The Central Committee of Indian Marxists has said a blunt no to decontrol of Petrol prices – a move under consideration of Manmohan Singh government. The recommendation has come the past week from an expert panel headed by noted economist Parekh, which suggested the Indian POL prices should be linked to global price trends..
Meeting in Kolkata, the Central Committee of Communist Party of India (Marxist) warned the Central Government not to use these recommendations as an excuse to hike prices of any of these items. Such a step will have a cascading impact on raising prices of essential commodities which are already at an all time high and will lead to a further burden on the people.
The CC condemned not only the utter failure of the Central Government to control prices but reiterates that it is precisely the wrong policies of the government which have led to this situation of high food inflation. The redressals suggested are also misconceived. A major reason for price rise is the severe weakening of the public distribution system by a drastic cut in allocation for so-called above poverty line. Instead of at least partial restoration of the cuts, given the buffer stocks available, the government in the name of additional allocation is giving the states 10 kgs of foodgrains per family at double the price.
A press note from CPI (M) said, the party demands restoration of the allocations at least at the APL prices. The sugar shortage and subsequent high prices are a direct result of the refusal of the government to maintain a buffer stock when there was high sugarcane production and instead incentivised exports. The sugar mills and sugar companies have made huge profits in this period while farmers and consumers have had to suffer. The Central Government has stubbornly refused to ban futures trading in essential commodities. In May 2009 it had lifted the earlier ban on wheat futures trade.
The CC demands that the government bring a food security legislation which ensures a universal right to food, with a 35 kg family allocation of foodgrains at Rs 2 a kilo. It also demands that more essential commodities at subsidised prices should be included in the PDS through central government subsidies.
The CC called upon its Party units to intensify the campaign against price rise.
Disinvestment in PSUs
The Central Committee reiterated its strong opposition to the decision of the Central Government to disinvest atleast 10 per cent of government equity in all profitable public sector units. Already shares of NHPC, Oil India and the NTPC have been sold. The government is planning to sell shares in sixty central public sector undertakings that would be short-listed in the stock market in the next two years. The deceptive concept of “people’s ownership” is being used to mislead public opinion and conceal the true nature of disinvestment.
This aggressive disinvestment drive is being undertaken to bridge the fiscal deficit which has reached nearly seven percent of the GDP. The government is forgoing future income from dividends. Worse, it is transferring State-owned assets to private hands. The NTPC shares are being sold cheaply, showing how public assets are being plundered.
Rather than mobilizing more taxes from the private corporate sector by doing away with tax exemptions, the Congress-led government is opting for the irrational course of disinvestment which is only meant to benefit the big financial players in the stock market.
The Central Committee decided to mobilize people against the disinvestment. It will extend all support to the struggle of the trade unions and the public sector employees against this step which is contrary to national interests.
Andhra Pradesh Situation
The Central Committee discussed the situation which has developed in Andhra Pradesh with the agitation for a separate Telengana state and the counter-agitation for a united state. It is unfortunate that the Central Government and the Congress leadership took the short-sighted step of announcing the process of the creation of a separate state on December 9. It is now for the Central Government to ensure that the stalemate is ended and the solution found by taking into account the views of all political parties and sections of the people. This process is to begin with the setting up of the committee headed by retired Justice B N Sri Krishna.
The initial stand taken by the Central Government on Telengana gave a fillip to demands for separate states in various other states. The Central Committee reiterated its stand that the states which were linguistically reorganized as part of the democratic restructuring of the State structure should not be disturbed.
The Central Committee appealed to all sections of the people of Andhra Pradesh to maintain peace and harmony. There are forces trying to provoke further divisions among the people which is harmful to the overall interests of the people.
Ranganath Mishra Commission Report
The Central Committee considered the report of the National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities headed by Justice Ranganath Mishra. The Central Committee welcomes the recommendations for providing reservation for the minorities in government jobs. The CC urged the Central Government to take necessary steps to implement the recommendations.
The Central Committee heard a report on the situation in West Bengal. The TMC combine on the one hand and the Maoists on the other are continuing their campaign of violence against the CPI(M) and the Left. Since the Lok Sabha elections, 167 members and supporters of the CPI(M) and the Left have been killed. Thousands have had to leave their homes due to the attacks. The Maoist gangs have killed over seventy of our comrades in West Medinipur district alone. There is a deliberate and planned effort to attack the CPI(M) and the Left to prevent them working among the people. The Central Committee condemned the dubious links between the TMC and the Maoists. The TMJC is in the Central Government whose declared policy is to counter the Maoist violence.
The Central Committee is confident that the CPI(M) state unit and the Left Front will successfully mobilize the people in defence of their rights and livelihood while countering the anti-democratic assaults and violence.
Maharashtra: No Pandering to Chauvinism
The Central Committee condemned the chauvinistic forces who are targeting non-Marathi speaking people in Mumbai and the state. The Shiv Sena and the MNS are indulging in this disruptive game after having failed to mobilize support for their platform in the recent assembly elections. The attempt to intimidate film actors like Shahrukh Khan and other personalities for speaking out their mind is highly condemnable.
The Congress-NCP government in Maharashtra is also pandering to chauvinistic sentiments. The recent order on taxi drivers in Mumbai having to speak and write Marathi with the 15 year domicile is one such step. The CPI(M) calls upon all citizens in Maharashtra and the country to rebuff the virulent chauvinistic politics which harms national unity.
The Polit Bureau submitted its rectification report to the Central Committee. As per the decision of the rectification campaign document adopted in October 2009, the rectification process is to begin from the Polit Bureau and the Central Committee. The report of the rectification of the Central Committee will be taken up in the next meeting of the CC.
The Central Committee decided to hold the 20th Congress of the Party after the assembly elections in West Bengal and Kerala due in May 2011. The schedule of the Party conferences will begin after this.
In the meantime, the Central Committee has decided to convene an extended meeting of the Central Committee in early August 2010 to decide on the political line to meet the current situation.