The country is at the crossroads. Shameless pursuance of the neo-liberal policies has put it in a crisis that is deepening with every passing day. Hunger, sky-rocketing prices of all essential commodities, ever-growing unemployment and widening economic disparity are haunting the people. The economy is sliding down due to the policies pursued by successive governments during the past two decades that favoured the corporates and were blatantly against the people. National and natural resources were brazenly looted and the loot was shared between the corporate houses and the ruling politicians with the full connivance of top bureaucracy that led to scams and scandals of unprecedented magnitude involving billions and billions of rupees. Despite exposures of this loot and corruption, the ruling classes are bent upon to push forward the disastrous course of ‘development’. Now these very looters, the corporate houses are trying to foist on the country a regime that is more subservient to them. For this, they are ready to destroy even the democratic system and its secular fabric.
The masses are going to vote for the 16th Lok Sabha while the country is facing the grave threat to its secular democracy and economic sovereignty.
Two decades back the country entered into the era of coalition government and the present elections are again going to throw yet another coalition government as no party or pre-poll alliance of parties is going to cross the halfway mark. The post-poll scenario will be of great political churning that will lead to realignment of political forces. The key issue in both the pre-poll and post-poll scenario is bound to be a choice between continued adherence to the disastrous course of neo-liberalism or a programme-based alternative that will alter the present disastrous course, usher in developments whose fruits are equally distributed among all and also will further protect and strengthen the country’s pluralism and secular fabric.
Congress is definitely on down slide as UPA-II has proved to be the most corrupt and most mis-governing regime since Independence. It is marred by revelations of big scams and scandals on a daily basis. About half a dozen ministers have to go out of the government due to corruption. A minister was even jailed in 2G scam involving Rs 1.75 lakh crore. Another had to be removed as he was found to be guilty of interfering with the apex court monitored investigation report in the Coalgate that directly pointed fingers to the Prime Minister’s Office. A couple of the ministers were removed from their portfolios as they were not ready to succumb to the wishes and whims of the corporates and International Finance Capital.
What is more obvious is the direct collaboration of the ruling UPA-II and the main Opposition BJP-led NDA on several issues in favour of corporate capital as well as imperialist agencies. 15th Lok Sabha witnessed not only the disturbances of proceedings in almost all the sessions of Parliament but also had to its credit the highest number of bills lapsed. It wasted maximum number of working hours as well as gross reduction in the working days of Parliament. Whenever the Left tried to focus on the basic socio-economic issues faced by the people, the two main bourgeois political parties collaborated to sabotage any meaningful debate on such basic issues. On the other hand the BJP and Congress collaborated to hand over the finance sector including banks and Insurance to private sector including the MNCs.
In their bid for maximisation of profit, the corporate houses continue to manipulate the government to succumb to their wishes and whims resulting in further deepening of the economic crisis. The prices of almost all the essential commodities have doubled since 2008. According to ILO reports, India has joined the top bracket of countries with the highest number of unemployed. Almost four per cent of the workable population in the country is jobless. Closures, outsourcing and contractarisation of jobs have resulted in loss of jobs to thousands and thousands of already employed people. There is “no new recruitment” order in many departments of the governments. Public sector units are being forced to opt for outsourcing. Job generation is on the lowest ebb of government’s priorities. Working class is under threat. TU rights are constantly being curbed and sectors and zones after zones are being proclaimed out of TU rights.
Loot of national and natural resources of the country is yet another hall mark of the UPA-II regime. It planned handing over of the shares of the profit-earning public sector undertakings in every budget to cover the growing fiscal deficit. It calculatedly allowed the handing over of the natural wealth to private sector. The biggest-ever scam of UPA-II regime, the KG- basin scam involving the doubling of the gas extraction price for Mukesh Ambani, is the best example of this loot of natural resources for maximisation of the profit.
Growing economic disparity is another product of the pursuance of the policies of neo-liberalism. While India tops the list of having maximum number of billionaires, it also has the maximum number of people living below the poverty line. Over 70 per cent of our countrymen cannot afford to spend even Rs 20 a day. This regime has also the credit of curbing democratic rights of the people. Under the garb of fighting terrorism, it has continued the policies of previous BJP-led NDA government of Atal Behari Vajpayee that has swallowed the American theory of ‘clash of civilizations’ terming the Muslim community as a threat to civilised world. Hundreds of youth, mostly educated youth, have been detained and kept in prison without even filing a FIR. Black laws on the pattern of TADA, ESMA and POTA have been enacted to deprive people of their democratic rights.
Foreign policy is becoming subservient to the American imperialists. National interests are being sacrificed under American pressure. In the name of strengthening defence preparedness purchases are being made from USA and Israel to help the crisis-ridden American economy, particularly its Military-Industrial Complex. It even abrogated the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project under the pressure of American imperialists. It collaborated with imperialists in international economic and political forums even sacrificing our national interests. In WTO it went against the consensus of BRICS to please the Americans. Our stance on crucial issues like Syria and nuclear option of Iran is glaring example of such surrender.
In totality it has proved to be a government that serves the interests of the Corporate Capital and International Finance Capital.
But the Corporate Capital and International Finance capital after milking the UPA-II to the maximum are bidding for a more subservient regime. They have opted for BJP’s prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi who stinks of blood since 2002 and is known for his authoritarian mentality. During one decade of his stewardship in Gujarat he eclipsed all the three former BJP chief ministers and ousted along with them the only leader who was in Vajpayee government. No stone is left unturned to project this individual with neo-fascist streak by the media controlled by the corporate houses.
But the hollowness of the so-called Gujarat model of development is getting exposed with every passing day. His regime is meant only for the big capital. For them, he has ousted farmers from their land to the extent that now Gujarat is in the top bracket of states as far as shrinking of cultivable land is concerned. Farmers’ lands have been acquired for so-called industrialisation and handed over to the builders’ mafia. Even the Sikh farmers who were settled in border areas of Kutch for national defence are being evicted to serve the interests of Adani group who already has two private ports in the district. Adanis, Tatas, Ambanis and Essar have been given interest subsidy, billions of rupees at the interest rate of 0.1 per cent whose repayment will begin only after 20 and more years. This has left the Gujarat exchequer without any money for social sector. Malnutrition of children and women, total commercialisation of education, public health system and growing unemployment are hallmarks of a decade-long rule of Narendra Modi in Gujarat.
Ghettoization of Muslim minority community has exposed Moditva. Despite high court orders, the Modi government has refused to implement the pro-minority socio-economic and educational schemes financed by the Union government. Muslims are unable to return to their pre-riot houses and are living in ghettos like Juhupura in Ahmedabad.
To achieve this goal of having a more corporate-subservient regime, even the secular democratic fabric of the country is under attack. Each and every tactics and trick is being applied to further the communal polarisation of the electorate. Muzaffarnagar is the glaring example of this game plan.
Since Independence the Left, particularly the CPI, has the glorious record of fighting for the masses both inside and outside Parliament. Whatever had been its strength in the House, the CPI has emerged as the leading parliamentary force in shaping the policies in favour of people and echoing the demands of the masses fighting outside Parliament. Professor Hiren Mukherjee, Bhupesh Gupta, Indrajit Gupta, Geeta Mukherjee and other CPI stalwarts had set examples in fighting for people’s right and combining the parliamentary and extra-parliamentary struggles of the working people.
The situation today calls for a much more vigorous and sustained struggle by the Left to protect the economic sovereignty, people’s livelihood, right to shelter, education and public health and strengthening of the secular democratic system both inside and outside Parliament. For that the country needs a much greater representation of the Left in the 16th Lok Sabha. A Strong Left Block In The Lok Sabha Is The Need Of The Hour.
THE CPI PRESENTS THE FOLLOWING CHARTER TO BE THE BASIS OF ALTERNATIVE SOCIO-ECONOMIC POLICIES
Total review of the steps taken towards neo-liberalism and adopt appropriate course correction;
No to FDI in retail trade; FDI in sectors only where it is necessary for high technology, employment generation and asset building;
Defence of public assets; strengthening the Public Sector and reiteration of the State’s role, stop privatisation of profit making PSUs, no handing over of natural resources like gas, petrol, coal and minerals etc, to private sector;
Effective taxation measures and ensure collection of legitimate taxes, raise limit of IT exemption and progressive increase in taxation for those who can afford to pay;
State to be the sole owner of all natural resources like minerals, oil and gas;
No to Public-Private Partnership (PPP) as it is legalising the private appropriation and institutionalizing the losses;
Easy loans at low interest for housing, education, etc. Repo rate should not affect EMIs of loans taken earlier;
Stringent legal measures to recover corporate bank loans categorised as non-performing assets (NPAs) by banks; confiscate assets of defaulters;
Bring back black money deposited in foreign banks. Tighten mechanism to prevent transfer of black money;
Redefine the path of development in a way that leads to economic development with equitable distribution and social justice.
Housing, food security, education, employment and healthcare for all, special emphasis on ending malnutrition among women and children;
Ensure right to work for the urban unemployed like MNREGA scheme;
Law for auditing big companies; and
CAG to be made a constitutional authority.
SMALL AND MEDIUM INDUSTRIES AND COTTAGE INDUSTRIES
* Provide loans to these sectors on subsidised interest, particularly to industries dependent on export of their products;
* Moratorium on recovery of loans and reservation of products for these sectors;
* Subsidy to help them to meet requirements of local market; and
* Special packages for revival of handicrafts and cottage industries as they provide maximum job opportunities.
ON ELECTORAL REFORMS
Change the present first-pass-the-poll system which enables victory of individuals and parties getting less than 50 per cent and encourages money and muscle power;
Introduce proportional representation system with partial list system; and
Mechanism for exercising the right to vote by those serving in armed forces and foreign missions;
ON SPECIFIC REGIONAL AND STATE LEVEL ISSUES
Special status to backward states.
Special efforts in regions where so called left wing extremism is prevalent to restore peace through negotiation and implementation of special packages for development of these areas. State should not treat the problem as just law and order issue.
Amendments to Inter-State Migration of Labour Act 1979 and related rules to protect migrant labour both in urban and rural areas;
Special efforts through packages to end ethnic and communal fratricide in Assam and other North Eastern states; and
Repeal the Armed Forces Special Powers Act from Manipur, Kashmir and other NE regions.
Substantial increase in public investment in agriculture sector to make facilities like irrigation, seeds and fertilisers to all farmers available at reasonable and in some cases at subsidised prices;
Radical land reforms and distribution of land to the landless to ensure land for agriculture and cultivation;
Steps to favour private seed corporations should be stopped
Comprehensive and compulsory crop insurance cover premium for which will be paid by state or Union government;
Interest-free loans to small and marginal farmers;
Remunerative MSP for farm products;
Implementation of the recommendations of Swaminathan Commission;
Provision of 35 kg of food grain per month to all families at a maximum price of Rs 2 per kg;
Establish and expand Universal Public Distribution System (PDS);
Stringent legal measures against hoarding of essential commodities; and
No to forward trading in all commodities.
Expand and extend universal oldage pension to all in rural and urban areas; and
LIC pensions with the cost of living;
Housing should be made a fundamental right; landless people to be given house sites.
Ensure spending of five per cent of GDP on public health care system.
Healthcare should be made one of the fundamental rights.
ROOTING OUT CORRUPTION
Strengthen Lokpal legislation with independent power of investigation;
Stop loot of national and natural resources as it is at the root of big scams and scandals;
Total transparency and accountability in governance at all levels;
No to dilution of Right to Information Act;
Enact grievances redressal legislation; and
Enact the remaining legislations, strengthen whistleblowers’ legislation
Ensure timely justice to all at affordable cost;
Expand the judicial system;
Constitute National Judicial Commission;
Bring suitable amendments to Indian Penal Code (IPC) to do away with sedition clause and other draconian provisions;
Ensure transparency in appointment of judges.
Reforms to make police force a body for the service of people in place of being an instrument of the state for oppression as it is today; and
Implement Police Reform Commissions’ report.
Gender equality, equal rights for women in all spheres;
Establish strong mechanism to ensure women safety and strict implementation of the existing laws protecting the interest of women and children; Ensure fast track courts for justice to women victims of violence.
Bring legislation to provide 33 per cent reservation for women in Parliament and assemblies; 50 per cent reservation in local bodies;
Transparency and accountability of gender budget;
Ensure equal rights to LGBTQ community.
FOR WORKING CLASS
Protection of hard-won TU rights;
Labour laws should be applicable to SEZs and IT sector.
Enforcement of fair minimum wages and social security measures;
End contractualisation, out sourcing and casualisation of labour;
Social security law for unorganised workers including Anganwadi, ASHA, mid day meal workers and domestic workers.
Restoration of the earlier assured pension scheme;
End manual scavenging; and
Implement the legal provisions strictly to end the practice of child labour and bonded labour.
FOR SCHEDULED CASTES AND SCHEDULED TRIBES
Legislation for SC/ST sub-plan both at the Center and in states;
Amendments in laws against atrocities with a view to make them more effective;
Law granting rights to forest dwellers on forest wealth be implemented comprehensively;
Ensure the proper implementation of reservation policy in the interest of SC/ST/OBC in all sectors including private sector and PPP institutions.
Mechanism to ensure that SC/ST reserved posts are fully filled in all categories of jobs;
All tribal populated areas be brought under Schedule 5 of the Constitution; (PESA).
Protection of Fifth and Sixth Schedule rights for Adivasis;
Suitable amendments in laws to protect and promote tribal autonomy; and
Ban on eviction of tribals from forest land.
FISHERIES AND FISHING COMMUNITY
Create separate ministry to deal with issues related to fisheries and fishing community including fish workers;
Consider to provide the SC/ST status to fishing community;
Safeguard the rights of Indian fishing community; protect seafaring fishing people and fishing community from attacks from foreign powers.
FOR RELIGIOUS MINORITIES
Complete and honest implementation of recommendations of Sachar Committee and Ranganath Mishra Commission, end discrimination on the basis of religion in providing facilities for dalits and OBCs;
Sub-plan for minorities on the pattern of SC/ST sub-plan at the Centre and in states;
Enact stringent law to curb communal violence and ensure proper rehabilitation of victims;
Statutory status for minorities commission;
Return all occupied Waqf land and properties, use Waqf income for socio-economic and educational upliftment of Muslin community;
Full implementation of all government schemes including 15-point programme of Prime Minister for minorities;
Ensure education from primary to secondary levels through mother tongue including Urdu; and
Revive mechanism at all recruiting avenues to curb discrimination on the basis of religion.
Revise policy on terrorism, give up American concept based on ‘clash of civilisations’ theory;
Release all youth detained for years without any FIR and charge-sheet;
Rehabilitate all terror accused acquitted by courts with government jobs and adequate financial compensation;
Punish officers who implicate innocent youth and conduct false encounters; and
Scrap all black laws including unlawful activities (prevention) act (UAPA).
Rework and ensure proper sharing of revenues and financial resources.
Ban use of hazardous technology that affect environment; and
Encourage public transport and environment-friendly transport system to curb pollution.
PROTECTION OF WATER RESOURCES
No leasing out of water resources for commercial purposes;
Ensure clean drinking water to all;
Control indiscriminate use of underground water resources; and
Protect and maintain traditional lakes, ponds and other water resources including rainwater harvest.
ON SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Comprehensive science and technology policy to ensure development of knowledge and economy;,
More funds for research and development;
Amend the existing Patent Law for protecting national interests; and
No dilution of nuclear liability legislation.
APPEAL TO THE VOTERS
Corporate Capital is making a bid to install a more pliable, subservient and rightwing reactionary government at the Centre.
CPI and other Left parties have consistently been trying to build a clear understanding of socio-economic policies to be pursued to take the benefit of the development to all segments of the population. The Left parties are fully committed to protect and strengthen the secular democratic fabric of the country, equitable distribution and social justice.
CPI with its proud record of combining the people’s struggle for a better life inside and outside Parliament appeals to the electorate to vote for its candidates in different part of the country.
Your Vote will be to:
*Reverse the neo liberal and anti-people economic policies