Memo to Minister -- Save MNREGA

In both the Houses of Parliament on November, the issue of “Save MGNREGA, Save the Poor” was raised and in protest against the Union Government’s refusal to reply to the issues raised by CPI(M) MPs, MPs of Left Parties staged a walkout and joined the dharna at Jantar Mantar. The MPs succeeded in getting the assurance from the Presiding Officers of both the Houses that a separate structured discussion on this issue will be permitted soon. Shri Sitaram Yechury, Member, Polit Bureau and Leader, CPI(M) Group in Rajya Sabha and P. Karunakaran, Member, Central Committee and Leader, CPI(M) Group in Lok Sabha submitted a memorandum to Birender Singh, Minister for Rural Development, Government of India.

Moves to Curtail MNREGA Will Not Be Tolerated

Speaker after speaker reminded the audience that the MNREGA was enacted by the UPA-I government because of the pressure mounted by the Left parties, on whose support they were dependent then. They lamented the fact that instead of making improvements in the implementation of MGNREGA to increase the number of workdays from the current dismal national average of 45 days to its full potential of 100 days, the BJP government is seeking to curtail and subvert the character of the employment guarantee scheme. They termed the moves to curtail the MGNREGA as a serious onslaught on the “rights and livelihood of the rural poor”.

Thousands Protest Dilution of MNREGA

Slogans of `Save MGNREGA, Save the Poor’ reverberated at Jantar Mantar in Delhi today as thousands of MGNREGA workers joined the CPI(M) leadership in their dharna. Manik Sarkar, Chief Minister of Tripura became the first Chief Minister in the country to have to protest on the street because of the Central Government policy which has deprived Tripura of 50 per cent of its due. The dharna was inaugurated by Prakash Karat, General Secretary of CPI(M) who said that the Modi government is acting at the behest of the corporates and the vested interests in the rural areas who are now compelled to pay higher wages since the implementation of the scheme. He said that the Party will resist and fight.

C.C. Communiqué

The Central Committee discussed the Draft Review Report of the Political-Tactical Line of the Party. This review was undertaken in order to identify any weaknesses or shortcomings which need to be corrected to ensure the growth of the independent strength of the Party and to be able to advance the struggle for a Left and democratic front. After the discussions, the Central Committee authorized the Polit Bureau to present a revised draft on the lines suggested by the PB for approval in the next meeting of the Central Committee.The next Central Committee meeting in January will also adopt the Draft Political resolution and both these documents will be released for discussions within the Party in the run-up to the 21st Congress.

Polit Bureau Communiqué

The Polit Bureau took serious note of the fact that the United States has sought to pressurize India on the Indian Patent law and Intellectual Property Rights policy. It also sought the dilution of the civil nuclear liability law of the country. Both these are reflected in the joint statement issued by Prime Minister Modi and President Obama. The joint statement announced the decision to set up an Intellectual Property Working Group. The US pharmaceutical companies have been demanding that India dilute its present patent regime which has utilised the flexibilities provided in the TRIPS agreement. It is this which helps to keep drug prices low for the people in India.

On Union Budget

The budget essentially fails to chart a trajectory to increase growth and investment, create employment and check inflation that was needed in the current scenario. It is a budget relying more on privatisation and foreign investment and short on innovative ideas to increase revenue. The budget is grossly regressive and anti-people and would increase the burden on the common people.

On Moves to Scrap MGNREGA

A party which promised job creation during its election campaign is now suggesting the elimination of the only legal guarantee for creation of jobs, namely MGNREGA. The last years of the UPA government had also seen MGNREGA become a hostage to fiscal considerations and funds were severely cut.

Stop Retrograde Amendment of MNREGA

The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) strongly opposes the reported attempt by the Central government to amend the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act in so far as it provides for only a one time adherence to minimum wages and a commitment to just provide funds to cover wages up to this extent for all times to come, except for an annual inflation linked revision.

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