Resolution against Continuing Attacks on the People of West Bengal and in Solidarity to Struggles against such Attacks
The General Council meeting of CITU being held on 11-14 July 2014 at Bellary, Karnataka expresses serious concern on the continuing phenomenon of severe attacks and intimidations on our comrades and also con the common people in West Bengal by the TMC led goons and antisocial elements since last 37 months since May 2011 and also in the run up to the election campaign and even after declaration of election results. During this period more than 157 Left and CITU activists were killed and the number is increasing every day. Thousands were physically attacked and injured by the physical onslaught by the TMC goons with the police administration aiding and abetting such attacks and onslaughts. Even after declaration of election results on 16th May 2014 such attacks and intimidation have been continuing in full steam and 12 comrades including two women were murdered. Several thousands are ousted from their areas of work and residence. More than 15000 comrades and activists have been implicated in false cases and many of them were even jailed for months together having been booked on non-bailable cases. Molestation and rape of woman by TMC hoodlums have become almost a frequent happenings in the state. Latest has been the brutal rape of one anganwadi worker by TMC miscreant at Nadia district on 7th July 2014 and it is the same district where the TMC MP had given open threat to get women raped by his men a few days before such dastardly incident of rape. The Police has been actively patronising such attacks shamelessly. After the declaration of election result, intensity of such attack has increased targeting the working people, both in towns and rural areas. Livelihood of the people are being attacked by way of ousting thousands of small farmers from their land; evicting contract workers in thousands in several industries and replacing them with new set of workers with lower wages in connivance with the contractors; blockading functioning of numerous small cooperatives and self-help groups through terrorand violence; and even forcibly closing down small shops and similar small businesses through violence and extortions—all designed to maintain an atmosphere of terror and fear among the people at large and prevent any opposition to the reign of extortion and loot by the TMC goons with the active support of administration. The main purpose behind such attack is to sustain an atmosphere of terror maiming all kinds of dissent and protest against such beastly misrule of the TMC Govt as well as the anti-social and anti-people activities of the miscreants under their shelter. And the basic aim is to marginalise and eliminate Left, it being the only potential opponent to the regime of loot and plunder under stewardship of thecorporates either through TMC in West Bengal or through BJP at the centre.
The democratic right of holding meetings, rallies etc are being sought to be denied to the Left parties and even other trade unions and mass organisations. Also many non-political progressive organisations are being obstructed to have their activities involving mass of the public. Refusal of permission by the police administration to hold public meeting, even hall meetings and using mike throughout the state at the instigation of TMC has become almost a regular affair. Even labour department officials are being directed by the TMC Govt or their cohorts not to respond to the complaints or grievances raised by the trade unions and not even call conciliation meetings. Massive corruption, irregularities, nepotism, and anarchy in every segment of social life and governance being openly practiced by the TMC brigade is continuing and entire administration has been working overtime to ensure that nobody can raise their voice against such anarchy and hoodlumism. In fact total abrogation of all democratic rights of the people to collectively voice concerns and dissent had been the project of the ruling party in the state and that has gained momentum after the 16th Lok Sabha election.
CITU and other mass organization of the Left parties have been bravely combating such situation while carrying on their organized opposition and protest against such anarchic regime and denial of democratic rights to common people by the TMC regime and their virtually lumpen-led administration. Other trade unions like HMS, AICCTU and INTUC etc are also joining protest against such attacks and onslaught on democratic rights.
The General Council meeting of CITU, while condemning such lumpen-raj in West Bengal, expresses full support and solidarity with the struggle by CITU, other mass organizations and the Left parties and demands upon the state Govt in West Bengal to put a stop attack and onslaught on the Left parties, trade unions and mass organizations forthwith. CITU calls upon working people and trade unions all over the country to organize solidarity action and campaign against the ongoing brutalities by the fascistic lumpen-led TMC regime on the democratic people of West Bengal.
Resolution on Union Budget 2014-15
The General Council meeting of CITU being held on 11-14 July 2014 at Bellary, Karnataka denounces the anti-people Budget (2014-15) of the Narendra Modi Government. The Union Budget (2014-15) is an exercise in piloting large scale FDI-PPP mode in the financial and policy governance of the country under BJP rule. It followed the same policy trajectory deregulation, privatization and corporate-orientation so long followed by its predecessor the UPA Govt which has been rejected by the people in election. And pursuit of these policies by UPA has landed the national economy in gloom with dwindling growth rate, continuing inflationary spiral and aggravating unemployment. The Budget has set in motion the process of betrayal of the promise for “so called good days” made by Modi in his election campaign. The Finance Minister has said in his Budget speech, “ these are only the first steps and are directional.”
The Finance Minister, just three days before the presentation of his Budget spoke in Rajya Sabha on 7th July 2014 while replying to debate on “price rise” that any exercise in containing fiscal deficit through cutting down expenditure will lead to contraction of the economy in a situation of already dwindling growth rate of sub-5 per cent. He repeated the same statement orally in Lok Sabha while presenting the Budget. But while making high sounded commitment and promises for all round growth in his budget speech, in actual budgetary exercise, the Finance Minister meticulously practiced the same route of drastically cutting down central plan outlay on almost all heads impacting common people like Agriculture, rural development, Transport, General Economic Services and Social Services etc. The Ministries of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation, Human Resource Development and the Department of School Education and Literacy in particular and Women & Child Development also faced a drastic cut in allocation of funds. The share of SCs and STs in plan expenditure is kept far below (by Rs 47000 crore) the stipulation of planning commission guidelines based on proportion of population. Therefore, the first budget of the Modi Govt took off engineering a deceit on the people.
On the other hand, the Budget has launched onslaught against various flagship welfare schemes. MGNREGA is going to be immediate target of attack due to the policy pronouncement in the Budget that State Governments will have to spend two-third of the revenue transferred in ‘capital asset creation.’ Also a move is afoot to turn the right based employment guarantee legislation into just a welfare scheme with no guarantee in employment.
While engineering a drastic cut in expenditure on almost all heads impacting common people aimed at containing fiscal deficit, the budget remained reluctant in taking any action in arresting organized pilferage from public exchequer in the form of deliberate tax default by big corporate houses which reached a huge sum of Rs 4.18 lakh crore on account of corporate tax and income tax by the end of 2012-13 of which Rs 72901 crore is not under dispute. Rather the measures envisaged in the budgetary proposal to avoid dispute and litigation on tax claim are basically designed the defaulters a long hand to legitimize the default and pilferage from the public exchequer.
Added to this is the decision to constitute the Expenditure Management Commission to look into basically the subsidies for common people aiming at further deduction in the same. The Budget has already proposed a cut in subsidy on petroleum to the tune of Rs 22054 crore which would have a cascading effect on prices of all goods. And such cascading effect on prices of goods and services is going to be perpetual as the Budget announces total decontrol of diesel pricing before the end of current financial year.
Simultaneously, the budget reduced the direct tax leading to a revenue loss of Rs 22200 crore while increasing the indirect tax burden to the tune of Rs 7525 crore. And the manner the budgetary proposal extended liberalized concessions/reduction of customs and import duty on various heads, the additional revenue of Rs 7525 crore in indirect tax means a larger revenue on account of tax on domestic consumption goods to be borne by common people already reeling under continuing price-rise and mounting burden of unemployment and joblosses.
The Budget has announced raising of FDI cap in defence and insurance sector from existing 26% to 49% musct to the detriment of the interests of national economy. The target for revenue from PSU divestment has been set at a huge amount of Rs.63,000 crore and the Finance Minister has announced that instead of earning dividend from PSUs they prefer divestment of Government equity in the PSUs. Number of measures have been incorporated in the Budget to actually weaken the public sector banks making them easy prey of privatization policy of the Government.
Budget while sounding high on promoting investment for boosting manufacturing sector, practically relied on good intention of the private investors through more liberal incentives and tax concessions. In an atmosphere of shrinking market and declining purchasing power of the people owing price-rise and industrial sickness, incentives and tax concessions cannot boost employment generating investment except causing revenue losses. Rather the measures announced in the budget for liberalization of tax regime on portfolio investment, transfer-pricing and mutual fund and steps envisaged for energizing capital market etc would attract flow of investment more towards speculative market than employment generating productive investment. That will definitely make the corporates and big business, both domestic and foreign, happier while common people will be left high and dry.
In respect of almost all development expenditure including various infrastructural projects, the Budget relied more on PPP and FDI despite dismal performance and non-materialisation of PPP during the previous regime. Rather, the Budget indicated further concessions/incentive to private players in the name of reducing rigidities and taking a more liberal approach.
On the whole, the first budget of the NDA Govt has basically turned out to be grossly anti-people in character promoting more aggressive loot by the corporate and big-business houses on the mass of the people. The General Council of CITU condemns such anti-people Budget and calls upon the working people and trade union movement to build united opposition to the said anti-people budget and related policies of deregulation, privatization for promoting corporate loot on the people.
Resolution on Allocation under scheduled Castes Sub Plan
This meeting of the General Council of CITU being held in Bellary on 11 – 14 July 2014 strongly condemns the decline in the allocation for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes under the Scheduled Castes Sub Plan (SCSP) in the Union Budget placed by the Finance Minister in the Parliament.
The SCSP, one of the most important budgetary issues for Dalits was initiated 35 years ago, became necessary as the SCs were continuously denied their adequate share of government funds essential to meet their needs and improve their conditions. It mandates setting aside a proportion of the total Plan outlay of the Centre and state governments equivalent to the proportion of the SCs at the national and state levels, exclusively for their development. According to the Census 2011, SC population comprises 16.6% of the total population.
However, the total plan allocation in this Budget has declined in real terms by around 4%. Moreover the total share of SCs and STs in the total plan expenditure is falling short by Rs 47000 crores and Rs 14000 crores according to the Planning Commission guidelines based on the proportion of the population. It is also a matter of serious concern that what is being allocated is also not being spent. While Rs 41561.13 crores was allocated for SCSP in the Budget 2013 – 14, according to the Revised Estimates only Rs 35800.6 crores have been spent. There have been several instances of SCSP funds being diverted to entirely different uses like construction of flyovers, Commonwealth Games etc. The Twelfth Five Year Plan document itself had to admit that ‘The expenditure in many states/ UTs was not even 50% of the allocated funds. No proper budget heads/ sub heads were created to prevent diversion of funds. There was no controlling and monitoring mechanisms’
In order to ensure effective implementation of the SCSP, there is an urgent need to enact a national legislation to provide statutory backing to the provisions of the SCSP.
This General Council meeting demands that the government of India should
- Enact a legislation providing statutory status to SCSP in this Budget session itself
- The government should allocate 16.6% of Plan Outlays for the SCSP
- Take effective measures to ensure that the funds are spent for the development of Dalits and are not diverted for other purposes and also that the funds are spent in time and are not allowed to lapse.
Resolution on Israeli aggression on Palestine
The meeting of the General Council of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) at Bellary from 11th to 14th July expresses its anger and protest against the Israeli attack on Gaza. For more than one week Gaza is being bombarded by the Israeli armed forces killing more than 165 people including many children. The attacks are being targeted on the residential areas. Latest reports say that Israeli armed forces have begun invasion at ground level also and thousands are forced to flee. The whole region is under threat of escalation of war.
CITU condemns these attacks, which are in contravention of international lands. In the back ground of happenings in the middle-east region, these Zionist attacks by the closest ally of US imperialists will aggravate the situation.
The CITU demands the Govt. of India to condemn Israeli aggression on Palestine and take necessary steps to bring international pressure on aggressors. CITU expresses solidarity with the people of Palestine and calls upon its affiliates and democratic movements to protest against the Zionist aggression.