Polit Bureau Communique

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) met in New Delhi on December 6 and 7, 2012. It has issued the following statement:

FDI in Retail Trade

The decision of the UPA government to allow foreign supermarket chains in the multi-brand retail trade has met with widespread opposition from all sections of the people throughout the country. In Parliament, after refusing to accept a debate and vote on the issue, the government had to finally accede to the demand. The debate in both Houses of Parliament revealed that an overwhelming number of political parties representing a clear majority of the MPs are not in favour of allowing FDI in retail trade. This reflects the views of the majority of the people of the country.

However, despite this opposition, the government was able to maneouvre to get the motion against FDI in retail trade defeated. This was possible due to the opportunism of the Samajwadi Party and the dubious position adopted by the Bahujan Samaj Party. Both these parties spoke out against FDI in retail trade but acted in a manner to help the government succeed.

The strong opposition registered in Parliament and the actual minority status of the government on the issue should be utilized to intensify the struggle against the entry of Walmart and other supermarket chains into India. The Polit Bureau resolved to continue the campaign to mobilize public opinion to prevent the entry of the foreign supermarket chains.

Cash Transfer Scheme

The Polit Bureau reiterates its strong opposition to the move to implement the cash transfer scheme to replace the public goods like foodgrains through public distribution system and fertilizers. In a period of high inflation, cash transfers to replace subsidized goods is meant to actually cut subsidies since the cash to be transferred will not cover the increased costs of the same amount of subsidized foodgrains or fertilizers. Cash, instead of foodgrains, can also be end up for other consumption needs and result in increasing malnutrition and hunger. Having cash transfers in place of foodgrains will end up dismantling the public distribution system and procurement from farmers.

Regarding the linking of MNREGA wages to the Aadhar card, bio-metric identification for manual workers has a high 20 per cent margin of error as fingerprints of such workers change. The linking of MNREGA enrollment to Aadhar card holders will restrict the universality of the scheme. Moreover, the Bill proposed for the Unique Identification Number (UID) has not yet been passed by Parliament, but the government is going ahead with such far-reaching measures.

As far as scholarship, pensions etc are concerned, most of these schemes are already cash transfer schemes through bank accounts. The amount and also the coverage of these schemes should be increased and linked to the price index.

Communal Violence

The Polit Bureau noted with concern the outbreak of communal violence in Faizabad in Uttar Pradesh on October 24. The trouble started during the procession of the Durga puja idols for immersion. In a pre-planned manner, the minority community came under attack. 42 shops belonging to Muslims were burnt down. Attacks took place in two other sub-divisions of the district the same evening. This was not a communal riot but a planned attack on the Muslim community. The role of the Hindutva outfits has emerged. Faizabad is the twin town of Ayodhya which saw no communal violence even at the height of the Ram temple movement and the demolition of the Babri Masjid.

There have been a number of communal incidents in Uttar Pradesh in the recent months. The Samajwadi Party government has to take these communal incidents seriously. The Polit Bureau wants the state government to take firm measures to curb the activities of the communal forces.

In Hyderabad, the issue of extending the construction around the temple illegally constructed adjacent to the Charminar has led to communal tensions. The Muslim community and the secular forces have opposed the efforts to build up the temple which did not exist there till the 1960s. The state government should intervene firmly to check the communal forces from utilizing the “temple” issue.

Five Crore Signatures

The Polit Bureau called upon all its Party units to undertake the mass signature campaign on food security and for a universal public distribution system. The Left parties have given a call for the collection of five crore signatures by the end of January 2013. The Party units should organize a door to door campaign to collect these signatures.

All India Jathas

The Polit Bureau decided that the Party would organize all India jathas to project a national alternative. The Left platform on food, land and house sites, employment, education, health and the fight against corruption will be propagated. Jathas led by all-India leaders will cover the whole country in March 2013 and they will culminate in a mass rally at Delhi. The details of these jathas will be finalized at the Central Committee meeting to be held in Kolkata in January 2013.