Budget Session 2012 and Beyond
The annual budget session this year began somewhat belatedly in March against a challenging political backdrop for the Congress and the ruling UPA coalition at the centre. It was quite clear from the outset that the government reeling under the pressure of the blows suffered by the Congress in the just concluded Assembly polls would have to face a major storm. The President’s address inaugurating the budget session and the Rail budget that followed produced two early flashpoints – the centre’s unilateral decision to set up a National Counter-Terrorism Centre and the massive fare hikes announced by the Railway Minister....Full text
Comrade Bhaiyyaram Yadav’s Murder:
Feudal Criminality Behind Nitish Government’s Façade of ‘Good Governance’
Much media hype has been manufactured about Bihar’s Nitish Government’s model of ‘good governance’ (sushasan) and development, which have supposedly made the notorious criminality and feudal violence things of the past. The murder of Comrade Bhaiyyaram Yadav, CPI(ML)’s Rohtas District Secretary, by feudal criminals enjoying BJP-JD(U) patronage, has busted such hype, proving that feudal forces and criminals are striking back with renewed confidence in Nitish’s Bihar....Full text
The Message of the Assembly Elections Mandate
The Assembly elections to the five states of Punjab, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Manipur and Goa were projected to be the biggest electoral test in the run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. The Congress and the BJP, the two biggest all-India parties, both had significant stakes in these elections. The results show that while the Congress has emerged as the biggest loser, the BJP has not gained much either....Full text
The Real Foreign Hand in India
Tamilnadu CM Jayalalithaa has abaondoned all pretence of sympathy for the Koodankulam protest, and her cabinet has declared its intention to commission the plant. Massive repression has been unleashed, and the area is under seige. (see p 33 for more)
According to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, ‘foreign’ powers (specifically US and Scandinavian countries) are secretly fuelling the protests against Bt Brinjal and nuclear plants (such as the Koodankulam plant), because they want to thwart India’s growth. The ‘thinking sections’ of India, according to the PM, are all for nuclear power. The Indian Prime Minister is implying that the thousands of Indian people questioning the safety of nuclear energy, and protesting against nuclear plants, especially in the wake of Fukushima, are ‘unthinking’ pawns of foreign powers. The PM’s statement has been followed by a witch-hunt of the leaders and organisations of the Koodankulam protest, with the Government scrutinising their funding sources and freezing the accounts of some NGOs....Full text
Why the NCTC Threatens Democracy
The National Counter-terrorism Centre (NCTC), announced by the Home Ministry, has run into trouble due to opposition from various State Governments – those ruled by opposition parties as well as UPA allies like the TMC. But we need to go beyond the contention in the ruling class camp, and examine what NCTC will really mean for common citizens and our democracy....Full text
Union Budget 2012-13 :
Taxing the Toiling People, Rewarding the Rich
Close on the heels of the massive freight hike before and fare hike in the Railway budget and reduction of interest rate on PF by 1.25 per cent affecting more than 70 lakh workers on the PF roll, General Budget 2012-13 deals a severe blow to the toiling and common people of the country. While presenting the budget, the Finance Minister has himself declared, “We are now at a juncture when it is necessary to take hard decisions.” Unfortunately, the common people, and not the rich, will be at the receiving end of these hard decisions....Full text
|| Cover Feature
The Mandate from JNU
Students: AISA, March on!
After a gap of four years, Jawaharlal Nehru University students voted on March 1 to elect their union, and the verdict could not have been more emphatic in favour of AISA, the flag-bearer of radical student politics in the campus. For the second successive term, AISA candidates swept the central panel. What was more, they all won by a thumping margin with the Presidential candidate polling more than 2000 votes leaving her SFI rival way behind, and for the first time AISA also secured a clear majority in the council, its candidates dominating the three biggest centres accounting for the largest number of students in the campus....Full text
|| Working Class
All India General Strike
Working Class Demands Reversal of Ongoing Economic Policies
The countrywide General Strike on 28 February 2012 received a huge response and was a clear mandate by the working class for the reversal of ongoing economic policies of liberalisation and privatisation.
More than 10 crore workers, ranging from organized to unorganized sector, from industrial workers to agricultural workers, participated in this strike. In particular, contract workers employed in PSUs and government departments played a major role in this strike. Many states witnessed Bandh during this strike. The Strike witnessed a visible impact on almost all the sectors of the economy: coal, steel, petroleum, telecom, defence, banks, insurance, electricity, transport, port and dock, anganwadis, construction, brick-kilns, beedi etc.
The Strike call was given by all the Central Trade Unions in the country and was endorsed by almost all the major Independent National Federations of employees and workers. The demands which the striking workers raised included curbing price rise; creation of employment; strict enforcement of all basic labour laws, stringent punitive measures for violations; universal social security cover for unorganized sector workers, creation of a National Social Security Fund with adequate resources; a stop to disinvestment in central and state PSUs; no contractualisation of permanent/perennial work, payment of wages and benefits to the contract workers at the same rate as to regular workers; amendment of Minimum Wages Act to ensure universal coverage irrespective of schedules, and fixation of statutory minimum wage at not less than Rs 10,000/- with indexation; removal of all ceilings on payment and eligibility of Bonus, Provident Fund, increase in quantum of gratuity; assured pension for all, compulsory registration of trade unions within a period of 45 days, and immediate ratification of the ILO Conventions numbers 87 and 98....Full text
Assembly Elections 2012
Punjab Mandate :
Lessons for the Left
(as told by Comrade Mangat Ram Pasla, Secretary, CPM Punjab, and Comrade Harkanwal Singh, State Committee member, CPM Punjab)
The Akali Dal-BJP combine bucked the long-established and unbroken trend of anti-incumbency in Punjab polls, and was re-elected to Government. The Akali Dal-BJP Government had a track record of aggressively pursuing neoliberal, anti-people policies, corruption, and broken promises to the poor. It pursued the same policy line as the Congress-UPA Government at the Centre. However, as elections approached, it made some populist gestures, conceding some of the demands raised by agitations of peasants and agricultural labourers. The Akali-BJP combine benefited from infighting within the Congress, and Manpreet Badal’s Punjab People’s Party too denied the Congress the exclusive benefits of the anti-Akali/BJP vote in the Malwa region....Full text
AILC Memo to President
A five-member AILC delegation comprising Comrades Mangat Ram Pasla (Secretary of CPM Punjab), Bhimrao Bansode (General Secretary of LNP(Leninist) Maharashtra), Taramani Rai (General Secretary of CPRM), Dipankar Bhattacharya (General Secretary of CPI(ML)Liberation) and Prem Singh Gehlawat (Party’s incharge for Haryana) presented the following memorandum at the Rashtrapati Bhawan. ....Full text
Death Sentence for Mahadalits
Miscarriage of Justice in Amausi Case
On 21 February, the CPI(ML)led a massive protest march to the Bihar Assembly in Patna, to protest the recent verdict of death sentence to 10 and life sentence to 4 Mahadalits in the Amausi (Khagaria) massacre of 2009. A large numbers of mahadalits participated in the march, expressing angry protest against the biased verdict and the attitude of the Nitish Government towards the most oppressed mahadalits.....Full text
Comrade Subodh Narayan Choubey
a veteran leader of the State Government Employees movement in Jharkhand, passed away on 7 March, 2012, at Dumka. He had been suffering a kidney ailment for the past three years....Full text
Planning Commission Does It Again!
Lowers Poverty Line to Claim ‘Reduction’ in Poverty
Now, anyone spending more than Rs.22.40 in rural areas, and Rs 28.65 in urban areas, is NOT POOR!
Not long ago, the Planning Commission headed by Montek Singh Ahluwalia generated countrywide outrage and protests when it submitted an affidavit in the Supreme Court stating a poverty line of Rs 26 for rural India and Rs 32 for urban India. Now the Planning Commission has gone one step further, and has declared an even lower poverty line of Rs.22.40 in rural areas, and Rs 28.65 for urban areas. ...Full text