(In consultation with the activists of the People’s Doctors’ and Health Volunteers’ Forum, a proposal for forming village/ town protection committees is sent for your discussion and implementation by uniting with like minded forces wherever possible. As the harvest time has reached, such an action shall be of immense help to the rural masses. It will provide protection for them from the illegal and criminal activities of the police and corrupt government officers which is increasing rampantly utilizing the crisis ridden situation created by the COVID 19 pandemic. Please start implementing it wherever possible according to concrete conditions, in consultation with the people – KN)

 

You all know that we in India are in the midst of a serious health crisis due to COVID 19 pandemic. COVID is spreading fast throughout the world and by today the number of Americans affected had crossed that of all other countries in the world. Even though the number is relatively low in India, it is bound to  affect us very severely soon.

This virus did not come to India from China,.  When two months back 200 Indian students were brought back directly from Wuhan, only one student in Kerala tested positive.  It mainly came from Europe and America. The government of India could have screened and stopped the epidemic in International Airports, but the chance was lost. Then, the government responded hurriedly, may be after instructions from America, by announcing a Janatha curfew for one day. The curfew was then extended in different states for two days, and then to three weeks from 24th midnight. This curfew is imposed without the minimum arrangements put in place. This had already led to a big havoc. Thousands of students, unorganized workers and migrant labourers were displaced and were thrown out on to the streets. Police started beating everybody indiscriminately, in the name of imposing order to prevent the spread of epidemic. Prices of essential items skyrocketed and are also not available in sufficient quantities. Essential medicines, including surgical spirit and simple masks have disappeared from the market, only to surface later at many times their original price. Government had closed down many hospitals and many private hospitals too got closed down on their own. Stay home, stay home and stay home has become the only manthra.

 

Modi Government has committed three gross mistakes in this respect. They are:

 

  1. Passengers coming from abroad were not screened.
  2. Indiscriminate and illogical shut down was declared without any preparations.
  3. Hospitals were either shut down, or not prepared to face the new challenge.

In this hour of crisis, partly because of the virus and mainly because of the anti people central government policies the people of India are thrown into grave danger. To overcome this hitherto unheard of crisis, we appeal to all rural folk to immediately constitute ‘Village Protection Committees” and implement the following policies, in order to protect the villages from COVID19 reaching there, and for protecting from it.

  1. Isolate your village by strictly initiating surveillance on all new comers.
  2. Take people from all castes and communities into confidence and initiate widespread discussions. These discussions should happen in a calm and confident way without creating panic to the slightest.
  3. Educate everybody that safety could only be achieved by collective effort and that safety at individual level is a myth.
  4. Monitor all sick people and make a register.
  5. Notify any person if he had the following history.
  6. Travel abroad
  7. Travel to a metro or airport
  8. Contact with a COVID confirmed patient.
  9. Notify any person if he/she had the following symptoms a. Fever b. Cough c. Breathlessness d. Sore throat 7. Individual hygiene should be popularized. Hand washing technique should be taught and be encouraged to be practised repeatedly in a day.
  10. Demand the local government for surgical spirit and masks.
  11. Masks could be easily manufactured in every village. Masks are means of moral support and should be cautioned that they do not offer much protection.
  12. In the absence of Diagnostic Kits, local doctors should be demanded to provide x-ray and SpO2 facilities.
  13. A control room should be established in every mandal / cluster of villages. All village protection committees should be in contact with the cluster control room.
  14. ICMR had authorized the use of Hydroxychloroquine for prophylaxis. Demand the local government authorities to supply them in adequate quantities.

 

While taking these medical measures, it is of utmost importance to maintain and continue the economic activity of the village. In many areas of the country, it is harvesting season and people cannot avoid work and leave the crops to winds. This would lead to severe economic crisis, one which has broken down in all capitalist countries. No productive activity should be thrown into disarray. In view of the prevailing situation, utmost and scientific precautions should be taught to the whole population at a lightning pace.

 

We propose the following measures to be taken to keep the productive activity to be running as near to normal as possible.

 

  1. All agricultural activities to be continued.
  2. Nobody should be allowed to gather in larger groups of more than four.
  3. A distance of one metre should be maintained between every two persons.
  4. All crops should be harvested and properly secured.
  5. Marketing should be done collectively taking the village as a unit. Public or private buyers should be allowed into the village once a day and in a planned and secure way.
  6. All essential commodities should be collected and supplied in a collective way through the Village Protection Committee.
  7. The requirements should be assessed by the VPC and should be procured with the help of the local governmental agencies.
  8. Hygiene of the village should be taken up by the VPC and implemented mandatorily and in a collective way.
  9. Each and every individual should be taken care of economically. Everyone should remember that poverty is the best friend of corona virus.
  10. Small loans without interest should be arranged for the needy and destitute.

 

Corona virus has become one of the biggest teachers of humanity. It has become very clear that we can survive and beat back this challenge only collectively and at an international level. It has become very clear that all capitalist economies have crumbled before this pandemic. It has shattered every capitalist country from Italy to America. Only countries that had once  raised a red flag in their history could beat back this virus. It is simply because they have a collective consciousness and a resolute approach in times of danger. China, in spite of all its capitalist deviations, had given an example to the world how it had fought with military zeal and contained the virus to Wuhan and finally almost eradicated it from its soil.

Like the capitalist countries in Europe, the US has brought before us another glaring and negative example. America was ridiculing China when its people were facing corona virus at the time of gravest danger, to the extent of slandering that Wuhan people were deprived of freedom and human rights. In the second period, America was trying to sling the mud on China that it did not alert the world community. US went to the extent of trying to name the COVID 19 virus as Wuhan virus, or China virus  which was summarily rejected by others in G 12 group. US condemned the positive assessment of WHO on the way Chinese government had confined and controlled the epidemic to Wuhan. In the third phase, the mighty US has started begging other countries for help.

Indian government, which proved to be a junior partner of the Imperialist masters, amassed few lakhs of people to greet President Trump at the end of February 2020, when from 28th January the Kerala government had detected the first COVID case and had alerted the Modi government to take urgent action at all India level to prevent its spread.What Modi government did is a gross violation of WHO guidelines and warnings. And, later as a knee jerk reaction and typical of the ruling class mentality, the Indian government has now imposed 21 days’ curfew on the country which is going to aggravate the situation very badly.

In this hour of crisis, we appeal to all village and small towns’ people to form village or town  protection committees to save your own village. For several reasons, villages /small towns will be better centers for showing the way to urban regions.

 

Do not expect much from the government;

Save your own village/towns.

 

KN Ramachandran,

General Secretary

CPI(ML) Red Star,

 

New Delhi

dated 27th March.

 

We are just on the second day of a 21 day enforced lockdown declared by the Government. The Finance Minister has just announced a relief package of Rs. 1.7 lakh crores. At the current rate of exchange this package amounts to $22.7 billion. Compare this with the package of over $2 trillion announced by the USA, or about $ 200 billion announced by UK or even the $ 45 billion announced by Italy (which has an economy much smaller than India).  Even the Canadian Government (where the population is 1% of India and less than most major Indian cities) is rolling out $ 27 billion in subsidies and $55 billion in credit to help those affected by COVID 19.  Keep in mind that India will have many more people affected by the lockdown, firstly because of its vastly larger population and also because there are a far greater proportion of poor who are in need of relief measures. This clearly shows that the relief measures being announced are woefully inadequate.

              Actually even the figure of 1.7 lakh crores is misleading. This includes the amount of Rs.31,000 crores which is already in the fund for benefit of construction workers which the State Governments have been asked to spend for construction workers. This is not a new benefit for construction workers but money which was already provisioned for their benefit.

It also includes Rs. 20 increase in the daily wage of MGNREGA workers. This will only be available to them when they can do the work of MGNREGA, which seems unlikely till the lockdown lasts. There are about 27 crores of MGNREGA workers[i]. Each worker is to benefit by Rs. 2000 in one year (given that he gets the full 100 days of work, which never happens). So 54,000 crores is for the MGNREGA workers. So half of the package – 85,000 crores (31000 crores for construction workers and 54000 crores for MGNREGA workers) is no contribution by the Government at all. In any case, MGNREGA workers were due for a rise in wages, even otherwise. Their rate of wages is among the lowest in the country today.

About 20 crore women who have Jan Dhan accounts will get Rs. 500 per month for 3 months. This amount is too little to provide any real relief. The free  LPG connections to the around 4 crores beneficiaries of the Ujjwala Scheme gives each a benefit of about Rs. 2400 (deferred over about 3 months taking one cylinder per month). About 3 crores senior citizens and widows are to be given Rs. 1000 each. Again not a great amount. Besides this BPL households will get each month 5 Kgs of rice or wheat and iKg of dal free. Rural farmers are to get Rs. 2000 each as direct transfers to their accounts in the first week of April. Besides this the PF contribution for workers (both employers and employees shares) for MSMEs will be paid by the Government for the next three months. Take the best case scenario of a farmer who is a woman having a Jan Dhan account and also a widow. She would then get Rs. 3500 and three free gas cylinders for three months and 5 Kgs of rice or wheat and Ikg of pulse. She would get a further Rs 500 per month and another 5 Kg of rice/wheat and 1Kg of pulses for the next two months. This is too meagre an amount to provide any real relief in todays times. The monthly estimate by the 7th Pay commission for a worker’s family of two parents and two children is 42.75 Kgs of Rice/Wheat and 7.2 Kgs of pulses (dals)[ii]. The cost of just food and cloth for such a family was calculated as Rs. 9300 per month as on 1st January 2016. Today, this would translate to well over Rs. 10000. When you declare a total lockdown, it must be assumed that all opportunities for earning are stopped. People will have to depend solely on savings and aid.

 

The Indian economy before the lockdown was none too healthy. Recent figures had shown that unemployment was at the highest in 45 years[iii]. The GDP growth rate has already fallen to about 4.5% in the third quarter of the current financial year. The stock markets were in a crash mode for almost a year, banks have been turning belly up, the growth in the manufacturing sector was down to around 0.5% in the third quarter. All this shows the ailing health of the Indian economy. The signs were clearly there for the Government or anybody else who wanted to, to read.

              In times of recession, it is not the large enterprises which suffer the most. It is the small and medium enterprises which have to bear the brunt, eventually being eaten by the bigger fish. Even more it is the workers in these enterprises who suffer the most. The capitalist can make up his losses just by selling the assets like land, which have appreciated so greatly that he is often left with more than when he started. For the workers – especially the workers in the smaller enterprises and informal sectors, the contract workers, casual workers, self-employed workers, small sellers, small farmers, there is nothing to fall back upon. If the economy is to shut down for a prolonged period of time, it is these workers and farmers who have to be provided for.

            What could be done for such workers and farmers? Let us take the workers first. The Government has to ensure that they will be paid their wages for the full period of the lockdown with assurances that their jobs will be retained. How can this be ensured? In the UK, their Chancellor, Rishi Sunak has announced that the Government would pay 80% of wages to employees (till £ 2500 per month) who were not able to work due to COVID 19 in an attempt to see that their jobs are retained. This cover will be backdated to start fr[iv]om the beginning of March and will last for three months and may be extended if necessary, it was announced. Other measures include help to those unable to pay their rents. After this announcement by the Chancellor two further schemes to help business were announced on Tuesday: a new interest-free Business Interruption Loan Scheme for small and medium-sized firms and a Bank of England finance option for bigger businesses. A support package for self-employed people is also expected soon as already announced by the Government.

The USA already has a robust system of unemployment benefits based on what you have earned in the past 12 months and subject to a minimum of 50% of the average. This is to be extended to those who are unemployed due to COVID 19. At the time of writing this the US Senate has just passed a new bill for $1.7 trillion. This includes $1200 direct aid to all individuals who earn below $75000 per year, $250 billion for further unemployment aid including for self-employed and $300 billion for the airlines industry.

Even in Pakistan, Imran Khan yesterday announced a package of Rs. 1.2 lakh crores to help people affected by COVID-19. This is for a population of 20 crores – less than a sixth of India’s population.

About other countries, the Business Standard Article of 20th March[1] had this to say :

  • Paid reductions in working time/partial unemployment benefits, which compensate workers for hours not worked, are being expanded or simplified in France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands
  • The Chinese government has directed employers to not terminate contract of migrant workers in case of illness or containment measures
  • Unemployment insurance benefits have been expanded in several countries, including the United States. In the Philippines, the Social Security Scheme is prepared to give unemployment benefits for up to 60,000 job losses
  • Countries like Italy and Japan are giving financial support and simpler procedures for allowing teleworking
  • Provisions for paid sick leave for self-employed in Ireland, Singapore and South Korea

Source: ILO

In the face of such measures the relief being provided to workers and poor farmers in India is only illusory and a farce! We have to demand.  better and more meaningful support. Such measures can also be easily taken. For instance, India may not offer 80% of the wages to workers, but it can certainly say a lesser percentage, say 50%! It not that, it could offer enterprises which keep their workers and give them full pay a tax sop or a moratorium on taxes as an incentive to keeping the workers. It may not be able to give full relief to the farmers but it can certainly set up a Minimum Support Price and can ensure that it itself buys all farm produce at the minimum support price. This is especially important when the Rabi crop is in the process of harvest and is expected to be a bumper crop. This will, of course lead to the question of stocking such produce but that is not a real problem. The FCI godowns today have more stocks than ever before. An article in the Economic Times of 26th March 2020 based on the statement of the Food Minister, Ram Vilas Paswan, says that though the norm is to store 21 million tonnes of food grains we now have over 58.49 million tonnes (30,97 million tonnes of wheat and 27.52 million tonnes of Rice)[2]. There is nothing to stop the Government from directly sending all this food grain to affected people. It has already agreed to give them meagre amounts like 5 Kgs per month for 16 crore families it only comes to less than 1 million tonnes per month. Why is the Government hoarding food grains at a time like this?

Where is the money for all this to come from? Barclay’s has estimated that the loss to the Indian economy by just the three week lockdown is of the region of $120 billion. We need not spend as large amounts as the US or European. However, we cannot make worries about fiscal discipline stop us from providing needed aid at a time like this. India is today sitting on the largest foreign exchange reserves in history. India has foreign exchange assets of $ 447.3 billion in total reserves of $481.9[v]. Even if the Government were to increase its aid by ten times, this would not even be half of the foreign exchange reserve. Such an amount could give every worker of the 47 crore workers in our country the minimum wage of Rs. 10000 per month for Three months. Even if not this source, in such a crisis any source could be used. Fiscal discipline cannot guide spending in such a time. Germany’s Angela Merkel has said that they will spend whatever is necessary. Same with other countries. We can capitalise (print the money if necessary though such measures may not become necessary) at such a time of crisis. We can worry about inflation later.

Com Sanjay Singhvi is the General Secretary of TUCI

 

[i] From the MGNREGA website see http://mnregaweb4.nic.in/netnrega/all_lvl_details_dashboard_new.aspx

[ii] See page 65 of the Report of the Seventh Central Pay Commission published here by the Finance Ministry https://www.finmin.nic.in/sites/default/files/7cpc_report_eng.pdf?download=1

[iii] Though the Statistics Secretary, Pravin Srivastava said that the figures were based on a new matrix and new design when the report was released in May 2019, he would not deny that unemployment was at a 45 year high. In any case the Labour Force Participation Rate, which is closely allied confirms that unemployment was at the peak for the past fifty years.

[iv] See the BBC page here for more details https://www.bbc.com/news/business-51982005?xtor=AL-72-%5Bpartner%5D-%5Byahoo.north.america%5D-%5Blink%5D-%5Bnews%5D-%5Bbizdev%5D-%5Bisapi%5D

[v] See https://www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/india-to-offer-unemployment-benefits-to-workers-affected-by-coronavirus-120031901409_1.html

[vi] See https://in.finance.yahoo.com/news/enough-foodgrains-stock-fci-govt-073916599.html

[vii] According to the Reserve Bank’s weekly supplement of 13th March 2020. See https://m.rbi.org.in/Scripts/BS_ViewWssExtractdetails.aspx?id=49546

Covid 19 Measures: CPI(ML) Red Star Demands:

 

Announcement of 21 days Lock down should be followed with providing one month’s wage, food and medi-care for the vast number of poor people.

Prime minister Narendra Modi has announced complete lock down or curfew allover the country for 21 days from the midnight of 24th March in continuation to the Janatha curfew of 22nd March and lock down in most of the areas after that. He claims that according to excellent expert advise this is the only way to save Indian people and their children from the ravage of COVID 19. We do not challenge it at this time when we are engaged in facing the crisis created by the COVID 19. Similarly, when the question of taking up the testing of 10% of the people for COVID19, the question of providing adequate medical kits atleast to all doctors, issuing an ordinance to bring the huge private medical sector under government control etc are not even mentioned in the PM’s speech today, how far we can break the chain is also a disputable question. But, instead of going to these discussions, if the expert advise the PM received demands 21 days lock down, virtual curfew, is needed, we accept it.

 

But when unemployment had reached a 45 year record, as we had pointed out repeatedly following the 19th March speech of the prime minister, even in today’s speech he has only mentioned Rs 15,000 crore fund for medical preparations. Once again he has not mentioned a economic package to provide food and medical care to the nearly 50% of the 1,34 billion population in the country, who have lost jobs and are very poor. As a result of economic slow down for last few years already unemployment and impoverishment of the vast masses of people had reached dangerous low levels. From 22nd Janatha curfew onwards they are totally jobless. In addition to this, as all train services and inter state bus services are closed down for a week now, many of the migrant workers who wanted to go back are shelter-less also. Due to  agrarian distress the condition of the agricultural workers in the rural area is alo very bad. Altogether all these sections amounts to 40-50 crores of people who depend on daily earnings. Following last one week’s loss of job, how can this section survive 21 days of lock down, which the police is asked to implement ruthlessly, and the uncertainty after that? All of them want urgent help for food and other immediate requirements. That is why everybody was expecting an economic package from the PM.

 

Similarly, as the police is asked to close even district to district transport also what will be the arrangements for uninterrupted supply of food and essential goods? So many questions are left unanswered. It wll create a crisis from day one itself, and if the central and state governments do not take steps urgently, there is going to be enormous  starvation deaths and anarchy very soon. 

 

So we demand: (1) Make the government-run healthcare network effective to its full capacity,  immediately acquire  support of the private-sector healthcare network through an ordinance and get medical kits needed from the doctors to the patients to masses on a massive scale urgently.

(2) The government should organize a COVID-19 fund. Urgently to cover the payment of one month’s pay to all those who lost the job, Rs 5000 to all other poor families along with ration, cost of immediate food, shelter  and medi-care for all affected people.

(3) Make arrangements for regular and sufficient supply of food items and all essential services to all people all over the country.

 

KN Ramachandran,

General Secretary

CPI(ML) Red Star.

 

New Delhi

24th March 2020

Press Statement of CPI(ML) Red Star:

 

Severely Condemn Modi Government’s Fascist Action Forcibly Removing Shaheen Baghs!

 

Shaheen Bagh where women came out on the streets and started an indefinite dharna demanding the repeal of the CAA, and NPR/NRC based on it, had become the symbol of people’s resistance against CAA,NPR,NRC. The mobilization of women and their supporters had reached massive levels on many occasions. Very soon Shaheen Bagh like resistance centers came up in all cities, towns and even in villages, there number reaching more than 3000 by the end of February, with hundreds of thousands of women got mobilized every day challenging Modi government’s fascist move to impose the NRC based on CAA through the NPR to be launched from 1st April at all India level.

 

During last three months or more there were many efforts to remove this symbol of the people’s movement. But, every time the women and people supporting them had defeated these moves, always taking care that it shall remain a peaceful women’s resistance. When the COVID 19 outbreak started, and government took various steps including issue of prohibitory orders, the number of participants were reduced first to 30-40 and then to 10, maintaining all orders. In spite of this, today morning the Delhi police arrested the 10 women continuing dharna there, and by force demolished the pandal and occupied the dharna place. We unequivocally condemn this fascist action. There are reports from Raichur,North Karnatak and other places of such fascist action by the police.

 

If Modi government thinks that the resistance movement of people, and of the Shaheen Bagh women who are spear heading it can be put down using the measures taken to contain the threat from COVID 19 as a cover, we want to warn that it has completely mistaken the strength of this mass movement. As soon as the lock down is over, not only Shaheen Bagh at Delhi, many more Shaheen Baghs shall come up all over the country defeating whatever measures Modi government takes to impose the NPR/NRC based on CAA. The people shall defeat the conspiracy to get the NPR completed by clubbing it with the Census also. No Census measures shall be allowed till CAA, NPR and NRC are scrapped. We appeal to all popular forces, the Muslims, dalits, Adivasis and other oppressed sections along with the democratic secular forces rallying with them to get prepared to once again launch the movement with more vigorously..

 

KN Ramachandran,

General Secretary

CPI(ML) Red Star

 

New Delhi

24th March 2020, 3.00 PM.

Three months after COVID 19 emerged in Wuhan, its epicenter, China has succeeded to contain and beat back this pandemic, with no new cases reported for last few days. At its peak, this epidemic affected 81,054 people in China, with 3287 deaths. Starting with the shut down in Wuhan and few other places, at its peal 60 million people were under lock down. Now, after effectively containing this epidemic, China has already started economic recovery and rehabilitation of affected people.

 

We are well aware that China is no more a socialist country, but an imperialist country, a bureaucratic dictatorship, engaged in trade war with the US for world hegemony. But, instead of taking a positive approach to China’s handling of  this epidemic, right from the beginning the China-based branches of Voice of America, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and Time, US media giants, were taking a Xenobhobic, racist, antagonistic approach while reporting its anti-corona virus efforts, which was parroted around the world, including India. They portrayed the makeshift hospitals erected very fast in Wuhan as “concentration camps,” The lock-down in China was criticized saying “ it came at great cost for its people’s livelihoods and personal liberties.” The Wall Street Journal called “China Is the Real Sick Man of Asia”. At the same time, now when the whole of Italy is under lock down, with military deployed to enforce it, even then many above 80 years are left to die without treatment (as many reports from there reveal), all that is done there is praised by the same media as great, “risking its economy in an effort to contain Europe’s worst corona virus outbreak”. One can understand the increasing rivalry between US and China, who are engaged in a dirty trade war for world hegemony. But Trump has extended it through the imperialist think tanks and media to attacking China’s efforts to contain the outbreak of corona virus also. As a result, even when WHO and other UN agencies and China had warned about the pandemic nature of COVID 19, necessary precautions were not taken to prevent it from spreading to US and Europe. Modi led RSS/BJP regime was fully engaged in finding ways to get the NPR/NRC done based on CAA, in organizing a great welcome to Trump, planning the pogrom in Northeast Delhi from 23rd to 26th February, apart from involvement in the divisive election campaign for Delhi assembly, While the first corona virus case was reported from Kerala and the state government’s efforts were reported, no attention was given to take precaution at al India level. Even after Kerala government came under severe criticism for not checking passengers from international flight for COVID 19, and it  started checking international as well as internal air travelers by end of February,  attention was given for it by the central authorities only by the second week of March, as the number of corona patients in Maharashtra and elsewhere went above Kerala, with cases and deaths daily increasing. By that time, the epidemic had reached serious proportions in Italy, Spain, France and other EU countries along with US and Canada, and Iran, around the world to more than 160 countries. Only then Modi woke up, addressed the nation on 19th, called for janatha curfew on 22nd February, followed by lock down of almost 400 million, and putting the remaining 940 million under distress with railways, interstate buses and many other facilities cut. Already there are 462 people tested positive and 9 deaths according to hospital count.

Meanwhile the total affected in 160 countries reached 3, 16, 659, and death too going above 15, 000 on 22nd March, with 4825 deaths in Italy, above 2000 in Spain alone. In US, Canada in North America, and in the EU countries of Europe, the oldest and richest imperialist countries, the number of affected people and dead are galloping everyday, with the lack of medical facilities to the common masses well exposed. In these countries panic is leading to pandemonium. Though harsher methods are used to contain the present uncontrollable spreading of this epidemic compared to those followed in China, still Trump and company are refusing to take lessons from the Chinese experience.Same is the case with Modi regime in India. They have no answer to the question: if China could contain the COIND 19 outbreak with the lock down of 60 million people, how come even after more than 600 million people are already under lock down all over the world, there is no containment of the pandemic COVID 19 in sight? Why it is spreading alarmingly all over the world, with many hundreds dying everyday? This shows the anti-people, barbaric nature of the imperialist system 

 

In this critical situation, while asking these cardinal questions to Modi government, we have to demand the following steps from it on an emergency basis:

 

  1. Almost half India’s population, about 600-700 million, are under severe economic distress following the lock-down and other restrictions. Why you are not coordinating with the state governments and declaring an economic package for providing food ration, financial assistance, medi-care etc? Do it now.

 

  1. WHO and other agencies have called for testing a larger section of people for corona virus to understand its real spread among the masses. Take immediate action to bring the huge private medical sector under control of central and state governments as Spain has done, and involve them to test at least 10% of the people on an emergency basis, and to provide treatment to affected people.

 

  1. Now, apart from giving sermons, Modi government has restricted its action merely to bringing more people under lock down. But, even this is reduced to a mockery as RSS/BJP leaders and cadres tried to transform the 5 minutes clapping hands and beating plates at 5 pm on 22nd Feb. called by Modi to Hindutva rallies even joined by the police men , violating the basic purpose of lock-down. So, we demand that, keeping away the divisive politics of BJP, the Modi government should form broad people’s committees at all levels, especially at grass root level, joining hands with the state government, mobilizing with the medical personnel from public and private sector, the retired doctors and nurses, people’s representatives and youth/student volunteers, for (1) testing atleast 10% of the people to find the real extension of the virus infection, (2) for providing quarantine/isolation facilities to the large number of house-less people, (3) for hospitalization of all COVID 19 patients, (4) to continue mid-day meals for children,(5) for providing free food ration to all needy families,(6) to provide economic assistance to all who lost their jobs based on the economic package to be urgently announced by the central government in consultation with the state governments, and (7) to supply all necessary medical kits to all people.

 

We appeal to all political parties, people’s movements, trade unions, mass organizations, civil society/voluntary organizations to get actively involved so as to make it make the campaign to contain and beat back the pandemic COVID 19 a massive people’s movement, compelling the central and state governments to come out with necessary economic package for it.

 

The Central Committee of CPI(ML) Red Star calls upon all Party Committees to get actively involved in this movement, if necessary mobilizing the masses to put pressure on the central and state governments to declare the economic package and involve the whole state machinery with the people’s forces to make it a success without any delay.

 

KN Ramachandran,

General Secretary

CPI(ML) Red Star

 

New Delhi

23rd March, 2020

TUCI Press Statement on Corona Virus.

 

 

The New Corona virus has presented society with a fresh challenge. The fact that such a threat is recurring so frequently (like SARS in 2003 and MERS in 2012) shows that the ecology of the world is in a crisis caused by human wanton intervention. In the face of the unknown danger of COVID-19 the Government seems to have chosen the strategy of total shutdown. However, it is only being implemented in a half-hearted fashion. Factories and other industrial establishments have not been shutdown in many states. This is absolutely foolhardy and makes a mockery of the shutdown of schools, courts, government offices trains, etc. There is no value in isolation if factories are going to be allowed to function. Some states have called for shutting down factories and industrial establishments but that is also not enough. Workers are not in a position to bear the burden of the shutdown. It is necessary that all workers, including contract workers, casual workers, badlis and the like must be paid their full wages for the whole of the period of the lockdown.

Besides this, the workers, in many places are being made to stay in their residences and are not being allowed to move out of their residences (sometimes by the police force). It is necessary to provide for reaching essential items like food, medicines and sanitation materials to all persons at or near to their place of residence such that they can collect the same while maintaining appropriate social distancing.

At the same time TUCI assures the public at large that its workers who are engaged in essential services like municipal services, hospitals, banks, airlines (for evacuation of our citizens) etc will work diligently and ensure that they will do whatever is possible to help during these times.

To recap our demands of the Central and State Governments:

  1. Wherever it is necessary to impose a shutdown, such a shutdown must include also factories and other industrial establishments.
  2. All workers working in such shutdown establishments must be retained in service, including contract, casual, badli, etc workers.
  3. All such workers must be paid full wages for the full period of shutdown as if they had actually worked during those days.
  4. All workers in other areas which are not shutdown but who are unable to reach the places of work due to the shutdown must be treated as if they are in an area of shutdown.
  5. If the shutdown extends to the end of March, care must be taken to reach the wages of the workers to them immediately.
  6. Provision must be made to reach essential items like food, medicine, sanitation materials to all persons during periods of shutdown.

It is only in this fashion that we will be able to make use of the strategy of shutdown to fight this new menace.  

  • Workers of the world unite as never before to fight COVID 19!
  • The World is for us to win and leave to the next generation. Don’t let the capitalist bosses destroy the world!

 

Sanjay Singhvi

General Secretary

T.U.C.I.

Dt. 23.03.2020.

TRADE UNION CENTRE OF INDIA (TUCI)

C-141, Sainik Nagar, Uttam Nagar, New Delhi – 110059 Contact +91 11 25332343 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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The Communist movement in India has a history of almost a century after the salvos of October Revolution in Russia brought Marxism-Leninism to the people of India who were engaged in the national liberation struggle against the British colonialists. It is a complex and chequered history.