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NEW DEMOCRACY Organ of the Central Committee, CPI(ML


RSS-BJP Govt. Drive For of taxes on commodities is playing an important role. On the other hand,
the purchasing power of the people is stagnant and even declining. There

Deepening Communal Division is no growth in employment generation even as the army of unemployed
continues to grow. Govt. itself has gone back on its promises of employment
generation and is even crediting itself for the odd jobs done by the people
After Gujarat assembly elections seriously dented the carefully crafted in distress. It is clear that RSS-BJP had made those promises only to
and assiduously propagated myth of Gujarat model of development, RSS come to power while they did not intend to implement any of them.
and its electoral wing, BJP, have further intensified their communal campaign
to polarize people on communal lines in preparation for 2019 elections. This condition is resulting in growing discontent among the people.
From February 2018, they have embarked on countrywide yatras through People's anger is reflected in growing struggles of the people. Govt. is
the length and breadth of the country. trying to suppress these struggles through use of brute force and draconian
laws but the struggles are breaking out in different parts of the country.
RSS-BJP are aware that their bogus electoral promises to bring good These are also upsetting the apple-cart of RSS-BJP whose attempts to
days, "achche din", have come to evoke derisive laughter. They neither create an aura of electoral invincibility too is under serious threat.
have the agenda nor the willingness to adopt any policy to address the
growing economic crisis or to ameliorate the problems being faced by the By-elections in Hindi heartland, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, showed
overwhelming majority of the people. Peasants are continuing to commit that people are beginning to see through the veil of its plank of development
suicides as they suffer due to crop losses in bad seasons and crash in and the crisis affecting overwhelming majority of the people was strong
prices in good seasons. The whole gamut of economic policies is working enough for the people to reject nominees of RSS-BJP. A stunning blow to
against them. Over half the population of the country is directly engaged in the calculations of RSS was given in UP where in the two parliamentary
agriculture and nearly 70 percent living in rural areas are dependent on by-elections for the seats vacated by the Chief Minister and Deputy Chief
agriculture while the share of agriculture in GDP continues to dwindle Minister, Gorakhpur and Phulpur respectively, their nominees were defeated
increasing the economic hardships being faced by rural India. As a result, that too with good margins. An important aspect of UP by-elections was
rural India is rising against rulers of India. the coming together of the strong regional parties of UP, SP and BSP,
which together command a sizable following in the province. The communal
Conditions of the workers too continue to worsen even as the number juggernaut of RSS was once again stopped by the very two formations
of workers in organized sectors is a very small proportion of the work force. which had done this earlier in the assembly elections held immediately
There is growing trend of employment of contract workers even in Govt. after the demolition of Babri Masjid by the fascist hordes of RSS.
enterprises and departments and the large industries. Struggles of the
workers are brutally suppressed even as their right to organize, though In between, assembly elections were held in North-eastern states, which
enshrined in laws, is denied in practice. Workers are being further pressed were played up much by the RSS propaganda machinery and also corporate
due to growing unemployment in the country which means great difficulty media to show its continuing winning spree. These elections in the states
in finding employment and ready availability of unemployed workers to fill where AFSPA is in force, are often won by the political forces favoured by
their places. While the need for struggle grows, conditions for struggle are the armed forces. That these elections seldom reflect the will of the people
growing increasingly difficult. is amply demonstrated in Nagaland where all the parties in the state,
including state units of Congress and BJP, had decided not to participate
Growing privatization of education and health services and increasing in the elections but were pressurized into participating in the exercise.
commercialization of the Govt. institutions of education and health services Anyhow, irrespective of the election results in Meghalaya, BJP came to
are putting increasing burden on the people, including the middle classes. power with its ally. Same was the story in Nagaland. Only in Tripura, BJP
Prices of essential commodities are increasing and in this growing burden gained a majority and along with its ally, IPFT, defeated CPM led Left

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Front which had been ruling in Tripura uninterruptedly for the last 25 years. Janata Party (BJP) have been employing twin planks of communalism and
An important feature of these elections was the almost total eclipse of the 'development' to ride to power. These two apparently contradictory aims
Congress, where almost all the leaders and also voters migrated towards are woven into an intricate fabric to strengthen the position of upper castes
BJP. Another important feature has been decline of CPM, which was totally among Hindus while serving the interests of foreign and domestic corporate
relying on the image of simplicity of its Chief Minister, Manik Sarkar, and and landed interests i.e. imperialists, comprador capitalists and big landlords.
not on what CPM led Left Front had done for the people of Tripura. CPM Their Hindutva is essentially upper caste chauvinism. These sections have
led Govt. had crushed the agitation of tribals in 1980s. Since then tribals disproportionately large ownership over land and landlords largely belong
had been alienated from CPM. Tribals, united under the banner of TUJS, to this social group. Besides, upper caste hegemony over social life gives
had then aligned with Congress and Congress-TUJS alliance had defeated them disproportionately large sway over the social resources as well as
CPM led Left Front in 1988. In the period of coalition govts. at the Centre, the state machinery. RSS-BJP development entails allowing unbridled loot
CPM and other constituents of their Left Front had been having some sort and plunder of the country, its rich natural resources and cheap labour
of understanding with Congress. Congress did not later align with tribal power, by the foreign and domestic corporate. Crumbs of this loot and
organization and CPM had been having an easy ride in Tripura. This time plunder of the country also fall to the share of the dominant social groups.
virtually the whole Congress, a large section of which had gone over to Thereby, the two apparently contradictory terms are brought into harmony.
Trinamool Congress earlier, gravitated towards BJP which also struck an Despite all the ruling class propaganda, development is not politically neutral
alliance with an organization of tribals of Tripura- IPFT. or class neutral. A rising tide does not only lift all boats, but drowns many
a weak ones.
Defeat of CPM led Left Front in Tripura has been primarily due to the
anti-people policies pursued by their Govt. though factors like use of money The rising attacks on Dalits and other oppressed castes are not
power and large deployment of central forces have also played their part. aberrations but part of the RSS agenda. Rapes, murders, beatings,
CPM has since long degenerated into a party of the ruling classes in India harassment and oppression of different kinds is on the rise even as some
and has been pursuing the new economic policies as other ruling class elements from among these social groups are lured with crumbs of power.
parties are doing. Defeat of CPM is due to its treachery with the people and Severe repression let loose on Bhim Army is a clear example of their real
'left' movement. But the ruling classes and the corporate media projected it agenda. They would like Dalits and other oppressed castes to 'gladly' accept
as the defeat of the 'left'. RSS-BJP cadres demolished a statue of Lenin in their position in caste hierarchy in the name of greater Hindu unity for
broad day light with the help of the security forces; the same forces which consolidation of the rule of the very sections who oppress them and are
had been working for the CPM Govt. for a quarter of a century. responsible for their present plight of caste oppression.
Whatever the propaganda unleashed by the RSS and the compliant Since securing a majority in Lok Sabha in 2014, RSS-BJP Govt. has
corporate media, the setbacks suffered by RSS-BJP in bigger states have been trying to establish monopoly over all organs of the state. In this they
unnerved them. The only way out that they know is to intensify their drive are obviously helped by dominance of upper caste chauvinist and communal
to divide the people on religious lines. They are utilizing every opportunity elements entrenched in different organs of the state. Role of police and
to further their communal agenda and are trying to convert every dispute administrative machinery in communal incidents and in oppression and
among the people into a communal issue. To take an example, according denial of the rights of the oppressed castes is all too well known. However,
to MHA data, the country has recorded a spike in the number of communal the growing struggles of peasants and workers, tribals, oppressed castes
riots in 2017 and Uttar Pradesh has topped the list. The highest number of and women, students and youth pose a serious challenge to the fascist
communal incidents in 2017 were reported in Uttar Pradesh where 44 people drive of the RSS-BJP. These struggling sections must join hands to thwart
were killed and 542 others were injured in 195 communal incidents. the fascist rath of the most reactionary section of the ruling classes of the
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and its electoral wing Bharatiya country.

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Muslim Women and the Act of India. That is a law which applies equally to Hindus and Muslims
and to all women citizens of India. The Prime Minister has evinced no

interest in ensuring implementation of this law which allows women (Hindus
included) space within the matrimonial home to be insured by an officer
under the Act. It is a law which penalizes men if they exercise ‘patriarchal
rights’ and beat their wives. So those of his Muslim sisters, those who are
Aparna beaten up by husbands can continue to suffer, as they are covered by a
law forced through by the ‘hated’ democratic and progressive sections
The Manusmriti encodes a social order which firmly relegates women backing the women’s organizations fighting for it. This law is totally against
to a secondary position in society, apart from many derogatory references the spirit of a Manusmriti inspired social order.
to them. Whatever positive reference exists is in their relation to the men
That the Prime Minister should have led parliament into meddling with
of their family-predominantly as a mother. It is but obvious that organizations
the field of Personal laws is explicable by a later statement of the ex
that uphold the Manusmriti and therefore think along its lines will not really
Chairman of the Law Commission in early January 2018. He said that if a
be advocating or executing anything contrary to its spirit, whatever they
Uniform Civil Code cannot be brought, then the Personal Laws of different
may profess publicly.
communities will be reformed. The target of the BJP RSS govts is only the
This is the only relevant context in which to view the sudden Muslim Personal Laws and that too not because of how the women see
preoccupation of the Prime Minister and his Central government with the them but because they pertain to Muslims. They can be used both to
rights and issues of Muslim women. This is while it goes without saying demonize Muslim men as also to browbeat them in the name of defending
that triple talaq in the form practised in India is a retrograde and feudal Muslim women. Already, Muslims are characterized as ‘terrorists’ as a
practice which has been held invalid by several Muslim countries. That it general usage by the RSS and the govts it leads both at the Centre and in
has not been already ostracised in Muslim personal law in India by now, the states, love ‘jihadists’ when they marry outside their community, ‘anti
even though practised by only a miniscule number of that community, nationals and gau killers’ because their religion allows them to eat beef,
speaks about the stranglehold of Islamist clergy over the Muslims in such are ridiculed for having multiple wives as though they are all polygamous
matters. This stranglehold is of course regenerated by every repetition of and viciously attacked for ‘over populating’ India even when there is just
state sponsored violence against Muslims, which also enforces no basis in facts for this allegation.
ghettoization in practice.
This also explains the Prime Minister’s concern over polygamy, whose
The concern of the Prime Minister and his Govt. for his ’Muslim sisters’ practice may be sanctioned only by Muslim personal law but whose practice
extends only to issues which allow his Govt. to interfere with the Muslim among caste Hindus is fairly remarkable. The issue among non Muslims
Personal Law. He has not taken up cudgels on their behalf when it comes lies actually in securing proof of a second marriage, as anyone who has
to justice to the gang raped Muslim women in the anti Muslim violence in dealt with the law against bigamy well knows. Till a second marriage is
Muzaffarnagar, for justice to the Muslim women of Gujarat who were violated proved, the law does not come into play. The law on adultery can only be
in the anti Muslim violence there or who have fought for justice against the invoked by the husband of the other married woman and the wife of the
killing of their men folk in the same violence. He has no sympathy with his man committing adultery is not considered an aggrieved party for purpose
‘Muslim sisters’ widowed by lynchings by gau rakshaks. He is not bothered of invoking action under that law- anyway both bigamy and adultery are not
by their poverty, their abysmal educational opportunities, lack of support criminal offences. The Muslim Personal law is also deliberately used by
for higher education. He is with them on issues which allow RSS fiddling Hindus to contract ‘legal’ second marriages by both partners converting to
with the Muslim Personal law, but not for enforcement of Domestic Violence that religion only to contract the second marriage but not practising that

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religion in any form either before or after, to the extent of never even using irrevocable will continue to have access to other divorce procedures.
the alternate name. Prominent MPs of the ruling BJP can also be counted
The question of desertion is the actual question affecting women and is
in this list.
a general question pertaining to all communities. In Hindus it is even revered
The motive is clear even in the current Bill on triple Talaq before and appreciated when practised by later life ascetics and pracharaks
Parliament. The Supreme Court of India, by a majority judgement, held especially when they are Prime Ministers. This is linked to our prevailing
this form of divorce to be untenable. It did not stipulate criminalizing triple feudal culture and also to women lacking both economic and social ability
talaq. However, the RSS-BJP Central Govt. could not let go of this for a fight back. Second, as mentioned, when the men contract other
opportunity to demonize the community. One part of the Bill holds such relationships, cognizance is taken of adultery under the specific law only if
form of Talaq invalid. It means this is no talaq at all and the marriage the husband of the other woman files a complaint against a man and the
continues to exist. But with this has been strung the issues of maintenance law on bigamy needs proof of a second marriage if the first wife is to
as “sustenance allowance” of wife and children and punitive measures complain, which is virtually impossible to come by. Thus desertion is a
against the man. When the marriage continues, the wife and children have very big question for women from all religions.
access to all resources of a family, why only to a sustenance allowance? 1961 was the last time a Census looked at marriage by religions. (11-1-
And stipulating a prison term is the best deterrent for women actually seeking 2018 Scroll India article-Muslim women and surprising facts about polygamy
saving of the marriage. The husband can immediately take recourse to in India). It should be soberly considered that the percentage of polygamous
legal forms of talaq, the marriage breaking not because the Supreme Court Hindus and Muslims was virtually same- 5.8% and 5.7% - though Hindus
struck down triple talaq, but because he will be spend three years in jail for are not allowed a second marriage. Tribals had the highest % of over 15%
it. There are no doubt a hundred other questions attached, of how the man and Buddhists also had a high rate. In a Govt. survey in1974 it was recorded
will deal with her after this frustration of intent, of how desertion is to be that 5.6% Muslims and 5.8% caste Hindus had more than one wife (source
countered etc. But many of these questions are linked to the general issue same). The 3rd National Family Health Survey (2006) said 2% husbands in
of divorce and desertion. India have more than one wife- though all these figures probably pertain to
wives socially acknowledged. The common reasons recorded were due to
The Bill before Parliament seeks to make triple talaq a cognizable and lack of children/sons from the first wife, property issues and others. It
non bailable offence. However, adultery and bigamy are considered non should never be forgotten also, that when changes were made in the Hindu
cognizable and bailable though there are 5 year and 7 year jail sentences personal laws in 1950s, it was vehemently opposed by RSS and their ilk.
respectively attached to either of them. The right to complain is restricted
as given above. But by making triple talaq a cognizable offence, it virtually Regarding all other issues regarding not just Muslim Personal laws but
means that anyone, including those outside the family, can lodge the FIR. all Personal Laws and also the question of a Uniform Civil Code- the bitter
Is there anything to choose regarding the anti women character of the three truth is that progressive changes against unfair practices will work only if
offences? the women themselves are willing to use the tools and assert themselves.
In that event it is necessary that all progressive forces as well as the state
Invalidation of triple Talaq does not mean that divorce is outlawed. It structure stands with them. Browbeating women into accepting and
also does not take away the basic difference in the attitude to marriage applauding a Code which is actually designed to humiliate and bring to heel
between the Hindu religion and Islam. The Muslim marriage is a contract all minorities, to further the dream of a Hindu Rashtra and whose outlook is
entered into by the 2 parties and thus divorce is technically not so controlled by those who swear by Manusmriti has nothing to do with women’s
unimaginable; it is a different matter how it gets viewed by Muslim women aspirations of equality. It will rest on their backwardness and the prevalent
in the concrete context of semifeudal India with its feudal cultural practices patriarchal understanding which also envelopes them, if they think justice
and attitudes. Muslim men who view the breakdown of their marriage as is being done to them. For this, Hindutva forces also look to rally Caste

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Hindu sections to support them as they will be ‘vanquishing Muslim laws’ on the basis of petitions by the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Aandolan (BMMA).
when the reality is that the upper caste patriarchal chauvinist values Yet Muslim women were shown distributing sweets when the bill
espoused by RSS are against all women including the rights of upper caste criminalizing Tripe talaq was passed in the Lok Sabha; even if the
women for equal status in families and for freedom of choice. percentage of such talaqs are miniscule, thousands of women have been
humiliated in this manner. Ishrat Jahan, a leader of the BMMA, joined the
It will be relevant to recall the experience of the initiative of Awaz-e- BJP in gratitude and BMMA is now demanding a move against polygamy
Niswan. It was an attempt to frame a gender fair nikahnama and give Muslim as allowed under Muslim Personal Law. As this is a women’s organization,
couples the choice of this alternative. Framed after extensive discussions, many BJP sympathizers ask : why criticize the Prime Minister and the
with the participation of Muslim women and also women’s organizations RSS?
and also many democratic men and women, the initiative died a death with
the failure of the Muslim Personal Law Board to endorse it. No movement Why indeed. So, let us start with another law- the Prevention of Child
was built to defend it. But now the RSS is pitting state power into Marriages. Are not child marriages rampant over whole areas despite the
criminalizing an outmoded practise like triple talaq ( as mentioned earlier, existence of this law and that too across classes? Because the social
most Muslim countries anyway do not allow this practice) and projecting conditions, the patriarchal mindset has not changed. Second, marriages
itself as a friend of Muslim women while it is gender unfriendly on the for begetting sons, often with the consent of the first wife, have not stopped
question of women’s rights. The Muslim Personal Law Board has therefore in Hindus especially of upper castes- in fact, an interesting aspect of the
woken up and is now talking of an alternative nikahnama. oh-so-modern surrogacy is that Indians (couples and men) demand a male
child of a specific colour. It is in this India that the BMMA is being flaunted
While on the issue, one concrete problem before couples going for
by the BJP. This women’s group does not concern itself with the right of
interreligious marriages should also be considered- it also gives an easy
Muslim women and men not to be demonized for what they eat, not to be
excuse to coin the term love jihad. The Special marriages Act of India,
ostracised as gau killers and anti nationals, with justice for Muslim women
accessible to all citizens, entails a problem- it gives a 30 day notice period
victims of anti Muslim violence, justice for Zakhia (Gujarat), Nilofer and
in which both sets of parents and the relevant police stations are given
her sister in law (Kashmir), Muslim widows in current vigilante violence,
notice of the marriage. The logic is that any legal objection to the marriage
with struggle in the community for educating Muslim girls or even for
can be brought up (typically as in “Jane Eyre”). The problem is, that couples
enforcement of Domestic Violence Act for Muslims. It is not to say that
going for inter religious marriages against the will of the parents can be
one organization does not have the right to have only selective concerns-
easily stopped, kidnapped, killed, the girl married off etc. They need some
in this case of aiding in rewriting the Muslim Personal law and inserting
private form of marriage. If there is a nikah, the non Muslim has to convert
criminal penalties for civil issues. But not participating in general struggles
and for a Hindu marriage complete with a certificate of marriage, the non
or even moves against domestic violence, gender violence and even other
Hindu has to become a Hindu. Couples are usually settling it the patriarchal
specific anti Muslim women violence makes clear that the concerns are
way both ways- the girls convert, though there are known instances of the
too circumscribed. The whole point is that unless patriarchal values are
boy converting to either religion if the girl’s family is then willing to accept
challenged and patriarchy stops receiving state support, social thinking
the relationship. The hue and cry is not so much about Hindu boys taking
will not change. This needs a society with equality of rights and opportunities
Muslim brides though that is also happening; that is a gain in ‘Hindu’
for all and within such a society alone can women realize themselves as
fully equal and assert their rights. The RSS actively seeks to enforce the
The question of women themselves being conscious of their rights and most extreme patriarchal values and a social setup in which Muslims and
fighting the feudal patriarchal code is all important in all this talk of rights Dalits have no rights at all even to existence. The BMMA and the patronizing
and sisters and justice. Triple talaq was invalidated by the Supreme Court of Muslim ‘sisters’ is only a means to that end.

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Modi, of course, is on a spree of winning electoral friends, but it is now A progressive uniform civil code can only be born out of a revolutionary
not drawing applause so well anymore with his old friends, the corporate movement to overhaul the society which sustains patriarchy. It will not be
media, post the Gujarat elections. He devoted his ‘Mann ki Baat’ to assuring static but will develop as the notion of equality develops.
Muslim women’, his ‘sisters’, the right to go on Haj pilgrimage without a
male escort or ‘mehraan’. He spoke at length about how this heaped The urgent need is for progressive women’s organizations to build a
indignities upon them. He’s right, of course, except that the applications broad based and sustained credible struggle, so that women of different
before the Govt. were from groups of elderly Muslim women from Kerala. sections seek to voice their issues also through it. The upsurge of December
Since 2014, i.e. since three years the Saudi Govt. permits women above 2012, powerful as it was, was spontaneous. It is a long standing fact that
45 years to go in a group for Haj without a mehraan or male escort. Two when such struggles win changes and awareness, both have to be kept
months prior to the Mann Ki Baat, the Indian govt. officials brought a note alive by continual pressure and alertness which organized struggles can
to this effect that the Govt. was disallowing applications which the Saudi build. Despite all the rhetoric after 2012, neither courts nor govts are ensuring
authorities would have passed. Modi still cannot send his young Muslim certainity of convictions in cases of sexual violence on women-where Dalits
‘sisters,’ solo or in groups, to that country for haj without a mehraan. The are concerned, infact, the current dispensation’s position is dictated by
problem is that discriminatory practices in religious places exist right here the Manusmriti. Thus, in the face of public anger against sexual violence
in this country concerning much vaster numbers of women and Modi Govt. against women, while Govts. fail in giving justice, they hide their
and RSS can change them. There are any number of temples that do not incompetence or unwillingness behind extreme posturings already rejected
allow entry of Dalits. The Sabrimala temple does not allow entry of women by the democratic women’s movement. This explains the Haryana Govt.
between the ages of 10 to 50 years and has recently decreed that women saying it will hang those who rape minors under 12 years; the fact is that in
must carry age proofs. People of other faiths are not allowed entry into the successive cases in a space of weeks its miserable failure to protect
Pushkar Temple, the only temple to Brahma in the country. It is another women, schoolgirls and Dalits has been has sufficiently exposed. Women
matter that this helpfully concedes that Brahma is not related to the life of end up welcoming such strident sloganeering when the organized democratic
most humans in the world. The point is that RSS will not do any of these movement for their rights is weak. This is also true of the affected Muslim
things except in tokenism- it is upper caste, chauvinist, patriarchy. women who applaud the BJP’s expressions of concern for them.

From the point of view of Justice and Equality, there is little doubt that
all personal laws have to change. Any Code can be forcibly declared
‘uniform’; the point for the women of India is, is that Code reflective of
values which hold women to be fully equal in society? Second, will the
state and all its wings, will the social order, actually ensure that this Code
can be the practice for all women, or is it just an ornamental piece of
writing. Personal laws touch intimate relations and operate within the family.
Patriarchal values flourish in these cocoons. Until women are ready to
assert equality- which they will do en mass only if they have a supportive,
anti patriarchal society and state- and until all people are equal in terms of
opportunities and rights so that women are not ghettoized as Dalits or
Muslims or Kashmiris or something else, what use is it if patriarchal personal
laws are replaced by a patriarchal uniform Code?

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Chennai Convention Demands before the Convention so
that a maximum number
Equal Rights for and of experiences could be
shared in the short time
Regularization of Contract available. Thus 20
speakers from contract
Workers workers' unions across
the country could put
On the 28th of January 2018, a National Convention on Contract Workers their specific struggles
was organized jointly by four trade unions viz. Indian Federation Of Trade before the audience.
Unions (IFTU), National Trade Union Initiative (NTUI), New Democratic They included seven
Labour Front (NDLF)and All ECL Contract Workers and Employees Union speakers from IFTU-
(AECLCWU) at Chennai. The Theka Shramik Adhikar Union (Asansol) also Com. Padma( Gen.
participated. The venue of the Convention was the Kerala Samagam Hall Sec.)of the Progressive
near the Nehru metro Station. Contract workers’ unions from 12 states- Contract Workers Union,
Telengana, Delhi, Maharashtra, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad;
Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Goa, Kerala and Karnataka participated. Com Mrigank
Contract workers from IFTU unions in Telengana including the Singareni on behalf of
Contract Workers Union, from Delhi, from NTPC Kehalgaon (Bihar), from the Delhi
Andhra Pradesh and Odisha were present. IFTU NC members Com.s A s p t h a l
Suryam, T.Shrinivas and Byas Tiwari were also present. There were a T h e k a
total of 125 delegates from IFTU. Karmachari
Union; Com
The Convention began at 10am with Com Subhash(NDLF) announcing
the four member Presidium of Coms. Aparna (IFTU), Vasudevan (NTUI),Vijay
Gen. Sec. of
Kumar (NDLF) and Deepak Sharma from AECLCWU. The Convention
the Singareni
focussed on four demands of contract workers- equal wage for equal work,
regularization of services of contract workers, right to form trade unions
and for Abolition of the contract labour system. An immediate issue of
struggle is also to oppose amendments in labour laws including in the
IFTU President Com. Aparna (above) Union;Com.
Contract Labour Act (CLARA). The proceedings began with a Key Note
and a view of the Convention Hall Pratap, on
address delivered by Advocate S.Vanchinalten of the People’s Rights
behalf of
Council who described the situation of contract workers, and gave some
Odisha Outsourcing Employees Union; Com Jayaram, Gen Sec of NTPC
suggestions on the way forward in their struggle.
Contract Workers Union, Kehalgaon; Com Upender from the Water Workers
The next session of the Convention was the major session in which Union, Andhra Pradesh; and Com Mallesh from the Telengana Municipal
representatives of the various participating contract workers unions gave a Contract Workers Union. Eight speakers from NTUI shared their experiences-
short resume of their activities and struggle. Though each union has a rich Adv.Ashok Shenoy on behalf of the Kerala State Electricity Board Contract
experience of struggle the speakers placed their experiences concisely Workers Union, Com. Milind Ranade, Nat. Sec. of NTUI and leader of Kachra

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Vahatuk Shramik Sangh who spoke of the experiences in Mumbai, Com. CC Statement against attacks on Dalits in Bhima Koregaon
Kadiraveli (TN State Construction Workers Union) Tamil Nadu, Com. Tejas
from Garment and Textiles Workers Union, Karnataka; Com. Subhash Gurav
from Shakar Kamgar Union, Kohlapur (Maharashtra); Com. Puttigaonkar
Oppose Hindutva Attacks on All
from Kevotte kamgar Union, Goa, Com. Ashish Kumar Ghosh from All sections, Advance Fight for Social
Bengal Sales Representatives Union and Com. Latheef, Sec. NTUI Kerala.
Com. Tapan spoke on behalf of the All Bengal Contract Labour forum, Com Justice
Umesh from Theka Shramik Adhikar Union (Asansol) and Com. Deepak
from the AECLCWU. Two delegates from NDLF summarized the experiences CPI (ML) New Democracy strongly condemns the attacks by RSS gangs
of their Union- Com.Sudesh Kumar and Com Lokhnathan from General against Dalits on January 1, 2018. Dalits were going to Koregaon when
Contract Workers Union. lorries and other vehicles carrying them were attacked by these gangs with
After the delegates had expressed their opinion, the third session of sticks, spears and firearms. One youth was killed and scores were injured
the Convention began with Com. Pradeep, Gen. Sec. of IFTU, placing two in these attacks.
resolutions before the Convention. The first was to condemn the Jharkhand This attack is one more example of the offensive of RSS led Hindutva
Government for banning the MSS, a registered trade Union organization forces targeting minorities especially Muslims and the Dalits. These attacks
which has been working for over two decades. This resolution was passed are part of the RSS-BJP drive to impose fascism in the country and they
by the delegates by clapping of hands. He then placed the joint draft are trying to crush all progressive and democratic forces for that purpose.
Resolution on Contract workers before the delegates. The resolution called
for a joint struggle for the four above mentioned demands. Towards building The immediate context of the RSS-BJP attack in Koregaon is the
a sustained movement to realize them, to resist the attempts to amend the alienation of the Marathas from them. This attack was their attempt to turn
labour laws including CLARA, as a first step it called for a co-ordinated All the Marathas against the Dalits while strengthening their own hold over the
India Protest day on 5th March 2018. It also resolved to bring together all Marathas by engineering attacks against Dalits. Maratha peasant masses
fighting, militant unions onto a national platform of trade unions against have been hard hit by the ongoing deep agrarian crisis and peasant distress
contract work. This Resolution as also the earlier resolution was seconded which had led to large scale Maratha mobilization in Maharashtra. RSS-
by Com. Gautam Modi, Gen. Secretary of NTUI. Thereafter Com. Vijay BJP had organized a meeting on the last day of 2017 in village Vadhu
Kumar (NDLF) also supported the Resolution. The house then passed this Budruka, near Koregaon, and vandalized the samadhi of Govind Gaikwad,
resolution by show of hands amidst slogan shouting. With the passage of a Mahar who is revered for his daring in cremating the body of the eldest
the Resolutions, the Presidium declared the proceedings closed. son of Shivaji, Sambhaji, who was killed by Mughal forces. Govind Gaikwad
was killed by the Mughal army for this. The demolition of this Samadhi was
The proceedings were enlivened by inspiring performances by cultural an attempt of RSS to turn the Marathas against the Dalits. The next day
troupes PALA (Tamil Nadu) led by Com Kovan (he had been arrested under i.e. on January 1, these RSS gangs attacked the Dalits going to Koregaon.
NSA for his revolutionary performances) and Arunodaya from Telengana.
Dalits in Maharashtra have faced increasing attacks since RSS-BJP
The same evening a mass meeting was held in Avid area of Chennai. It led Govt. has come to power. Further, the acquital of the accused of Khairlanji
was addressed by leaders of NDLF including Com Mukundam (President), and the refusal to even file an FIR in the murder of a Dalit youth have also
AICCTU, Com. Suryam (NCM of IFTU) and Com Vasudevan (President of increased their anger. There was a massive mobilization at Koregaon this
NTUI). Arunodaya and PALA presented cultural performances. year in the context of people’s anger rising against Hindutva forces.
January 1 attacks infuriated the people against the RSS-BJP and there

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NEW DEMOCRACY Organ of the Central Committee, CPI(ML)
was a complete Maharashtra Bandh on January 3 in which all sections of
people and progressive and democratic forces and even opposition parties Interpreting Bhima-
participated. Even Maratha organizations supported the bandh foiling the
RSS’ attempts to mobilize Marathas for their anti Dalit agenda.
Koregaon fight back should be seen in the context of the fight back of
the people against Hindutva forces’ fascist attacks. Whatever the symbolism P. Nadkar
for the past, its importance lies in the struggle of the present.
While condemning the attacks on Dalits and supporting protests against “ Democracy in India is only a top dressing on an Indian soil, which is
these attacks, CPI (ML) New Democracy condemns the large scale arrests essentially undemocratic.” This is what Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar said while
by the Maharashtra police of Dalit youth after the Bandh. In UP too, the moving the draft Constitution in the Assembly on 4th November 1948. The
RSS BJP Govt. has arrested and foisted cases under NSA against Dalit recent incidence of Bhima – Koregaon in Maharashtra is a reminder of that
youth leaders, thereby revealing the countrywide drive of RSS-BJP against statement. Political rights such as freedom of speech, assembly and
Dalits, as also against minorities and progressive forces. These attacks association in a frame work of Bourgeois Democracy are supposed to play
also encompass a drive to reinforce the most backward patriarchal values a function of protecting the political domain from slipping into the control of
and to enforce such code on all women citizens. Under cover of these one party or the state. Democracy can not be guaranteed merely by a
attacks is also unfolding the other agenda of the RSS_BJP- to intensify listing of such political rights in the Constitution. It is necessary that the
stranglehold of imperialism by opening up all sectors of the country for democratic forces in the country forestall those in power from denying
their loot and plunder of the country and people-all, of course, under slogans these political rights to a section of the people. The annual gathering at
of ‘nationalism’. Bhima – Koregaon Memorial can be seen as a mobilization of self assertion
of social dignity by the Dalits and Bahujans. It is very clear from the attacks
CPI (ML) New Democracy supports and participates in the unfolding on this mobilization and subsequent leniency shown towards the attackers
struggle against Hindutva and for social justice. These struggles are part by the state machinery under the BJP Government that those in power are
of the struggle of the Indian people against oppressive and reactionary attempting to deny the basic political rights of these Dalits and bahujans.
Pseudo- Hindutva organizations claim that inter caste relations can be
(Issued by the Central Committee of CPI (ML) New adjusted in Hindu fold harmoniously through their project of ‘Samajik
Democracy on January 3, 2018) Samrasata’. They are attempting to consolidate the social integration of
Dalits in the Hindu fold in order to expand their political base. They justify
the caste system as a socially necessary division of labor and do not
denounce the caste hierarchy while paying lip service to the cause of social
and economic equality for Dalits. BJP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has
openly stated that ‘ Castes play the same role in Hindu society that furrows
play in the farms , keeping it in order and organized.’ BJP often indulges in
tokenism like celebrating Jayantis of Dalit icons, proposing a memorial for
Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar, choosing a President from Dalit background,
choosing a Dalit to place the first brick of shilanyas for the Ram temple
etc. Beyond this tokenism they do not tolerate any attempt by the
progressive sections of society to challenge the caste system itself. Their

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NEW DEMOCRACY Organ of the Central Committee, CPI(ML)
concept of Hindu Rashtra and idea of ideal Indian society is of a social last rites on the body of the king but one Govind Mahar dared to perform
system based on caste hierarchy and brahminical domination. The the last rites and built a memorial for the late king in that area of village
celebration of defeat of Peshwas' brahminical rule is therefore not a thing ‘Vaadu Budruk’. After that on the demise of Govind Mahar his body too
to be tolerated for the hardcore Hindu organizations energized by the rise was laid in the site nearby.
of BJP in Maharashtra.
A few weeks before the annual gathering at the Koregaon the local Dalits
BJP is also making frantic efforts to win over the Maratha community had erected a shade for the resting place of Govind Mahar. The Gram
for their project of Hindu Rashtra. The Maratha caste in Maharashtra Panchayat of that village, dominated by Marathas, had taken objection to
generally has a powerful influence on the ruling politics of the state. that and just three days before the march at Koregaon they had destroyed
Historically they have been organized under Congress banners. When that shade, fanning tensions among the Dalits and Marathas of the area.
Gandhi was killed by Nathuram Godse from Brahmin community, Marathas The right wing forces were active in the area in order to create a split in the
mounted attacks on Brahmins in the rural areas during the fifties. This unity of Dalits and Marathas in the region, symbolized by the adjacent
resulted in a political rift between Marathas and Hindutva organizations. Memorials of Maratha king Sambhaji and Govind Mahar a Dalit. As per
Recently, due to the agrarian crisis this community has been disillusioned their usual practice they floated a fake narrative about the last rites of
with their traditional leadership from Congress. This has provided an Sambhaji Raje having been performed by the Marathas themselves, thus
opportunity for BJP to rope in Marathas in their social engineering negating any credit to Mahar community for the same. The organizations
experiment. Sambhaji Bhide of Sivrajya Pratishthan has been for decades under the leadership of Sambhaji Bhide and Milind Ekbote then gave an
organizing Maratha youth in various outdoor activities using the iconic open call for a bandh in the area on the day of the pilgrimage like gathering
image of king Shivaji Maharaj. Maratha ex-corporator Milind Ekbote of Hindu of Dalits at the Bhima-Koregaon memorial.
Ekta Aghadi is another such leader from the Radical Hindu organization
active in Pune and Nagar district. Eknath Khadse is another leader from The pretext of bandh was used to mobilize radicalized Maratha youth of
Maratha community who was roped in by the BJP. What has irked the the local areas in groups, to conduct attacks on people participating in the
Hindutva forces is that the customary annual gathering at Bhima Koregaon march. Vehicles were damaged and an attempt was made to bring about a
was also supported by a militant Maratha organization Sambhaji Brigade stampede on the bridge linking Koregaon to the other side of the Bhima
as well as sections of agitating Maratha community recently active in the river from where the people were coming in large numbers to pay their
campaign for Maratha reservation. This could be dangerous in the light of respects at the memorial. In fact people who were travelling in buses were
the electoral battle ahead for BJP. made to get down from the vehicles a few kilometers away from the venue
and made to walk. The attacks took place while people were thus proceeding
On 31 December in Pune, right in front of Shaniwar Wada the symbol of towards the venue. As there was a bandh imposed in the area the people
Peshwa rule, a conferrence was organized with the title Elgar Conference. who arrived for the annual celebration had nowhere to go with the restaurants
It was a symbolic political mobilization of Dalits, OBCs, Marathas and and hotels closed and non cooperation from the local residents under the
Muslims against the present BJP Government described by the organizers pressure of the right wing forces. In spite of the open complicity of the two
as ‘New Peshwai’ (a popular term to denote brahminical rule.) The march leaders from the radical Hindu outfits, the state did very little to control
of the people from all over the country was scheduled on the next day. them. Where as, when Maharahtra bandh was enforced by the organizers
There was a parallel event systematically shaping into a confrontation of the Elgar event on 3 rd Jan in protest against the attacks by the radicals,
with the leadership of the right wing Hindutva organizations. A few thousands of Dalit activists were rounded up.
kilometers away from Koregaon is a Memorial of Sambhaji Raje, the son
of King Shivaji, who was killed in a battle with Moguls in that region. It is It is very obvious that social engineering now has become a obsession
said that Moguls had terrorized the local population against performing for the BJP think tank. Even their opposition in the parliamentary sphere

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and the radical social reformists seem to be relying on the same strategy before the god could be installed if the devil had taken possession of it,
to defeat them. The idealist dream here is to see the possibility of defeating what else could we do except destroy the temple? We did not intend that it
the designs of the Brahminical domination by parliamentary strategy or should be occupied by the Asuras. We intended it to be occupied by the
through social empowerment route within the present social and economic Devas. That is the reason why I said I would rather like to burn it.”
structural framework. For the sake of electoral gains BJP is worried about
political alignment of Maratha and Dalits on the platform of anti Brahmanism. In the light of the attacks on Dalits at Bhima Koregaon and subsequent
The BRP Bahujan Mahasangh under the leadership of Prakash Ambedkar protests in Maharashtra and other parts of the country, both the BJP and
too is indulging in the efforts to unite the voters from the same communities BRP are poised against each other in the political confrontation in the state.
with the eye on ensuing elections. Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar had started Both are ignoring the basic program of doing away with the caste vote
the annual ritual at Bhima Koregao to remind Dalits of their valor in order to banks and caste system itself and are prioritizing the parliamentary interests
inspire them to fight militantly against the oppressive Brahminical social in the electoral battle. On the one hand the progressive social reformists
order. It has been revived a few years back as a symbol of Dalit unity. faulted (rightly) the revisionist leadership for not recognizing the caste issue
This annual gathering was a good opportunity for the consolidation of Dalit as a problem of the base itself and on the other hand their own project of
votes. While using this opportunity Prakash Ambedkar of B.R.P. Bahujan uplifting the Dalit status in the present system is not bearing any positive
Mahasangh has tried to involve Marathas, OBCs and Muslims too. results. Their revulsion for class theory drives them towards isolating and
counter posing Dalit interests to those of other socially disadvantaged
The strategy is to broaden the platform for support, because Dalit votes categories. Radical ideas of Dalit superiority and Dalit pride etc actually
by themselves are unable to secure seats in the election for the party. The prevent Dalits from transcending the caste barriers and realizing the broader
same path has also been trodden by Mayawati who had in fact gone a step nature of social oppression. Dalit social liberation movement is thus not
ahead to rope in even Brahmins in her front. All this is done in the name of able to make any progress due to both these wrong trends of electoral
political power for Dalits through electoral route. The hopes of the Dalit tactics and sectarian social confrontationist ideas of Dalit liberation.
population about the Constitution arise from the fact that the main architect
of it was Dr. Ambedkar a great democrat and a progressive scholar reduced In spite of these observations one can not deny that the attempts at
merely to a status of Dalit icon. Dalits are made to believe that for this asserting Dalit dignity and challenging the upper caste domination through
reason the present Constitution can help them to escape oppression. They mobilizations like Bhima Koregaon are praise worthy and bear a progressive
are then made to believe by the political class that the Constitution therefore mark. We can not forget that the cause of social liberation of Dalits was not
is almost an object of worship. Talking about a revolutionary change of the given any place of importance in the freedom struggle in India which was
Bourgeois Democratic set up based upon the present day constitution is headed by the upper caste leadership of the movement. It was for this
then made to appear as against the interests of Dalits by the Parliamentary reason that many Social reformists like Dr Ambedkar could not be drawn
political parties. Radical social reformists indulging in identity based politics into its fold. The fact that Dalits fought on the side of the invaders against
also reinforce the same distortion. Many communist revolutionary cadres, the national rulers does not diminish the significance of that struggle for
disheartened by the set back to the left movement, are also tempted to Dalit liberation. The fact that they fought against the Peshwas who treated
join this sectarian trend. them like animals and defeated their rule is immensely significant in terms
of reminding Dalits of their martial heritage and for building their faith in the
Dr. Babasaheb himself gave more importance to the spirit behind the successful resolution of their cause through militant struggle.
constitutional documents than the mere words in it. He had famously replied
to the question by Dr Anup Singh during the debate in Rajya Sabha in
1955, , as to why he himself had talked about even burning the Constitution,
“The reason is this: We built a temple for a god to come in and reside, but

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CC Statement on Union sharply slowed. In this scenario, after decades, in this Budget there has
been increase in custom duties though these also target products of

Budget 2018-'19 companies based in China.
Modi Govt. has been projecting its pro-corporate measures as in the
interests of the common people. Such was the case of projection of
Jugglery of figures, tax increases around the year and pronouncements Demonetization and GST which were both to serve the interests of corporate.
of welfare schemes not backed by budgetary allocation or simply recycling Now Long Term Capital Gains tax is being shown as Modi Govt. not only
old ones have robbed the Budget presentation of the seriousness associated hurting the poor but also the rich. But this is not the case. Govt. has
with it. Despite all these shortcomings, one can discern the state of the announced that it will be implemented for gains after January 31. In the
Economy and the direction proposed by the Union Govt. from the Budget last year, 2017, top 1% have cornered 73% of the wealth generated in the
presented by Finance Minister Mr. Arun Jaitley on February 1, 2018. This year. Under RSS-BJP rule, NPAs have continued to rise despite periodic
is the last full Budget presented by the present RSS-BJP Govt. and hence, waiving off. Lakhs of crores are given to big capitalists in the form of revenue
it was expected to be its last economic policy statement to the people of foregone. On the other hand, Govt. has increased tax burden on the people.
the country. It has presented estimates of tax revenue far higher than the projected
Indian economy is in deep crisis as shown by the Union Budget and growth. While direct taxes are expected to grow by 14%, indirect taxes,
Economic Survey. Economic growth, despite all attempts at dressing up, which already constitute nearly two third of the tax revenues, are expected
is slowing down. Moreover, the export led growth model which has been to rise by a whopping 19%. High taxes on diesel and petrol are keeping the
pursued by successive govts. is itself in deep crisis. American and European prices of these essential items very high despite low prices of crude in the
markets which this model targeted hold no promise with rise of protectionism international market. There has been widespread criticism of this burden
in these countries. Globalization, which was being promoted by imperialist on the people. While the Govt. has announced lowering of taxes on these
powers led by USA, is being undermined in these very countries. Indian petroleum products by Rs. 8 per litre, it has imposed Rs. 8 per litre as
ruling classes have to address this reality and have to rescue the new infrastructure cess thereby keeping the same burden on the people but
economic policies from this setback. Despite this scenario there is no let depriving the states of their share in taxes.
up in concessions to foreign and domestic corporate and this Budget has a Despite such a heavy tax burden on the people and meagre expenditure
further dose of privatization and liberalization. on social sectors, Govt. finances are in a mess and fiscal deficit exceeded
the target and rose to 3.5% of the GDP in the year 2017-18. In the Budget
Modi Govt. has taken pro-imperialist new economic policies further and
for the coming year it has been pegged at 3.3% of the GDP. Govt. has sold
has gone all out to woo foreign investors. Foreign Direct Investment has
the shares of PSUs to meet its routine expenditure, even through juggling
continued to grow. While it was 36.05 billion US $ in 2013-14, it grew to
the shares among PSUs. It is targeting to net further Rs. 80,000 crores
45.15 billion $ in 2014-15, 55.6 billion $ in 2015-16 and 60.08 billion $ in
this year. Govt. borrowing increased by 35% in the past year. Due to higher
2016-17. Foreign Portfolio Investment by foreign institutional investors rose
cost of living and declining incomes, investment to GDP ratio has declined
very sharply from Rs. 13.3 lakh crores in 2013 to Rs. 53.3 lakh crores in
from 36.5% in 2016 to 26.4% in 2017.
May 2017. Foreign companies repatriate tens of thousands of crores every
year and this amount has grown rapidly during RSS-BJP Govt. period. Peasants Duped Once Again
Total foreign debt on this count has risen to US $ 417.98 billion. Foreign
capital is mainly exploiting the ongoing production and extracting its profits In his Budget speech, Mr. Jaitley tried to show case his Govt.’s
from Indian market. With demand in foreign markets stagnant or declining commitment to rural areas and agriculture probably due to setback suffered
and domestic demand rising very slowly, the Indian economic growth has by RSS-BJP in rural areas of Gujarat. People are increasingly realizing

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that despite its rhetoric, Modi Govt. has been serving only the corporate growing and peasants are demanding loan waiver. Peasant debts stood at
and the suffering of the people of the country, including peasant masses, Rs.12.6 lakh crores. There has been an increase of 55 percent in the loans
have only increased further. There has been an upswing in the peasant on peasants over the last three years.
movement demanding waiving of peasant loans and minimum support price
for crops at one and a half times the cost of production as per the Those for whom this Govt. announces help should be wary of its help.
recommendation of Swaminathan Committee which has recommended PM Crop Insurance Scheme (Fasal Bima Yojna) was announced amidst
comprehensive determination of costs referred to as C-2. Mr. Jaitley claimed much fanfare. But it has been a bonanza for insurance companies only
that RSS-BJP Govt. has already implemented this cost plus 50 percent for which saw an increase of 131% in their collections. While premium worth
rabi crops and would do so for kharif crops. He did not specify what according Rs. 22,004 crores was collected in 2016-17, only Rs. 12,020 crores were
to the Govt. would be the method of determining the cost. Without that it is disbursed as compensation. Govt. tries to sell the dream of exports of
a hollow assertion, rather, a deliberate act of deception. It should be kept agricultural produce but these have declined over the last year. On the
in mind that the same Govt. had told the Supreme Court of its inability to other hand, agricultural imports have increased from $16.5 billion in 2013-
implement the recommendation of Swaminathan Committee on the issue 14 to $21.4 billion in 2015-16. Modi led RSS-BJP Govt. is a total disaster
of MSP. Modi Govt. has demonstrated that it has no intention of meeting for the peasantry and rural masses in general.
its election promise of doubling the peasant income in five years. Rather
No push for Jobs, Push for Contract Labour
peasant incomes have declined. And how does Mr. Jaitley wish to enforce
this MSP? He has kept only Rs. 200 crores for Market Intervention-cum- Modi Govt. has been claiming creation of jobs. But it has been an
Price Support Scheme showing the real intention of his Govt. For most of abysmal failure on that front. It has flaunted data of increased PF coverage
the crops no MSP is declared; it is declared for only 24 crops. Most of the to claim higher employment but this does not show whether new jobs have
peasants complain that they are not able to get even the MSP declared by been created or PF coverage of existing jobs has improved. ‘Make in India’
the Govt. and the market price at the time of sale by peasants is far lower launched with much fanfare has not taken off and a large number of start-
than MSP. According to the Economic Survey, agriculture has recorded ups have closed or are facing closure. There has been virtually no new job
only 2.1% growth over the past year and it is set to decline to 0.9% in the creation in the organized sector. The youth of the country which was
present year. Economic Survey has also predicted a decline of 25% of promised creation of jobs has been betrayed. Now Modi is asking the youth
peasant income, albeit blaming it on climate change while it is the economic to be satisfied with whatever they are doing to merely eke out an existence
policies pursued by the Govt. which are depressing the peasant incomes. and forsake any thought of job creation by the Govt.
RSS-BJP Govt. has totally disregarded the concerns of the rural During the years of RSS-BJP Govt. the rate of growth of wages has
population. Expenditure of MNREGS has been kept stagnant. Keeping in fallen sharply. There has been a sharp rise in contract labour in Govt.
view the increase in wages, the coverage is bound to shrink even further. departments and in organized sector. Modi Govt. has been planning to
Expenditure on several other schemes covering the rural areas like Drinking abolish the provisions of Contract Labour Act to further facilitate the
Water Mission, Mid-day Meal Scheme, Gramin Jyoti Yojna has been either employment of contract labour without any check. Mr. Jaitley in his Budget
stagnant or has declined. Allocation for Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojna has Speech has spoken of extending fixed term contracts to all sectors and
been cut. There was much talk of improving irrigation but a paltry sum of giving tax incentives for creating such jobs i.e. contract jobs. Thrust on
Rs. 9,247 crores has been kept for the purpose while over half of the contract jobs demonstrates the challenge before the workers. This is bound
cultivated land is without irrigation. So much about their push for the rural to lead to further depression in wages and other benefits, further job
areas. Only the funds for credit scheme have been increased. These only insecurity and moreover further attacks on workers’ right to organize.
benefit the landlords who use these funds to further enmesh the peasant
masses in their web of loans. Even otherwise, peasant indebtedness is Central Govt. has also hit at the salaried employees. Despite price

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rise, income tax limit has not been raised. The Finance Minister has was 75% and that of states 25% but now the share of the Centre has been
announced Standard Deduction to the tune of Rs. 40,000 but nearly reduced to 60% and that of the states increased to 40%. On the other hand
Rs.35,000 allowed for medical and transport bills have been included in Central Govt. has taken cess route to raise finances (Education cess @ 3
this. percent has been increased to Education and Health cess @ 4 percent),
as it is not to be shared with states. Expenditure on illnesses is a big
Gimmick with Health, Neglect of Education & Research burden for the poor and middle classes. Out of Pocket Expenditure on
Mr. Jaitley has announced insurance coverage for 10 crore families (50 Health has contributed nearly 7% of the people who have been pushed
crore people) to the tune of Rs. 5 lakh for hospitalization. This announcement below the poverty line.
has been hailed by the corporate media as ‘populist’; even called as Expenditure on Education too has been abysmally low and there has
“Modicare” while it is worth nothing. It is only an extension of the already been a relative decline. Expenditure on Education in India has been below
existing schemes, increasing the coverage from 37 million families to 50 that of most countries and it is further declining. For example, while 3.2%
million families. It is also propagated as a big push by Modi Govt. to improve of GDP was spent on Education in 2011-12, it has declined to 2.7% of
Health care in the country. This has been the most talked about jumla in GDP in 2017-18. Govt. schools are facing closure and in several states
the budget speech, which was any way marked by a plethora of them. But these have been merged allegedly on account of low number of students.
if we look at the budgetary allocations, the deception of this projection Whole colleges and even universities are working with not even skeletal
becomes clear. There has been only marginal increase in expenditure on staff, number of teachers being a small fraction of the sanctioned strength.
health that too in nominal terms, it is actually a decline if one takes into Govt.’s thrust has been on commercialization of Education, raising fees
account inflation over the year. Expenditure on Health for 2017-18 (Revised and other costs thereby taking Higher education out of the pale for the
Estimates) has been Rs. 51,550.85 crores while the Finance Minister has overwhelming majority of the people of the country. There is total disregard
allocated Rs. 52,800 crores for the Budget for 2018-19 which is less than for Scientific research. There has been very small allocation and even
0.4 percent of GDP. Mr. Jaitley has targeted to improve 1.5 lakh Health what is allocated is not spent. Govt. is keen on taking India back to ancient
and Wellness centres in the country and he has allocated Rs. 1200 crores times and obviously sees no need to spend on Modern education. Anyway
for that which means Rs. 80,000 per centre. What wellness to these Centres centres of higher learning promote scientific temper and a questioning
can this paltry sum bring! Though Jaitley Govt. has announced insurance mentality, which the powers that be are keen to crush. Moreover, it can
cover for 50 million families, he has only increased the Budget for Rashtriya always depend on foreign powers to provide technology.
Swasthya Bima Yojna (RSBY) from Rs. 1400 crores to Rs. 2000 crores.
This shows the real intention of the Modi Govt. SC-ST Subplans and Other Social Sectors
Budget on Health amply proves that Modi Govt. has no intention of Mr. Jaitley has also claimed 12% increase in lay out for SC and ST
improving Public health care facilities for the people of the country. It has sub-plans. But this has been exposed to be only fiscal jugglery, transferring
taken no steps to improve the abysmal conditions of PHCs and District expenditure under one head to another. Even otherwise there is no
hospitals. It has abdicated the responsibility of the state for Health care accounting of sub-plan budget being spent to improve the lot of SCs and
needs. It has sought to provide only insurance whose earlier experience STs in the country.
shows that it cannot meet the needs of health care in India. It is only a
bonanza for the Insurance companies and big private hospitals. These Mr. Jaitley has claimed that the Govt. will provide a house to every
players also dole out care keeping in mind the extent of insurance cover of family but this pious declaration has no allocation in the Budget. Such is
the patient. Even in this, Modi Govt. has made a surreptitious change by the fate of several other declarations. Some declarations have been made
increasing the quota of the states. Earlier in RSBY, the share of the Centre about senior citizens, but the Govt. has totally forgotten the elderly who

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NEW DEMOCRACY Organ of the Central Committee, CPI(ML)
are poor and do not pay income taxes. There is also nothing substantive
for women. Reduction in PF deduction rate is a joke as labour laws including Turkey Invades Kurd
Areas of Syria
PF are not implemented for overwhelming majority of working women.
Except for some more coverage under cooking gas cylinder scheme, there
is nothing for the women workers and peasants.
But Mr. Jaitley has not forgotten his communal moorings in the Budget.
This Govt. had announced end to Haj subsidies earlier. In this Budget, Intensifying contradictions among imperialist powers and regional powers
Govt. has reduced allocation for minority development from Rs. 3905 crores aligned to them are giving rise to new conflicts and wars in the Middle-
(which was any way a paltry sum) to Rs. 1440 crores. Sabka Sath, Sabka east. The situation is growing increasingly complex as new conflicts
Vikas is after all only a jumla. supervene over and influence the ongoing conflicts.

The Union Budget is thus a cruel attack on the people and a total betrayal Turkey has invaded the Afrin enclave controlled by Kurd led forces in
of the promises made by RSS-BJP during the 2014 parliamentary elections. Northern Syria on the western border with Turkey. Turkey had earlier
The real character of the Budget proposals should be exposed before the occupied an area of Syria along its border including Al-bab, thus separating
people and they should be mobilized against increasing burden on the people Afrin enclave from the broader north-eastern Syria where Kurds’ YPG and
and betrayal of the electoral promises made by the ruling party. SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces) led by them have gained control to the
east of Euphrates river and Manbij area to the west of the river. Both US
and Russia have their military forces deployed in Syria. While Russia has
(This statement was released by the Central Committee of CPI(ML)-New deployed its Air Force to help the Syrian Govt. and controls its air space,
Democracy on February 2, 2018) US has deployed more than two thousand of its military personnel to aid
YPG forces besides providing equipment and ammunition.
The immediate provocation for Turkey’s Afrin offensive is an
announcement by US Admn. to arm and equip 30,000 Kurd led forces to
control north-eastern Syria and Syrian border with Turkey and Iraq. Trump
Admn. has been claiming that it is in Syria only to defeat the ISIS. It has
now unveiled its real intentions of staying in Syria even after the defeat of
ISIS. US Admn. also made clear its intentions to play a bigger role in the
political settlement in Syria where Russia, Iran and Turkey had kept it out
of their tripartite initiative. US Secretary of State has said that US would
keep its troops in Syria to confront Assad Govt. and to contain Iranian
influence in Syria.
After Russia militarily intervened in Syrian civil war in support of Basher
Assad Govt., the tide of war in Western, Central and Southern parts of
Syria turned in favour of Assad Govt. Turkey which had eyed increasing
its influence in Syria and had been the main conduit of fighters and weapons
brought into Syria thus found its path blocked by Russia. On the other
hand, US imperialism’s allies in Syria were none other than the Jihadis it

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was claiming to fight the world over. With the rise of ISIS, these groups national aspirations of Kurds in Turkey. Eliminating control of Kurds in the
could not confront it and most of their fighters joined it. Rise of ISIS which areas in Syria became a top priority of Turkey. And this has brought it in
was ‘tolerated’, rather aided, by US in Syria, soon ran over vast swathes of confrontation with US Admn.
Iraq imperiling Baghdad Govt. and posed an increasing danger to Gulf
monarchies, particularly Saudi rulers where their brand of ideology found Turkey’s offensive against Afrin is with the blessings of Russia and
an already existing ground support. Left with no credible allies in Syria, US with tacit approval of Assad Govt. though Assad Govt. has formally
Admn. turned to Kurds. In Kurds they found a reliable ally willing to provide disapproved of Turkish invasion. Russia had military presence in Afrin but
ground troops for their imperialist designs. they withdrew from the area just before the beginning of invasion by Turkey.
Air Force of Turkey bombarded Afrin enclave which was not possible without
Thus declaration of Trump Admn. to fight ISIS was no statement of a approval of Russia and this has not met with any resistance from Syrian
principled approach but recasting of its alliances in this volatile region. Govt. Turkey’s offensive in Afrin is a sort of trade-off with Idlib which is
Kurds have since long been suppressed by Govts. of Turkey, Iraq, Iran one of the de-escalation zones envisaged in Astana process. In Idlib, Hyat
and Syria and their contiguous territory was carved into parts of these Tahrir al Sham, born of change in name of the Al Qaeda affiliated Al Nusra,
countries. Their national aspirations have since long been frustrated. They is the main force. Russian Airforce has increased bombardment of this
were shown some glimmer of hope after the fall of Ottoman empire but region and Syrian Army has renewed its offensive. Turkey lodged a protest
Sykes-Picot agreement ignored their aspirations and carved up their region but did nothing else. It is clear that Turkey is acquiescing in this offensive
into territories among these states. In the US drive for regime change in in return of similar tacit approval of Russia and Govt. of Syria of its Afrin
Syria in the aftermath of Arab Spring and resultant influx of fighters and invasion. There is increasing call in Turkey of seeking cooperation with
weapons into Syria, Kurds were forced to defend their territory. They also Damascus to contain Kurds. Though Erdogan is still shy of publicly
saw an opportunity to realize their aspirations. With the withdrawal of Syrian acknowledging it, Govt. of Turkey has established diplomatic contact with
Govt. Army and rise of ISIS and its attacks on Kurds and other minority Govt. of Syria.
ethnic groups, the resolve of the Kuds and other minority ethnic groups to
Turkish invasion of Afrin has led to Kurd organizations boycotting the
fight against it was further steeled. US imperialism, unable to cobble a
Syria Dialogue held in Sochi in Russia.
fighting force against Assad Govt. from among Jihadis, aligned with Kurds.
US imperialists had a base among Iraqi Kurds whom they had supported in US imperialism is caught in an unenviable situation. Turkey is its largest
their struggle against Saddam Hussein Govt. of Iraq by imposing no fly military partner in NATO. On the other hand, Syrian Govt. is now controlling
zone over Kurd areas. major part of Syria, particularly its populous areas in Central, South and
Western regions. With ISIS mostly out of the way, the race for the areas
With US imperialism and Russian imperialism both forging alliances under the control of Kurd led forces is increasing. While Syrian Govt. would
against ISIS and the latter's failure and unwillingness to mobilize the people, like to bring these areas under its control, Turkey wants to dismantle the
it lost the areas under its control (which had once equalled the size of power of Kurds. US imperialism is hard pressed to help Kurd led forces in
France). ISIS was controlling vast territories in East and North of Syria defending these areas.
besides some pockets in other parts. With the tide of war turning against
it, armies supported by Russia and America contended with each other for Kurds are also wary of the designs of US imperialism. Iraqi Kurds too
greater share of these areas. This led to vast areas bordering Turkey falling had banked on the support of US Admn. when they had held referendum on
under the control of Kurds led forces. This particularly alarmed Turkey the independence of Iraqi Kurdistan. But Iraqi Govt., with the help of Iran
which has been conducting a war against Kurds in Southeastern Turkey. trained Popular Mobilization Units (PMUs), had quickly moved and captured
They feel that any territory under the control of Kurds will embolden the almost all the areas disputed between Regional Govt. in Irbil and Central

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Govt. of Iraq. Iraqi Kurds have recently opened channels of communication
with Iran with whom they share a long border and Iran is quite influential in 'Modi Care' – The J
Care' umla
and the Truth
Baghdad. Syrian Kurds had also maintained relations with Russia even
having an office in Moscow, but Russian complicity in Turkey’s invasion
has soured their relations. However, Syrian Kurds cannot rely solely on US
Turkey is bombarding Afrin and has also sent tanks and armoured Vikas Bajpai
vehicles into Afrin Enclave. It is meeting strong resistance from Kurd led
forces. Turkey has also announced that after capturing Afrin Enclave it
The prospective launching of NHPS (National Health Protection Scheme
would send forces against Manbij area to the west of Euphrates river, the
- read ‘MODI CARE’ on the lines of OBAMA CARE launched in the US by
unfinished task of its Operation Euphrates Shield. Turkey also has a larger
Modi’s great friend ‘Barak’) in the Budget speech delivered by the Finance
plan for the area. It wants to settle Syrian refugees currently in Turkey in
minister, Mr Arun Jaitely on 31st of January has perhaps been the most
these areas thus sending refugees back from its territory and changing
talked of aspect of this year’s budget speech; and why not? After all the
demography of the region in the process.
poor who may or may not be able to have two square meals a day are now
The conflict in Syria and larger Middle-East is going to be protracted. being held out the promise of health insurance worth rupees five lakh per
Many other conflicts in the Middle-East, in Yemen, in Sudan, in Libya are family to cover health expenses which the family might otherwise have
continuing. There is escalation of conflict in Sinai where forces of Egypt had to cover through its own resources, most probably through a debt, in
and Israel are collaborating in their war against Islamists. Imperialist powers, case of a health crisis. The added luxury on the offer is the opportunity to
mainly US imperialism and Russian imperialism, are behind escalation of get world class health care in swanky private hospitals.
ongoing conflicts and eruption of new armed conflicts. Even other imperialist
powers are intervening in attempts to increase their influence. Reactionary Many articles have already called Mr Jaitely’s bluff on his boisterous
rulers are collaborating with these imperialist powers to maintain their anti- pronouncement, but the overwhelming weight of these critiques has been
people rule and diverting the attention of the people from their misrule. In on the financial aspects of the proposed scheme. Lack of allocation of
this complex situation, forces of the people are not able to play an funds compatible with the grand design laid out before the country and
independent effective role in defense of the independence of their countries thereby the hoax is one aspect; elsewhere there have been questions about
and democratic rights of the people. They are being sand-wiched between the feasibility of such a scheme of health care at the present level of
these rival groups. In this situation, struggle of Palestinians too is suffering development of the country. Above all, in making his announcement the
as the regional powers with the backing of imperialist powers are trying to Finance minister behaved as though he had pulled out a rainbow coloured
retain or expand their influence in the region and the struggle of Palestinians rabbit from his hat anew.
has taken a back seat for them, being viewed from the prism of their
NHPS is no novelty in terms of proposed solutions for the healthcare
immediate interests. Open alliance of Arab monarchies, mainly Saudi
woos of common Indians. If at all, the only novelty about this scheme is
Arabia, and military dictatorship in Egypt with Israel has created a minefield
the ‘grandiosity’ of delusion that this government suffers from. By now we
which Palestinians have to tread.
have considerable experience available from the implementation of several
such schemes in different parts of the country to infer the likely
consequences of NHPS.

While acknowledging the validity of the critiques of NHPS presented till

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now, there is a need to grasp the truth behind this push for ‘health assurance for the entire country. However, there does not seem to be any inkling of
through insurance’ at an entirely different plane and the fact that this game this in the entire discussion around NHPS. Above all it need be borne in
plan is not exclusive to Modi government, but that it cuts across all ruling mind that schemes like NHPS deal with the healthcare of the poorest
class parties that have been in power either at the Centre or are so in the segments of society, who hardly have any say to bend the policy making
states. We shall seek to grasp this reality here such that the opposition to establishment. In an atmosphere where the government including the
such bluffs, if not outright frauds, comes out of conviction. political representatives are becoming all the more inaccessible to the poor
people, there are no tangible mechanisms in such schemes to make the
Let us begin by understanding the context of these publically funded healthcare providers and the insurance companies answerable to the
health insurance schemes. Access to healthcare is incumbent on physical beneficiaries. Additionally, schemes like NHPS provide a softer alternative
availability of healthcare facilities, economic ability to afford healthcare to tide over the supply constraints; that is, simply empanel more private
expenditure and social accessibility to access healthcare irrespective of healthcare providers. This may take the pressure off the government to
caste, class, gender or community. Considering the scale of poverty in the get many of the public health facilities like the PHCs, CHCs, the first referral
country, a vast majority of the country’s population is unable to afford the units and the district hospitals functional. NHPS seems quite like a straight
expenditure involved in healthcare. A major illness in the family, especially jacket solution for the entire country, much like its precursor, the RSBY.
in the case of an earning member of the family, can push the family below
the poverty line. Availability of reliable and affordable curative care is an The reality is that in the name of providing affordable quality healthcare
important felt need of the poor. Given this context, the policy makers have to the poor, the ruling classes have sought to weave in other objectives
sought to address the question of ‘economic access’ to healthcare through (the real ones) into such schemes and it is better to know this from the
horse’s mouth itself.
the RSBY (Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana - Scheme for below poverty
line (BPL) families). However, while provision of health insurance by the The RSBY (Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna) which was brought into
government may be a necessary condition for the success of such schemes, existence by the erstwhile UPA (United Progressive Alliance) government
this by no means is sufficient for achieving the desired results, which may in 2008, claimed to provide:
further depend on many other conditions. The more socioeconomically
developed areas are likely to have a much better developed health “freedom of choice between public and private hospitals” to a
infrastructure, lesser levels of poverty, much better roads and means of patient, and making him “a potential client worth attracting on account
transport to access medical care, a higher level of literacy, especially female of the significant revenues that hospitals stand to earn through the
literacy which facilitates better understanding of healthcare needs and scheme.” The business model of the scheme has “incentives built
greater financial literacy to be able to draw on the benefits of these for each stakeholder” (RSBY website). Intensive use of information
schemes. Utilization of healthcare facilities further depends on the technology, biometric enabled identification of beneficiaries which
demographic composition like the proportions of rural and urban population makes it “safe and foolproof”, cashless and paperless transactions,
and the age distribution of the population with older population requiring and that the usability of the card in any RSBY empanelled hospitals
more hospital care. Last but not the least, is the political mobilization of across India are other “smart” features of the scheme (RSBY
the people through which they can command greater answerability from website).
the concerned authorities.
There need be no doubt that this scheme of things had the blessings of
One must remember that conditions vary hugely from region to region, one of the patrons of our rulers – the World Bank itself (Handoo, 2010).
let alone from one state to another of a vast country like India. Hence, it is
important to bear this variation in mind while designing schemes like NHPS Credit need be given to our ruling classes for at least acknowledging

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that healthcare, even for the poor, is a justifiable profit making business. It poor, as long as their requirements and perceptions do not influence
is another thing that the experience hitherto from across the world and public policy towards universal health care (MoHFW 2017).
during the two decades of neo-liberal economics in India has shown that
privatized healthcare and public health objectives are simply not compatible. The very fact that such a statement finds mention in the NHP document
shows how the ‘requirements and perceptions’ of the private healthcare
In the immediate backdrop to Mr Jaitely’s announcement on NHPS is sector are already influencing policy. Since the private sector is busy
the ‘National Health Policy (NHP), 2017.’ The policy document states contributing to the economy and cannot be expected to care for the poor
categorically: lest its mission of boosting economic growth be harmed, hence the
government has now pitched in with NHPS with an insurance cover of rupees
“The Government has had an active policy in the last 25 years of five lakh per family as against a measly sum of rupees thirty thousand
building a positive economic climate for the health care industry. under RSBY. It is not without reason then that Dr Naresh Trehan of Medicity
Amongst these measures are lower direct taxes; higher depreciation has argued that from trying to be a provider of healthcare the government
in medical equipment; Income tax exemptions for five years for rural should become net purchaser of healthcare.
hospitals; custom duty exemptions for imported equipment that are In the context of Mr Jaitely’s budget pronouncements on NHPS, the
lifesaving; Income tax exemption for Health Insurance; and active following recommendations of NHP, 2017 are important:
engagement through publicly financed health insurance which now
covers almost 27% of the population. Further forms of assistance ·It is proposed to purchase the secondary and the tertiary care
are preferential and subsidized allocation of land that has been services from the public sector as well as the private sector facilities
acquired under the public acquisitions Act, and the subsidized with public funds, either by the government directly or through national
education for medical, nursing and other paramedical professional or state level intermediary institutional mechanisms like insurance
graduating from government institutions and who constitute a agencies and trusts.
significant proportion of the human resources that work for the private
sector;” ·The DNHP introduces a concept of “strategic purchasing,” which
refers to “the government acting as a single payer—purchasing care
Contrary to this the same document further states: from public hospitals and private providers as part of strategic plan for
district health systems development.” Another important aspect of
“The budget received and the expenditure there under was only strategic purchasing: One element of strategic purchasing is that there
about 40% of what was envisaged for a full revitalization in the NRHM is preference to public facilities—justified by the needs of national health
(National Rural Health Mission) Framework” programmes, many of which are not and never will be commercially
remunerative; by the need to retain adequate reserve capacity for public
health emergencies …Even within the private sector a strategic
One can’t help but marvel at the audacity of the NHP, 2017 document
preference for not for profit hospitals which are prepared to work on
which goes to the extent of stating:
cost recovery principles and address public health goals in a spirit of
service would require to be prioritized (MoHFW 2017).
Given that the private sector operates within the logic of the market
and that they contribute to the economy through their contribution to ·It is claimed that strategic purchasing shall help provide stewardship
the growth rate and by the national earnings from medical tourism, to the private sector to develop itself for providing health services
there need not be any major effort to persuade them to care for the privileged by the state in strategic purchase.

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·In relation to the public sector facilities, it is proposed that “while help this imagination it may be pointed out that the recent ill-fated meeting
expenditure on core infrastructure facilities, human resources, and at Delhi Chief Minister Mr Arvind Kejriwal’s house, which led to the latest
supplies would be met through budgetary allocation; an increasing part round of stand-off between the Delhi and the Central governments, was
of resource allocation would be “responsive to quantity, diversity and called on the issue of nearly two and a half lakh poor households being
quality of caseloads provided care.” denied their due through the PDS scheme last year due to the failure of
their AADHAR verification. There have been heart rending stories of children
·As part of reorienting public hospitals, it is proposed that rather dying from hunger due to households being denied food grains by the PDS
than being viewed as providers of free healthcare, they shall be viewed shops on account of AADHAR failure.
as part of a “tax financed single payer healthcare system” wherein
they shall be remunerated through prepayment akin to commercial To borrow from the Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping’s famous maxim, “It
insurance—a method that has been deemed “cost effective” in providing doesn’t matter whether a cat is white or black, as long as it catches mice,”
for the healthcare needs of the population. many well meaning people might still ask: how does it matter whether it is
public or private sector healthcare so long as it successfully caters to the
One would do well not to be misled by terms such as ‘strategic health needs of the people?
purchasing’ and ‘preference to public facilities’ when the proposal actually
insists that even the budgetary allocation to the public health facilities Well, as pointed out above there is a wealth of information available
shall be restricted to meeting the bare essentials, while the running cost of from across the world and from within India to attest to the havoc that such
the facility shall have to be recovered through funds available through insurance based mechanisms have wrecked on public health systems.
publically funded health insurance. Barring some premier institutions in Just one example might suffice here to prove the point.
public sector, we all know about the quality of care provided at public
hospitals. Given this if the share of public health facilities in the provisioning Writing about the experience of implementation of ‘Rajiv Aarogyashri
of inpatient and outpatient care drops further (which different NSSO rounds Scheme’ (RAS) in Andhra Pradesh, former Secretary to the Government of
on health already show to be falling) the time when public sector shall be India, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said that:
utterly prostrated isn’t far. If the words “one element of strategic purchasing
is that there is preference to public facilities—justified by the needs of Among 19 major States, Andhra Pradesh (a southern state with
national health programmes, many of which are not and never will be comparatively healthier public health services) incurred the lowest
commercially remunerative” are any indication then one may surmise that expenditure of Central grants (National Rural Health Mission and
rather than being an inadvertent development the ‘utter prostration’ of the disease control programmes) as proportional to its total health
public sector would happen by design. spending during 2011; 16% against 31 and 28 percentages by
Maharashtra and Karnataka respectively and the only State to slash
An additional flaw, and a fatal one, in this scheme of ‘Health Protection’ its primary care budgets from 53% to 46% and allocate just 9% for
is that from being a continuum of ‘promotive, preventive, curative and secondary care down from 12% during 2007–12. In comparison, RAS
rehabilitative care’ it reduces ‘Healthcare’ largely to being ‘curative care’; was provided 23% of the health budget for less than 1% of the
the public sector may carry on ‘rudimentarily’ with immunization and ante- population (not necessarily poor) or 11.3% of total hospitalization
natal check-ups. Added to this, with its capacity to provide curative care (Rao, 2014).
much enfeebled and a huge dependence for the same on private sector,
government’s glib talk of regulating the private sector is merely a pipe A viable public sector is a threat to the hegemony of the private sector;
dream. Imagine the horror of what shall happen to the poor ailing persons hence, it is imperative that public health services be undermined. Starving
with the conditionality of AADHAR identification built into the scheme. To public facilities of funds, stopping recruitment altogether or recruiting

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personnel on contractual basis, offering unattractive wages such that the
best talent is kept out and poor supply of material are just some of the Peasant Crisis and the
Union Budget 2018-'19
measures adopted to demoralize public sector health workers and reduce
the functionality of services. Public health facilities have also been
undermined by ingraining commercial principles and processes in their
functioning through commercialization of their services.
Regarding Mr Modi’s promise of putting rupees fifteen lakhs in every Ashish Mital
person’s account, the BJP president Amit Shah had called it a ‘Jumla’.
How kindly people shall take to that ‘Jumla’ only time will tell; but the “Farm Income May Go Down” read a banner headline in the Economic
‘Jumla’ of MODI CARE promised by Mr Jaitely, while being hollow in content, Times reporting the Economic Survey 2017-18 released on 29th January. It
if implemented shall lead to further ruin of India’s public health system. It further had this to say, “Agriculture Income may fall by up to 25% in the
is for all patriotic health professionals, activists and the people at large to medium term …. making it imperative to replace power and fertilizersubsidies
fight back this onslaught in their pursuit of ‘Universal Health Care.’ by direct income support and to drastically expand irrigation”. The dramatic
extension of irrigation was to be “via efficient drip and sprinkler technologies”
References: it said. The news item further noted that “Industry leaders and experts
welcomed the suggestions”. The Govt. of big bourgeois big landlord classes
·Rashtriya Swasthya Beema Yojna: ‘What is RSBY?’ Available is never short of ideas of how to make money out of people in crisis. They
online at, Accessed on 8 April are preparing to reap the harvest from peasant distress. The industry leaders
2011. hope to make good not only from selling costly drip and sprinkler equipment,
but also from replacement of fertilizer subsidy by direct transfer of cash
·Handoo, J (2010): ‘FINO Driven Health Micro-insurance in
subsidy which will help them to raise the open market sale prices further.
Unorganised Sector: Case of Rashrtiya Swasthya Bima Yojana, FINO
Working Paper 1310, 2010, New Delhi. The survey has analyzed that “farmers have suffered because of erratic
monsoon rains, unseasonal showers on the eve of harvest and volatile
·Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW) (2017): ‘National
prices, which at times dipped below the support price because of large
Health Policy 2017.’ Government of India, New Delhi.
stocks and good harvest”. It has picked up the minor issues, blamed
·Rao, Sujatha (2014): “For Public Health as Political Priority,” Hindu, nature’s vagaries and has pointedly blamed the ‘good harvest’,crying shy
13 October. of the real causes and of rulers having failed to protect the peasants and
bring them out of distress. These are in short – failure to implement
progressive land reforms and provide a means of livelihood to the landless
who now constitute more than 55% of agricultural land force, failure to
improve and maintain agricultural infrastructure and irrigation, allowing input
costs to rise and exposing peasants to markets controlled by big traders,
hoarders and MNCs, so that they suffer both crop loss in drought and price
loss in good rains. These causes are not the result of any oversight by a
casual govt. These measures are deliberate, integral to the policy of the
World Bank, WTO and the Indian ruling classes, designed to further

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impoverish Indian peasantry, systematically.No wonder then that the Survey There are other major problems with the MSP which the Budget did not
further proposes “crop land holdings be further consolidated to reap the address. One is that MSP is declared only for 23 crops. Mr. Jaitley did say
benefits of agriculture mechanization”, but says not a word on how to ensure ‘implement this resolution for the rest of the crops’ for Rabi and ‘for all
that the producer peasant benefits from mechanization. unannounced crops for Kharif’, but has made no allocation at all for either.
Most of the procurement is done by states and they too spend paltry sum
After these negative prescriptions came the Budget with empty for it. They have not been taken on board. In fact there is no financial
announcements, unsupported by allocations. Though farmers remained provision in the Budget at all for procurement. The FM simply said that “it
firmly in focus, the Govt. exposed its non-seriousness about peasants is essential that if price of the agriculture produce market is less than
solving their problems. MSP… Niti Ayog in consultation with Central and State Governments will
put in place a fool-proof mechanism so that farmers will get adequate price
The biggest hoax was the announcement of giving MSP at 50% above
for their produce”.
the cost of production, as per the recommendations of the Swaminathan
Commission. Mr. Jaitely read “In our party's manifesto it has been stated Another fact related to MSP is that the CACP gives two figures for
that the farmers should realize at least 50% more than the cost of their crops. The market price of each crop above its A2 + Fl assessment is
produce, ……….. it has declared Minimum Support Price (MSP) for the called Gross Return to the peasant while the return above C2 is called Net
majority of Rabi crops at least at one and a half times the cost involved. Return. Figures for several crops show that both these values for major
Now, we have decided to implement this resolution as a principle for the crops have progressively come down for last 3 years. MSP rates announced
rest of crops. I am pleased to announce that as per pre-determined principle, also show that except for wheat, they are just marginally above the C2
Govt has decided to keep MSP for all the unannounced crops of Kharif at costs for most crops and for some even below that.
least at one and half times of their production cost. …………. will prove an
important step towards doubling the income of our farmers.” A major issue in 2016 was that Demonetization led to delayed and low
payments to peasants and then last year GST affected purchase by traders
This statement instantly reveals the Govt.'s unjust intentions and it and forced poor prices. There is nothing in the Budget to acknowledge this
aroused the necessary rebuttal from various quarters. After initially refusing adverse impact, leave alone compensate the peasants affected. However
to answer which formula the Govt. had used to calculate the costs, after a the Economic Survey does acknowledge the loss and states that the
few days Shri Jaitely was forced to admit it was not the C2 costs as markets have slowly come out of the adverse impact of Demonetization.
recommended by the Swaminathan Commission, but the A2 + Fl costs,
which only includes paid out costs plus a small addition for imputed cost of Further, as reported, for Price Stabilization fund the Govt. had allotted
family labour. The C2 costs on the other hand are much more Rs 6900 cr in 2015-16, but this Budget has reduced it to Rs 1500 crores. In
comprehensive, which is the word Swaminathan used, as it includes imputed addition last year’s RE (Revised Estimates) show that for the Market
rent, interest on capital equipments and fixed assets and devaluation. Intervention scheme the Govt spent Rs. 950 crores, but this year allocation
is just Rs. 200 crores, which may not suffice for even one district. Separately
It is important also that this declaration has been made shamelessly, the Govt. has allocated Rs 500 crores for “Operation Green” to check price
after this very Govt. stated in an affidavit in the Supreme Court on Feb 20, volatility in prices of tomatoes, potatoes and onions, but this is to go to
2015 that the Govt. cannot give a MSP of 50% above the cost declared by Farmers’ Producers Organizations which have to be developed and will be
the CACP (Central Agricultural Commission on Prices) as it ‘may distort given a tax relief for turnovers of less than Rs 100 crores. When these are
the markets’. (Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Minister of State, Agriculture developed, how much will be the peasants’ ownership and how much will
and Farmers’ Welfare).It is the market players that the Govt. has been be the proxy component of companies is a big question, as also who will
concerned about, not the peasants. reap what benefit. Considering the volumes of the crops requiring Govt.

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support, these measures are not just miniscule, they show the Govt.’s supplies, the announcements of loans has again been pushed up by 10%
intention to only intervene selectively and very partially. to Rs 11 lakh crores. Separately the loan component for Women's SHGs
has been raised from Rs 42,500 crores to Rs 75,000 crores. Interestingly
The Govt. has declared Rs 2000 crores for electronically building and the Eco Survey reveals that 44% of the rural debt comes from Non
converting 22,000 rural markets into GrAMs (Gram Agricultural Markets) Institutional Sources. Of the Institutional credit 41% is given to small and
and then linking them with all eNAMs. Mr. Jaitely believes this will help marginal peasants which is a loan of less than Rs 2 lakhs. Institutional
peasants to get the best prices available in markets across the country. loans of value above Rs 1 crore constitute 14% and are given to corporate
Unbelievably he expects the peasants to move with their crop to sell them and institutions doing agriculture.
in those eNAMs which are quoting the best price! Obviously there is no
provision for the Govt. either guaranteeing that price or transporting the Some problem areas have found mention in the Budget, like loans to
crop. These eNAMs actually are only to provide the cheapest crop prices share croppers. The remedy has been left to the NitiAyog to work out.
to trading companies who through their network can resource them.
The Budget has granted some allocation for irrigation also, but again
There are a number of other announcements, of forming Farmers' the major thrust is on Drip and Sprinkler irrigation which is both costly and
Producer Organizations- FPOs and Village Producer Organizations - VPOs. will help sale of corporate equipment. Under PM Krishi Sinchai Yojana
These will incorporate women SHGs for cluster growth of organized farming (PMKSY) Rs 2300 cr are for Har Khet KoPani and is for promoting drip
of Highly Specialized Medicinal and Aromatic plants with ‘associated irrigation. Specific allocation of Rs 2600 crores has been made for 96
industry’; they will promote Operation Green discussed above; and they deprived districts which works out to a meagre Rs 27 crores per district.
will promote Horticulture clusters and Organic farming clusters. The Budget Long Term Irrigation Fund has been earmarked for NABARD and separate
talks of help to resource crops, obviously for Agro processing corporate funds have also been marked for Fisheries and Aquaculture and for Animal
houses. Husbandry. However the announcement states that these sectors will be
Under Krishi Sampada Yojana, allocation to promote investments in covered under credit plan, not under budget allocation.
Food Processing has been raised from Rs. 715 crores in 2017-18 RE to Rs
The Budget boasts of ensuring Maximum livelihood opportunities in rural
1400 crores. In these announcements there is no move to help peasants
areas, spending more on livelihood, agriculture and allied sectors and rural
and ensure improved income for them or that they be able to get part of the
infrastructure. For this it states that in 2018-19, Rs 14.34 lakh crores will
value created in agro processing and marketing. The claim is that food
be spent. However, of this 11.98 crores, or 83.54% is from extra budgetary
production sector will grow at 8% and that Indian farm exports will go up
sources. Annexure 1 of the Budget gives the details and this amount is
from $30 billion to $ 100 billion. The fact is that exports which were Rs 1.37
mostly the loans to be given. The claim is that this will generate 321 crore
lakh crores ($ 21 billion) in 2013-14 have come down to Rs 1.06 lakh crores
days of work, 3.17 lakh kms of rural roads, 51 lakh new houses, 1.88 cr
($17 billion) in 2015-16. On the other hand imports of agricultural produce
toilets, and 1.75 lakh new household electricity connections. The details
have gone up from $ 16.5 billion in 2013-14 to $ 21.4 billion (Rs 1,40,000
are interesting.
cr) in 2015-16.
Under Swatch Bharat Mission, for toilets, budget allocation is only Rs
Now post budget, the Govt has changed the corporate farming law. A
15,343 cr, while Extra Budgetary (EB) sources are Rs 15,000 crores. For
new Model contract farming law has been sent to the states by the Centre
housing allocationis Rs 21,000 cr, while Rs 12,000 cr. are from EB sources.
which seeks to free direct deals between businesses and peasants from
MNREGA allocation is same as 2017-18 RE at Rs 55,000 crores. The
the oversight of APMCs (Agricultural Prices Monitoring Committees).
National Rural Livelihood Mission however has only Rs 5750 crores which
Of course, like every year, to help sale of corporate produced input will provide for 9 lakh SHGs, help to 5 lakh women farmers, skill development

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NEW DEMOCRACY Organ of the Central Committee, CPI(ML)
of 4 lakh people, 15 value chain development projects and 25,000 Start up
Village programs, meaning less than Rs 3000 per month for each. Ministry
of Food Processing allocation for Mega parks, cold chain, value addition,
PMS Enquiry into
etc is Rs 820 cr, while EB is 2690 crores Mininstry of Power's allocation
for connections and infrastructure is Rs 6550 crores, while EB is Rs 15,000 Kathua Rape & Murder
cr. Under PMKSY also, allocation is Rs 2300 cr. for Har Khet KoPani, Rs
1461 cr. from Ministry of Water Resources, Rs 4000 cr in a separate head A four member team of Pragatisheel Mahila Sangathan (Delhi) visited
and Rs 2146 under Min of RD under Watershed Development, but EB sources Kathua District of Jammu region of J&K state on 18 th and 19th of March
will provide more than this, i.e. Rs 15,000 cr under Accelerated Irrigation 2018 in connection with the rape and murder of an 8 year old girl of the
Programme and Rs 28,000 cr under Micro Irrigation fund. Bakkarwal tribe and the subsequent vicious communal propaganda
unleashed there against the arrests of the alleged rapists and murderers.
The combined allocation made for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare The team consisted of Adv. Poonam Kaushik- PMS General Secretary,
and Rural Development this year is Rs 1,66,904 lakh crores as compared Adv. Shubra (Vice President of PMS, Delhi), Adv. Kalpana -Secretary PMS
to Rs 1,57,139 lakh crores in the 2017-18 RE. This is up by just Rs 9765 Delhi and Adv. Jaishree.
cr, or a raise of only 6.2%, less than their own claimed growth rate and
much less than the rate of inflation. Similarly PM Awas Yojana allocation The Team’s Report was released in Delhi on the 24th of March 2018.
is up by just 3%. Under Rural Development, the funds allocation has gone The team expressed its shock and grief at the fact that the rape and murder
up by just 3% over the 2017-18 BE, from 1,05,563 cr to Rs 1,08,824 cr. of an 8 year old girl child of a nomadic community, instead of being
National Agricultural Development fund has been cut from Rs 4500 cr in condemned by all sections of society, has been turned into a rallying point
2017-18 RE to Rs 3600 crores in 2018-19 BE. It is pertinent to note that the on communal lines in defence of the accused persons. It unanimously
Economic Survey states that “in the last 4 years the level of real agricultural condemned the same. It is pertinent to state that the accused persons
GDP and real agricultural revenue has remained constant, owing in part to were apprehended only after the sniffer dogs took the scent from the spot
weak monsoon in two of these years”. Where from then, is the doubling of in the jungle where the body was found to the cowshed of Sanjhi Patwari, a
peasants’ income going to come? Neither the Govt. investment and retired revenue official who is one of the accused. A Hindu Ekta Manch
allocation is rising, nor is the agricultural economy generating enough. has emerged since the initial arrests, has secured the participation and
MrJaitley has left the Indian peasants at the mercy of MNCs and Indian blessings of ministers (the Forest Minister of the state is specifically
Corporate, not only the Gods of good monsoon. mentioned and one more minister in the State’s govt. apart from the leaders
of Congress, BJP and PDP of one particular religion, participated in the
rally of the Hindu Ekta Manch)) of the PDP-BJP Govt. and is demanding a
CBI enquiry though a J&K High Court monitored enquiry is already on into
the brutal crime. This is typical of the BJP-RSS backed organizations that
they are disrespectful towards the courts if they fail to toe the line –as was
adequately indicated by the 4 judges of the Supreme Court who spoke up
to ‘’save democracy’’. It is also typical that the organization is demanding
a CBI enquiry, while the Supreme Court had earlier clearly labelled this
body as a “caged parrot’’ of the Central Govt. In this case, the idea is to
get the case out of the hands of the state govt. and under the BJP-RSS
central govt. It is pertinent to note that it was the dead child’s natural

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father who moved the relevant High Court and prayed that it supervise the activists included lawyers and professors.
ongoing SIT Enquiry. This was accepted and the parents of the killed girl
(both natural and adopted parents) are now satisfied with the ongoing The Report states that the murdered child’s mother informed them that
enquiry. The PMS team has concluded that the Hindu Ekta Manch is the girl used to take live stock for grazing but did not return on the evening
opposing the SIT on communal lines, which is no ground at all. Anyway of 10th January. The parents spent the night looking for her among the
the SIT neither has a uniform religious composition nor is it completely families of others of the tribe who live some distance away. The mother
from Kashmir, as the Manch leaders alleged before the Team. The IG Crime went to lodge a report at the Hiranagar thana on 11th morning but was sent
informed the Team that the SIT is being supervised by SSP Jammu Shri back by the Registrar. She returned there on 12th January and was able to
Ramesh Kumar Jhala and consists of SP Jammu Ms Shwetambari, lodge the FIR only on that date. Activists of the All Tribal Confederation
Inspector Kamal Kishore of Jammu, Adl SP. Kashmir Mr. Nabeed Perzada told the Team that the villagers of Rasana did not allow the family to bury
and Deputy SP Jammu Shri Nissar Shah. the dead body in the village and it was buried far away in Kanha village.
They also said that the Bakkarwal nomads were facing difficulties in getting
The Team went to Kathua region to the house of the girl child which land on lease since the advent of the PDP-BJP Govt. and the Forest Minister
falls in the jungle near Village Rasaana. They met her parents (adoptive), was trying to grab the jungle lands. In a way this was substantiated by the
the families of the accused in Rasaana Village, other residents of the village, statements of the Hindu Manch members that they were being targeted
members of the Hindu Ekta Manch who had come in from other villages on because they had started giving their lands to members of other nomadic
hearing about the Team’s presence and also activists of the All Tribal communities i.e. the Sippies (some of the nomadic tribes follow ancient
Confederation of J&K. They returned to Jammu and met the senior police customs) only because the Bakkarwals do not pay the lease amounts. The
officials as well as a senior journalist, the lawyer of the child’s parents and landlords are finding it difficult to do agriculture due to high costs so they
women activists as democratic organizations had also taken out a march earn from the land by leasing it to the nomads. The All Tribal Coordination
against the communalization of the incident. The Report records that the activists also said that the Bakkarwals were part of a struggle for the
girl child belonged to a nomad Bakkarwal (Gujjar) family which spends six implementation for forest rights. This crime was a pre-planned one, to punish
months a year in this region and returns after that to Kashmir for the next them for this demand.
6 months. The girl’s parents, like other nomads, take land on lease for It was also learnt that when the Bakkarwal nomads learnt of the murder
their period of stay in order to graze their animals and have been doing so (they had gathered at village Kuta for a social occasion), they spread the
for years together. In addition, this family had bought two acres of land in word in their own community. On the post-burial ceremony of the child they
the outskirts of Rasaana village from a Rajput landlord of nearby Kuta took out a rally demanding justice, which was brutally lathi charged by the
village in 2002 and constructed a small dwelling here in 2004 for their periodic local police when it crossed through Rasaana Village. In fact, one of the
stay. The rest of the families in the village Rasaana are all Brahmins, all tribal activists had an old injury on the head which he told the team he had
own land and are all inter related. sustained in the lathicharge. They said that the local police as well as the
In their Press Conference to release the Report, the team members perpetrators had taken it for granted that the child’s family, being poor and
said that when they passed through Rasaana Village to go to the jungle to resourceless, would not be able to fight for justice. However, programmes
meet the girl child’s parents, first their vehicle was stopped by the local in support of justice were held in many parts of Jammu and even in the
police who demanded proof of identities. Later it was surrounded by the state capital. They stated, but could give no proof, that Sanjhi Patwari had
villagers and other members of the Hindu Ekta Manch. After they had met spent time in the RSS head quarters in Nagpur. The body of the girl, they
the murdered girl’s family, the team members went to the homes of the said, bore marks of brutalization, torture, sexual assault and crush injuries.
accused where a large gathering of around 70 people, including activists of The PMS team has recorded that they were shown two photographs by
the Hindu Ekta Manch from surrounding villages, spoke to them. Such the IG Crime, Jammu to explain to them why two policemen have been

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arrested as accused in this case. In the first photograph the dead and one is left speechless considering that all over the country are regular
brutalized body of the girl child can be seen clothed in a blood stained and incidents perpetrated by people from different religions and which render
mud stained frock. The second photograph shows the same frock but it is this assertion a total lie. In fact, often the victims also are of the same
spotless and totally clean- this was the state of the frock after it was taken religion! The Hindu Ekta Manch activists and the relatives of the arrested
off the body and just before it was sealed to be sent for forensic examination. spoke of ‘brutal torture’ and of ‘Hindu families’ living in fear of arrests, but
The two policemen have been thus arrested for destruction of evidence eventually said only the three arrested boys had been taken for questioning.
and the IG stated that the police at Hiranagar thana had gone out of their They also offered to show the Team videos of the nomads’ rally raising
way to destroy evidence. The other arrested include 3 boys of Rasana slogans of ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ as it passed through Rasaana village but
village- Parvesh, Shubham and Vishal (Vishal is the son of Sanjhi Patwari could not show such a video, though they had videos of the rally.
and another of the boys is his nephew). Sanjhi Patwari was missing at the The Team members also demanded that POCSO be notified in the state
time of the Team’s visit but it was later learnt that he had been arrested of J&K. It is heinous indeed that in a state where due to a law like AFSPA
two days later. so much violence against women’s bodies is denied justice, the so-called
The team met a senior journalist in Jammu city and was told that when elected Govts of the state over the years and including the present Govt of
a lady reporter went to Hiranagar thana after initial arrests to ask for the the state have not deemed it necessary to give the shelter of this law to
names of the accused, the police there refused to divulge the same saying their children. The same applies to the Forest Rights Act, which has not
it would lead to a ’Hindu-Muslim’ question. She questioned this communal been extended here and due to which, as per a memorandum submitted by
manner of describing rapists and murderers. The women journalist and All Tribe Coordination of J&K to the State Govt., a Minister in the J&K
teachers severely criticized the ‘delegitimizing’ of the rape and murder of a Govt. who is a MLA from Jammu region, is steadily encroaching forest
little girl child by misusing the violence done against her body for communal lands and is complicit in attempting to drive out the nomadic tribes who
polarization by the Hindu Ekta Manch. graze their livestock in these regions.
The team noted that initially the police had promptly arrested a 15 year
It is tragic that the communal politics of Hindutva are being played out old nomad (Bakkarwal) youth (servant of tribal) and another tribal (his tribe
using the body of a girl child. The team has supported the demand of the follows ancient customs) and held them responsible for the heinous act as
democratic activists that protection should be extended to the murdered the sniffer dog had initially gone to their house before heading off to the
child’s parents. Earlier this family and other families of nomads in the final point. During police questioning the two disclosed that they suddenly
surrounding villages were denied access to Govt. water sources by the found the body lying among their animals and took fright. They placed the
Hindu Ekta Manch and the Govt. agencies took no action. body in the jungle and then went to inform the dead child’s father. For
The team members also reported that members of the Hindu Manch suspecting the 15 year old nomad youth and for all acts of the police which
who are demanding release of the accused are asserting that the arrest of are against Muslims the Hindu Manch praises the police. However, the
the alleged guilty is part of a move towards ‘’changing the demography of moment their own members are touched, the Manch promptly condemns
the region’’. It is both tragic and absurd to drown the murder of and sexual the police. They are not at all apologetic about defending policemen who
violence on a girl child in communal hell fire in such twisted fashion. misused their position to destroy evidence to defend people of their religion.
Demographic change actually is not unknown in Jammu- it is what Hari This is a very strange stand.
Singh, erstwhile king of the state, facilitated through his army during the The team has held that the current High Court supervised SIT enquiry
partitioning of India by a massacre of Muslims, triggering mass displacement should continue. Especially in the light of destruction of evidence, the team
from Muslim majority districts of Jammu. Kathua was one such region. It has demanded that scientific methods of investigation should be fully brought
is also being confidently stated by the Hindu Manch that such a ghastly into use to establish the facts before the charge sheet is filed. It opposed
crime can never be committed by Hindus because they ‘’worship kanyas’’; the deliberate communalization of the brutal rape and murder of a girl child.

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From the Comment of Italian P
Paatrita In this context we would be dishonest to talk about results different
from our expectations regarding the Communist Party. We are a small boat
Communista on recent Italian Elections that goes against the current in the storm, but we have a duty to keep the
The outcome of the elections testifies to the correctness of our general bar straight. We did not hide the difficulties and did not give false illusions,
analysis on the role of the left in these years. The betrayal carried on to the saying clearly that our goal was to use the elections to strengthen and
detriment of the workers and the popular classes punishes the Democratic build the Party, without deluding anyone about an improbable entry into the
Party, but indiscriminately drags all the forces of the left. The geography institutions.
of the vote shows that the “red” regions no longer exist, that on the whole The result achieved is exactly what we expected. We had set ourselves
the left is overwhelmed by a wave of protest votes, which increases in the the goal of 100,000 votes at the national level. This objective, although
southern regions, and between the popular social strata. lean and initial, we can say - even to data not yet definitive - has been
The historical events of the evolution of the Italian left, in a context of reached and exceeded.
strong media domination and reduction of the territorial rooting, end up The result in percentage terms (0.35%) is a false indicator, as it reflects
indiscriminately affecting all the forces associated with it. Even those who, the presence of the Party lists only in 57% (36 out of 63) of the colleges in
like us, have nothing to do with the PD and who, in fact, are in a clear and the Chamber and in 59% (19 out of 32) in the Senate.
incurable juxtaposition with its policies, comes out hit by this avalanche.
The protest vote, except in smaller and more determined militants, is not In all the colleges where the party is present, the result is 0.65%, with
channeled in the parties to the left of the PD, but goes to the Five Star peaks of 1% in Tuscany and Emilia, and shows growing roots in the
Movement and the Northern League. proletarian areas. A result, however, thin, but not significantly different
from that obtained by those who pursued other roads to the left, which also
These elections only certify that widespread data that we know well in benefited directly from our absence in many colleges, without which Pap
the masses. The themes of immigration, of security, of the struggle against would probably not reach 1% national (their national data is on 100%
politics, prevail today in the common feeling, also and above all of the coverage of colleges).
popular classes, those of work, of social rights. It is not the prospect of the
conquest of new rights, but the fear of falling into an even worse condition Greater results could have been obtained if other communist forces
weighing on the common feeling. It is not the class struggle, but a creeping had accepted the Communist Party’s call for serious political discussion
war between the poor, the horizon that is perceived as current. and the search for unity even in view of the elections, without preferring
the dissolution in a generically leftist container. The united communists
It could not be otherwise, since the left has done everything to dispose would have undoubtedly achieved more. On this path we intend to insist on
off its social base, its rooting, changing its ultimate goal. Reversing this continuing to open a concrete debate with those many comrades who have
perception is a long task, which can only be achieved with a continuous supported us in recent months.
and coherent presence.
As we had said several times these elections were used to affirm the
The defeat of the PD is huge and overwhelms with itself Liberi and presence of the Party, to intercept those sectors of the vanguard of workers
Uguali, which barely exceeds the barrier threshold. The leading group that and the popular classes by being able to link us more forces and organize
led the dissolution of the PCI, which controlled the majority of the main them. This goal has been achieved.
Italian trade union, which has been the central axis of the center-left
governments of the past two decades, gets a handful of seats. The forces It was not obvious with this electoral law not even being able to be
of the left as a whole are at year zero. Pap, that in recent weeks promoted present in an appreciable number of colleges. The Party will discuss at
itself close to 3% of the vote, gets 1%. national and local level, its own shortcomings - especially in regions where

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NEW DEMOCRACY Organ of the Central Committee, CPI(ML)
we have not been present on the electoral ball - finding ways to make
further progress in recent months, to treasure mistakes to strengthen its
Call on 8th March 2018
structure, and its rooting.
Fight Backward Feudal, Communal, Casteist
Our concrete goal is to transform those 100,000 votes - and the many Diktats of Hindutva led Govt. For Women
more that we could not vote for in their constituencies for absence - into
Party supporters. Increase our militants in factories, workplaces, schools. Fight Patriarchy, Fight for Equality.
Strengthen together with the Communist Youth Front the structures and
organizations necessary to concretely advance the communist Strengthen solidarity with the revolutionary
reconstruction in Italy and the struggles. movement to build a new society.
A final consideration deserves the result of the extreme right. Here too 8th March embodies the spirit of collective struggle of women to assert
the vote has not moved away from our forecasts. The neo-fascist right not equality- not just of gender but also of race and class. Women workers of
only does not enter Parliament but does not exceed even 1% of the votes, New York marched under the leadership of socialist women for voting rights
given that it has already been reached according to all the polls. This despite for all women (as opposed to only white women) along with class demands
the incredible media propaganda made by the PD and the entire left, which in 1908. Declaration of 8th March as International Working Women’s Day
further inflated a figure that would be even thinner. The actual weight these by the Second Women’s Socialist International under the leadership of
movements have had during the election campaign and the media hype Clara Zetkin, was to mark the understanding behind that march.
they have benefited from must make us reflect. Anti-fascism without a
political strategy, and the electoral one of the PD only advertise the fascists. 2018 sees the casteist, communal, patriarchal attacks by Hindutva forces
continuing across the country despite the fightbacks. Gauri Lankesh was
felled by bullets as she relentlessly wielded her pen against divisive policies.
The Yogi Govt. of Uttar Pradesh is preparing to withdraw all cases lodged
at the time of the anti Muslim violence in Muzaffarnagar when hundreds of
Read and Subscribe Muslim families were displaced from their villages of their ancestors apart
Orggans from sexual violence against many women. Casteist and communal attacks
continue, widowing women or leaving them in the lurch as men of the family
New Democracy English are arrested, maimed or workplaces and property are destroyed leaving
Pratirodh Ka Swar Hindi families on the streets as in both Saharanpur and Kasganj. The syllabi of
especially institutions of higher learning are being openly changed to glorify
Voice of New Democracy Telugu fantasized and feudal interpretations, teaching of modern science is being
(Telengana) diluted by that of myths. Ancient, feudal practices and festivals placing
New Democracy Bulletin Telugu women firmly as a secondary sex are being glorified and propagated. A
new arena of attack has been opened with the PM casting himself as the
(A.P.) protector of ‘’Muslim sisters’’ and devising new ways to demonize the Muslim
Biplabi Ganaline Bengali community. While the Supreme Court invalidated the archaic practice of
triple talaq, the Central Govt. seized the opportunity to propose to criminalize
Inquilabi Sada Rah Punjabi it. It is important to realize that meddling with the personal laws of Muslims
Sangrami Ekta Odia is part of the move of Hindutva to fulfil its long cherished dream of an
‘’uniform’’ civil code modelled on the lines of Manusmriti.

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The other aspect of the casteist, patriarchal and communal Hindutva is levels while such violence by the rural powerful permeates the lives of the
its subservience to imperialism and promotion of the loot of the country. Dalit and poor women and girls in the rural areas. In Jammu and Kashmir,
The agrarian crisis continues unchecked due to the pro corporate policies the recent rape and murder of an 8 year old Muslim girl in Kathua has been
of the Hindutva Govt, with women peasants facing widowhood due to given a communal twist by the RSS-BJP and an entire community faces
suicides by indebted peasants, worsening of social status and rising social ostracism.
challenges to continuing in agriculture. Women are the majority of those
seeking jobs under MGNREGA as the landless do not own the land they 8th March 2018 finds the women’s movement in India with much to
till. Rates for agricultural labour are insufficient even for meagre expenses think about, apart from the
and women continued to be paid less than men. Women alone are employed challenges of building
as AASHA workers and thus Govts dare to term them ‘voluntary’’ and deny struggles on various
them a wage altogether while anganwadi workers continue to be paid a issues. There were
pittance. Women workers in all sectors continue to be paid less than men staggering attacks in the
and the great number of them are in casual, temporary, contract or informal past years on rights won by
piece rated jobs without any rights. In this scenario the Modi govt. is moving women through struggles
to allowing contractualization in all sectors and to remove whatever labour and these came through
laws exist. In practice, labour machinery is already being dismantled by all the Courts. On the one
govts. Sexual violence of various types at workplace is on the rise at all hand the highest Court
diluted the provision for
Demonstration in Allahabad arrest of accused in the
cases registered under Anti Dowry Act. The Act on Domestic Violence,
framed under pressure of women’s movements, remains toothless as the
apparatus to ensure enforcement just does not exist and neither govts. nor
courts could care less about this. The writ of feudal forces runs unchallenged
as boys and girls in inter caste and inter religious marriages are killed in
broad daylight. A blow for patriarchy was struck by the Kerala High Court
which annulled the marriage of adult lady doctor, Hadiya, because it had
been contracted against her parents’ will; it further gave custody of Hadiya
(who had earlier changed her religion) to the very parents who thwarted her
fundamental rights. Faced by her husband’s challenge, the Supreme Court
too failed to categorically assert her right to marry whom she chose. Instead
it postponed pronouncement on the issue, but allowed the Govt. to proceed
with an NIA investigation into ‘’love jihad’’, implying that Hadiya too was a
victim of the same. It was only after four Supreme Court judges spoke out
to suggest executive interference in the highest rungs of the Judiciary
that, among other issues, the CJI was moved to declare the absolute right
to choice in marriage for all citizens in the context of a case involving khap
panchayats. The Court has still to assert this in Hadiya’s case and over-
rule the Kerala High court judgement. All these experiences reflect the not
PMS Demonstration at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi only the patriarchal mindset of the judiciary but also their willingness to

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ignore the provisions of Acts to enforce their backward understanding. Attack by the Security Forces killing
Women in various parts of the country are struggling on their own issues
and are also part of general struggles for rights. Women students of BHU
Maoists in Pujari Kanker Condemned
braved repression to assert their right to security. Women students by CPI(ML)-New Democracy
throughout the country are part of the fight back of students in institutions
of higher education. Dalit women are part of the fight back of Dalits and CPI(ML)-New Democracy condemns the unprovoked firing by the
democratic sections against Hindutva casteism and thousands participated combined forces of Telengana, Chhatisgarh, Maharashtra and Odisha killing
in the march at Bheema Koregaon. They are part of the fight back in twelve members of CPI(Maoist) on March 2, 2018 at Chhatisgarh-Telengana
Saharanpur against the attack on the Bhim Army, in the struggle of Dalits border in Pujari Kanker forest area. It demonstrates that the Indian ruling
for panchayat land in Punjab. Adivasi women are part of the struggles classes want to physically eliminate communist revolutionary forces. It
against displacement, participating in the fight to retain their podu lands also demonstrates that Indian ruling classes have no concern for the
from the onslaught of the state in Telengana. Women are part of the struggle problems faced by the people and wishes to put down their resistance
for right to self determination and against AFSPA in J&K. Women and girls through brute force.
are defying the diktats of caste and religion and asserting their right to
choose their own partners, often at the cost of their lives. Women are part Tribals and poor people of the forest areas spread over several states
of the struggle of the peasantry against anti agriculture policies. Working have been resisting the drive of the Central and State Govts. to take over
class women are participating in general movements against attacks on their land and means of livelihood. They wish to hand over these lands rich
the hard won rights of working class. Women and girls throughout the country in mineral resources to corporate and find tribals and other poor people
are bravely coming forward against redundant feudal practices sought to organized under the leadership of the communist revolutionary forces as
be enforced by Hindutva forces. They are fighting sexual violence by coming the most important obstacle in this. Hence their drive to physically eliminate
forward to register cases, build struggles and assert their right to gender the revolutionary leaders and activists is in order to suppress the people.
TRS Govt. led by K. Chandrashekhar Rao which came to power after a
8th March 2018 reminds us, that while fighting for gender equality in all powerful people’s movement forced the creation of Telengana state, has
spheres, the women’s movement must join the struggle to defend the not fulfilled the aspirations of people behind the movement and has gone
democratic rights of the people, so that we too can struggle for our rights. back on its promises. Rather than giving land to the landless people as
We must also stand in solidarity with the people’s struggles against the old promised, it is now attacking the tribals and other poor forest dwellers to
order especially the revolutionary movement which seeks to change the dispossess them of their land.
social order which sustains patriarchy in India’s society.
CPI(ML)-New Democracy calls upon the people to protest against this
On this 8th March, let us resolve to build struggles ourselves and also drive of the ruling classes to eliminate communist revolutionary forces and
stand in solidarity with struggles which are raising their voices against the pays homage to those who have laid down their lives for the revolutionary
Hindutva policies of service of imperialism and upper caste, patriarchal cause of the people.
chauvinism. Let us resolve to intensify and to widen the reach of struggles
for gender justice in all spheres. Let us extend solidarity to all struggles to March 03, 2018
transform this social order which defends and sustains patriarchy.

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Nepal : Joint Press Statement Organise May Day Meetings to mark thr Bi-centenary
(Joint statement issued by Com. Kiran General Secretary of Communist of birth anniversary of Karl Marx
Party of Nepal (Revolutionary Maoist) and Com. Biplab, General Secretary
of Communist Party of Nepal on December 24, 2017) INTENSIFY WORKING
In the context of contemporary Nepalese politics, a high level meeting
between the top leaders of the Communist Party of Nepal (Revolutionary
Maoist) and the Communist Party of Nepal has taken place recently. The
said meeting has reached the conclusion as follows:
Three years before the events that took place in 1886 in Chicago leading
1. While arriving at the so-called parliament and state assembly
to the May Day, one of the world's greatest teachers of the working class,
elections, the unity and alliance between comprador bourgeoisie and
one who said that the source of capitalist profit was the surplus value
revisionist parties has reached a new level. The Maoist Centre has
produced by the unpaid labour of the workers, one who propounded the
degenerated into UML and the Nepali Congress has tried to build up an
theory of class struggle as the motive force of social change and underlined
alliance with the comprador bourgeoisie and regressive forces. In this
the historic role of the working class as the builder of socialism, passed
context, the meeting reached the conclusion that the ideological, political
away in London on 14th March,1883. “On 14th March, at quarter to three in
and organizational unity and polarisation between the revolutionary
the afternoon, the greatest living thinker ceased to think. He had been left
communists has been an urgent necessity to bring about a revolutionary
alone for scarcely two minutes and when we came back we found him in
change in national independence, democratic rights and social, political
the armchair, peacefully gone to sleep, but forever.” This was Engels, his
and economic field as well and decided to take up initiative towards that
close associate, speaking at the grave of the revolutionary thinker, Karl
Marx on 17 th March. He further stated that “His name will endure through
2. Today, the imperialist foreign elements have been vigorously working the ages and so also his work.” This statement by Engels on the death of
to plunder the natural resources of our country through their old and new Marx was made in London some 135 years ago and the subsequent years
agents. On the one hand, the Indian ruling class, through the unequal treaty to the present prove the correctness of that statement. Marx and his works
of 1950 to the 46-point agreement with Deuba government, has intervened have indeed endured the ages. This year, 2018, is the birth bicentenary
upon the big rivers like Koshi, Gandaki, Mahakali, Karnali and Arun and, year of Karl Marx.
on the other, has been carrying out economic, political and cultural
interferences including border encroachment. The meeting has decided to Born in the town of Triers in the Rhineland of the then Prussian
carry out joint struggle on the issues like national independence, democratic Empire, Marx joined the Bonn University for two years from 1835 and then
and professional rights and jointly observe People‘s war day, Martyrs week shifted to Berlin University where he studied law, philosophy and history.
and Mass movement day. He joined a students' circle called the Doctors Club consisting of left wing
Hegelians. In 1841 he was awarded doctorate and hoped to get a teaching
3. Condemning the inhuman sanctions imposed upon North Korea by post. But he became editor-in-chief of a liberal paper called Rheinische
countries including the US, the interventionist step of declaring Jerusalem Zeitung, then left it in 1843 due to the pressures of censorship. He married
as the capital of Israel and the intrusion and interference carried out the Jenny, moved to Paris to edit a radical paper and wrote the “Critique of
world over by the imperialists, the meeting opposed these acts and has Hegels Philosophy of Right” and “On the Jewish Question”.
decided to wage struggle in favour of independence and liberation of the
oppressed nations. The meeting specially calls upon the workers and the His partnership with Engels began here in Paris in 1844 lasting till the
masses for necessary support on the said issues. last moments of his life. In 1845, he was banished from France at the

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NEW DEMOCRACY Organ of the Central Committee, CPI(ML)
behest of the Prussian empire and moved to Brussels, only to be banished and struggle. Capitalist maximization of profit and the unhindered loot of
again for renouncing Prussian citizenship. He had to undergo immense natural resources by imperialism is causing environmental destruction. The
financial difficulties that persisted until the end of his life, though Engels working class needs to act as a class in order to face these challenges and
always helped him. In 1847, both Marx and Engels joined a secret group there are always attempts to disrupt this unity of the workers as a class.
called the Communist League and it was in the 2nd Conference of this
League in London that they were asked to draw up a manifesto, that In our country the ruling classes and their political outfits have many a
appeared in 1848 as the famous “Communist Manifesto” which propunded time used the instrument of communalism to divide the oppressed and in
the theory of class struggle and the historic role of the working class in the contemporary political scenario, the forces of Hindutva are aggressively
fighting capitalism and building socialism. The Manifesto ends with the mobilizing the people on communal basis. This affects the unity of the
famous call, “Workers of all lands, unite”. With the initiative of Marx, the working class and the oppressed. In the past few years we have witnessed
International Workingmen's Association was formed in 1864, that came to violent attacks on minorities,dalits and individuals. We also see the various
be known as the First International. In 1867, his famous work on political changes made in the labour laws impinging the hard won rights of the workers
economy, “Capital” vol.I was published and subsequently after his death, in several BJP ruled states. The same is being attempted at the Central
Engels got the rest of the writings on the subject published in two other level in the name of simplifying labour laws in the country. That this is
volumes. being done at the behest of foreign capital and native corporate here is no
more a point of contest and is unassailable.
Hundred and thirty five years after his death, Marx is remembered as
On the occasion of 132 nd year of May Day and bicentenary birth
one of the greatest thinkers the world has produced. His writings have not
anniversary of Karl Marx, the IFTU calls upon the working class in the
only endured the trying times but have remained as subjects of serious
country to intensify its struggle to defend the rights won through protracted
interest and debate. Even those opposed to the ideology of Marxism had
struggles and to pledge to move in the direction of building a truly democratic
to return to Marx's “Capital” to understand the crash of the banks and
society and towards socialism. On this occasion, it will be appropriate to
stock markets in the 2008 world financial crisis. His critique of the instability
remember Marx in the words of Lenin, the leader of the struggle for the
of capitalism stands vindicated .Those who talked of the death of Marxian
establishment of the first workers' state in Russia, “The genius of Marx
theory, of history, of class struggle had to bite the dust in the face of
consists in his having furnished answers to questions already raised by
various events the world over.
the foremost minds of mankind. His doctrine emerged as the direct and
To the working class and the oppressed of the world, Marxism is a immediate continuation of the teachings of the greatest representatives of
science and a guide to action to change the exploitative, oppressive socio- philosophy, political economy and socialism. Marxist doctrine is omnipotent
economic systems and build truly democratic and socialist societies. Many because it is true.”
people's movements in the world have drawn upon his ideas.At a time
when we are commemorating the 132nd anniversary of May Day, when we (Issued by the National Committee of Indian Federation
are remembering the martyrdom of Fischer, Engels, Parson & Spies who ofTrade Unions (IFTU)
believed that capitalism was an evil system and that socialism is the system
that secures a life of dignity it is necessary that we rededicate ourselves
to that cause.

The working class in our country and in the world is faced with several
challenges - from job losses, contractualization, wage depression to
curtailment of social security and more importantly the rights to organize

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