Thursday, July 10, 2014

Leaders Pledge to Foster Left Unity while Commemorating Birth Centenary of Communist Legend Jyoti Basu

In this present prevailing condition when rightists groups are clamouring to carry forward the interest of corporates, only the Leftists are an alternative who can fight to establish the wellbeing of the poor toiling down trodden classes. To ensure the security and safety of the working class the leftists have to foster unity for which Jyoti Basu had devoted his life. This was the essence of the speech delivered on the occasion of the birth centenary celebration of the undaunted communist leader Jyoti Basu. Jyoti Basu Birth Centenary Celebration Committee had organized this solemn gathering on Tuesday, the 8th of July, 2014 at Nazrul Mancha in Kolkata. The occasion was enriched with the deliberations of eminent personalities from different spheres. Noted among them were political leaders Biman Basu, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, veteran leader Ashok Ghosh, Manju Kumar Mazumder, Kshiti Goswami, Ajizul Haque, eminent economist Prabhat Pattanaik, Ashok Mitra, former Speaker of the West Bengal Legislative Assembly Hasim Abdul Halim.

Left Front Chairman Biman Basu recollected in details how Jyoti Basu in spite of being brought up in an affluent family sacrificed his life and chose the thorny path to organize the working class and oppressed people. Had never craved for earthly belongings and had craved all through his life for the upliftment of the masses specially those who were subjected to the tyranny of the dominant classes. Nothing could deter him from the path of a worthy deserving communist and had always adhered to the dictates of the party as a true soldier. One has lots to learn from his life specially the young generation who are unaware of the times when leaders like Jyoti Basu held the banner in their hands to foster the Left Unity to give a worthy leadership in every critical political situation in India. He believed that implementation of true democracy could only bring respite to the poor working classes. For this to ensure empowerment at the grass root level he was the first to establish the three-tier panchayat system.

Biman Basu in this context stated that 'discipline is the very political aspect which Jyoti Basu walked through in his life. As a matter of fact it is a lesson for all of us how he restrained himself from any unwanted comment that could destabilise his party or the Left unity. One should pay true homage to such a leader of immense personality by pledging to carry the baton of left unity forward for which he had craved all his life. Biman Basu also mentioned the names of Snehangshu Acharya and Bhupesh Gupta – close associates of Jyoti Basu whose birth centenary are also in the offing.

Prabhat Pattanaik quantified Jyoti Basu as a man of varied qualities who always delivered himself to be a true communist. He was undoubtedly the most popular leader of this century. He said it is a matter of fact to reckon how not being a son of a farmer or not belonging to the village he could analyse their sufferings and proved himself to be a worthy leader to raise to such height of popularity. Trust was the very basis of the immense popularity. There was no delicacy in his behaviour. He cast a warning about the gospel of neoliberalism under whose ageist is on the rise the phenomenon of lumpen proletariats who are creating rackets endangering the essence of life. He spoke about the rise of fascist forces that are a threat to this country and emphasized the need for a Left consistent force who can only offer an alternative.

CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee spoke on the qualities of Jyoti Basu that made him an universal leader. He could culminate the struggle for existence of the farmers and the peasants amidst parliamentarian democracy. Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee stressed the need to unite the left and the secular forces otherwise it shall be difficult for the party to leap forward.

CPIM PB on Union Budget

The debut budget of the BJP government expresses deep commitment to continue the trajectory of reforms of benefiting foreign and domestic capital by emphasizing on larger FDI flows and enlarged avenues for PPP projects. Fiscal consolidation is sought to be effected through contraction of public expenditures and not by increasing revenues through taxing the rich. Thus it is a recipe for further enriching the rich and impoverishing the poor.  

Given the backdrop of slow recovery in the global economy the budget was supposed to reflect initiatives that gear up domestic demand through planned investment on the one hand and check food inflation to increase purchasing power of the majority working people. The advanced estimates for the last quarter of 2013-14 released by Central Statistical Organisation reflects a bleak picture of overall growth rate (at constant 2004-05 prices) of 4.6 % and negative growth in manufacturing as well as in mining and quarrying and a massive decline in growth of construction and trade, hotel and restaurant sector. Despite the fact that there has been considerable decline in the ratio of investment to GDP since 2010-11 both in the public and private sectors this budget with its overriding concern to keep fiscal deficit in check and keeping revenue expenditure to GDP ratio more or less same has failed to address the required increase in total plan expenditure in real terms. Total of budgetary support for central plan and central assistance to states and UT declined in real terms comparing budget estimates. The figures on central assistance for state and UTs although increased but the states are left with very little authority to decide on central schemes and that goes against the federal structure of the country. The budget proposal heavily relies on public private partnership and FDI to gear up investment which is hardly going to happen going by past experience.

The budget proposes to reduce direct tax incurring a revenue loss of Rs. 22,200 crores while increases indirect taxes by Rs. 7525 crores which would obviously have regressive impact on the common people. The revenue generation proposed in the budget is high on expectations since there is no significant increase in tax rates and the revised estimates in revenues for the last two years fell short of the budget estimates which eventually prompted further cut in expenditures. The government depends on disinvestment tuned to Rs. 43425 crores which is higher than last year’s budgeted figure but the actual figures last year was much less than what was estimated.

The budget proposes drastic cut in central plan outlay in agriculture and allied sectors, rural development and social services and women and child development. There is no increase in allocation in MGNREGA, Indira Awas Yojna rather in real terms it has declined. The total plan allocation also declined in real terms roughly by 4 %. Moreover the share of SCs and STs in total plan expenditure is falling short by Rs. 47000 crores and Rs. 14000 crores according to planning commission guidelines based on proportion of population.

The budget also proposes a decline in subsidies to petroleum by Rs. 22054 crores which would impose more burdens on the people and further increase the inflationary pressure. Moreover the budget has no concrete proposal to check the double digit food inflation especially when there is a possibility of mounting pressure on food prices given the projections of bad monsoon.

The budget also fails to propose measures to increase employment growth through revamping manufacturing growth. Investments are low and there is no attempt to raise domestic demand rather the budget essentially relies on incentives to private investment through investment linked deductions that grossly failed to raise investment in the earlier years. Moreover the government announces to raise the cap of foreign investment in insurance, defence and real estate that the earlier government could not implement because of stiff opposition.
Therefore the budget essentially fails to chart a trajectory to increase growth and investment, create employment and check inflation that was needed in the current scenario. It is a budget relying more on privatisation and foreign investment and short on innovative ideas to increase revenue. The budget is grossly regressive and anti-people and would increase the burden on the common people