmers against the surge of cheap imports of products from the advance countries who continue to heavily subsidise them. In the case of non-agricultural market access (NAMA) the tilt against developing countries is more blatant.
The Polit Bureau wants the Central Government not to take any steps which compromise the interests of the farmers and agriculture and of the workers and domestic industry.
EUMA & Ties With US
The End Use Monitoring Agreement signed during the Hillary Clinton visit provides for inspections of weapons and equipment bought from the US. These intrusive inspections are an affront to India's sovereignty.
India has also committed to adopt a civilian nuclear liability law under US pressure. Under this proposal, the level of compensation will be capped at $ 450 million in the event of a accident in a nuclear facility. Moreover, the responsibility for compensation will not lie with US supplier of the reactor but on the Indian operator, in this case the Nuclear Power Corporation of India.
The Polit Bureau appealed to all democratic forces to oppose such a liability law being passed by parliament.
The crisis in the BJP and the prolonged differences on the leadership issue is sought to be resolved with the intervention of the RSS. The RSS had maintained that it will not interfere in the decision making process of the BJP as it is a cultural organisation. This fiction has been exposed by the manner in which all the BJP leaders were summoned by the RSS chief and a formula worked out to resolve the leadership issue.
The BJP is nothing but the political instrument of the RSS. By this latest intervention the RSS will be further tightening its grip over the party with the consequent repercussions on the party's ideology and policies. Given the adherence of the BJP/RSS combine to the Hindutva ideology, the struggle to expose the disruptive communal ideology and politics should be carried forward.
The Polit Bureau heard reports on the preparations for the Maharashtra and Haryana assembly elections by the Party. It approved the decision of the two concerned state committees on the list of seats to be contested.
Attacks in West Bengal
The Polit Bureau condemned the ongoing attacks on the Party and its cadres in West Bengal. The spree of killings by the Trinamul combine and the Maoists have not stopped after the parliament elections. In the Lalgarh area the Maoists continue to indulge in targetted killings of CPI(M) cadres and supporters. In some areas like Khejuri in East Midnapur, hundreds of families have been displaced from their homes due to attacks by the Trinamul.
The Polit Bureau heard a report on the steps being taken by the Party politically and organisationally to meet the situation.
The Polit Bureau decided to step up the all India campaign against the anti-democratic attacks on the CPI(M) and the Left in West Bengal and to express solidarity with them.
Sri Lanka -- Sentencing of Journalist
The Polit Bureau expressed its strong condemnation of the sentencing of J.S. Tissanayagam, a journalist in Sri Lanka, to 20 years rigorous imprisonment. This severe sentence has been passed against him for expressing some critical views in his column.
The use of the draconian anti-terror law against a journalist who expresses dissenting views is a disturbing situation. The Polit Bureau urges the Sri Lankan government to take steps to get the sentence rescinded and stop the repression of the media.
The Polit Bureau had a discussion on the content of the document for the rectification campaign. On the basis of this discussion a draft will be prepared to be placed before the next Central Committee meeting.
Next Central Committee Meeting
The next meeting of the Central Committee will be held from October 23 to 25 at New Delhi. The Polit Bureau will meet before that on the 11th of October.