June 07, 2020

Protest on June 16 to Protect Livelihoods

AN online press conference was addressed by Sitaram Yechury, CPI(M) general secretary on June 3 briefing about the decisions taken by the Polit Bureau meeting held a day before.
He expressed solidarity with the people who are battling the Nisarga Cyclone that has hit the coast of Maharashtra and asked both the central and state governments to ensure proper relief measures are taken.

Charging the Modi government of utter failure in handling the corona pandemic, Yechury said that the basic principles of lockdown: testing, isolation, quarantine, were not adhered to. Instead of following the advice of epidemiologists and scientists, the Modi government kept on shifting the goalposts. The situation now is that the exit strategy of the government is to leave the people to defend by themselves.

Hardly any relief was provided to the people. A human tragedy of unprecedented proportion was struck on the people. Millions lost their jobs and the migrant workers with their families had to walk back to their homes; many of them lost their lives while walking back.

The government used communalism even at this juncture instead of meeting the challenge. It used the State apparatus to target people of the minority community and charged them with sedition laws.

He spoke about the need to enhance the purchasing power of the people which is a crucial measure to tide over the economic crisis that we are in. He also exposed how the central government is starving the states of funds, is even denying them their legitimate dues in the form of GST transfers. This is severely hampering the capacity of the states to fight the pandemic. This attack on the states and further centralisation of the authority of the centre is leading towards destruction of federalism.

The CPI(M) shall protest against these policies on June 16. All the units of the Party and members will protest on that day.

Sitaram Yechury also responded to some of the questions raised by the media. Responding to one of the questions on the Sino-India escalation at the border, he said that the talks should resolve the issue and a high level talk between the two governments is already on the agenda.

Is Kerala a Left model? To it Sitaram said, the Left has a strong presence in Kerala since the early days after independence and the Kerala model definitely has a Left influence to it. On a query to the arrests in Delhi, Yechury pointed out that it is strange that the victim has become a perpetrator and the perpetrator, who as we all know, is allowed to go scot free. Sitaram replied to a query made on the issue of GDP numbers and said a white paper must be brought out. He said the situation is very precarious. The actual revenues of the government have fallen badly. There is a reduction in the tax collection: corporate tax by Rs 1.6 lakh crore and other gross tax revenue by Rs 70,000 crore. On a query that some of the non-BJP states have also amended the labour laws, Yechury said all such governments will be opposed on this issue.