Polit Bureau Communique
The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) met at New Delhi on July 31, 2019. It has issued the following statement:
Devastating Economic Slowdown
The overall economic slowdown and the menacingly rising unemployment accompanied by deepening agrarian distress are having a devastating impact on the livelihood conditions of the vast majority of our people.
India’s industrial core sector growth has dropped to a 44 month low of 0.2 per cent in June 2019, compared to a 7.8 per cent growth in June 2018.
The automobile industry that employs nearly four crore people and contributes 7.5 per cent to the country’s GDP and 49 per cent to the manufacturing GDP is in deep crisis. 10 of the 17 car companies have posted negative sales growth. The consequent cut in production is laying off workers and is likely to lead to large-scale loss of jobs in this sector. Already it is reported that over ten lakh people are being laid off in the auto ancillary industry.
Large-Scale Privatisation: Upon being re-elected, the Modi government has announced large-scale privatization across the board. 42 defence production units are to be privatized. The 42 ordinance factories, DRDO units and all military engineering services employ more than four lakh workers currently. With privatization, their future is at stake. Apart from six airports privatized earlier with the contract going on to the Adanis, the government has announced the privatization of 20-25 more airports. Indian railways is being privatized step by step. This government has prepared a roadmap to lower its stake in all Central Public Sector Enterprises to 49 per cent in three years.
Data Manipulation: While the economy continues to be on a downslide, the government is resorting to large-sale fudging of data to conceal the truth. It has now been shown that most budget calculations are based on manipulated data. There is a glaring omission of at least Rs. 1.7 lakh crore in the budget accounts. Revenues are shown inflated when the GST collections have registered a sharp drop from the announced targets. According to the CAG, the government’s fiscal deficit has reached 3.42 lakh crore for the June quarter which is 61.4 per cent of the budget estimate for 2019-20. Three more quarters remain in this financial year. It is clear that the government is unable to maintain any fiscal discipline that it boasts about.
Data on employment is not being collected, despite the proof that unemployment is the highest today in the last half a century. The data on distress suicides by farmers is not being collected, so the degree of agrarian distress now goes unreported and, hence, unattended.
Crony Capitalism: The loot of the country’s wealth, through the loans taken from the nationalized banks, continues unabated despite the government claiming a decline in the level of the NPAs. In fact, the banks’ own records show a rise of actual NPA amount by Rs. 2,30,811 crores in the current year. This is after Rs. 1.96 lakh crores has been written off in 2018-19.
Assaults on Parliamentary Institution
All independent Constitutional authorities are being undermined rapidly.
Parliamentary Procedures: This BJP government is pushing through important legislations in the very first Parliament session after the elections. Once the Parliament constitutes its Standing and House Committees, then all legislative business introduced in the Parliament is normally sent for scrutiny by the concerned committees. This practice has been done away with by this government. No committee has been constituted so far. Parliament session has been extended with the declared intention by the government of passing at least 17 important legislations without a serious consideration of all the law-making ramifications.
The demands by the opposition parties to at least constitute select committees to scrutinize the Bills was rejected by the government. All these Bills have been cleared by the Parliament through the BJP exercising the tyranny of the majority.
Undermining Federalism: An amendment to the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) has been passed where the Home Ministry has now legal authority to declare any individual as a terrorist in any state and need not inform the concerned state government. The properties of such identified people can be confiscated. Individuals expressing dissent can now be declared as terrorists arbitrarily. The principle of jurisprudence has been turned upside down by placing the onus on the person on whom allegations are being made to prove his/her innocence. Instead of being innocent till guilt is proved, now the principle is of being guilty till you prove your innocence. This will lead to large-scale harassment, vindictiveness and gross injustice. The federal principle has been given the go-by with the state governments, under whose jurisdiction is the subject `law and order’, will be bypassed.
The RTI Bill has been amended virtually nullifying the right to information. Clearly, the government has a lot to hide and it does not want its internal workings and the huge benefits it provides to its cronies to be exposed in the public domain. This is completely violative of the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution.
The Triple Talaq Bill has been passed which criminalises the breakdown of a civil contract of marriage. This also has the potential for gross misuse against the Muslim minorities.
The usage of the CBI to serve the political agenda of the BJP continues. Likewise, the Enforcement Department of the Finance Ministry is also being grossly misused. The threats issued by these agencies are often aimed at disarming the regional political parties, forcing them into submission and engineering defections.
Likewise, the Supreme Court and the judiciary, the Election Commission, the RBI, the CA&AG are all under similar pressure with varying degrees. All this is undermining the Constitutional order in the country.
The sharpening of communal polarization is leading to the generation of an atmosphere of hate, intolerance and violence across the country. In almost all BJP-ruled states, Muslim minorities have been assaulted either on allegations of eating beef, or, by forcing them to chant `Jai Shri Ram’. Most of such incidents have occurred in the state of Uttar Pradesh. There are also reports of such incidents in Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Assam, Bihar, West Bengal and elsewhere.
Authoritarian Assaults: During these two months of this government, there has been an unprecedented rise in the attacks on democratic rights and civil liberties of people. A large number of people have been arrested in Uttar Pradesh for sharing `objectionable content’ against BJP Chief Minister. Similarly, various people have been arrested from other BJP-ruled states like Assam, Tripura, Uttarakhand, Goa etc. This is creating a sense of fear in the social media where authors, writers and individuals are being targeted under the draconian Section 66A of the IT Act despite the Supreme Court ruling against this section.
The spread of hatred and intolerance is also targeting social activists and human rights activists in the name of either `urban naxals’, or, `tukde tukde gang’ etc. The objective is to silence all expression of dissent against this government, the RSS, the BJP and their leaders.
Anti-Labour Law Reform: This government has declared that it will replace all the 17 existing labour laws and, in its place, bring in 4 labour codes. Already attacks on democratic rights of the working class have been growing. This proposed codification is designed to undermine the rights of the working people that were achieved through decades of struggles. These hard-won rights cannot be allowed to be removed or diluted.
The CPI(M) expresses its solidarity and support to the joint countrywide protest by the united platform of Central Trade Unions and federations on August 2.
The Polit Bureau demands that the elections to the state Assembly of Jammu & Kashmir be held immediately. Despite all political parties in the state demanding simultaneous elections in J & K, the elections to the dissolved Assembly were not held along with the Lok Sabha elections. No clear explanation is being provided. If the security concerns could permit the Parliament elections, how come then the Assembly elections not be held?
The announcements by various BJP leaders, including the Union Home Minister, about the Centre’s intention to annul Article 35 of the Constitution that deals with Jammu & Kashmir’s autonomy will further sever the bonds of unity between the people of J & K and the rest of India. This matter is currently under consideration by the Supreme Court. Let the judicial process by completed. The BJP government continues to refuse to initiate the long-promised political dialogue with all stakeholders. This is essential to restore normalcy and peace in the valley. The additional deployment by the government is officially stated to be a response to an increased threat perception of terrorist attacks. Unless the process of dialogue begins simultaneously, the situation cannot normalized in J & K.
Toppling State Governments
The open manner in which the BJP indulged in naked horse-trading to topple the Congress-JD(S) state government in Karnataka is a pointer towards its intention of creating an opposition-free India. Whatever may have been the problems with the coalition government in Karnataka, it is clear that the BJP, which tried to stop this government from assuming office soon after the Assembly elections, has continued with its efforts to destabilize the government. It is now targeting other opposition-ruled states.
NRC Process in Assam
The final list of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam is to be published by August 31. So far, 40.7 lakh and an additional 1.02 lakh applicants have been excluded from the NRC. There are apprehensions that many genuine Indian citizens have been excluded from the Register. It is necessary to ensure that all such people are given a fair opportunity after the final list is published for their appeals to be heard. The Foreigners Tribunal cannot be the forum as it is not a judicial body. The government must also spell out what will be the status and rights of those who will become “non-citizens”.
The Polit Bureau also expressed concern at the plight of those who are kept in detention camps after their being declared foreigners. The conditions are poor with bad food and overcrowding. It is reported that 335 of them are those retained for more than three years. The government cannot run detention centres with such deplorable conditions and by violating the basic human rights of the detenu.
Negating the FRA
Adivasis across the country have expressed their deep concern at the utter failure of the Modi government to defend the Forest Rights Act in the ongoing petition against the Act before the Supreme Court. The threat of eviction hangs over 23 lakh adivasi families who have been denied pattas. The CPI(M) demands unequivocal defence of the FRA by the Central government and to ensure there are no evictions. At the same time, instead of scrapping the colonial Forest Act 1927 which was an instrument to deny tribal communities their rights over the forests and forest produce, the Modi government has drafted amendments which make it even more draconian. CPI(M) demands withdrawal of the amendments. The CPI(M) supports the struggles of adivasis for justice against these assaults by the Central government.
BJP’s Hypocrisy on `Beti Bachao’
The Unnao rape case of a minor and the subsequent criminal acts by the BJP MLA the main accused, to eliminate the complainant and her family have shocked the entire country and thoroughly exposed the BJP’s utterly hypocritical claims of “beti bachao”. The criminal has only now been expelled from the party after national outrage. The Supreme Court’s welcome order to shift the four related cases out of UP is an indictment of the UP Government which has tried to subvert the processes of justice to defend the rape accused. This case symbolizes the terrible plight of rape survivors who face huge hurdles in their struggle for justice. At a time when there is a big increase in sexual crimes against women and particularly children, the CPI(M) demands implementation of the Verma Committee recommendations for preventive measures and for swift justice.
Grave Flood Situation
The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) expresses its deep concern over the ravages created by floods in various parts of the country. Many rivers are in spate leading to large-scale destruction and loss of life. The states of Assam, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and many others have been ravaged by severe floods.
The Polit Bureau calls upon the Central government to provide all the necessary assistance to the state governments on a war footing to contain any further damage.
Centenary of the Foundation of the Communist Party of India
The Communist Party of India was formed on October 17, 1920 at Tashkent. The Polit Bureau gave a call for the observance of this centenary to the entire Party from October 17, 2019 to October 17, 2020. The rich history of the Communist movement in our country, its contributions to India’s struggle for freedom and the post-independence struggles for the improvement of people’s livelihood and the struggle for the rights of the working class and peasantry will be highlighted.