June 20, 2016
The Central Committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) met in New Delhi from June 18 to 20, 2016. It has issued the following statement:
Increasing Burdens on the People
The BJP-led NDA government has recently celebrated its two years of existence making many bombastic claims in all political and social facets of the country’s life. Notwithstanding these claims, the reality for the vast mass of our people is one of greater burdens being imposed. The economy is not being able to provide any better livelihood conditions for the vast majority of our people. In fact these are worsening.
Prices of essential commodities led by prices of food articles are once again on a rampage. The prices of dal, the staple diet for all Indians has skyrocketed. For the month of May 2016 the official wholesale price index and the rate of inflation on a year to year basis released by the government agencies shows an increase of 35.56 for pulses, 12.92 per cent for vegetables, 22.3 per cent for sugar, with all India food articles registering over 8 per cent rate of inflation.
The prices of petroleum products, particularly diesel are being raised at an alarming frequency. In fact on June 13 the price of diesel and petrol were hiked once again and diesel by Re. 1.26. This is the fourth increase in the prices of petroleum products in the last six weeks. With the rising prices of diesel the misery of the rural people will only escalate further. The government is thus bolstering its revenues by imposing greater burdens on the people.
There is a six year low for new jobs in eight labour intensive industries. The last quarter of 2015 has recorded virtually a negative growth of employment
The government claims that India’s GDP is growing at a world-breaking record level of 7.9 per cent, the economic ground realities do not match such claims. In all the three sectors that together combine to reflect the growth of the economy i.e. agriculture, industry and services, there has been a marked slow down if not decline. As far as industry is concerned, in the last quarter of 2015-16, the industrial growth rate recorded 0.1 per cent, compared to the corresponding quarter of last year. Manufacture growth rate shrunk by –1.1 per cent.
The attacks on workers continues with the constant lowering of interest rates on their life time savings in provident fund, the latest being the reduction in the interest rate in the General Provident Fund from 8.7 per cent to 8.1 per cent from June 1, 2016 which affects all government employees and state owned enterprises and services including the defence.
Agrarian Distress Deepens
Farmers suicides are recording a rise notwithstanding the government’s change in definition of distress suicides to hide the real face of agrarian distress. Nearly 3000 farmers are officially reported to have committed distress suicides in 2015. The total sown acreage in the country has alarmingly declined. The total area sown in 2016-17 was 71.21 lakh hectares down from 76.65 lakh hectares in 2015-16. This clearly means that there is a sharp rise in rural unemployment. At the same time the rural real wages have declined to a decade low.
The government has embarked on a large scale privatisation of the public sector units, the latest case is that of the asset rich oil companies. The merger of public sector banks has begun brushing aside all objections raised by banking experts and the workers unions.
In order to facilitate sale-out of the CPSEs, the NITI Ayog has been made to recommend further capital investment from national exchequer in some CPSEs, not just to revamp their operational efficiency but to make them saleable to private hands.
Support to General Strike
The Central Committee extended its support to the call by the Central Trade Unions and all India federations for a general strike on September 2, 2016.
Sharpening Communal Polarisation
In the run up to the assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh next year, the RSS and the BJP are working overtime to whip up communal passions. It is reported that the Bajrang Dal has been organizing arms training camps in several parts of the state. This is clearly an exercise to provoke communal conflicts and tensions and reap the consequent electoral gains from such polarization. Such efforts are an expression of the worst ‘vote bank politics’ seeking the consolidation of the Hindutva communal vote bank at the expense of weakening the unity of India’s social fabric.
The Modi government’s authoritarian face was nakedly exposed in the manner in which it is grossly misusing Article 356 to dismiss legitimately elected governments of the opposition parties. Its effort in Uttarakhand has now been reversed with the Supreme Court intervention. The apex court had passed a severe indictment about the brazen manner in which Article 356 is sought to be misused. It had earlier toppled the Congress government in Arunachal Pradesh.
Goods & Services Tax
The Central Committee noted the obduracy of this Modi Government in refusing to call an all party meeting to build a consensus over the GST during the last two years. The GST as proposed today has certain weaknesses that need to be addressed and solutions to be found.
With the introduction of the GST, whatever little residual power remains with the state governments to raise resources will be lost. In situations when national disasters occur or to fund the welfare schemes to improve people’s livelihood, state governments will now have to remain at the mercy of the central government for funds. Further, the mechanism to compensate the states that lose their revenue with the introduction of the GST will have to be properly addressed. A meeting of all the state finance ministers should be convened by the Prime Minister to discuss this issue thoroughly and come to a consensus.
The CPI(M) had given its note of dissent in the Select Committee of Parliament which contained our reservations which need to be properly addressed. The Central Committee reiterates that the PM immediately call an all party meeting to build a consensus on this issue.
The recent elections to the Rajya Sabha have once again confirmed the alarming use of money power being employed. This grossly distorts democracy, influencing voters and denying them the right to discuss the politics and policies of the candidates and parties involved.
The Central Committee has called for urgent consultations amongst all political parties to be initiated by the Election Comission on curbing the influence of money power.
The CPI(M) reiterates that foreign funds for NGOs must be strictly monitored to ensure that it is in accordance with the Indian law and the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA).
The CPI(M) condemns the relentless political vendetta being waged by the Modi government against activists who have fought for justice for the victims of the Gujarat genocide. The actions against Sabrang Trust is part of such a vicious campaign and should be stopped.
Following the recent spate of agreements by which India has committed itself to as a junior strategic partner of the United States of America, India has now become party to naval exercises with the USA and Japan in South China seas. These exercises codenamed “Malabar Naval Exercises” were earlier held on Indian coast in the Arabian Sea. Moving into the waters of South China seas has many serious implications for our independent foreign policy and security concerns.
The CPI(M) reiterates for its demand that the disputes in the South China sea must be settled in accordance with international law and established international procedures. The Indian government must adhere to this time tested policy position that India has always maintained.
As a consequence of these defence agreements, the government has announced today a decision to allow 100 per cent FDI in defence, aviation and pharmaceuticals. This is not in the interests of India and raise serious questions concerning both our internal security and our sovereignty. As a consequence of the Indo-US strategic partnership, the Modi government has now announced across the board greater access to FDI. India is permitting foreign capital to reap super profits and seek to emerge out of their global economic crisis at the expense of our domestic economy.
Review of Assembly Elections
In this round of state assembly elections, the BJP has made substantial gains. It has formed the government in Assam for the first time. In West Bengal and Kerala, the BJP has made gains. It had conducted a very aggressive campaign in Kerala and has mounted serious post-poll violence against the CPI(M). Overall, the Congress suffered a setback in these round of elections. The BJP’s performance has emboldened it to take a more aggressive posture in the country’s politics post-elections.
The CPI(M)-led LDF in Kerala has registered a very significant victory. The CPI(M) conducted its campaign raising the slogans of ousting UDF from power and checking BJP. The Party took a strong stand against corporatization, corruption and communalism. The LDF victory in the assembly elections is recognition for the policy of building up Left and democratic alternative to the BJP and Congress.
The election results in Tamilnadu are disappointing for the CPI(M). The six-party alliance could not win any seat. A major feature of the Tamilnadu elections has been the use of money power in a big way with both the AIADMK and DMK distributing cash to the voters in most of the constituencies on an unprecedented scale.
The CPI(M) contested the election as part of a six Left parties alliance. The results were disappointing and the CPI(M) could not win any seat.
The Left parties appealed to the voters to oust the Congress from power, defeat the BJP and elect the Left candidates for strengthening the unity of the people and ensuring all-round development of the State.
Both in Tamilnadu and Assam, the emphasis should be on building up the independent strength of the Party through class and mass struggles and taking steps to rally all the Left and democratic forces.
The Trinamool Congress returned to form the government winning 211 out of the 294 seats and secured a two-third majority. The elections were held in very difficult conditions faced by our Party and the Left Front. During the course of last five years, the terror unleashed by the Trinamool Congress had even before the campaign began consumed the lives of 176 of our comrades apart from internally displacing over 60,000 families of Party members and sympathizers, the ransacking and looting of Party and mass organization offices, the specific targeting of women comrades etc.
The Central Committee saluted the two crore fifteen lakh people, who braving this politics of terror and violence have voted for the slogan of ousting the Trinamool Congress government and isolating the BJP.
The Trinamool Congress has unleashed widespread violence against the cadres of the opposition parties. Many CPI(M) cadres have been murdered and over 600 CPI(M) and mass organization offices have been ransacked and some set on fire. Apart from targeting the offices of all opposition parties and mass organizations, the attacks specifically focus on constituencies and areas where Trinamool Congress lost in these elections. Widespread bomb attacks, arson and extortions of huge amounts of money as ransom are being reported.
Under these circumstances, the CPI(M) calls upon the people of West Bengal to unitedly resist this murder of democracy and civil liberties in the state. The strength of the broadest people’s resistance is the answer to meet this unprecedented unleashing of violence.
The Central Committee concluded that the electoral tactics adopted in West Bengal was not in consonance with the Central Committee decision not to have an alliance or understanding with the Congress. This should be rectified and the Central Committee stressed the importance of adhering to the political-tactical line adopted at the 21st Congress of the Party.
The Central Committee authorized the Polit Bureau to ensure its implementation in consultation with the state leadership of the Party.
In a situation where burdens on the people are being relentlessly mounted, the Central Committee of the CPI(M) has called on the Party units to observe nationwide protest action focusing on price rise and growing unemployment from July 11 to 17, 2016.
Local issues that are causing distress among the people will also be taken up along with these two issues.
The Central Committee decided that the Party units all over the country will organise protest actions, in the first week of August 2016, against this unprecedented violence unleashed by the Trinamool Congress post elections.