Stop India-EU FTA

The Central Committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) met in New Delhi on May 11 & 12, 2013. It took stock of the international and national situation and has issued a relevant statement on the proposed India – EU Free Trade Agreement.The Committee demanded that the government not proceed with the Indo-EU Free Trade Agreement which is being negotiated. The agreement will have negative impact on virtually every area of economic activity, including agriculture, industry and services. For instance, the impact of subsidized dairy imports from the EU can jeopardize the livelihood of millions of farmers and milk cooperatives.

The Central Committee demanded that the government not conclude the negotiations. It should wait for the report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee, hold public consultations with all affected groups and conduct a parliamentary debate on the issue.

The following things are also mentioned in the press communique

On Neighbouring Countries

The Central Committee extended its support and solidarity for the secular and democratic forces in Bangladesh who are conducting a big struggle against the rightwing fundamentalist forces in the country. The Central Committee expressed its deep shock at the tragedy due to the collapse of a building housing garment factories in which a thousand workers have died. The Bangladesh government should immediately take steps to close sweat shops, for ensuring the safety of working conditions, provision of adequate wages and social security for the lakhs of garment workers in the country.

The Central Committee welcomed the resolution of the issue on the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh, between India and China. Both countries are committed to maintain peace and tranquility on the India-China border and have set up a mechanism which is working to resolve whatever issues and disputes that arise. The forthcoming visit of the Chinese Premier should help improve relations.

The Central Committee strongly disapproved the obdurate stand taken by the President of Sri Lanka who is going back on the commitment to arrive at a political settlement on the Tamil issue wherein devolution of powers to the Tamil areas were assured.

The Central Committee welcomed the holding of parliament elections in Pakistan which is going to result in the formation of a new government. These elections were held in the face of extremist and terrorist attacks. The people have ensured for the first time a democratic transition from a civilian government, which completed its term.

Resignation of Two Ministers from Central cabinet

The CPI(M) Central Committee noted that the Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal and the Law Minister Ashwani Kumar, were finally forced to resign after the Prime Minister and the Congress party resisted this demand while the parliament session was on. This has exposed the hypocrisy of the Congress which has blamed the opposition for the disruption of the parliamentary proceedings since the wrong-doing of the ministers became known.

Prime Minister’s Role

The episode of the two ministers highlights how corruption has become endemic in this government and how efforts are made to cover it up. The Prime Minister and the Prime Minister’s Office cannot escape responsibility for these affairs, since during the coal block allocations, the Prime Minister was directly looking after the coal ministry. A Joint Secretary of the PMO was involved in the discussions to change the status report of the CBI to the Supreme Court. The Prime Minister’s image has been tarnished as he is presiding over such a corrupt regime. The Prime Minister has to come out and explain his role and that of his office in both the coal block allocation case and in the 2G spectrum matter.

Harmful Economic Policies

The Central Committee noted that there is a general squeeze on expenditure in the Union Budget and cuts in subsidies on petroleum products & fertilizers and negligible increase in the food subsidy. This will add to the burdens on the people in the form of rising prices and cut in entitlements.

The Central Committee strongly criticized the partial decontrol of sugar which will lead to an increase in sugar prices both in the PDS and open market and affect the interests of sugarcane growers.The Central Committee strongly opposed the move to increase the prices of natural gas based on the recommendations of the Rengarajan Committee.

Food Security & Land Acquisition Bills

The Central Committee discussed the proposed Food Security Bill and the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill which the government wants adopted in Parliament. The CPI(M) reiterates that the Food Security law should provide for universal public distribution system. It should provide for 35 kg of food grains for each family (of five persons) at not more than Rs. 2 per kg.

The Land Acquisition Bill has a number of flawed clauses. The major flaw is that it exempts 13 laws from the purview of the Bill. These include the Indian Railways Act, National Highways Act, Land Acquisition (Mines) Act etc under which the bulk of the land acquisition takes place. The Left parties want a number of amendments to be made to the existing Bill. The UPA government should not consider promulgating ordinances on the two Bills since they are major legislations and require thorough debate and scrutiny in Parliament.

Strict Regulation Required

The Central Committee noted with dismay that lakhs of people have lost their savings and livelihood in the collapse of the Saradha group of companies. The Trinamul Congress has been closely working with this group of companies and using its media for its political purposes.The Saradha episode also highlights the wrong policies of the Central Government. It has cut the interest rates for small savings deposits and also eliminated or reduced the commissions for agents of various savings and insurance schemes. This is helping chit fund companies to lure the people. The Central Committee called for a new law to govern the non-banking financial companies and chit funds and an effective regulatory mechanism, which does not exist at present.

Modi & BJP

The Central Committee noted that fresh evidence has surfaced about the role of Narendra Modi as Chief Minister during the Gujarat pogroms in 2002. The SIT material made available shows how the police were prevented from taking action against mobs who were out to commit the communal carnage. The Central Committee demanded that on the basis of this evidence, fresh charges be formulated against Narendra Modi and he should not continue in the post of Chief Minister.

The so-called Gujarat model which the BJP government under Modi has followed has led to growing deprivation and a fall in human development index. 48 per cent of the children of Gujarat are malnourished; its literacy rate has slumped from fifth to seventh position for children between 6 to 14 years. The state has slipped from 10th to 11th position between 2000 and 2008 according to the latest Human Development Report.

The Central Committee noted that the BJP has been routed in the Karnataka assembly election. This is a consequence of the rank corruption, the nexus with the mining mafia and misrule of the BJP state government.

Tripura Election

The Central Committee warmly congratulated the CPI(M) and the Tripura Left Front for its superb success in the assembly elections and the formation of the 7th Left Front government in the state.

Panchayat Elections in West Bengal

The Mamata Banerjee government has been trying to sabotage the holding of panchayat elections by refusing to heed the recommendations of the State Election Commission. The High Court verdict has unambiguously endorsed the stand of the State Election Commission for a three phase poll and the deployment of central paramilitary forces. Yet, the TMC is seeking to further delay the holding of the elections by going in appeal against this verdict. The Central Committee demanded that the panchayat elections be held within the scheduled time on the basis of the norms set out by the State Election Commission.

The Central Committee condemned the widespread attacks and violence against the CPI(M) and the Left Front in West Bengal which was unleashed on the pretext of an untoward incident, during the protest on the custodial death of Sudipta Gupta, in Delhi. The Central Committee demanded an end to such attacks and the State Government should discharge its responsibilities to maintain peace and law and order.

Abolition of Death Penalty

The Central Committee discussed a note presented by the Polit Bureau on the abolition of the death penalty. The Central Committee decided that the Party will advocate the abolition of the death penalty. In India, the death penalty, as it is in practice is arbitrarily implemented. It is inhuman and after execution irreversible. Instead of capital punishment, the Party wants in the “rarest of rare” cases and most heinous crimes, life imprisonment to be extended for the entire life of the person convicted with no scope for remission.

Sajjan Kumar Case

The Central Committee noted that there has been a miscarriage of justice in the acquittal of Congress leader Sajjan Kumar in a murder case during the anti-Sikh violence in Delhi in 1984. Of the six accused in the case, five have been convicted by the court and Sajjan Kumar has been acquitted.

The Central Committee demanded that there should be an appeal made against the acquittal. Further, a Special Investigation Team should be constituted to investigate and prosecute Sajjan Kumar in another anti-Sikh riot case.

Kerala

The Central Committee noted that rifts have developed within the UDF in Kerala and the government is failing to tackle the urgent problems facing the people and the state. It is important at this juncture that the Party provide a united leadership so that the Party and the LDF can make significant advances.

A Commission of the Polit Bureau has been constituted to look into certain organisational matters which have been referred to the Central Committee. The six-member Commission consists of Prakash Karat, S Ramachandran Pillai, Sitaram Yechury, Nirupam Sen, B V Raghavulu and A K Padmanabhan.The Central Committee approved the disciplinary action taken by the state committee against four Party members in Kerala.

Picketing Programme

The Central Committee reviewed the Sangharsh Sandesh jathas undertaken by the Party in March. It discussed the preparations for the countrywide programme which is to take place in the second half of this month. The picketing is to be done on the issues of: Right to Land and House-sites; Curb Price Rise and Right to Food; Right to Education and Health; Right to Employment; Ensure Social Justice; End Corruption; farmers issues and FDI in retail trade. It called upon all Party units to make the mass picketing programme a success.