Being forced to recognise a slump in GDP growth rate to 5.8 percent in the last quarter of last financial year, the Pre-Budget Economic Survey tabled by FM Nirmala Sitharaman today has predicted a GDP growth rate of 7 percent for the fiscal year 2019-20. The Survey that calls for a further deregulation of the labour market by curtailing workers’ rights and speeding up of ongoing labour law amendments for laying red carpet for FDI at more liberalised terms, is only a prelude for the far-right Budget that is going to be tabled in parliament tomorrow.
The ultra-neoliberal suggestions highlighted in the Economic Survey which will find their concrete manifestations in the coming Budget, in brief outline, is a blueprint for taking off India to achieve Modi’s vision of $ 5 trillion economy by 2024 and a 10 trillion economy by 2032.This is to be achieved through profound changes in the Indian economy by opening up the floodgates of private corporate foreign capital. It is for this that the Survey calls for a “departure from traditional economic thinking”, though obscurantist psychological remedies for shoring up tax collections give a Sanghi touch to the whole analysis. At a time, when the world economy is experiencing a downturn and Indian economy is stagnating with negative growth rate in agriculture and allied sectors and other employment-generating sectors and inequality is all-time high, call for an emulation of the Chinese export-driven model for achieving 5 trillion economy by 2024 is only wishful thinking.And the Economic Survey’s appeal for unleashing and “pushing up the animal spirits” of corporate capital including removal of all restrictions to FDI is going to be the biggest challenge before the workers, peasants and all toiling and oppressed people of India.
K N Ramachandran
CPI (ML) Red Star
4th July 2019
As demanded by the Adivasi Land Struggle Committee, the authorities have signed the agreement to hand over five acres of land and the traditional land of the Adivasis to the families in Attappadi. It was in a meeting of the AIKKS leaders with the officers of the ITDP that this agreement was signed. As the agreement was signed AIKKS has withdrawn the march to Kerala High Court it was planning from 30th May. The land will be measured and handed over by 30th June. AIKKs organized demonstration at Attappadi announcing the victory of the struggle.
On 12th June com. KN Ramachandran, GS of CPI(ML) Red Star, met the struggling Adivasi and other landless families at the Kalpatta’s Towarimala Struggle Centre and extended the support of the party Central Committee to the struggle. Meanwhile, the state level Towarimala Solidarity organized a Convention at Thrissur on 15th June and decided to intensify the campaign to mobilize all landless families for a protracted struggle to compel the government to take over the lakhs of acres of land illegally occupied by foreign plantation owners, their benamis and land mafia and to hand them over to the plantation workers and landless families. The Convention stressed that Adivasi Land Protection Act should be implemented and all adivasis’ right over the land should be established.
More Forces Support Towarimala Land Struggle: As the Towarimala land struggle and the dharna before Kalpatta Collectorate is reaching its sixtieth day, more sections of landless families are coming forward in support of it. The move by CPI(M) ministers to legalize the illegal occupation of 5.25 lakh acres of land by foreign plantation companies, and their benamis by receiving land tax from them has angered the Adivasis and other landless people including the plantation workers who demand their confiscation by the govt. and distribution to plantation workers and the landless families. The Thrissur Convention of the Solidarity Committee on 15th June has chalked out plans to intensify the land striggle all over state. n
Rally and public meeting were organized at Abhanpur on 31st May on the occasion of 29th anniversary of martyrdom of com. Ramesh Parida. In 1990 the workers of various factories near Abhanpur had organized strike demanding better wages, job protection and permanent jobs. Police as part of its suppressive acts arrested the TUCI leaders and took them to Abhanpur police lock up. Demanding their release the workers organized police station gherao, which was fired upon by the police during which com Parida became martyr. All speakers addressing the meeting pointed out that under Modi rule even the rights won by the workers are snatched away, and a very dangerous situation is created by the Modi government which is pursuing saffron fascist policies to speed up the neo-liberal corporate policies which are impoverishing the working class. A more organized countrywide movement is required to beat back these attacks and to advance the interests of the working class and all other toiling masses. n
On 25th May, 52 years ago, it was on this day the West Bengal state and central forces fired on demonstrators at Naxalbari killing 11 comrades including infants to suppress the People’s Uprising advancing in the region calling for ‘land to the tiller’ as part of agrarian revolution. It heralded a new chapter in the history of the communist movement in our country. Today when the corporate-saffron fascist forces have returned to power with more strength, and when the agrarian question has become more acute under the neoliberal regime, the relevance of Naxalbari Uprising has increased. The struggle for agrarian revolution including the land to the tillers slogan according to the present situation has become more relevant than ever as the oppression of the Adivasis and dalits on the one hand, and the suicides of the farmers due to intensifying agrarian distress on the other are increasing day by day. This critical situation calls for intensifying the revolutionary mass movement for re-structuring the society, to learn from Naxalbari Uprising and advance towards people’s democracy and socialism. Long Live Naxalbari Uprising! Red Salute to the martyrs and leaders of Naxalbari Uprising!.
On this day CPI(ML) Red Star comrades from North Bengal districts and leaders of the AIKKS assembled at the martyrs column at Naxalbari under the leadership of Central Committee member com Pradip Singh Thakur, remembered the martyrs and the departed leaders of the movement and pledged to carry forward the message of agrarian revolution put forward by the Naxalbari Uprising according to present concrete conditions. In other states also Naxalbari Day was observed by the party committees with various programs
The TUCI condemns the decision of the Central Government to reduce the rate of contribution towards ESI. No doubt there is at present a reserve of over Rs. 80000 crores with the ESIC. However, this is an illusory surplus. The fact is that though the collection of the ESI is going up and though the number of persons covered has increased massively, the facilities have not kept pace. The number of beds available under the ESI Scheme has hardly grown in proportion to the growth of the coverage. At the same time, the conditions in most ESI hospitals are abysmal and very often even the basic medicines and facilities are not available. This shows that the Government has been using the ESI Scheme as a convenient conduit to collect money which is then lent to Government and state establishments through FDs and bonds at a nominal rate.
The present cut in rates is now an attempt to give further benefits to the corporates in the country. Employers in the country will profit to the extent of thousands of crores of rupees each year by this concession.
The Directors of ESI had suggested that a reduction in the rates be made with the rate for managements being brought down to 4% (from 4.75%) and the rate for employees being brought down to 1% (from 1.75%). However the Government has disregarded this suggestion and reduced the amount to be contributed by managements even further to 3.25%.
The Government’s argument that this is being done for the benefit of the employees so that they can get more carry home wages and that due to the reduction of the burden on the employers more workers will be brought into the formal sector holds no water. If this was the case, the government could well have taken on all the burden upon itself as a social burden. As a principle, TUCI believes that social security is the burden of the employer. It is the employer who was responsible for all Workmen’s Compensation before the enacting of the ESI Act. The State may take over this burden from employer but then this must be recovered by proper taxation of the employers. The present move is merely a further unfolding of the neo-liberal principle whereby the whole of the insurance sector, including for employees, will be handed over to the private sector.
The TUCI calls upon all workers and all democratic individuals and organisations to vigorously oppose this move of the Government which is a step to privatising the future safety and well being of all employees.
Workers of the world unite !
Oppose the move to reduce the contribution to ESI for managements !
We demand proper functioning of all ESI facilities and enhancement of facilities provided !
The Meeting of All India Coordination Committee of RCF Calls to Face the Challenge of Fascist Manuvadi Philosophy with the Materialist Lokayat (Charvak) Philosophy and Values of Renaissance Movement.
The All India Coordination Committee meeting of the Revolutionary Cultural Forum (RCF) was held at Bhubaneswar (Orissa) on 22nd and 23rd June. It was attended by Tuhin (Chhattisgarh), Rajendra Pratap Singh (Delhi), Pravin Nadkar (Maharashtra), Asim Giri and Sankar Das (W.B.), Ravi Palur and K. Balakrishnan (Kerala), Rakesh and Sukanti (Orissa), Sukhbindar and Vineeta (Punjab). The RCF Unit of Orissa was formed.
On 22nd June a cultural evening against warmongering, jingoism and communal hatred was organised at Ma Tarini Basti. (There was a tremendous struggle for 3 years against the demolition of slums and the Basti Suraksha Manch did not allow any slum to be demolished.) In the cultural evening, Sukanti Jena, Neha Barik, Palash, Asim Giri, Tuhin, Rajendra Pratap, Pravin Nadkar, Sankar Das, Sukhbinder, Vinna, Pooja and Sujata presented revolutionary songs and poems. Rakesh conducted the program.
In the meeting, tribute was paid to Andhra Pradesh revolutionary singer Ramrao and legendary playwright, literary and actor Girish Karnad. The meeting expressed deep concern at the way in which fascist, manuvadi attacks in every sphere, especially culture and education, were being perpetrated under the directives of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) all over the country and with the direct help of Indian and foreign corporates like Ambani-Adani. In the face of the fascist manuvian philosophy behind these attacks, the RCF will face the challenge with India’s ancient materialistic philosophy, Lokayat (Charvak) philosophy, from Buddha philosophy to the values of Indian Renaissance. Speakers at the meeting said that Modi’s second coming means a flood of extreme-right-wing, neoliberal, corporate exploitation and every section of the oppressed public will be dominated by the most degenerate financial magnates in every region. This will increase the poverty and misery of the wider public. In the meeting it was decided to run a joint cultural campaign with the progressive cultural organizations against the distortion and communalization of India’s history and culture.
The meeting adopted resolutions against the effect of the New (National) Education Policy (NEP), which will promote privatization / commercialization and saffronization in the field of education, with the help of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the WTO, against the directive of the arrest of Pa Ranjith (Tamil Nadu) director of Tamil film “Kala” (who had said that the Chola rule of Tamil Nadu was against the Dalits) and for the freedom of expression in the face of attacks on journalists across the country and in the favour of journalistic security law, against the killing of youth Tabrez in Jharkhand, mob-lynching of minorities and dalits under the guise of Jai Shri Ram, against the issue of arrest orders of London’s singer Hard Kaur (who had condemned Yogi Adityanath for the atrocities on women, dalits and minorities in UP), against caste suppression, against growing superstition and religious hypocrisy in favour of scientific consciousness, against religious fanaticism and casteism, in favour of peace, Secularism and Ganga-Jamuni Tahajib of India.
Comrades discussed deeply on the rise of neo-fascism in the International and National levels as well as the methods of resistance. The consensus has reached that traditional methods of cultural resistance along with non-traditional methods and out of the box methods should be implemented to reach out to students and youth.
Revolutionary Cultural Forum
23 July 2019
A Summary of the minutes of Preparatory Committee meeting held on 27 May 2019, Nagpur is given below. In this meeting representing the CPI(ML) Red Star, CC member comrade Vijay and representing the AIRSO comrades Akshay and Satwik participated – RS.
Introduction : Human activities are estimated to have caused ~1°C of global warming above pre-industrial levels. Inter-governmental cooperation to tackle climate change began in 1997, but has had little impact in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Many studies warn that without drastic and immediate cuts in GHG emissions, temperature rise by 2100 may be between 3-4oC, causing drastic changes to the environment and putting earth’s ecology and human society to great risk.
Climate change poses a particularly high risk to South Asia. The Maldives will drown, Pakistan and Bangladesh are in the top-10 most vulnerable nations and India and Nepal in the top-20. If the national governments have been sluggish in tackling climate change, the people must take a cue from the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres’s recent speech in New York where he said that unless a course change is made by 2020, we face the possibility of a runaway climate change with disastrous consequences. He called the current situation an “emergency we face.”
To reduce the risk of climate change impacts, the people of the world must now ask for urgent and appropriate measures to be implemented, and for the people of the world to have a direct say in global governance.
Accordingly, in May 2019, the South Asian People’s Action on Climate Crisis (SAPACC), a rainbow coalition of organizations was setup by a Preparatory Committee consisting of representatives from 12 organizations.
The core demands of SAPACC are:
a Emissions control, consumption reduction, sustainability index: North nations’ emissions must become net zero by 2030, and South nations’ by 2040. Gross global consumption should be reduced to sustainable levels and a sustainability index should be agreed upon to measure efficacy of sustainability objectives.
a Responsibility for climate change related losses: All nations should take responsibility for climate change related injury, displacement and property loss to people, and damage to the environment, in proportion to their historic emissions.
a Consumption equity: By 2040, global energy consumption equity should be achieved such that the ratio between the lowest and highest per capita energy consumption of people everywhere in the world is d”2.
a Decentralized autonomous social structures; transparent democratic decision making: Decentralized and autonomous local self governing bodies of communities must have oversight powers over provincial and national governments, and international cooperation agencies. Decisions at all governance levels must be democratic and transparent.
a Restoring the environment: Air, water, land, soil, and to the extent possible biodiversity, should be restored to their earlier quality.
SAPACC will bring together scientists, farmers, youth, workers, women, etc, from all the South Asian nations to ask for a people’s climate emergency to be declared in South Asian countries, and for the implementation of the above demands, and ask South Asian governments to table a resolution in the UN to have a global climate emergency declared.
SAPACC is convening a 3 day launch meet in the third week of September 2019 either in Delhi or Hyderabad with delegates from all South Asian nations. SAPACC will co-opt co-organizers who agree with the above demands for the September 2019 launch meet. The launch meet may be preceded with pre-launch conferences on themes such as Climate change impact on women, youth, workers, farmers, Climate science and policy, Climate change and the law.
Like-minded civil society organizations that agree with the above core demands will be invited to become co-organizers of the launch meet. The budget for the launch meet was estimated to be Rs 8-10 Lakh, and would be raised through crowd-funding.
Prior to the September 2019 launch meet, build-up programmes, such as talks in different places, the setting up of websites, etc, would be done to mobilize civil society groups. Post-launch programmes suggested include the setting up of a journal, holding people’s assemblies in each country, etc.
SAPACC’s Preparatory Committee elected Mr. Sudarshan Rao Sarde as its convener, and Mr. Sagar Dhara and Mr. Soumya Dutta as its co-conveners. Dr Sanjeev Kulkarni, Mr Sudhir Paliwal, Mr Vijay Kumar, Ms Karnika Palwa and Mr Sajjan Kumar, along with the convener and co-conveners will form the Working Committee that will take decisions on a weekly basis. The Preparatory Committee will have overall supervisory control of SAPACC in the runup to the September 2019 launch meet.
We need you to stop climate change turning into a crisis: SAPACC requests your cooperation and support for organizing the September 2019 launch meet, and to campaign for the five demands listed above. Whether you are a small organization or an individual, you could volunteer time till the launch meet to do the many things that are required to organize a large international meet. Or you could also help collect money through crowd funding methods.
It is only with you that SAPACC can take its message to people and the governments of South Asian countries. Thank you.
Central Committee of CPI(ML) Red Star discussed the above minutes and other papers on Climate Change and the report of com.Vijay and decided to issue the following Call: Organize broadbased Climate Change Groups at state level or Area Level uniting comrades from class/mass organizations and like minded forces. The Preparatory Committee has now decided to hold the South Asia Convention at Hyderabad on 21st to 23rd September. Organize meetings wherever possible, form Committees against Climate Change, organize public programs to mobilize the masses for this, and suggest names of comrades to participate in the Hyderabad Convention. Connect it with the International Strike on 20th September against Climate Change. Let us actively take up the question of Climate Change and struggle for an egalitarian, people oriented and sustainable development paradigm. n
Under the leadership of Trade Union Centre of India (TUCI) workers engaged in various sectors have been struggling for the last one and half years for minimum wages and against the contract labour system which is a neo liberal policy imposed by the state and central governments.
The Modi-2 government wants changes in labor law so that corporate capitalists can earn super profits and so it also wants to remove all democratic and trade union rights of the working class. The Kumaraswamy government in Karnataka has not implemented the existing labour laws in various sectors, especially government sector. In this way they are showing actual support to the Modi government by attacking the working class and peasantry.
In this critical situation workers in the power sector in north Karnataka, irrigation sector and mining sector are continuously fighting for their wages, bread and livelihood. The state government is trying to suppress their struggles through various methods.
Tungabhadra irrigation workers who are in charge of supply and maintenance of water to 906000 acres command area of Raichur, Koppal and Bellary districts have not been paid their salary for 14 months. Instead, the authority is threatening their job security through imposing contract labor system!
In the state-run Hutti Gold Mines, 4054 workers produce10kg gold everyday and they reached 99%production target fixed by the management but their wage revision settlement is still pending. Even after successful negotiation, the government is not approving their fine wage agreement. Workers have been fighting for this since the last 18 months.
Raichur is now a major power hub in Karnataka. The Raichur Thermal Power Station was established in 1985. It produced 1750megawatts per day. It employed more than 1600 contract labours in the hard work of coal and ash handling but they were not paid living wages. The National Power Grid Station was established in 2014 in city-attached area and its transmission capacity is 760MW. Here 22 workers were terminated for demanding minimum wages and the conciliation is still pending.
The Yeramaras Thermal Power Station (YTPS) was established by the state government in 2016 without heeding the opposition of the people of Raichur to the project. It is said to be the only super critical thermal power plant in India with 13250 crores investment by state and central governments. More than 500 workers including those who had lost land to the project were terminated illegally 6 months ago and workers organised under TUCI have built up a struggle. The workers say: “We have lost our land and livelihood to YTPS, so how can YTPS authority terminate us from our jobs now? We want reemployment and wages.” They carried on a hunger strike for 23 days but still the authority did not respond.
In the above context, under the leadership of TUCI, the Tungabhadra, Hutti gold mines, RTPS and YTPS workers challenged Karnataka Chief Minister Kumaraswamy’s village-stay programme. When this was announced, the Raichur district administraton approached the TUCI leadership and promised a meeting between the CM and the TUCI leadership at Yeramaras Guesthouse on June 26.
But the meeting was never held. The Chief Minister did not even bother to listen to the problems of the workers. In protest, around a 1000 workers came out to the main road blocking it. Actually the workers had encircled the guesthouse and the road. The CM’s special bus was not allowed to leave for at least 30 minutes. Then the CM came out and shouted that the workers voted for Modi and came to him when they were in trouble! The workers responded by sloganeering against the Modi government. The CM then shouted for the police but the police were too paralysed to take action because of the workers’ strength and militancy.
Later, many people’s organisations and leaders of political parties condemned the chief minister’s attitude towards the struggling workers. TUCI Karnataka state president and union leader comrade R. Manasayya said "we are fighting at Yaramaras Thermal Power Station! The communists, not BJP. We are fighting for job security for five hundred workers who have thrown out of work. We are fighting for payment of months of salary due to Tungabhadra workers also."
The demonstration of June 26 once again exposed the attitude of the ruling classes to the burning issues of the working class. The TUCI leadership seriously condemns the irresponsible state government. It has called for an indefinite dharna by the Tungabhadra workers at Freedom Park, Bengaluru, since July 3, demanding their 14 months’ due wages and job security. TUCI demands that the matter be raised in the monsoon session of the Assembly which will start on July 12. n