The Communist Party of India (M) Election Manifesto for the upcoming National Parliament Elections in India has appealed to the people to:

Reject Congress, Defeat BJP
Vote for the CPI(M)
Strengthen the Left
For a Secular and Democratic Alternative

CPM MANIFESTO-2
The CPI(M) Election Manifesto makes a stringent critique of the performance and policies of the Congress-led UPA government.

Price Rise

The most striking failure of the UPA government has been its inability to check the unrelenting rise in the prices of food and other essential commodities. For seven long years since 2007, India has lived with persistent double digit food inflation.

Unemployment

The second biggest failure of the UPA government has been in generating employment. Between 2005-2010 the rate of employment growth has been less than one percent annually. One in every three graduates in the age group 15-29 remains unemployed.

Economic policies of the UPA Government:

Have led to transfer of resources from the people to the rich. From 13 billionaires (who owned assets of Rs. 5000 crore and above) in 2003 now there are 56 billionaires – more than four times the number. The government has allowed the loot of natural resources of the country whether it be land, minerals, gas or spectrum.Between 2009 and 2013 a massive Rs. 21 lakh crores of tax revenues were given away as tax forgone or in tax concessions.On the other hand there have been cuts in expenditure bearing on the lives of the people. Fertiliser, food and petroleum subsidies have been cut down.

The UPA government has allowed FDI in multibrand retail which will affect the future of 40 million people in the retail trade in India. This has to be reversed.The economic slow down is because of these policies and not a policy paralysis. The neo-liberal policies pursued by the UPA government need to be reversed.

Corruption & Mega Scams

The UPA government has set an unprecedented record for high level corruption. The 2G spectrum scam, coal allocation scam and the KG basin pricing issue have been some of the major corruption scandals of this period.But the BJP’s record in corruption is no better. The origins of many of the mega scams like telecom and coal block allocations began in the period of the NDA government. The BJP government headed by Yedyyurappa in Karnataka became notorious for the mining scandal.

Combatting Communalism

The manifesto underlines the growing range of communal activities. The aim of the Hindutva outfits is to create and widen divisions between Hindus and Muslims. The Muzaffarnagar violence was the worst in recent times. In most of the riots there has been a common pattern of the involvement of the RSS and its outfits. The Congress and the UPA government have failed to counter the communal forces.

BJP: Reactionary Alternative

The BJP and its progenitor the Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh espouses an ideology which is inimical to the vision of a modern secular State. Narendra Modi who is projected as the Prime Ministerial candidate and the Gujarat model that is touted by the BJP represents a dangerous mix of patronage for the big business and corporates combined with rabid communalism.The Gujarat model is based on largesse for corporates. It is marked by lowest wage scale of workers and poor social indicators such as high malnourishment, high maternal and infant mortality.

Alternative Policies

The country needs to be rescued from the politics and policies of the Congress and the BJP. What is required are alternative policies in the realm of the economy, social and political. The CPI(M) and the Left parties have set out such an alternative.

Some Highlights

Among the major proposals in the manifesto in this direction are:

• A new food security law which provides for universal public distribution system (excluding only income tax payees). Provision of a minimum 35 kgs of foodgrains for a family or 7 kgs of foodgrains per individual, whichever amount is higher, at a maximum price of Rs. 2 per kg.

Curbing Price Rise

• Reversing the deregulated regime of pricing of petroleum products and reducing excise and customs duties on petroleum products
• Banning futures trade in agricultural commodities as recommended by the Parliamentary Standing Committee
• Enlarge the resource base by taxing the rich, corporate profits, crackdown on tax evaders, black money, money laundering, higher taxes on luxury goods, thereby generating resources for growth
• Increase public investments in agricultural production and research.

Resource Mobilisation

• Tax speculative capital gains by restoring Long-Term Capital Gains Tax and increasing Securities Transaction Tax
• Launch a drive to unearth black money, especially those stashed in Swiss banks and other offshore tax havens
• Plug the Mauritius route by reviewing Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement with Mauritius and other countries

Centre-State Relations

• Devolving 50% of the total pool of collection of Central taxes to the States; Raising States’ share of market borrowing to 50%
• Transferring Centrally Sponsored Schemes under the State subject with funds to the States

Land Reforms

• Reverse the current thrust to dilute land-ceiling laws; Speedy and comprehensive steps for implementing land reforms
• Takeover and distribution of all surplus land above ceiling and handing over of cultivable wasteland to landless and poor peasant households free of cost, with priority to SCs and STs; Joint pattas to be distributed including equal right of women to the land

Foreign Policy

• An independent and non-aligned foreign policy, promoting multi-polarity. Strengthen BRICS and IBSA.
• Opposing interventions and regime changes imposed by the United States and NATO as it happened in Libya and now taking place in Syria and Ukraine.

Women

Passage and adoption in the Lok Sabha of the Bill providing one third reservation for women in parliament and state assemblies, which had been adopted in the Rajya Sabha, as a priority.

SC & ST Welfare

• Enactment of a central legislation for Special Component Plan for Scheduled Castes and for the Tribal Sub-Plan which will provide for Plan outlays at the Centre and the States equivalent to the SC population at the national and State level for the SCP and the ST population at the national and State level for the TSP respectively.
• Protecting land rights of adivasis and restoring land illegally alienated from them
Minorities
• Formulating a sub-plan for the Muslim minorities on the lines of the tribal sub-plan in order to implement Sachar Committee recommendations; Special initiatives in the sphere of employment, education and health to be undertaken targeting districts where the Muslim population is concentrated
• Implementing the recommendations of the Ranganath Mishra Commission report. As an immediate measure all OBC Muslims which form the vast majority of the Muslim community to be included in the OBC quota with specific State wise allocations

Education & Health

• Public expenditure on education to be 6% of GDP
• Public expenditure on health to be raised to at least 5% of GDP, which would include a significantly enhanced allocation from the centre

Wages & Pensions

• A statutory minimum wage of Rs. 10,000 per month linked to Consumer Price Index
• For senior citizens establish a publicly-funded, universal and non contributory Old Age Pension System with a minimum amount of monthly pension not less than 50% of minimum wage or Rs 4000/- per month, whichever is higher; as an individual entitlement for all citizens.

Fighting Corruption

• Amending and strengthening the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Lokpal Act to widen its purview and bring all contracts, agreements or MOUs of any kind between the government and the private sector within its purview.
• Private Financial sector institutions, banking and insurance sector in particular, and all public-private partnership projects brought under the purview of the Lokpal Act.

Major Constitutional & Legislative Reforms

• Amend Article 3 of the Constitution to provide for the consent of the state legislature concerned before a state is to be bifurcated or reorganized by parliament.
• Repeal the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and replace it with a suitable law which provides a legal framework for the operation of the armed forces without the draconian provisions.
• Amend Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code so that it does not criminalize adult consensual relationships irrespective of sexual orientation.
• Amend the Indian Penal Code and other statutes to remove the death penalty from the statutes.

The Manifesto calls for the strengthening of the CPI(M) and the Left representation in the Lok Sabha as this will be the basis for strengthening the secular-democratic foundations and for a pro-people alternative.The CPI(M) and the Left parties will cooperate with other secular non-Congress parties to ensure that there is an alternative before the people as against the Congress and the BJP.