The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) currently in session at Hyderabad has issued the following statement:
Election Eve Sops Continue Brazenly
The Vajpayee government continues to brazenly dole out sops to different sections of the people on the eve of the polls. The latest in this series has been a string of import concessions announced by the Commerce ministry under the guise of fine tuning the exim policy. These announcements have come a day before the Lok Sabha is to convene. The government is once again abdicating its responsibility to be accountable to the parliament and people. This, once again, constitutes a gross constitutional impropriety.
The complete withdrawal of duties on imports of gold and silver; duty-free import of alcohol, duty free import of capital goods including office and professional equipment for the service sector etc. are clearly concessions being doled out in return for electoral support from certain sections.
What is worse is that these measures will worsen the already burgeoning trade deficit of our economy. The trade deficit in April-November 2003 widened to $ 11.2 billion compared to $ 5.6 billion in April-November 2002. The further widening of this deficit will only lead to external borrowings. This will worsen the external debt situation when between June and September 2003, the external debt has already increased by $ 3 billion reaching a figure of $ 112.6 billion.
It is obvious that the cost of such concessions will eventually have to be borne by the people through greater economic burdens after the elections. The PB of the CPI(M) is confident that the Indian people will hold this government accountable in the coming elections.