The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) met in New Delhi on November 15. It has issued the following statement:
WITHDRAWAL OF RS 1000/500 NOTES: CRISIS OF GIGANTIC PROPORTIONS
The Polit Bureau heard reports from various states about the effects of the withdrawal of the Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes. The reports indicate that there has been a total disruption of the payments and settlements system and has impacted all citizens in one way or the other.
In the rural areas, the crisis is much more grave. Markets are closed in various places. People are unable to buy even bare essentials, life saving medicines etc. It has put at discomfort the vast mass of our people most of who are outside of the banking and the non-cash economic system. These include, but not limited to, agricultural workers, fishermen, daily wage earners, vegetable vendors, truck drivers etc.
This measure does not in any way address the four objectives that PM Modi outlined – black money; corruption; counterfeit currency notes and terrorist funding.
No effort has been made whatsoever to bring back the bulk of black money which is generated and stored in off-shore accounts in foreign currency. Cash constitutes only 6 percent of the black economy. Also a study conducted on behalf of the National Investigation Agency by the Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata has found that only 0.028 percent of the currency withdrawn is counterfeit. Also, the basic avenues for money laundering through Participatory notes and diversions through tax havens remain untouched. There is no attempt to curb the roots of generation of black money such as in the real estate sector.
Reports show that in many states the local BJP units have deposited huge amounts of money in Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes in their accounts hours before this announcement was made by the prime minister. There is concrete evidence, that media has exposed, about the BJP unit of West Bengal, in this regard.
Known cases of money laundering through chit funds schemes like Saradha and the open acceptance of currency in the Narada expose continue to remain uninvestigated, common people whose savings have been looted are not being given back their monies by this government and the culprits go unpunished.
The utter insincerity of the government in bringing back black money is revealed in its wariness to making public the names of those holding bank deposits and accounts in tax-havens and those refusing to return humongous loans from nationalised banks estimated at over Rs 11 lakh crores.
Recent reports show that bad loan provisioning for most State-owned banks doubled – and even trebled in some cases -- in 2015-16. There has been a lack of concerted effort to recover these bad loans. Instead, the BJP government waived off Rs 1,12,078 crore of bad loans of big borrowers in two years of 2014-16.
The government of India/RBI has permitted scheduled banks to accept and exchange Rs 500 and 1000 notes. Similar permission has been granted to urban cooperative banks. This must be extended to district and primary cooperative banks also. This will provide much relief to people in the rural areas who are the worst victims of this measure.
The Polit Bureau therefore:
(i) Demands that till all alternative arrangements like the availability of required currency notes and the recalibration of the ATM machines are completed, people should be allowed to transact in rupees 500 and 1000 notes till the time limit set by the government of December 30, 2016.
(ii) Urged the central government to concede the request of the Kerala and Tripura chief ministers to permit their state governments to accept Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes for payments until alternative arrangements are firmly put in place. The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) hopes that the other non-BJP state governments will also similarly take measures to provide relief to the suffering common people in their states.
(iii) Calls upon all its units throughout the country to organise protest actions demanding that the central government allow the usage of these notes till alternative arrangements are put in place or at least till December 30, 2016.
The Polit Bureau also called upon all its members to actively assist and help the various people standing in serpentine queues before banks and post offices to convert their legitimate money.
GROWING AUTHORITARIAN TRENDS
The Polit Bureau expressed serious concern over the increasing authoritarian trends of the Modi government.
Paradoxically even while the prime minister rejected any future possibility of Emergency saying it was “a sin” that no future political leader should think of committing, contrary signals are displayed elsewhere. Two days after the PM made the statement, the government imposed a one day ban on the Hindi channel NDTV India (which was stayed later after widespread protests).
On the very day that prime minister Modi delivered this speech the Delhi chief minister, Arvind Kejriwal, his deputy Manish Sisodia and Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi were detained by the Delhi police while trying to meet the family members of a retired army man who had committed suicide. The Delhi Police was again used against students of the Jawaharlal Nehru University who were protesting against the disappearance of one of their students Najeeb Ahmad following a dispute with the ABVP on the campus.
The Polit Bureau also noted that the BJP governments in the various states are also ruthlessly clamping down on dissent.
This is visible in its brutal action against villagers assembled in Seko village in Jharkhand’s Khunti district recently. Tribal people who had gathered in large numbers at the village to proceed for participating in a rally at Ranchi to protest against the ordinance that seeks to amend the Chotanagpur and Santhal Pargana Tenancy Act were fired upon resulting in the death of a tribal leader and critically injuring five others. The Jharkhand BJP state government has during the last one month resorted to repeated police firing against popular protests. There have also been two custodial deaths during this period.
The Chattisgarh BJP government has registered a false case of murder against some noted intellectuals and activists including Sanjay Parate, CPI(M) state secretary. They have been charged under sections relating to murder, conspiracy etc.
Increasing evidence and conflicting reports have cast serious doubts about the initial claims made by the BJP government of Madhya Pradesh about the gunning down of eight under trials, who are said to have escaped from the Bhopal jail.
The Polit Bureau is of the opinion that the judicial enquiry announced by the state government should go into the circumstances which led to their “escape” and what led to their killing and also the various versions about the incident that have been reported.
SHARPENING COMMUNAL POLARISATION
The Polit Bureau expressed serious disquiet over the escalating communal tensions and consequent polarisation in the run up to the elections to the Uttar Pradesh legislative assembly. The BJP/RSS is vigorously pursuing this agenda through its various outfits and championing and propagating various divisive issues like gau raksha etc. It is also politically misusing the army action on the LoC with Pakistan to whip up a false notion of nationalism linking it up with its communal propaganda.
The Polit Bureau noting these disturbing developments called upon all democratic and secular forces to rally together in defence of India’s secular, democratic constitutional republic.
IMMEDIATELY FILL JUDICIAL VACANCIES
The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) expressed its grave concern over the immense hardships poor litigants in various courts in the country are facing due to the inadequacy of judges. The existing vacancies must be filled up immediately.