March 22, 2020

Create a Contingency Fund for COVID-19: Yechury

WHILE placing the decisions of the Polit Bureau meeting, which was held at New Delhi on March 14-15, Sitaram Yechury, general secretary of CPI(M) demanded creation of a ‘national contingency fund’ to meet the challenge of COVID-19. He said the spread of COVID-19 is a serious situation and as pointed out by some of the ICMR sources, it has already entered the third stage in the country; the results, if proper procedure is not followed, could be horrendous, he remarked. Calling for unleashing massive public awareness on scientific basis, he said the obscurantist ideas being spread by some of the groups should be shunned and curbed sharply.

Yechury pointed out that the global meltdown now looks inevitable and with the adaptation measures because of COVID-19, there is bound to be a massive hit at the working population’s livelihood throughout the globe and especially in India, where 93 per cent of the workforce in the cities are engaged through informal channels. The core sector will also be sharply hit and this will affect in a large loss of jobs. Hence, he said a contingency fund is required to mitigate the challenges because of the present situation.

On the CAA-NPR-NRC protests, he said large gatherings should be avoided. The CPI(M) and the Left parties have decided to not to hold large scale protests on March 23, the martyrdom day of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev, and instead usual observances will be held throughout the country. Yechury said a large number of state governments have decided to either not to implement the NPR or to allow the 2010 census format. All of this together describes the whole process of the BJP government of implementing the CAA-NPR -NRC is getting strongly resisted in the country. Pointing out at the assertion made by the home minister, Amit Shah in the parliament that nobody will be categorised as ‘doubtful’ category citizen during the NPR process, he said that this is insufficient and relevant sections of NPR must be taken out from the form.

While strongly condemning the Delhi police during the Delhi riots, Yechury said it was more complicit, rather than acting as a neutral force during the riots. Else, the riots could have been checked on time. While explaining the efforts made by the CPI(M) in unleashing the relief and rehabilitation efforts, he said that already Rs 6 crore has been collected in the country. Kerala’s contribution has been phenomenally good. The Kerala unit of CPI(M) has collected Rs 5.30 crore in just two days. West Bengal unit also has collected more than Rs 50 lakhs. This money will be utilised to rebuild houses and provide other relief material to the victims of the riots in Delhi. Yechury demanded a court-monitored committee to ascertain the cause of the riots and the reasons for the failure of the state apparatus to control them.

Speaking on Kashmir, Sitaram Yechury welcomed the release of Farooq Abdullah, MP and former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir. He said that all the people arrested after the abrogation of Article 370 must be released forthwith.

Sitaram Yechury also spoke on the role of the judiciary in the country. He said more and more cases are exhibiting to a fact that the judiciary is succumbing to the pressures of the executive, which is not a healthy sign for the Indian democracy. In the eyes of the people, the judiciary was seen at a high reputation and still is considered as the last pillar of hope. But in the recent period, the credibility and independence of the judiciary have come to serious doubt, he asserted.

Yechury strongly criticised the decision of the central government to levy an additional cess of three rupees on diesel and petrol. He said not only is it criminal but the sheer figure of Rs 860 crore amassed every day because of this cess from the people, shows the trajectory of economic development under the BJP rule. This money is snatched from the people’s earning, whereas an amount of Rs 7.78 lakh crore loans from the Indian banks was waived off by the Modi government. This shows the sheer class bias of the government.