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NEW DEMOCRACY Organ of the Central Committee, CPI(ML

Oppose Ruling Class Parties in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh- which will also be very important
for their bid to return to power at the Centre in 2019. But their govts. in these

Assemblly Elections in states have done nothing to address problems of the people, they have served
the interests of the big capitalists and big landlords. They have made all

Five Sta
Fiv tes
attempts to communally polarize the people in order to retain power and have
organized attacks against the Muslims and Dalits strengthening Brahmannical
upper caste control over social life. RSS-BJP had come to power making a lot
Assembly elections in five states are being held at a time when people are of promises e.g. to peasants, to youth but have abysmally failed in fulfilling
groaning under the increased burden due to the Govt. policies, unemployment promises. In fact they have nothing to show as their achievement on this
and rise in prices of essential commodities which have added to the people’s score. Now they are intensifying their communal conspiracies to divert the
burden. Conditions of the vast masses of people – peasants and workers are people's attention from their failures. Their drive to erase history by changing
worsening. Along with these hardships for the common people, oppressed names of cities in the states ruled by them and their attempt to bring the issue
sections of people - minorities particularly Muslims, Dalits and tribals - are of Ram Janmbhoomi again to the fore are such attempts. Their so-called
facing increased assault on their lives and livelihood. However, conditions of plank of development has fallen by the wayside. Corruption, whose exposure
the people and the assault faced by oppressed sections are not concerns for had played a big role in turning the people against Congress, has further
the ruling class parties, particularly main contenders of power, who are doing grown under RSS-BJP role. An organized loot of public exchequer and public
everything to divert the attention of the people from these issues. As the sector banks (PSBs) has been under way under RSS-BJP rule with a number
economic crisis deepens and the quest of corporate for higher profits grows, of people have been helped to get out of the country to evade dues to PSBs.
ruling class parties are increasingly trying to resort to diversionary tactics NPAs have grown at a faster pace under RSS-BJP rule owing to their filling
having little scope to offer sops to the people. the corporate coffers and now they are eyeing reserves of the Reserve Bank
of India. Exposures in Rafale Deal which Modi himself struck are a saga of
The present situation is marked by increasing agrarian distress which is open and shameless loot of public funds in the name of national security.
increasing resentment and anger among the peasants including middle and
rich peasants, intensifying exploitation of workers seen in increasing The most sinister aspect of RSS-BJP rule has been their systematic attempt
contractualization, increasing loss of jobs and fewer rights, increasing to capture different state institutions in a bid to intensify its fascist offensive.
privatization of health services and education while unemployment reached This effort to capture all wings of state machinery and monopolize their control
new heights with Govt. abdicating the responsibility of creating jobs. The over all state institutions has created a deep crisis affecting different wings of
Govt. is increasing tax burden on the people with very high indirect taxes. The the state. One such attempt has led to sharp conflict in CBI which has brought
measures like demonetization, GST have attacked even small businesses the rampant corruption in this investigative agency to public knowledge. RSS-
and have served only the big capitalists. In the name of maintaining high BJP Govt. has intensified repression on the people's movements, particularly
growth rate, money is being thrown to the big capitalists which has created revolutionary movement. In order to crush the democratic rights' activists
serious crisis for public sector banks and alarming growth of their NPAs. who stand for and defend the democratic rights of the struggling people, RSS-
While ruling class parties serve these exploiting classes, they do not allow BJP Govt. has launched a sinister attack branding them as "Urban Naxals".
questioning of these policies. They only pay lip service to the distress and
In these states i.e. MP, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, main electoral challenger
problems of the common people, but do not address the causes for this distess
of RSS-BJP is Congress. Congress represents the same economic policies
rather stand for continuing the policies which are at the root of this distress
rather it prides in projecting itself as the initiator of these policies. Even in
and increasing hardships of the people.
opposition to RSS-BJP Hindutva, Congress is projecting itself as a Hindu
For the ruling RSS-BJP these elections cover three of the states- namely party giving up pretense to 'secularism'. It is apposing its so-called soft Hindu

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NEW DEMOCRACY Organ of the Central Committee, CPI(ML)
plank against the aggressive Hindutva of RSS-BJP. In MP and Rajasthan, TRS is being opposed by an alliance of Congress, TDP, CPI and Telengana
Congress is trying to upstage RSS-BJP on Ram Mandir issue and on 'cow Jana Samiti led by Prof. Kodandaram (Mahakotami- grand alliance). This
protection'. It is this contention between RSS-BJP and Congress on promoting alliance is led by Congress which is contesting four fifth of the total seats in
majority communalism which has led to the present state of heightened majority the assembly. This Congress led alliance does not stand for any alternative
communalism. Through this plank Congress wants to continue wielding the policies on any score. Congress is well known for its anti-people policies and
weapon of communalism and also hopes to garner minority votes by parading suppression of people's struggles. Congress and TDP have accomodated
its softer variety of majority communalism. The way their leaders are crossing Telengana Jana Samiti as their negative role during separate Telengana
over from one party to another also show similarity in their character.

Other ruling class parties too subscribe to anti-people pro-imperialist economic CPI(ML)-New Democracy has fielded candidates for ten assembly
policies. They do not have any alternative economic policies rather they too constituencies in Telengana including Yellandu wherefrom the Party has
implement these 'new' economic policies when they come to power. Nor do won on six occasions in the past. Party has fielded Com. Gummadi Narsaiah
they have any solution to the basic problems being faced by the peasants who had won this seat on five occasions, as its candidate from Yellandu .
and workers. Land reforms, which are the striving of landless poor peasants,
have long disappeared from the agenda of the ruling class parties. Ruling CPI(ML)-New Democracy is contesting these elections on its own strength.
class parties other than Congress and RSS-BJP are also mostly aligning with CPI(ML)-New Democracy is exposing the policies of the ruling class parties
one or the other to seek their share in power. in Telengana namely, TRS, Congress, TDP and revisionist parties like CPI
and CPM.
While elections to these state assemblies were due, TRS Govt. led by KCR
in Telengana dissolved the state assembly to hold early elections. KCR wanted
movement is well known to the people of Telengana. CPI is part of this alliance
to avoid holding state assembly elections along with parliamentary elections
but CPM has forged another alliance in the name of Bahujan Left Front.
to avoid polarization among the main contenders of power at the Centre as
well as retain his options for bargaining with either of them depending on the Mizoram is the fifth state going to the polls. This north eastern state had in
outcome of parliamentary elections. TRS which came to power in Telengana the past a strong nationality movement. It is still under Armed Forces (Special
on the strength of the movement for separate state of Telengana, has only Powers) Act (AFSPA) and hence security forces have a much larger say in
implemented the policies of its predecessor govts., adding a few schemes of determining the outcome in the state. Here too BJP, which was non-existent
its own. But the people of Telengana struggled for the separate state in the earlier, is making a bid to gain strength by winning over regional forces and
hope that this would lead to addressing their problems. These hopes have opportunist elements.
been belied. TRS has betrayed the aspirations of the people of Telengana
which had been aroused during the movement. On the other hand, TRS Govt. These elections will be an important harbinger of the trends for the coming
launched serious offensive against tribals by dispossessing them from their parliamentary elections. The ruling class parties which are contending for
lands in the name of 'Harithharam' and crudely suppressed their resistance power do not represent any alternative policies. Repression of the people's
against such dispossession. TRS Govt. has targeted our Party to suppress struggles, deception by throwing some superficial schemes and division of
the resistance of tribal people. They have foisted cases against our comrades the people on parochial basis are their stock in trade. People should see
under UAPA and have invoked Preventive Detention Act against our comrades. through their designs and build their struggles. CPI(ML)-New Democracy calls
TRS tried to monopolize power encouraging defections from other ruling class upon the people to support candidates of only communist revolutionary
parties. TRS is mostly controlled by family of KCR. TRS is having an alliance organizations in these elections.
with AIMIM in Telengna.

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On Building Joint Struggles challenge posed by RSS-BJP offensive is much more serious because
they want to even formally abolish the constitutional rights of the people.
Though some sections of the state are still to fall in line, but this offensive
(This paper was presented on behalf of the Central Committee of has already achieved an ominous form.
CPI(ML)-New Democracy at a Seminar organized by CPI(ML)-Class
There is a broad agreement among the communist revolutionary
Struggle at Hyderabad on September 9, 2018) organizations that India is a semifeudal, semicolonial country which is
being oppressed by imperialism, feudalism and comprador bureaucrat
We thank the Central Committee of CPI(ML)-Class Struggle, organizers capitalism. Hence the task before the revolutionaries is to overthrow the
of this Seminar, for inviting us and present our views. The topic of the rule of big bourgeois big landlord classes subservient to imperialism. CR
Seminar is “Challenges Faced by the Forces Struggling to Change the organizations agree that Indian revolution is a New Democratic Revolution
Present System in India” and the objective formulated by the organizers is i.e. a democratic revolution led by working class. CR organizations also
“to find a common ground in the present situation and thus having long agree on forging an alliance of four classes with worker-peasant alliance
term sustaining united action among us against the ruling classes and as its axis and agrarian revolution as the main aspect of this revolution.
their policies.” There is further agreement that the path to be followed to accomplish this
Communist Revolutionaries struggling to change the present system democratic revolution in India is the path of protracted people’s war. Within
i.e. revolutionary transformation of society, are facing a complex situation. this broad framework, the communist revolutionaries also have some
The imperialist system is going through an unprecedented and protracted differences relating to aspects of programme and path. However, among
crisis and the policies of rulers of imperialist powers are increasing the the forces which genuinely uphold the above orientation, the aspect of
hardships and the miseries of the people the world over. Resentment and unity is primary howsoever serious the differences may appear at this time
anger is growing among the people in different countries and the situation on any of the aspects.
for the development of revolutionary movement and people’s struggles is There are changes brought about the imperialist exploitation of the
becoming more favourable. All the major contradictions of the imperialist country and policies of ruling big bourgeois, big landlord classes, though
system are intensifying and new hotspots of conflict and war are emerging these changes have not changed the basic fabric of the society i.e. its
in different parts of the world. US imperialism is trying to stop decline in its semicolonial, semifeudal structure. However, these changes have to be
share of world production by launching trade war targeting its rivals and properly understood and factored into the tasks of the revolutionary forces.
even traditional allies. Globalization has received a setback with the growth Correct and timely appreciation of the changes is necessary for the
of protectionism. revolutionary organizations to lead the struggle for the victorious advance
In our country too, economic crisis is deepening. Value of the rupee of the New Democratic Revolution. A scientific approach towards such
has declined sharply while NPAs of nationalized banks are growing changes which is aimed at serving the cause of revolutionary transformation
continuously. Fudging the data cannot hide the stark reality of the growing of Indian society will also help in overcoming some of the differences among
difficulties of the overwhelming majority of the people. Condition of working the communist revolutionary organizations.
class and peasantry is worsening while unemployment is growing. People All the problems being faced by the communist revolutionary forces
are rising in struggles for their rights. The ruling classes are not able to rule and all the differences among them existing on the various aspects of the
in the old way. RSS-BJP, having a majority of their own for the first time, line should definitely be debated and discussed among the communist
have unleashed an offensive to impose fascist dictatorship over the country. revolutionary organizations. Such debate and discussion has to be
In semifeudal, semicolonial India, ruling classes generally resort to fascist necessarily conducted among communist revolutionary organizations only
repression on the revolutionary movement and people’s struggles, but the who share common perspective on the basic aspects of programme and

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NEW DEMOCRACY Organ of the Central Committee, CPI(ML)
path besides sharing common ideological basis. Coming to a common of such issues relate to contemporary attacks on different sections and
understanding on how to solve these problems is necessary for them to there is need to draw the broadest section of the people into such struggles.
come closer and ultimately unite in a single Party to accomplish the New Such struggles do not basically attack the present semifeudal semicolonial
Democratic Revolution. The long term objective of the communist system but are mostly limited to defending or achieving some rights within
revolutionary forces is to achieve unity into a single party and not only the system. Hence, it is preferable that such moves for joint struggle should
united action. However, due to existing divisions among the communist be taken by mass organizations working among the section of the people
revolutionary organizations, undertaking joint action among them on the affected by the attack of the ruling classes. Taking such joint struggle
burning issues of the people is also very necessary. Besides bringing the through mass organizations may also be helpful in mobilizing masses of
revolutionary people on a common platform and thus enthusing them, such the affected people into struggle. The same may hold true for
joint actions also help improve relations among the communist revolutionary implementation of some legal rights of the section of the people or for the
organizations and create an atmosphere in which their differences may be demand for some legal right to be enacted which has become the pressing
discussed and resolved in a comradely manner. Another important aspect concern of the people. Several such initiatives are being taken up on the
of such joint struggles is that an alternative to the present system may be issues relating to different sections. Need for such joint actions has been
projected from such fora and issues may be taken to the people from the there in the past and continues to be there in the present situation particularly
revolutionary perspective. in the light of intensified offensive of the ruling classes against different
sections of people.
However, the struggle for revolutionary transformation is carried on in a
given situation which has several characteristics. Struggle for change of The present situation calls for all out resistance against the fascist
the system i.e. its revolutionary transformation is distinct from the struggle offensive of RSS-BJP. This offensive reflects the need of the ruling classes
to defend the rights of the people including resisting fascist offensive of to increase exploitation and oppression of the people in the interest of
the present rulers. Though there are interconnections between the two types imperialism and domestic reactionaries. A section of ruling classes is
of struggles, yet these are also distinct. Clarity on this is necessary to backing fascist RSS-BJP as they feel the need to suppress democratic
take initiative to develop joint struggle. It is necessary to take joint activities rights- even those given in the Constitution- to suppress the rising struggles
with forces including non-revolutionary forces on issues of the people and of the people. Besides democratic rights RSS-BJP are also attacking
anti-people policies of the Central and State Govts. secularism and federalism even to the extent they are enshrined in the
Constitution. They are building a narrative of Hindu nationalism constructed
The attacks of the ruling classes against the working class, peasantry on a plank against Muslims, whom they are targeting under different
and other sections of people call for immediate struggles of these sections pretexts and brandimg many of them as ‘infiltrators’. One of the main
against such attacks both at all India level targeting the Central Govt. and symbols of their nationalism is the security forces, signifying the
at state level targeting the State Govts. as all these are following anti- suppression of the rising people’s movements against increasing exploitation
people policies serving the interests of imperialism, big capitalists and big and oppression.
landlords. Forces other than communist revolutionaries have base among
these sections and take up struggles on such issues though they take up They are targeting minorities, particularly Muslims, organizing physical
such issues from the standpoint of the present system. Need for waging attacks against them including lynching. Communalization of the state
such struggles demands joint action by communist revolutionaries with machinery has helped in unleashing these attacks. The Hindutva of RSS-
non-revolutionary forces and organizations. The objective of such a joint BJP is aimed at constructing a Hindu identity for establishing their
action is to draw the broadest sections of the affected people into struggle hegemony, but their 'Hindu' way of life rooted in Manusmriti is essentially
and beat back the attack of the ruling classes, so as to create confidence patriarchal upper caste chauvinism. Physical attacks against Dalits
among the people and educate them in the process of the struggle. Most including their killings, have increased. The Scheduled Castes and

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Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act has been virtually annulled struggling against the attacks of fascist forces and these need to be united.
by the Supreme Court. Central Govt. has banned even the use of word Communist revolutionaries should display requisite initiative and flexibility
‘Dalit’ by the media. Dalit youth protesting against these attacks are being to forge united action with such forces. Given the all round attack by the
arrested in thousands and put in jails. Tribals are being dispossessed from fascist forces and the need for all out resistance against this fascist
their land including podu lands and means of livelihood which they have offensive, communist revolutionaries should also undertake joint struggles
been enjoying for decades, while their culture is being destroyed. Their on the issues of this fascist offensive. This is an urgent task which brooks
struggles are being crushed by large-scale deployment of security forces, no delay. It also influences the struggle of the communist revolutionaries
large number of arrests, foisting of false cases and use of draconian laws. for change of the present system. By spearheading this resistance,
Women’s striving for equality and independence from patriarchy is being communist revolutionaries will be able to harness the unity of the oppressed
denied and the code of Manusmriti is being foisted on them. Suppression people and even expose the compromising nature of the ruling class
under military boots of the struggles of nationalities for their democratic opposition. Communist revolutionary organizations should shun all sorts
aspirations, including right to self-determination, is being intensified. of sectarianism and take initiative to lead this fight back against the fascist
offensive of RSS-BJP.
Among the main targets of the RSS-BJP fascist offensive are the
struggles of workers and peasants, especially the revolutionary movement. Comrades, there are a number of issues on which we can undertake
They have intensified suppression of the revolutionary movement with the sustainable joint action. The ambit of joint action will be decided by the
increasing deployment of the security forces in the areas of struggle. Use nature of the issue and the stand in practice of the various forces on that
of draconian laws like UAPA, PD Act has become common. RSS-BJP issue.
have coined the term “Urban Naxalism” to target the movement for
democratic rights and to destroy and intimidate the democratic rights'
activists especially those who stand for the democratic rights of struggling
people. Arrests of intellectuals in June 2018 and again in August 2018 and The OECD & ICRIER J oint stud
Joint y–
raids on the houses of a number of intellectuals bear serious portents for
people’s struggles.
Agricultur al P
ricultural olicies in India”
As the non-fulfilment of promises by the RSS-BJP has become glaring Ashish Mital
and its attacks on the constitutional democratic rights are arousing anger,
RSS-BJP are targeting the sections of media opposed to them. They are
Ever since liberalization began, a number of studies sponsored by the
also trying to control the social media which has become an important
WTO and other imperialist institutions have been presented to justify and
vehicle for dissemination of news and views of people’s struggles.
intensify the thrust of global integration of Indian agricultural markets and
Resisting this fascist offensive has become an urgent task before the to deny and undermine any pro peasant striving and self reliance. The
communist revolutionaries. Being the most consistent fighters for people’s above mentioned is one such study. It provoked interest as it highlighted
rights and being the only force struggling for the revolutionary transformation negative subsidy to agriculture by the Indian govt. It states that in Indian
of this crisis-ridden system, communist revolutionaries should be in the agriculture the “domestic producer has been implicitly taxed”, evincing
first rank of fighters against this fascist offensive. They should unitedly support to the long held view that inputs are sold at high monopoly prices
take up this task of developing struggle against this offensive, of uniting by corporate, fuel is heavily taxed and infrastructure suffers due to govt
all the forces which can be united against this offensive and deal powerful neglect of agriculture, misplaced priority towards real estate, commercial
blows on the base of this fascist offensive. Besides communist and other sectors dominated by corporate and failure to secure profitable
revolutionaries, a number of organizations of oppressed communities are prices and procurement of crops. The study however fully reveals its pro

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imperialist, anti peasant fangs. expenditure being 6.9% of ‘gross farm receipts’ and a negative market
price support of -13.1% of ‘gross farm receipt’ together generating a -6.2
This OECD study was released on July 5, 2018 and is quoted deceivingly % PSE. Its negative market price support is based on average prices of
in an article in Indian Express. The authors, Ashok Gulathi, Infosys Chair all crops obtained by peasants in India, compared to the corresponding
Professor for Agriculture at ICRIER (Indian Council of Research on average international prices. This data is designed to imply and justify
International Economic Relations) and Carmel Cahill, Deputy Director for that had there been full and free penetration of international market forces
Trade and Agriculture at the OECD, conclude, as does this study, that the at all levels in India, our peasants too would have been privileged to benefit
present policy is restricting the scope of imperialist market investments in from international prices.
Indian agriculture and is hence harmful to its peasants. It is rather sinister,
as we will see, that the Indian govt, as also the state govts, have been The study takes gross farm receipts (defined as receipts of all agricultural
following the very same suggestions in their initiatives to ‘resolve’ the and forest produce sold + program payments + custom works receipts) as
agrarian crisis. the denominator which is different from and less than the total agricultural
GDP generated and which would be a more realistic index of support by
The authors advocate further intensification of imperialist diktats, MNC the govt. to agriculture.
control and reduction in govt. support and securities in agriculture as the
way out of this crisis. They also misinterpret data and make frivolous In comparing with international prices, this study ignores the extensive
arguments to misguide. Such recommendations obviously enjoy political govt. support given by the developed countries to their agriculture which,
and corporate patronage and find favour with the media. In contradiction in the USA alone, was 172 billion dollars in 2010 (approx 500 million dollars
stand the demands of the peasantry, that all its loans- private and per day), the market monopolies and stock exchanges which set up and
institutional- be waived, cheaper inputs, assured irrigation, infrastructure enforce the base prices of important commodities in order to ensure cheap
for agricultural production, guaranteed profitable prices and assured purchases and promote better profitability and so many other trade factors
procurement be ensured. Both sides claim national interest. that play a role. It states that “Policies that govern marketing of agricultural
commodities in India include ECA (Essential Commodities Act) and APMC
The study covers 2/3 rd of India’s agricultural produce over 17 years (Agriculture Produce Market Committee) Act”; that these influence “pricing,
from 2001-02 to 2016-17 and concludes that in India there is a negative procuring, stocking and trading”; and “restrictions stemming from both …
Producer Support Estimate, PSE, of 6.2%. It mischievously describes deter private sector investments in market infrastructure”, meaning thereby
subsidies as “the share of transfers from consumers and tax payers in that govt. controls and checks should completely give way to International
gross farm revenues” in order to project subsidies as a deprivation of the Monopoly interests.
‘consumers and tax payers’ rather than as use of govt. revenues. Govt. is
the sole reservoir of funds - of tax imposition, revenue collection- and it It also attacks “export prohibitions, quotas, duties, minimum export
alone decides policy, subsidy allocations and expenditures. The study says prices” which relate to protecting both the MSP rates and ensuring local
that this share averaged -6.2% in 2014-16. This, according to it, is composed availability, even while, at a different place, while explaining ‘negative market
of budgetary spending support equal to 6.9% of the gross farm receipts price support’ it has blamed govt. determined MSP, implying it is low. It
and a negative price support of -13.1% of gross farm receipts. This negative has argued that unrestricted trade will give better international prices to
Producer Support Estimate does not take into account the actual support Indian peasants. Yet while making recommendations, it states that the
required to be given by the govt. to peasants and rural development in govt should “ensure that MSP does not exceed the international benchmark
terms of agricultural infrastructure and irrigation, quality and costs of inputs, level …. to protect the export competitiveness..” meaning that the govt
waiving off of taxes on inputs, insurance/compensation for losses, support should allow cheaper rates of export of the crops. It also states that the
services, storage facility and upkeep, regulation and processing of crops govt should “review the process whereby MSPs are set in accordance with
and their marketing. It has simply compared data on positive budgetary production costs…” and that since “procurement systems” are “wasteful”

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“govts should gradually give way to private sector”. underdeveloped food processing and retail sector. It laments limited growth
in Global Value Chains chiding the govt. for poor infrastructure and lamenting
Incidentally the study reveals elsewhere that from 1995 to 2016 agro
that 98% of all food is procured from ‘semi organized’ Kirana stores. It
food exports as a percentage of total exports came down from 20% to
notes with satisfaction that the structural changes are going beyond
13% and agro food imports as a percentage of total imports have gone up
traditional and unorganized private players to organized private entities,
from 6% to 7% implying, if anything (actual figures will reveal real picture),
agribusiness, large food processing companies and supermarkets with
that liberalization has, relatively speaking, reduced exports of Indian farm
evolving preferences for branded items.
produce while increasing imports.
It is critical of low productivity and small land holdings, 85% being of
It attacks govt. ‘subsidised fertilizers, electricity and irrigation water’
less than 5 acres, representing 45% of the total cropped area, without
and ‘public stock holding’ meaning FCI and other food stocks. It targets
giving any fact or basis for such a conclusion. On the other hand it says
the TPDS, saying it reduces consumption expenditure by 24.7% on an
only 5% farmers hold more than 10 acres, but they occupy 32% of the
average, meaning thereby that if this expenditure is forced on the people,
total cropped area. It criticises restrictive land leasing laws, imposition of
companies will earn more.
land ceiling and several impediments imposed on land markets, restricting
It sums up that the “budgetary transfers to producers, to agriculture as access to buyers.
a whole (input and infrastructure), and transfers to consumers from tax
It complains that 60% of food crops are still sown from seed stocks,
payers” (food subsidy), “amounts to 1.9% of India’s GDP in 2014-16". This
only 39% of operational holdings used certified seeds and only 9% use
it says is a “high cost to the Indian economy and contrasts with the sector’s
hybrid seeds. High costs restrict small and marginal farmers from using
poor performance in productivity growth”. It laments that “About two-thirds
costly seeds and informal channels of supply of urea are still active, urea
of all expenditure on agriculture and food took the form of four major items
imports are restricted.
on fertilizer subsidies, agriculture power subsidies, expenditure on irrigation
and flood controls and food subsidies”. Finally it recommends that the govt should “provide a predictable and
stable international trade regime, both for imports and exports, in order to
Obviously its goal for Indian agriculture is not better and positive
foster the investments needed for the development of a modern, efficient
Production Support, or food security for people and livelihood for peasants,
supply chain from farm to retail distribution”. It also recommends ‘farmers’
but the imperialist outlook of corporate profit growth. With this it
participation in cooperatives and producer organizations’.
recommends “shifting scarce budgetary resources to investments that will
increase resilience and sustainability, while allowing better functioning of So its recommendations for India are – less subsidies on inputs, more
markets to determine farmers’ remuneration to a much greater degree, can MNC seeds and imported fertilizers, costlier electricity and fuel, less govt
the potential of the sector to contribute to growth and jobs be fully realised”. procurement and more high value food international chains, easier leasing
It recommends setting up of E-NAMs (e-National Agricultural Markests), and transfer of small plots, fewer kirana shops and more branded items, no
is against "perverse incentives for overuse of scarce water”, “reviewing PDS and costlier food, etc.
electricity pricing”, scaling back PDS, enforcing DBT or food stamps,
allowing “private sector to play a role in managing remaining stock Latest Initiatives of the Govt
operations”, reducing “tariffs and restrictions on imports”, removing export
In the background of these recommendations we can understand the
restrictions as well as removing “supply side constraints in application of
latest govt initiatives and measures of "New India”, especially those
sanitary and phyto sanitary measures”, meaning promoting GM foods.
announced in UP of developing cluster farming of certain commercial crops
It laments the problems of low productivity, climate change, pressure in each district, pooling of land, formation of Farmer Producer Organizations
on natural resources like water, persistent food insecurity and an and private sector participation in it, attacking ECA and APMC, inviting

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Global Food Value Chains like Walmart and proposing GST relief upto 70% – Zero Hunger”, however, used the old method of minimum calorie intake
to 90% as well as help in form of loans and equity in land purchases to to measure nutritional status and revealed the following figures. Based on
incentivise their investments in India. It is important that such and similar the ICMR norms of minimum 2400 calories per day for rural areas and
measures are already in place in some states and with market value having 2100 calories for urban areas, overall 67.36% of people were undernourished
taken over from actual production growth in assessing agricultural in 1993-94. It went up to 76.04% in 2004-05 and came down to 72.14 in
performance, already these states talk of Growth in Value Added. 2011-12, still above the 1993-94 level. The Food and Agriculture
Organization has given a recommendation of using only 1800 calories per
Indian Experts day for undernourishment and with this the figures for these respective
years come down to 31.81, 37.32 and 29.55 percent. It is revealing how
From this study our expert, Sri Gulathi concludes and states that “given
the under nutrition percentage status rises with implementation of
the over arching food security concern of 1.32 billion people of India. ……
Liberalization, then recovers, but not quite! Obviously our Indian experts
Farmers need to produce more and raise productivity and ensure that
and recommendatory bodies have no respect for such data.
consumers have access to food at affordable prices.” He also pits farmers
versus the consumers, claiming a pro consumer bias which helps The same FAO source in this study has also noted that in 2015-16,
consumers and prevents farmers from earning. He recommends that 53% of women between 15 to 49 years and 22.7% men in this age group
domestic market regulations like the Essential Commodities Act and the were anaemic.
APMC be reformed; reviewing restricting export policies; advocates Direct
In the study quoted above, a separate chapter, “Making India Food
Benefit Transfer to vulnerable sections, surprisingly claiming also that this
Secure while Ensuring Farmers' Security” gives the data on “Wasting,
will ensure better outcomes for all including “nutritional quality” for all; input
stunting, and underweight children” in the age group below 5 years
subsidies be contained and finally removed and equivalent savings be
(considered a more sensitive index), sourced from FAO. Whatever may be
channelled into rural infrastructure for promoting competitive national
the fact in reduction of these parameters, these and related figures highlight
markets, upgrading market infrastructure, agri-value chains, better water
the high level of under nutrition still prevalent. It shows that in 1992, 1997,
management to deal with climate change, etc; in order to ‘make Indian
1999, 2005 and 2006 wasting was present in about 20% of the children (bar
agriculture more competitive, more vibrant, sustainable and resilient, and
chart at about the same level). Stunting is shown to have come down from
also augment farmers’ income on a sustained basis’. A perfect copy by a
around 57% in 1999 to around 47% in 2016 and underweight children have
subservient mind!
come down from around 51% to 46% in this period. Compared with 2005-
06 the figures for under-fives in NFHS who are stunted has come down
Data Fudging
from 48% to 38% in 2015-16 and for under weights it has come down from
The main study paints a rosy picture of liberalization by stating “India 43% to 36%.
has achieved a significant fall in proportion of population that is These figures are a telling reflection of the status of food security in
undernourished, from about 24% in 1990-92 to about 15% in 2014-16” without India, which the study prefers to call ‘significant’ improvement. This high
referring to the source of their data. number of underweight children, stunting and wasting is when actually the
For comparison, the data from National Family Health Survey (NFHS) food stocks are full, proving that under-nutrition and malnutrition is resulting
gives figures of 22.9% women and 20.2 % men having a below normal from inaccessibility of food to the poor. Its commendation of India having
nutritional status, i.e. having a Body Mass Index of 18.5/ metre square for become the largest exporter of rice results not from surplus production,
2015-16, which has come down from 35.5% of women and 34.2% of men but from having kept the poor people more deprived than earlier, which
in 2005-06. actually is the real hall mark of the NEP.

The “National Consultation on Sustainable Development Goals, SDG 2
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Assessing the potential of like NREGA, as much it is with their ability to help obviate the societal
conditions which harbour dependence of the poor.
MGNREGA to alle via
allevia te po
viate ver
pov ty in
erty False dichotomy between the realms of production and distribution
India’s political econom
India’s economyy The underlying assumption behind programmes like NREGA, which were
launched to usher in an ‘inclusive growth’, is that the ‘realm of production’
Vikas Bajpai (economic growth) is independent of the ‘realm of distribution’ (the
redistributive social sector schemes); and that ensuring a sustained high
In essence, poverty and wealth in a society are a consequence of the economic growth rate is crucial to generating economic resources for
socioeconomic and political structure of the society rather than being an implementing the redistributive social sector policies like NREGA in order
inadvertent result of its multifarious economic processes. It is a chimera to ameliorate poverty. This convenient assumption seeks to absolve the
to expect that poverty, especially on the scale present in India, can be ‘neoliberal economic policies’ of culpability in fueling humongous inequalities
remedied by some redistributive policies without having to tinker with the and social discord leading to further marginalization of the poor.
socioeconomic and political structure of the society and the power relations
embedded within it. This constitutes our departure point for the purpose of This dichotomous understanding also bears the imprimatur of the political
analysis presented here. core of Gandhian development philosophy as embodied in Gandhi’s concept
of ‘Trusteeship.’ Raja Chelliah, who was chosen in 1991 to suggest tax
Even though Modi government has been less than lukewarm towards reforms towards ushering in the structural reform of the Indian economy,
implementation of MGNREGA (NREGA for short), with Mr. Modi himself alluding to Gandhi’s idea of trusteeship, wrote in his book ‘Political Economy
ridiculing the programme on the floor of the house by projecting it as a of Poverty Eradication in India and Essays on Fiscal Reform’, thus:
testament to the failure of the erstwhile UPA government, there
nevertheless remains a large constituency of well-meaning activists, Gandhiji while appreciating the need for the state to play a crucial
academicians, researchers and common people along with sections of role was of the conviction that the more fortunate citizens should become
ruling classes, who firmly believe in the potential of such programmes to the leaders of civil society, and civil society had a major role to play not
alleviate the sufferings of the people. Indeed, NREGA was projected as only in changing social attitudes of the people but also in the spread of
nothing short of a revolutionary Act by its proponents when it was first ethical principles. He had also advocated the principle of trusteeship of
enacted. It then makes sense to do a reality check on this possibility. holding wealth. ……………. The masses, still suffering from poverty
and lack of opportunity to be touched by modernization, need the help
Conceptual percepts for assessing NREGA and other such of the educated elite and the economically well-off sections of the
programs population. Until the masses become strong, the intermediate groups
that rise to power tend to act in unlawful ways (emphasis added)
Given the levels of poverty, hunger and want that persist in India, the (Chelliah, 2010, p 27-28).
need and the scope for reaching out all manner of help to the indigent
population, from individuals, various governmental and non-governmental It would seem class contradictions, exploitation and the multifarious
agencies remain acute even in the best of times. There is no denying the societal mechanisms grinding the overwhelming majority of India’s poor to
fact that any material help to the poor could provide some relief from their dust are nothing but an exercise in make believe. Rather than being the
immediate want. But using the dependence of the poor to create more motivating force for ushering in social change, the poor can’t help but be
dependence would amount to an oppressor tactic, and hence our concern condemned to patiently await the elite's benevolence. Hence, the elite
here is not as much with provisioning of immediate relief from programs honestly persevere to create wealth; guiding the poor in their labour, and

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NEW DEMOCRACY Organ of the Central Committee, CPI(ML)
then give away, of their own volition, a part of their wealth to usher in a Table 1 which gives the poverty head count ratio in the country arrived at
society free of poverty. Rather than being the rings of the same chain, the by various committees appointed by the government itself or international
‘realm of production’ and the ‘realm of distribution’ become two independent agencies. Evidently, within a span of seven years we have had nine different
phenomena. The fact however is that the dichotomy between ‘production’ estimates of people in poverty in the country, varying between a low of
and ‘distribution’ is designed to distract the attention of the poor from the 15.6 percent to a high of 78 percent. Four of these estimates (the Tendulkar
real reasons of their poverty, and thereby construct a servile consciousness Committee, the Rangarajan Committee, the Economic Survey of the year
that does not threaten the system. 2014-15 and the NCEUS) owe directly to the government, and yet they are
widely variant. These results betray quite some anxiety on the part of the
In view of such conceptual understanding a reasoned assessment of
ruling elite to statistically ‘manage’ poverty in face of failure to effect
NREGA would of necessity entail analysis of the entire political economy
redemption from it. It is worth pondering that despite using a rather
of the country. Such an exhaustive review is not possible here for
conservative cut off of an expenditure of Rs. 20 per capita per day, if
understandable reasons; hence, what is being presented is just a brief
government’s own committee finds 80 percent of the population to be poor
sketch in its essential details in order to facilitate the assessment being
and vulnerable, is it even worth to insist on differentiating between the poor
and non-poor?
How has India’s economy done for its poor?
Contributing directly to the high prevalence of poverty is the problem of
Attesting to the cardinal importance of the relationship between the unemployment and under-employment. The promise that with the
‘realm of production’ and ‘poverty’ is the fact that the contentions around implementation of neoliberal economic policies ushering in high economic
poverty have perhaps never been as strong at any other point in time as growth rates would lead to massive creation of jobs for the country’s youth
they have been during the period of neo-liberal economic policies. stands belied. To the contrary, even as the growth rates of GDP soared,
trends in employment remained torpid. The data in fact shows that during
Table 1: Different estimates of poor people in India.
the years in which GDP growth rates went up the growth in total employment
Source of poverty estimate Proportion of poor people in different sectors of the economy either declined or increased marginally
after sustaining a fall. Even the fastest growing services sector of the
Report of the National Commission on 78 economy has come to be plagued with declining rates of growth in
Employment in the Unorganized Sector, 2007 employment (Papola, 2012). The existing levels of employment are also
National Council for Applied Economic 16 deceptive for two reasons. First, much of the expansion in employment,
Research (NCAER) Study, 2008 which has come about in the manufacturing sector, has been in very low
Tendulkar Committee Report, 2009 37 skill jobs in the unorganized sector. Secondly, the present levels of
employment camouflage massive levels of under-employment. One can’t
N C Saxena Committee Report, 2009 50 help but hope that Modi’s pakodanomics has the potential to alleviate
World Bank Purchasing Power Parity (PPP), 2011 24 massive crisis of livelihoods being faced by the people.
Asian Development Bank, 2011 48
Table 2 lays bare the poignant relationship between the poverty of India’s
United Nations Development Program, 2011 55 working masses and the structure of their livelihoods. Bulk of the country’s
Rangarajan Committee Report, 2014 30 workforce (nearly 85 percent) is immiserated in low productivity sectors of
Source: Figure 1 in Chakrabarty, 2016. the economy such as agriculture, unregistered manufacturing, construction,
Just how well have these policies served the poor and how tenacious community, social and personal services. The golden sectors of Finance,
have been the contentions on the levels of poverty can be gauged from insurance and real estate and registered manufacturing, having high labour

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NEW DEMOCRACY Organ of the Central Committee, CPI(ML)
productivity and making major contribution to the country’s GDP, employ mechanical processes ordained by administrative fiats. These are historical
less than 4 percent of the workforce. The issue here is not just of jobs not processes effected by the people through conscious and deliberative efforts.
being there in high productivity sectors, but also that the bulk of the These are processes that follow and are accompanied by creation of a new
workforce is simply not employable in high productivity sectors requiring ethos, new aspirations, and breaking of new ground in the social and political
higher levels of education and skills. thinking of the times. The bourgeoisie of developed capitalist economies
led these processes from the front. It competed with the bourgeoisie of the
Table 2: Distribution of Sectoral labour productivity as a share of average rival countries to safeguard its national interests and thereby opened new
labour productivity and the distribution of labour force in different sectors. vistas for developing the economies of their respective countries.
Sector of economy Sectoral productivity Percent of labor force Large scale development of industry absorbed the vast mass of rural
as a share of average population rendered surplus in the wake of capitalist development of
labor productivity agriculture. Emergence of large industrial centers with workers working in
Agriculture 29 Around 50 percent their thousands in factories was the most resolute measure in the breaking
of isolated, low productivity feudal mode of production in agriculture and
URM 58 Around 9 percent petty artisan workshops. These developments facilitated the mental
transition from the selfishness of the petty bourgeoisie and serf production
Construction 81 Around 10 percent
to the truly modern proletariat who has nothing but his/her labour to sell;
CSPS 112 4 to 5 percent and absolutely nothing to fall back upon were s/he to be rendered without
Wholesale and retail trade 140 Around 10 percent work. The proletariat in the developed capitalist democracies acquired
working class consciousness much faster and in far more thorough going a
TSC 208 manner than what has ever been possible in developing countries like India.
Combined share of
PAGS 266 This enabled a far more sweeping transition of workers from being a class
all these sectors in
in itself to becoming a class for itself. The working class fought for and
Mining and quarrying 339 employment is
won many political rights along with the right to better living conditions and
Registered manufacturing 395 approximately 15
improved wages. This also enforced that the industry had to provide for the
Public utilities 623 needs of the people.
FIRE 723 Contrary to this, the birth of a viable and truly national bourgeoisie in
Source: Hasan and Sen Gupta, 2014. Notes: URM = Unregistered India, spearheading the fight for national determination got aborted under
Manufacturing; CSPS = Community, Social and Personal Services; TSC the pecking order imposed by the imperialist bourgeoisie. Rather than doing
= Transport, Storage and Communication; PAGS = Public Administration away with the decadent feudal elite, the imperialist bourgeoisie nurtured
and Government Services; FIRE = Finance, Insurance and Real Estate the feudal elite and a subservient class of Indian bourgeoisie as the two
supporting pillars of its rule. Being comprador was thus etched as a birth
The impacted birth of a truly industrial society mark from the very origin of the Indian bourgeoisie. This congenitally
malformed bourgeoisie not only lacks the petulance of the bourgeois class
This section may appear to be a bit of a diversion, but is important that originated in the developed capitalist countries, but in order to rule the
nevertheless for comprehending as to why the situation appears country together with the feudal elite, their alliance helps sustain pre-
irremediably hemmed in. The development of industry, change in structure capitalist forms of social, economic and political relations in society.
of employment, enhancement of labour productivity and the reduction in
levels of poverty, unemployment and hunger in its wake are not simple It becomes irresistible at this juncture to characterize the bourgeoisie of

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NEW DEMOCRACY Organ of the Central Committee, CPI(ML)
the developing countries in the words of Frantz Fannon: One way of reaching out greater prosperity to the rural economy, and
thereby alleviating rural poverty can be by way of fostering organic linkages
In the colonial countries the spirit of indulgence is dominant at the between industry and agriculture where in there is a greater demand for
core of the bourgeoisie; and this is because the national bourgeoisie agricultural raw material and finished products in industry (RUPE, 2008).
identifies itself with the western bourgeoisie from whom it has learnt its However, the nature of growth of manufacturing industries and the services
lessons. It follows the western bourgeoisie along its path of negation sector of the economy during the period of neoliberal economic policies
and decadence without ever having emulated it in its first stages of has turned the linkages with the rural economy on their head (Saikia, 2011;
exploration and invention, stages which are an acquisition of that Western Singh, 2016). Between the pre-reform period and the post-reform period
bourgeoisie whatever the circumstances. In its beginnings the national the demand for agricultural commodities such as cotton, tobacco,
bourgeoisie of the colonial countries identifies itself with the decadence sugarcane, oils etc. for the industrial sector has declined faster relative to
of the bourgeoisie of the West. We need not think that it is jumping the demand for industrial commodities like pesticides, fertilizers and
ahead; it is in fact beginning at the end. (Fannon, 1967, p 122-123). machinery etc. in agriculture (Saikia, 2011). The tiny section of Indian
This character of India’s ruling classes has had obvious implications Global Middle Class which has come into being during the reform years
for maintaining the poverty of India’s working masses. For example, obviously has only a limited use for agricultural commodities. Their life
developing the vast rural market of the country by industrializing these styles and demands have little in common with what crisis ridden agriculture
areas has never been the concern of the Indian bourgeoisie since this has to offer, and spurs the growth of a manufacturing industry which is
would of necessity entail longer gestation periods for investments and lower increasingly divorced from rural agricultural economy. This cannot but firm
profit margins. Resultantly, developing the rural market and furnishing its up adverse terms of trade for agricultural produce. Such political economy
demand structure got by and large left to industry using low technology, cannot but depress the purchasing power in rural markets, threatening in
sustaining on low profit, in the informal sector of economy, languishing turn the viability of the unorganized manufacturing sector which not only
further under the not so benign want of institutional support. The alliance sustains itself to a large extent by serving the underserved rural market,
of the Indian ruling classes with international capital has posed further but also employs the bulk of non-agricultural industrial workers (NCEUS,
difficulties in this regard. Misplaced enthusiasm of the Indian ruling classes 2007). There have been other more concerted threats to rural livelihoods
for foreign investment notwithstanding, developing India’s rural economy from imposition of policies like the Special Economic Zones and predatory
is the least of the concerns of finance capital for its time frame is short and development projects necessitating large scale displacement of people,
it seeks huge profits within shortest duration. Consequently, there has been especially in tribal areas.
development of highly capital intensive industry catering to the demands Examining inequality
of a very small and well-off section of India’s population. The bulk of India’s
impoverished, illiterate or semiliterate and poorly skilled workforce are not In the era of neoliberalism rising inequality has been the feature of
employable in such industries. However, for India Inc. these are all non- economies across the world. The Indian ruling classes may rest on their
issues and they couldn’t care less. Loot of public resources is something laurels for having kept the country apace with global trends in inequality.
they can never have enough of. Non-payment of public sector bank loans However, as against the developed countries where inequality has arisen
worth several lakhs of crores apart, between 2005-06 and 2013-14 India in the context of relative poverty, the rise in inequality in countries like
Inc. gained Rs 36.5 lakh crores of rupees by way of tax exemption from the India becomes particularly poignant in the context of large number of people
Central government i.e. an average of 1,110 crore of rupees a day (Sainath, being trapped in absolute poverty. The top 1 percent of the population in
2014). Needless to say, much of these resources could have been used India controls 53 percent of the total wealth; of this also just 0.2 percent of
for the development of agriculture and rural economy to alleviate the poverty the people own 40 percent of the country’s wealth. In comparison, the
of Indian masses. lower 90 percent owns less than a quarter of total wealth (Credit Suisse

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NEW DEMOCRACY Organ of the Central Committee, CPI(ML)
Global Wealth Report, 2015 quoted in Newsclick, 2015). this level of awareness about MSP was even less than that of the 71
percent captured in the NSSO round held in 2003 (NSSO, 2005).
Since the inauguration of the neoliberal economic policies there has
been a rise in both income inequality as also consumption inequality (Kundu, Given the fact that as per the 2014 NSSO survey just about 40 percent
2016). Skewed ownership of society’s resources cannot but make the of the peasants sought any technical advice to improve production shows
societal processes further iniquitous, adding to the encumbrance of the that the Indian peasant’s struggle to eke out a sustenance remains a
poor in accessing services like health care and education which are so profoundly lonely and isolated struggle. This certainly is not the result of
essential in fighting the consequences of poverty. Above all it distorts any nihilism on the part of the peasant, but owes to the fact that access to
whatever democratic structure of the society and polity exists, thus reliable adviceis nothing short of miraculous (Statement 3.18 A and 3.18 B
strengthening the chains of bondage of the poor.It would be instructive to in NSSO, 2014, p 37). The agricultural extension services have all but
bear in mind that inequality and iniquitous societal processes are not as vanished. The local usurer who may also act as input merchant, landlord
much about certain sections of the society garnering a greater share of and grain merchant all rolled up into one, or agents of input manufactures
resources; it is far more about disempowerment and tightening the grip of become the commonest source of equivocal technical advice. The seeming
the haves over have-nots. disinterestedness of society at large in the trials and travails of the Indian
No cogent assessment of poverty and the efforts to alleviate it in India peasant cannot but be self-inflicting in view of the fact that India is steadily
can be made at the cost of negating the agrarian question. Agriculture is in hurtling towards chronic food shortages with agricultural production on the
the throes of a deeply entrenched crisis and yet it remains the largest ebb.
employer in the country. This implies that development of agriculture holds Table 3: Decline/stagnation in rate of growth of yields of different crops.
the key to not only alleviating mass poverty but also developing a demand Time period Percent increase in yield of
structure for fuller development of other sectors of economy. TP Cotton CC Rice Wheat FG OS SC
India’s agriculture sector and en-mass production of poverty 84-85 to 93-94 11.6 7.1 5.2 2.8 2.7 2.7 2.3 2
94-95 to 03-04 1.2 3.9 4 1.4 1.5 1.6 4.7 -1.1
The exaggerated claims of the ruling elite of Indian agriculture having
crossed many milestones notwithstanding, the fact remains that today 04-05 to 13-14 2 4.3 4.1 1.6 1.5 2.2 -0.5 1.8
agriculture in India is enmeshed in an unprecedented crisis. Despite input
intensive agriculture in circumscribed green revolution areas, agriculture in Source: Author’s calculations based on year wise yields of different crops
the bulk of the country still remains backward. Plagued by astonishing given in Table 4.4 (food grains), Table 4.6 (a) (Rice), Table 4.7 (a) (Wheat),
levels of poverty, the illiterate or poorly literate Indian peasants continue Table 4.8 (a) (coarse cereals), Table 4.12 (a) (total pulses), Tables 4.16
to suffer from profound neglect on the part of the official machinery. Modi (a) (oil seeds), Table 4.21 (a) (cotton) and Table 4.23 (a) (Sugarcane) given
government has sought to make much capital out of its claims of having in GOI, 2016. TP = Total Pulses; CC = Coarse Cereals; FG = Food Grains;
doubled the minimum support price (MSP) for most crops through some OS = Oil Seeds; SC = Sugarcane
deft chicanery. The formula it used to do so has been repudiated by peasants
Table 4: Selected land use and irrigation statistics, India
at large. Even for what it claims to have offered, serious doubts remain as
(area in million hectares).
to the financial support and implementation machinery. This however still
does not capture the hopeless situation of the Indian peasant. 70th round of Year NSA TCA ASMTO NIA GIA AIMTO CI(%)
NSSO survey showed that close to 80 percent of the peasants were not
2007-08 141.02 195.22 54.27 63.2 88.1 24.9 138.4
even aware of the minimum support prices for the crops they grew, and
even among those who were aware, less than half were fortunate enough 2013-14 141.43 200.86 59.43 68.1 95.8 277 142
to sell their produce to procurement agencies (NSSO, 2014). What more, (P)

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NEW DEMOCRACY Organ of the Central Committee, CPI(ML)
Source: Table 13.2, p 328 in GOI, 2016. Note: P = Provisional figures. poverty (Prabha, 2010).
NSA= Net Sown Area, TCA= Total Cropped Area, ASMTO= Area Sown
More Than Once, NIA= Net Irrigated Area, GIA= Gross Irrigated Area, We would do well to acquaint ourselves with the financial distress that
AIMTO= Area Irrigated More Than Once, CI= Cropping Intensityt. For all plagues the peasant households in the country. According to the statistics
the other years after 2007-08 up to 2013-14 the figures were provisional, given in Statement 12 in NSSO (2013) for 86.6 percent of the peasant
hence the last confirmed figures for 2007-08 have also been cited here. households, income from cultivation is lower than their subsistence needs,
which means agriculture by itself is not a remunerative option for them.
The desire of the Indian rulers to project themselves as part of the Further, for 69.4 percent of these 86.6 percent households, total income
global elite and to wallow in the make-believe notion of having made India from all sources (including other than agriculture) falls below their overall
great could be understandable. The problem however is that their thrift- consumption needs. The implication for this is that the households either
lessness feeds on stark despair in the lives of the laboring masses of need to sell assets or incur debt to make ends meet. While on one end this
India, the methods of perpetuating whose poverty never cease to become further undermines their productive capacity, at the other it keeps the usurer/
ever more elaborate and systematic. Figures given in Table 4 are but one trader/landlord mafia in business at terms which are increasingly favourable
example of this. As can be seen, the net irrigated area of the country1, as to them. It hardly needs imagination to judge the state of affairs where
of 2013-14, was 68.1 million hectares, which was only 48.2 percent of the only 13.4 percent of the agricultural households (those belonging to size
net sown area. Just how robust is the quality of our irrigation infrastructure class of land holding of 2.01 to 4 hectare or above) manage to earn a
can be judged from the fact that with a gross irrigated area2 of only 95.8 surplus from their primary occupation. i.e. cultivation.
million hectares a mere 27.7 percent of the total irrigated area had the
potential of being irrigated more than once. Given more robust extension Given this state of affairs, the next logical question to ask would then
services and a judicious development of underground and surface water be – what is happening to investments in agriculture by agricultural
irrigation, in what could then have been a three-crop land only 42 percent households? In this respect let us look at the goings on in agriculturally
of our net sown area3 is sown more than once. We need only compare most prosperous states.To simplify the matters, total income of agricultural
ourselves with Bangladesh to know what this means in terms of lost households from all sources, net of total consumption expenditure has
opportunity. Despite being far more resource starved, the cropping intensity been taken into account to calculate the surplus earned by the household.
in Bangladesh is 191 (Ahmad, 2013) i.e. 91 percent of their cropped area Table 5 gives the distribution of mean total income, mean surplus income
is cropped more than once. Such a colossal waste of agricultural potential and mean total investment in productive assets by households belonging
is criminal in the least. Take the example of the state of Jharkhand. In to different social categories for the states Haryana and Punjab.
2013-14, at 2508 thousand hectares the total land left fallow in the state Table 5: Total income, total expenditure and total investment in
was more than the net sown area of 1384 and the total cropped area 4 of productive assets by agricultural households.
1672 thousand hectares respectively (Table 13.5 on page 336 in GOI,
2016). ‘Backwardness’ of agriculture apart, these facts also put in State Haryana Punjab
perspective the claims of ‘capitalist development’ of India’s agriculture. Caste group Caste group
OBCs Others SCs Others
There wouldn’t be any dearth of examples were one to document the
(Primarily Jats) (Primarily Jats)
overall backwardness in development of Indian agriculture, including the
backward relations of production in agriculture; however, what we need Total income (Rs) 8,212 18,620 8,574 22,239
bear in mind here is that this state of affairs is fundamental to creation of
Surplus income (Rs) -850 6,704 -999 7,512
mass poverty of our people. It follows therefore, that improving the
agricultural productivity by alleviating the structural, technical and resource Total investment in -553 -4,810 196 3,463
constraints fettering its growth is the imperative of the day to alleviate productive assets (Rs)

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NEW DEMOCRACY Organ of the Central Committee, CPI(ML)
Source: Tables given on pages A 119 and A 120 in NSSO (2013). NSSO round shows that the all India picture isn’t encouraging either. The
neoliberal economic policies have taken their toll on public investments in
Since the referred NSSO report gives no figures for Dalits and the OBCs developing agriculture.This has laid bare the reality of what came to be
in the respect of Haryana and Punjab respectively; hence, it can be perceived as capitalist development of agriculture in the era of ‘green
concluded that these social groups have become ephemeral to agriculture revolution’ with proactive role played by the Indian state in selected regions
in the respective states. Among the category ‘Others’ it is the Jats who of the country. The perceived capitalist development proves to be nothing
constitute the dominant agricultural caste in either state. but a euphemism for adoption of some modern technologies and greater
As can be seen from Table 5, the average upper caste agricultural commercialization of agriculture.
household in Haryana has a surplus income of Rs 6704 per month; yet
There shall be little gainsaying in asserting that the situation as it stands
investment in productive assets by an average upper caste agricultural
today has become the proverbial ‘mill stone’ around the neck of the Indian
household is negative in the state. In Punjab, on the other hand, a SC
peasant, spawning in its wake abysmal rural poverty which is spilling over
agricultural household runs a deficit per month on an average; still it seems
to the urban areas.
inclined to make a modest investment, by incurring a debt, to make ends
meet and to prevent its social position from slipping further. The Jats in So where does NREGA fit in this milieu?
Punjab apparently are more proactive towards agriculture as compared to
their counterparts in Haryana since average investment in agriculture per To try and cure a disease without unravelling the underlying pathology
upper caste agri household works out to 46 percent of the average surplus merely amounts to tinkering with its symptoms somewhat. The discussion
per household. Lest this leads one to presume that at least with respect to gone into over here is an attempt to have a snapshot of the pathology
Punjab agriculture is well-poised towards capitalist development,attention underlying the massive sores of poverty and want afflicting our society.
is invited towards the more disaggregated findings of Table 6. Lest one might be tempted to find quick fixes (as has been the wont of
India’s ruling classes) to this enormous disease, the prudence of having to
Table 6: Monthly investment in productive assets as a percentage of correct the pathology as laid out above can never possibly be emphasized
monthly surplus. enough. Its supplication with patronizing benevolence of the ruling classes
Size class of land possessed (ha) Haryana Punjab All India that is expressed from time to time in the form of social sector interventions
marinated in high sounding platitudes is effete at its best in the absence of
4.01-10 5.7% 56.4% 20.7% any sincerity towards ameliorating the pathology, and at its worst, ends up
10.00+ 17% 9.6% 25.9% complicating the pathology further.

Source: Table 1 for ‘All social categories’ given on pages A 125, A 147 The inability and the profound lack of will on the part of India’s ruling
and A 168 for Haryana, Punjab and India respectively in NSSO (2013). classes to cure this pathology mandates destroying their grip over state
power as a necessary condition for ameliorating the poverty of India’s
It ought to be expected that the classes owning maximum land would working masses. However, bringing about such a change would entail a
be the ones most keen to develop their agriculture along capitalist lines; long-drawn struggle; however, the enormous difficulties of the people cry
however, the findings of Table 6 seem to suggest much to the contrary, for relief now, and as a society we can ill-afford to be found wavering in
especially so with respect to Punjab. Those owning more than 10 hectares providing this relief. The crucial question therefore is how to provide this
of land seemed to spend a paltry 9.6 percent of their monthly surplus in relief without rendering the struggle for larger change secondary or incidental
productive investment; though, one might still draw some solace from the to provisioning of much needed relief?
investments being made by the class owning between 4 to 10 hectares.
The situation in case of Haryana however is decidedly torpid. The same We shall do well to remember that even in their purest form the purpose

November, 2018 29 30 November, 2018
NEW DEMOCRACY Organ of the Central Committee, CPI(ML)
of social sector initiatives like NREGA is only to provide immediate relief December.
rather than addressing the fundamental pathology. Additionally, such
• Hasan Rana and Abhijit Sen Gupta (2014): ‘Growth, structural change,
initiatives have the effect of lulling the consciousness of the oppressed in
to complacency. The unwritten, unspoken objective of these policies is to and poverty reduction: Evidence from India’, Ideas for India, 21 March. Available
habituate the oppressed to the conditions of their oppression and cultivate from
indebtedness among them towards their oppressors for such generosity. and-poverty-reduction-evidence-from-india.html on 12 Jan, 2018.
The need in fact is to get rid of the dualism between the revolutionary • Fannon Frantz (1967): ‘The Wretched of the Earth’. Penguin books,
struggle for creating a new society and the struggle for achieving the Middlesex, England, p 122-123.
immediate demands. Under the over-arching rubric of revolutionary struggle
• Sainath P (2014): ‘How Much Can We Forgo To India Inc?’ Outlook, 28
for changing the society, these two types of struggles ought to be seen as
fulfilling and compensating each other. The primacy however has to be of July. Available from
the revolutionary struggle because when the oppressed fight for redeeming we-forgo-to-india-inc/291424 on 30 March, 2016.
their own future and seek to become masters of their own destiny, then in • SaikiaDilip (2011): ‘Analyzing inter-sectoral linkages in India.’ African
the process of doing so they are also able to resolve issues of daily Journal of Agricultural Research; 30 December, Vol. 6 (33), pp. 6766-6775.
existence with far greater confidence. It is the struggle for building a new
society by repudiating the old one in all its aspects which enlivens the • Singh Tarlok (2016): ‘On the sectoral linkages and pattern of economic
latent energy of the oppressed. The insistence to fight for immediate growth in India.’ Journal of the Asia Pacific Economy, Vol. 21 (2):257-275,DOI:
demands alone in the absence of struggle to alleviate the unjust and 10.1080/13547860.2015.1094175.
oppressive societal conditions is bound to get reduced to a poor apology
• NCEUS (National Commission for Enterprises in Unorganized Sector
for some relief and indulgence on the part of the rulers, commitment to
which is subject to their tender mercies. (NCEUS) (2007): ‘Report on Conditions of Work and Promotion of Livelihoods in
the Unorganized Sector’, Government of India, August.
There is a need to relate ‘aaj ki ladai’ (struggle for immediate needs)
with the ‘raj ki ladai’ (struggle for the rule of the oppressed). The struggle • Newsclick (2015): ‘India’s Trickle-Up Policy’, 29th December. Available
for partial demands like ‘employment guarantee’ shall remain relevant within from on 15 July, 2018.
this paradigm.
• Kundu Tadit (2016): ‘Nearly half of Indians survived on less than Rs38 a
References day in 2011-12’, Live mint, 21 April. Available from
• Chelliah Raja J (2010): ‘Political Economy of Poverty Eradication in India Rs38-a-day-in-2.html on 12 July, 2018.
and Essays on Fiscal Reform’, Sage Publications, New Delhi, p 27-28.
• NSSO (2014): ‘Key Indicators of Situation of Agricultural Households in
• Chakrabarty Manali (2016): ‘Why the Poor Do Not Count’ Aspects of India, January to December 2013.’ Ministry of Statistics and Program
India’s Economy, No. 64, December. Available from Implementation, Government of India, p 31-32.
poverty.html on 8 July, 2018.
• NSSO (2005): ‘Situation Assessment Survey of Farmers: Some Aspects of
• Papola T S (2012): ‘Employment Growth in the Post-Reform Period’, Farming’, Report No. 496, Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation,
Institute for Studies in Industrial Development, ISID Working Paper 2012/07, Government of India, p 10.

November, 2018 31 32 November, 2018
NEW DEMOCRACY Organ of the Central Committee, CPI(ML)
• Government of India (GOI) (2016): ‘Agricultural Statistics at a Glance,
2016’, Directorate of Economics and Statistics, Department of Agriculture, Encounter Raj in Uttar
Cooperation & Farmers Welfare, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, New
Delhi. Pradesh: ‘Le
Pradesh: ‘Leggal’ Killer
Killerss on
• Ahmad Reza (2013): ‘Food production to double’, The Daily Star, 8
September. Available from
the Pr
double on 19 July, 2018.
• Prabha, Kishor Goswami and Bani Chatterjee (2010): ‘Linkage between Ashish Mital
rural poverty and agricultural productivity across the districts of Uttar Pradesh in
India’, Journal of Development and Agricultural Economics February, Vol. 2(2), p It is a declared Encounter Raj, as if the Constitution and Laws permit
026-040. such indulgence. The UP Chief Minister has declared that “criminals should
leave Uttar Pradesh, or else..... There are only 2 places for them, jail or
• NSSO (2013): ‘Income, Expenditure, Productive Assets and Indebtedness …”. In one and a half years of misrule, Yogi Adityanath govt has led one of
of Agricultural Households in India’, Report No. 576. Ministry of Statistics and the most criminalized administrations the state has seen. In true Bollywood
Programme Implementation, Government of India, New Delhi, p 15. style he says, “Surrender or we have other means” … “Jo Apradh Karega,
Thok Diya Jayega” (He who will commit crime, will be killed). Like his
(Footnotes) predecessor and current Union Home Minister, he too reasserts that the
‘gun’ will be answered with the ‘gun’.
The Net Irrigated Area is the actual land area on which irrigation was
used for growing crops for as many times as may be in an agricultural This is the ‘rule of law’ which this RSS led dispensation is imposing on
year. the people, giving unbridled power to the police to execute ‘criminal justice’
The gross irrigated area is the actual land area on which irrigation was even before the process of law has had a chance to ‘dispense’ it. While
used. they themselves subvert the process of legal trials, they insist that those
who ‘do not obey’ the law are ‘criminals’ and will not be spared. It is moving
Net sown area: This represents the total area sown with crops and
towards a completely lawless rule of the ruling classes, through its Hindutva
orchards. Area sowed more than once in the same year is counted only
outfit, RSS, as they are no longer able to govern through the old means.
Misuse of the police and administrative machinery to file false cases and
Total / Gross cropped area: This represents the total area sown once illegally detain people is being intensified to the process of criminal
and/or more than once in a particular year, i.e. the area is counted as execution, a crude injustice of committing blatant murders of innocent
many times as there are sowings in a year. This total area is also known citizens, designed to instill fear of death, especially amongst the poor and
as total cropped area or total area sown. downtrodden.
This policy, its intent to rule over the people of the country by
‘undemocratic’ means, beyond the provisions of Indian law, also incorporates
freedom for RSS cadres and the police to act at will and in tandem, to
unleash physical attacks on targets, ‘mob’ lynching, to conduct communal
and dominant caste politics through such attacks by arousing divisive

November, 2018 33 34 November, 2018
NEW DEMOCRACY Organ of the Central Committee, CPI(ML)
passions and get absolved of these crimes. Their design is to instil fear of but this is certain that they are criminals. This is the level of cooking up we
reprisals by dominant class groups, exploiters, goonda gangs, of implication are witness to.
in false cases and now of being bumped off, in order to scuttle the voice of
dissent at the alter of police ‘death gangs’ operating in the name of So, of the various crimes listed, 7 to 38, against the dead men, it is not
enforcement of law and order, for the sake of ‘development’. This is their known whether they are the original accused in these FIRs or since when
new order. their names had been included in the list of accused in these crimes. It is
certainly possible that after the men had been shot the police included
Proud of their ‘yield’ from threats the UP DGP had claimed on March 5, their names in old criminal investigations pending in that and nearby police
2018, that ‘fearing action’, 5500 criminals got their bails cancelled in 10 stations. The date and time of such inclusions definitely merit proper
months. One can imagine his pleasure and satisfaction expressed at this investigation. What we are sure of is that normally if there are persons
authoritarian, fascist achievement. The DGP, the highest custodian in the with 7 to 38 criminal cases pending, the area police station has their names
state of safeguarding the law, has already ‘judged’ 5000 accused and has on finger tips. So it begs a question why the tip off about the alleged
passed them off as criminals! criminal, as mentioned in the FIRs hardly ever mentions the name of the
victim in its story.
The Encounters
It is also mentioned that many of these dead men carried awards. After
As per available figures, upto 4thAugust, 2018, there had been 2351 beginning the encounter spree, the Chief Minister enhanced the award
encounter shootouts killing 63 persons across 24 districts. Actual numbers amounts that officials were permitted to announce to Rs 15,000 by the
are more. Reports show 584 persons as having been injured, while 4 police SSP and Rs 25,000 by the DIGs. So, it will also be worthwhile to know
persons having been killed and 415 injured. More than 5000 had been since when these dead men had been on the list of awards, i.e. since only
arrested of which 167 were charged under NSA. From the list of those a few days before, or since long or just immediately before the encounter.
killed, it is obvious that most of them are Muslims and Dalits. Very few are What is clear is that since the FIRs do not mostly mention the names,
from the upper castes. For example, of the first 30 killed, 12 were Muslims. these ‘criminals’ could not have been bumped off because they were
What is sinister is that most of them, prior to their being killed, were accused in several crimes and were ‘evading’ arrests due to which awards
accused of either small crimes or of none at all. None are claimed by the had been announced on their names.
govt to have been Mafia or Gangsters. Though in the FIRs of the killings An analysis of 20 of the FIRs in 41 of these incidents (the FIRs of the
the number of cases listed against these alleged criminals varies between remaining were not given by the police to the families) done by the Indian
7 to 38, almost none of the FIRs have any description to show their history Expresss found all of them had almost a copybook sequence of events. It
sheets or whether any of their alleged crimes were heinous crimes. Only in notes that all these encounters were done in ‘aatma rakhsa’ (self defence)
one case the killed man is identified as Samir Gurjar, known to have killed and with ‘nyuntam’ (minimum) firing. There is a ‘tip off’ from an unidentified
two persons. One description is so frivolous that it says the crime branch ‘informer’, it is either dusk or dawn, there is a fall in most, from ‘skidding’
inspector was looking for two men coming from Delhi on a motorcycle with of a ‘motorcycle’, firing by the fleeing offenders and then the police has
the ‘intention’ of ‘committing a crime’! Another ridiculous story recorded is acted with ‘adamya sahas’ and ‘jaan ki parwah kiye bina’ (16 out of 20
that the police had spotted 3 men coming in a stolen car! How they knew FIRs) as per ‘sikhaya gaya trareeka’ to kill the person.
the car was stolen is not described. In another story the police received
information that criminals were about to pass through to execute a ‘sangeen In 9 FIRs the police claim to have been hit on their bullet proof jackets.
ghatna’ (serious crimine)! As per these FIRs, the police already have prior As per this analysis, in 8 FIRs the police recorded that their response
knowledge and have moved with information about a crime allegedly about followed Supreme Court guidelines “to the full”, in 12 they looked for but
to occur, to nab the prospective offenders, whose identity also is not known, couldn’t find witnesses due to it being “night or odd hours” or “bhay vash"

November, 2018 35 36 November, 2018
NEW DEMOCRACY Organ of the Central Committee, CPI(ML)
(people being scared) and in 18 the criminal was killed and the accomplice the top’, but later denied informing them. The two victims were accused to
“fled”. As it turns out, as per the FIRs, they have killed an unknown, have killed two sadhus and four farmers, looted a motorbike and mobiles,
unidentified man, who they believed was about to commit a crime and who had eight cases against them and were operating in entire western Uttar
when confronted allegedly fired on them. Pradesh with ‘different names’. They were 22 year old Mustaqeen and his
wife’s brother, 17 year old Naushad.
Nine of these encounters have taken place under SP Anant Deo in
Muzaffarnagar, 5 in Shamli under SP Ajay Pal Sharma, since promoted as When citizen groups reached there to hold enquiries, they were
SSP GB Nagar and 5 under SP Azamgarh, Ajay Raj Sahni, nephew of surrounded by RSS mobs, heckled and threatened, mostly in presence of
West Bengal Governor, Kesari Nath Tripathi. It is very, very sinister that the police and possibly at their calling. The remaining family members
though the Supreme Court directions clearly demand that such incidents were made to sit all day in the thana, possibly so that they do not speak to
be registered as crimes having been committed at the hands of men in outsiders. Then, when the mothers of both victims went to Aligarh along
uniform, FIRs be registered, investigated and that no person involved in with Faizul Hassan, former President of AMUSU and Mashkoor Ahmad,
the alleged encounter be given any award for having committed such an the police manipulated a complaint against them and registered an FIR of
act, at least two of these offending officials have been openly honoured. abduction, the two women having to file an affidavit with the CJM, Aligarh,
Shamli SP Ajay Pal Sharma was taken around publicly on a chariot and that they had come on their own accord. And when important ruling class
was honoured by the Haryana Chief Minister Madanlal Khattar. Azamgarh politicians, ex MPs, issued statements that this encounter appeared stage
SP Sahni was given a helicopter ride with the Chief Minister Yogi for his managed, the police issued notices to them under section 160 of CrPC to
services. Currently he is SSP Aligarh. question the basis of their statements.

Not just this, officials like ADG Meerut zone, DM and SP Meerut went The Lucknow ‘Encounter’ Murder
overboard to please their political masters by sprinkling rose petals on
On top of this happened Apple Regional manager Vivek Tiwari’s murder
Kanwariyas from a helicopter. The govt sanctioned Rs 14 lakhs for this.
by the trigger-happy police force. An upper class, upper caste executive
Aligarh’s Videographed Encounter without any history sheet and a witness who refused to be gagged, Yogi
govt had to concede the murder and file an FIR against the cops. The
People were shocked on September 20 this year when several TV reaction of significant sections of cops, mostly young entrants- wearing
channels, and later also covered by the print media, showed live videos of black badges, sending out Wattsapp protest messages, collecting funds
two ‘criminals’ being killed in an encounter. The master of this ‘ceremony’ for the accused- speaks volumes about the direction in which this police
was SSP Aligarh, Ajay Raj Sahni. At 6.30 am more than 50 media men force is being trained. Their reaction highlights the kind of assurance they
witnessed and recorded it. As reported a few policemen walked randomly have got of not being punished for whatever they may do.
‘without any visible seriousness’ as if a firing practice was going on, not a
gun battle. Another footage shows a man in uniform casually holding a But the most glaring ‘political’ exposure of encounter sanctions was
firearm and aiming, while the camera person is heard giving instructions – made by the dead man’s wife, who was immediately handed over
‘Don’t look here and there as I am filming the action. Take aim as if you are compensation and a job and who thereafter changed her tone to her remaining
going to fire the bullet.’ responsibilities of bringing up her two daughters. She had, as a knee jerk
reaction made this disquieting disclosure of what was her perception of
The media itself did not report any police injury which was claimed in these encounter killings. She expressed surprise that her husband had
the press conference. Rather Dainik Jagran wrote that a SO and a sepoy been killed even though they had always voted for and supported BJP,
were saved by the skin of their teeth (baal – baal bache). The SSP first revealing a common perception amongst BJP supporters that it is the
acknowledged that the media had been called ‘as there were orders from opponents who are being killed by the Govt. in these encounters.

November, 2018 37 38 November, 2018
NEW DEMOCRACY Organ of the Central Committee, CPI(ML)
Why these encounters? given clean chits while the Muslims are booked in cases of what the police
calls looking out for ‘terrorist’ connections.
While the UP govt has been sharpening its legal teeth to act against all
opponents, particularly those who organize and speak up for the poor and This must also be seen in their other drive to try and withdraw cases in
downtrodden, it is encouraging the police to shoot down any person terming which some of their cadres have been booked earlier. In Muzaffarnagar
the person a criminal. It is part of their strategy to run a fascist state and anti-Muslim violence cases, their MP, Sanjiv Balyan has given a list of
terrorize the poor in the name of controlling crime, justification of which is 161 cases to be withdrawn and instructions for withdrawal of 155 of these,
already there in its upper class and upper caste constituency that the having serious charges, were issued in April, 2018.
poor, mostly Muslims and Dalits, indulge in crime and need to be disciplined.
And this should also be seen along with other incidents where the RSS
It is part of their mechanism to run a police state, with the Lucknow episode
BJP govts. in other states have given full freedom to shoot Muslims and
being an exception bound to happen.
then scuttle even the basic investigations into the crime as in the Bhopal
This RSS-BJP govt had made attempts to control peoples’ freedom ‘Jail Break’ and shoot out case. The defenders of the charge of fake
earlier also through strengthening the police force and giving it more freedom encounter were denied even the opportunity to adequately plead evidence
to act, using genuine concerns of the people, e.g. against eve teasing and and cross examine witnesses before the JK Jain Enquiry Commission.
to further their male chauvinist agenda to dictate to girl students as in
BHU. But both attempts failed as the first faced the problem of police Experience of Encounter Killings in India
indiscretion and the second met with resolute opposition by girl students,
Semifeudal semicolonial India, where there is no rule of law and the
women and democratic sections of society.
legal process, rooted in British colonial prescription and format, is used by
Intensified Corruption and ‘Free’ Run for RSS Cadres the state to govern over the subject people to implement pro Big landlord,
Big Indian and Multinational Corporate, pro Mafia policies which are anti
This intensified police drive of the RSS govt against the poor and peasant, anti-worker, anti-small producer, against patriotic and self-
opponents should be seen in the background of its other governance dependent growth. We have a rather ‘rich’ experience of encounter killings
initiatives. It is forcefully evicting people from their dwellings in the name of political opponents and of common people. They continue all the time in
of restoring govt. property, both in the cities and the villages. It is also, at almost all states, governed by parties of all hues –the right, centre and
the same time, running roughshod over all rules and laws to permit its own ‘left’. Over and above these, there have been phases of intensified and
class base to wrest control over govt. lands, welfare, contracts and projects. targeted encounter killings. These happened during the repression on the
It has also sharply increased illegal extortions collected by the police and Great Telangana and Naxalbari Peasant Uprisings, these have happened
goons, as in mining, govt. works, railway travel, etc. During all such in the North East and in Kashmir against the democratic nationality
activities policemen stand in attendance. Hence the need for a powerful struggles of the people there and they have happened targeting especially
police force and a compliant and ‘terrorized’ people. Muslim youth, particularly during the phase when the world witnessed the
Amercian led war against so called Islamic terror.
The other drive is to permit RSS cadres to strike at will. Their mob
lynching ‘gaurakshaks’ are having a free run. Those murdering progressive Every phase has seen the police force develop ‘encounter specialists’
intellectuals and their anti-socials attacking democratic rights activists whose illegal acts are protected by the powerful and who in turn become
and peoples’ protests are having a free run. Their communal hordes are too powerful within their organization. These specialists gain not only undue
having a free run. Their cadres are increasingly rallying into Muslim colonies promotions, but also became politically attached and powerful.
in the name of patriotic demonstrations, carrying ‘tiranga’ flags while they
tease and attack the minorities and create disharmony. Their cadres are This phase in UP has some special features. It is being enacted by an

November, 2018 39 40 November, 2018
NEW DEMOCRACY Organ of the Central Committee, CPI(ML)
extreme right wing Hindutva force, seated in power through elections after mandatory written documentation of information of the grave threat the
having made tall promises of solving peoples’ problems. They have no moment it is received, mandatory registration of FIRs against the officer
achievement to fall back upon, the political opposition scene is deeply who has encountered the victim, mandatory trials, no out of turn promotion
divided despite their poor performance and they are seeking an aggressive or awards, complaints to the session judges in case families find partiality
police administrative machinery not only to fast pace their anti-people in investigation, etc. Obviously, these also have not been followed. Here
policies, but also to gain a firm grip over state machinery. Though at present again the investigation against police officials are entrusted to officers of
there is no big and rising people's movement against the govt. in the state the same agency. The results can be easily predicted. The fate of even
but there is an increasing tendency for movements to rise due to the rising Court monitored probe has been conditioned by the limitation of the
anger against the anti-people policies of the RSS-BJP govt. Hence they investigation being done by the same or allied agency.
are targeting helpless, down trodden people and democratic rights of the
people. And for that they want an unrestricted police force, full media control The Law
to justify their made-up charges and also want to determine outcome of
investigations and legal processes through a criminalized police force and Though the law does give sanction for an encounter under section 46
a pliant judiciary. Thus,we see more and more attacks on Muslim youth (1) of the CrPC, it is when “such person forcibly resists.. arrest” and it bars
and Dalits, with RSS invoking its brand of religion and ‘nationalism’ to such a “right to cause a death of a person who is not accused of an offence
target the poor, working sections and progressive, democratic forces. What punishable with death or with imprisonment for life “. As we can see in
else is new? They are not just hiding behind manipulated enquiries. They these encounters, the police did not know their targets, so how could they
are aggressively mobilizing the media to document and highlight the have known about the offences.
encounters as justified and in national interest and they are denying The IPC gives right to private defence in section 96 but section 100
independent enquiries from seeking the facts. restricts this to only “where an assault is such as may reasonably cause
apprehension that death will otherwise be the consequence” or “grievous
Police Reforms and Court Directives
hurt” will occur. This reasonability of the apprehension has to be properly
Calls for police reforms,still mainly governed by the British era Police investigated and established by some third party, wherein full opportunity
Act of 1861, have been mainly directed to providing protection to the police to probe and oppose the case of the police is given. But on the contrary we
from prosecution in order to not demoralize them from performing their see a political overdrive and coloured media campaigns to justify and praise
‘duty’. The SC had ruled to recommend functional autonomy to the police the police actions. The RSS justification is that they are giving police full
to shield the police from political pressure, security of minimum tenures, freedom to deal with ‘criminals’.
streamlined transfers and appointments and a State Security Commission,
In this context, in the case of Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee
etc, but these remained in the books as all the rulers want a compliant
(APCLC) challenging 285 police encounters as fake, “a startling admission
force for unrestricted misuse. Any way thrust of the reforms suggested is
was made …. that in these cases, the practice obtaining in the State was
to loosen the control of ruling Party over the Govt. to make the police force
that when an encounter death takes place, an entry was made in the police
even more law unto itself. These measures do not address the question of
station of the said fact and an FIR was drawn up showing the deceased as
accountability of the police to follow the law and in particular give no right
an accused and then closing the case as having abated on account of the
to the people to have any say over the police which exercise so much
death of the accused person. It was admitted that no investigation was
power over them.
ordinarily undertaken and that the police itself used to decide that it acted
Later the SC also detailed directives to be followed in case of Encounter in the right of private defence, based on their own knowledge and, thereafter,
Deaths in the case of PUCL vs the State of Maharashtra. These included closing the matter.”

November, 2018 41 42 November, 2018
NEW DEMOCRACY Organ of the Central Committee, CPI(ML)
Some Judicial Observations Deaths at Workplace & Intentensifying Proimperialist Policies

Workers' Lives More Dispensible ,
While the Supreme Court has held that fake ‘encounters’ are nothing
but cold blooded, brutal murder by persons who are supposed to "uphold
the law” and that “the encounter philosophy is a criminal philosophy”, its
observation in July 2016 merits reference. In the case, dealing with more Resources for Safety Diverted for
than 1,500 such killings in Manipur, Justice Madan B. Lokur observed:
“Scrutiny by the courts in such cases leads to complaints by the state of
Super Profits
its having to fight militants, insurgents and terrorists with one hand tied
behind its back. This is not a valid criticism since, and this is important, in Aparna
such cases it is not the encounter or the operation that is under scrutiny
but the smoking gun that is under scrutiny. There is a qualitative difference There has been a steep escalation in what are euphemistically called
between use of force in an operation and use of such deadly force that is "industrial accidents" or "work place accidents" in India over the past few
akin to using a sledgehammer to kill a fly; one is an act of self-defence years, even giving scope for the possibility of better reporting being the
while the other is an act of retaliation.” cause of rise in numbers. Major accidents in coal mines were not so
unknown earlier too, but the accident on the scale in Jharkhand in December
Implications for the people and their movement 2016 came after a fairly long gap. Its most remarkable aspect was that the
People of India and democratic and revolutionary forces should know actual number of deaths as well as all the names of those who died could
that this fascist repression by the state is not an RSS peculiarity which not be established with any finality as the workers were contractual and
will vanish with voting out the RSS. That is the battle cry of parliamentary virtually no record existed except that families came to the site asserting
opposition. However RSS utilizes its politically committed cadre under that their member had been working there. Since then, there has been a
Hindutva banner to unleash fascist terror. Present rulers have little leeway major accident due to a boiler burst in NTPC Rai Bareilly in which permanent
to soothe the deprived people. Their policies are inflicting wounds by the and contract workers and even an engineer was killed. There has recently
day. Political deception coupled with fascist repression is the weapon of been an accident in Bhilai Steel Plant. In addition accidents have been
their rule. Demands of the people for redressal and assertion of democratic taking place in steel plants in the states, and in industries too apart from in
rights are for them an indiscipline which needs to be crushed. They rally private sector which get reported as state news or are tucked away as
people around politically divisive agendas, invoke notions of development small items on the margins of the newspaper pages.
and arm their police and armed forces to firmly repress opposition. While
The Capital is a good mirror of the situation. In Delhi, the month of
RSS-BJP are at present the source of fascist dictatorship over the country,
April-May this year saw a string of accidents in the private industrial areas
fascist repression is rooted in the anti-people rule of the ruling classes.
killing over a dozen workers. This was after a massive accident in Bawana
People's struggles and forces leading them should be clear about the class
private industrial area killing 17 workers, including women workers, started
and political nature of fascist repression and fascist rule. Intensifying fascist
the year in January. In many, the work being done was other than the work
drive of RSS-BJP is related to the growing contradictions in the country
against which registration had been secured. Probably not a single person
between the ruling classes and the people and also among the ruling class
in the 30 odd deaths in the first six months in the Capital city was receiving
sections the latter also reflecting the growing contradictions among
minimum wages or held an ESI card. Many died because of fires started
imperialist powers. People must be mobilized on a vast scale against the
by exposed electric wires hanging loose in the workplace. In addition there
fascist drive and against the fascist repression on their struggles.
have been deaths in Delhi of workers while cleaning sewer lines or in sewage
treatment plants. 38 such deaths have been reported in the past seven

November, 2018 43 44 November, 2018
NEW DEMOCRACY Organ of the Central Committee, CPI(ML)
years including ‘’seven deaths that were reported from Delhi in the past six equipment which is long past its life leading to boiler bursts and similar
weeks alone’’ (HT October 22, 2018) and three more on 29th April 2018. incidents. And third is sheer callousness towards safety with overhead
These deaths are in addition to deaths of construction workers in the Capital naked wires in the workspace, exposed electric points in machinery, lack
for which the Delhi Govt. doles out Rs. 2 lakhs whenever the contractor of protective equipment being provided and the employment of totally
does not manage to sprint away relatives and an FIR gets registered. What unskilled and even unexposed (they have not even worked with some one
it definitely does not do is to hand out to every worker registered under the else on the same machine or watched it working over any length of time)
Construction Workers' Board of Delhi a mandatory safety kit which could workers on machinery and power presses for the simple reason that labour
keep him or her alive and for which there is money and more. The Supreme cost should be cut.
Court itself has bewailed the enlarging sums with such Boards of every
single State govt. and their unwillingness to transfer this money to the The reason is simple. The source of profits is the surplus value produced
workers – though this money is meant only for their welfare. In the process by workers. In the course of a workday, the workers produce more value
of Metro Construction in the Capital, 31 deaths have been registered in the than needs to be spent on not only continuing the production process but
past three years (Navbharat Times, 20 th March 2018.) also on their wages. Thus capitalism itself ensures a continual contradiction
between the workers on one hand and the owners and their govts. on the
Apart from the deaths are the disabilities. Fingers missing, occasionally other. The drive is continually to increase the exploitation of the workers in
an arm or an eye or a pronounced limp in a young person from injuries order that more and more of the surplus value produced can be extracted
sustained in a fall: these are normal sights in the private industrial areas in as profits, while workers' immediate struggles fight for a greater share of
Delhi especially where mechanical or small scale steel industries are the same in the shape of wages, other benefits and welfare measures. The
located. The problem with the injuries is that while the disability on losing presence of socialist countries also worked as pressures on bourgeoisie
a finger may not be a great limitation, in fact it precludes securing a job and the govts. to spend on welfare and pro worker measures to avert
unless the original employer can be forced to retain the worker which is revolutionary aspirations and thus strengthened the struggles of the workers
usually not the case in Delhi as the workers cannot prove their employment. worldwide.
The only option is to accept work at lower pay than co workers and that too
in a workplace which implements no statutory laws- 'paying for the disability', As the imperialist crisis deepens and due to pro imperialist policies in
so to speak. countries such as India, as there are all out attempts to cut workers’ wages
and money spent on them, the situation is worsening. Measures like 8
Then there is the intimately related issue of compensation for disability hour work day and double overtime payments are available to an
under the ESI or under the Compensation Act which can be evoked when increasingly smaller percentage of workers in India. Contractualization has
ESI is not applicable. Loss of a finger entails a monthly pension of around brought down wages and also expenses like increments, bonus payments,
Rs 1500 and of an entire hand around Rs. 2500 under ESI so that the ESI payments of other allowances. Another aspect gaining ground is of cutting
itself usually encourages the workers to take lump sum compensations. down the money the state spends on the labour law enforcement apparatus.
The amounts are much less than the minimum wages and are not oriented Factory inspectors are the first casualty- in an industrial city like Delhi
to compensating for the joblessness which loss of a body part usually which had an inspector per industrial area around ten years back with a
brings. Chief sitting in the Head office (above 10 overall), there are today only 4
inspectors for the whole city, while the number of industrial areas has
The issue to reckon with is that hardly any of these cases are actually increased. Thus the worker’s life and limb does not count at all unless an
accidents; they are better categorized as cases due to gross negligence of injured or dead workman manages to become an FIR.
even minimum safety prescriptions. One part is total and deliberate non
implementation of safety procedures mandated. Second is the use of eroded The onus is on the trade union movements, to lead the workers to make

November, 2018 45 46 November, 2018
NEW DEMOCRACY Organ of the Central Committee, CPI(ML)
an issue out of their right to safe workspaces, their right to be living and to compensations for disability must be upgraded to living wages and every
be whole. The undermining of workers' lives is directly linked to growing single worker be entitled to ESI. All deaths of construction workers in
numbers of workers in unorganized sectors, falling unionization and falling accidents must be compensated by the Boards' paying Rs. 10 lakhs per
struggles to defend even existing rights. Without movements, laws will death and also fixing disability amounts in proportion.
remain on paper even if they get written better; the issue right now is that
there is dwindling enfrocement machinery because there is no intent by Finally, this is a class issue. It is an issue of what value is attached to
governments to ensure safety measures; the ruling classes feel it is a a worker’s life. This life has become very cheap in the drive to maintain
waste of time and this is entirely because the working class movement is super profits. Only intensifying the class struggle and directing it against
very defensive in the face of the ruling classes’ offensive on its jobs and changing the society itself can actually change the situation.
rights. It is not extraordinary that this should be so when the very issue of As Engels put it in Conditions of the Working Class in England, "When
holding on to a job is at stake. The massive unemployment in the country one individual inflicts bodily injury upon another, such injury that death
increases the pressure on those in employment to retain jobs at all costs. results, we call the deed manslaughter; when the assailant knew in advance
Thus the need for collective response and the onus on the trade union that the injury is fatal, we call this deed murder. But when society places
movement. Capitalism undermines the importance of workers' lives even hundreds of proletarians in such a position that they inevitably meet a too
in their own eyes. The minimum need is for organized struggles which will early and unnatural death, one which is as much a death by violence as
build struggles that will awaken in them the confidence to demand that the that by the sword or bullet; when it deprives thousands of necessities of
laws respecting their right to safety be implemented. life, places them in conditions in which they cannot live- forces them,
The second issue is the need to make it worthwhile to fight for redressal. through the strong arm of the law, to remain in such conditions until that
The worker loses his or her life, the owner is foisted with a bailable case death ensues which is the inevitable consequence- knows that these
under Sec. 304 A IPC with a maximum punishment of 2 years or fine- thousands of victims must perish, and yet permits these conditions to
maximally the courts settle for fines as the state could not care less. The remain, its deed is murder just as surely as the deed of a single individual;
cases should be non bailable, there should be compulsory jail terms along disguised, malicious murder...." He was writing about the general conditions
with fines. The Bhopal Gas tragedy amply showed what a mockery the in which the workers existed. However, the essence of it applies fully to
current legal right is. workplace "accidents" today.

The third issue is of fighting against the dilution of the labour law
enforcement machinery. In cases of industrial accidents the factory
inspectors should also be booked for negligence. Without this, enforcement
of even minimum safety precautions is impossible. Construction Workers
boards throughout the country must mandatorily supply safety kits to every
registered worker. Safety precautions for workers in sewage plants and for
safai karamcharis must be strictly enforced including making alternative
easy provisions by Govts for citizens to get cleaning of sewage drains
done, in order to facilitate stoppage of manual scavenging. Technology
should be oriented for use in such work rather than concentrating on
unmanned drones.
Not the last is the need to upgrade the provisions of compensation. ESI

November, 2018 47 48 November, 2018
NEW DEMOCRACY Organ of the Central Committee, CPI(ML)

Arrests under UAPA- and Milind Ekbote. Both are known RSS leaders of the area. Several similar
FIRs were filed later. On 8th January 2018, an FIR was filed by Tushar

Silencing Voices
Damgude alleging that Maoists were responsible for the violence at Bhima
Koregaon. A Coordination committee formed to assist the police gave a
report that there was sufficient evidence that the clashes were a culmination

Demanding Democracy of provocative acts orchestrated by Hindutva leader Milind Ekbote and
followers of Sambhaji Bhide ‘Guruji’. The Supreme Court rejected the
anticipatory bail application of Ekbote and he was arrested on 15 th March;
On the 28th of August 2018, in a flurry of morning swoops across the Sambhaji was never arrested and recently in October 2018 the Maharashtra
country, Pune police attempted to arrest five activist intellectuals after Govt. has withdrawn all FIRs on charges of communal violence registered
conducting searches in the homes of nine such intellectuals. The cross against him and only the Bhima Koregaon FIR remains.
country multi city swoop was designed to project an image of great Another set of complaints also have relevance to the situation. Vudhu
efficiency, of righteous governance out to instill fear in those against Budruk village lies 30 kms from Pune and less than 5 km from Bhima
‘nationalism’, of a military fashion ‘surgical strike’. The basis of the moves Koregaon. Here there is a memorial to the son of Shivaji, who was killed
was stated to be the second FIR lodged in the Bhima Koregaon violence by the Mughals. There is also a samadhi of a Mahar ( Dalit) who is credited
on 1st January 2018 and those targeted were all termed ‘urban naxals’. as being the person who had the guts to defy the Mughals and reclaim the
body of Shivaji’s son. On the 29th of December 2017, a flexi board was
The Background seen at Mahar Samadhi stating this history. The Marathas of the village
On the 1st of January 2018, to commemorate a 200 year old war, led by the village panchayat protested, saying that the board falsified history
thousands made their way to a memorial in Bhima Koregaon village in and the body was actually rescued by a Maratha. The board was damaged
Pune district (Maharashtra) to remember a battle in which a Mahar (Dalit) as allegedly was the chattri installed over the Mahar Samadhi and all this
army of the East India Company had defeated the Peshwas. This event is allegedly by a large crowd led by the village panchayat leaders. There are
regularly marked by Ambedkarite Dalits. This year, the spotlight was on around 20 Mahar families in the village and over 100 of the Maratha families.
this annual event because a day earlier a meeting called by the Elgar Milind Ekbote has been regularly visiting the village for years, according
Parishad had protested against the countrywide attacks on Dalits by upper to several reports and had built a youth organization there. Sushma Ovhal,
caste forces and also their vigilante groups with the backing of RSS-BJP who was visiting her brother in that village, filed a complaint under the SC/
led govts. and the state machinery, terming these the 'new peshwas'. ST Act against 49 people including the village sarpanch. Milind Ekbote’s
This meeting took place in Shaniwar Nada, the erstwhile seat of the is the last name. The village panchayat filed a counter complaint saying
Peshwas. the Dalits threatened the Marathas. Within 48 hours the police filed the
chargesheet, with the statement of 10 witnesses, apparently all of one
As people were proceeding towards Bhima Koregaon, apart from several family. Virulent meetings were held in the area on the issue by Hindutva
other obstructions created for them there were violent incidents in which leaders. Thus the atmosphere was already vitiated in the area before either
one person was killed and several injured. Other obstructions included the meeting of the Elgar Parishad or the Bhima Koregaon violence.
closing down of roadside hotels, strike of passenger vehicles etc. all of
which was to try to deter the enormous numbers which finally reached the In March 2018, The Forum for Integrated National Security published a
memorial. On 2nd January the first FIR on the violence was filed by Anita report whose author, Smita Gaikwad, is a retired army officer (Reported by
Sawale, in which it was stated that on the way to Bhima Koregaon on 1st Mridula Chari on 31st August 2018 in Scroll India). This report stated that
January, she witnessed attacks on Dalits at the behest of Sambaji Bhinde the Maoists were responsible for the violence at Bhima Koregaon. The

November, 2018 49 50 November, 2018
NEW DEMOCRACY Organ of the Central Committee, CPI(ML)
officer later led a fact finding committee by Vivek Vichar Manch (think tank themselves in the petition. The Supreme Court, observing that dissent
run by former BJP MP Pradeep Rawat.) and its report was released by the should not be throttled and is essential in a Democracy which might burst
Forum on 24th April 2018. This report specifically goes into the meeting of without these safety valves, directed that all the five be maintained under
the Elgar Parishad and states that the Maoists were responsible for house arrest till it had disposed off the petition before it. A galaxy of senior
instigating the violence at Bhima Koregaon. The Forum for Integrated advocates known to be associated with defence of human rights and also
National Security was founded in 2003, has offices in Mumbai and Pune other senior lawyers argued against the arrests of the intellectuals under
and mainly retired army officers as members. It focuses on nuclear issues, the Bhima Koregaon FIR. The Chief Justice‘s bench delivered the judgement
on other aspects of strategy and also on left wing extremism. There are on the penultimate day of Justice Mishra’s retirement. In a 2 is to 1 majority
two secretary generals, one being Seshadri Chari, senior RSS leader and judgement of 6 pages, the Court declined to say that the activists were not
member of the BJP’s National Executive Committee. involved in the FIR and also dismissed their prayer for a SIT to enquire
into the issues but gave four weeks time under house arrest for the five to
In the month of June 2018, five intellectuals were arrested, terming
seek bail and quashing of cases from the lower courts.
them to be Maoists and also holding them to be guilty of the violence on 1st
January in Bhima Koregaon. Charges under UAPA were made out against Justice Chandrachud delivered the weighty minority judgement. In his
them though the section was initially absent in the concerned FIR. On the judgement he has commented on the impropriety of the Press Conference
morning of the 28th of August, police from Pune entered the homes of nine organized by the Pune police during the course of the proceedings in the
intellectuals across five cities almost simultaneously – Anand Teltumble’s Supreme Court. In this Press Conference the police had presented letters
home in Goa, Stan Swamy in Ranchi, Varavara Rao and his daughter’s allegedly involving the arrested intellectuals and activists in what the police
homes in Hyderabad, Gautam Navlakha in Delhi, Advocate Sudha Bharadwaj termed as plots against the person of Modi. The judgement decries that
in Faridabad and Advocates Vernon Gonzalves and Arun Ferreira in this Conference was organized after the highest Court had directed the
Mumbai. They also secured transit remand from district courts for five of police to place its position before the Court on the matter of these arrests.
them and tried to take them to Pune within hours of entry into their homes. It specially refers to a letter purported to have been written by Sudha
From here on the police script began to waver due to some vigilant Bharadwaj, where the usage of Marathi terms makes it unlikely that a non
elements in the judiciary. In the Delhi High Court, a petition was moved on Marathi would have written the letter - the copies of the said letter were
behalf of Gautam Navlakha, ex Resident editor of EPW, leader of the PUDR apparently distributed to the Press in the Conference. Thus the judgement
and known civil rights activist. The Bench of Justices Murlidhar and Goel concluded that it would be better if a SIT was to investigate the entire
looked into the process of securing the transit remand instead of just arrests. The judgement also upheld the need for the courts to uphold and
accepting the police version as most lower courts do and as in fact, the safeguard the right to dissent.
Saket district court judge had done. The Bench thus sent Gautam Navlakha The day after the Supreme Court judgement the Delhi High Court set
to house arrest, staying the transit remand. Similarly, transit remand from Gautam Navlakha free saying he had availed the legal opportunity granted
the Dist. court of Faridabad was secured against Sudha Bharadwaj, but by the Supreme Court and that the FIR under question did not apply to
the Punjab and Haryana High Court also stayed the transit, needing her to him. His lawyers have now also filed a petition in the Mumbai High Court.
be brought back from Pune to be kept under house arrest. Meanwhile, However, the Punjab and Haryana High Court declined similar relief to Sudha
senior lawyers mentioned the case before the Chief Justice of the Supreme Bharadwaj asking her to apply for bail from the relevant court. The others
Court who agreed to hear the petition the next day. have time till the 30th of Oct to approach the relevant courts. In the
The petition before the Supreme Court was initially filed by eminent meanwhile a petition filed in the Supreme Court by Romila Thapar and
historian Romila Thapar, economist Prabhat Patnaik, academic Satish others for review of the earlier majority judgement has not been accepted
Despande and two others and the five arrested subsequently impleaded by the Court.

November, 2018 51 52 November, 2018
NEW DEMOCRACY Organ of the Central Committee, CPI(ML)
The move of the Hindutva forces is, firstly, to counter the wave of Dalit that the district court had not applied its mind. So many innocents would
anger sweeping the country and verbalizing itself more and more clearly get relief from courts if judges in the lower courts could actually apply their
as a challenger to the social diktats of Manusmriti and also as a fighter for minds to the chargesheets and the applications for police remand rather
the rights of Dalits to land. It is manifesting itself through a variety of than acting as police judges. The majority Judgement of the Supreme Court
voices and the Hindutva govts have reason to quail at the huge militant has stopped short of either noting that the actual FIR on the Koregaon
mobilizations of Dalits in Maharashtra firstly at Bhima Koregaon this year, violence remains unacted upon and also failed to protect activists and
then against the violence at Bhima Koregaon and of Dalits in India against intellectuals though it gave them temporary relief. In dismissing the petition,
the striking down of provisions of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act it also showed its judgement of the initial petitioners who are qualified and
apart from several local struggles. They hope to frighten away Dalit masses established academics and progressive commentators.
from coming into struggles and are trying to say that the violence to Dalits
are orchestrated by ‘Maoists’ rather than Hindutva elements. So many sections of people are into struggles against the effects of
agrarian distress, against attacks by BJP RSS Govt on all sections. The
Secondly the Hindutva Govts also want to crack down on all leading pro imperialist policies are being pushed through along with the rest of the
intellectuals and activists who support the movements of the people, support Hindutva agenda. These must be fought by all the movements coming
them in their struggle for social change and especially those who have together, not only for sectional issues but against the entire pro imperialist
alternate world vision. They always have had an agenda of communist policy frame work of this Govt and also of other ruling class parties and
witch hunting and now they have coined a term to use against progressive also against the Hindutva’s manuvadi agenda and for democratization of
voices- Urban Naxals. They are classifying all voices of dissent in this society.
way to try to legitimize their attacks on them, simultaneously running
propaganda that all those who are ‘Muslims’ or ‘Naxals’ are ‘terrorists’ and
anti nationals. They forget that people of India, beset with problems Read and Subscribe
Orgg ans
stemming from pro imperialist policies, are questioning these classifications.
As Dr. Anand Teltumble put it so clearly while condemning the search of
his home when he was not even present there, now the BJP-RSS Govt
has shown the faces of those it refers to when it talks of ‘urban naxals’
New Democracy English
and people of India can decide how to assess them. Actually govts all Pratirodh Ka Swar Hindi
capitalize on lack of knowledge to generate support for their repression, to
associate fear and wrong with certain labels and frighten the people into
Voice of New Democracy Telugu
thinking that something terrifying is being acted against. People of India (Telengana)
should assess the work of the people who are being arrested and their New Democracy Bulletin Telugu
contributions and then decide if they think such people are acting against
(Andhra Pradesh)
the country and the people. Anyway, not too long ago, it was Atal Bihari
Vajpai who classified naxalites as ‘patriots’. Biplabi Ganaline Bengali
The entire episode has brought one more refreshing aspect to the fore- Inquilabi Sada Rah Punjabi
the willingness of elements in the judiciary to actually stand and act for Lok Yudh Marathi
the law instead of just accepting what the police place before them,
especially in the district courts. It was the Delhi High Court bench which Sangrami Ekta Oriya
set the trend by staying the transit remand of Gautam Navlakha by saying

November, 2018 53 54 November, 2018
NEW DEMOCRACY Organ of the Central Committee, CPI(ML)

Deepening Economic nature of this crisis and hoped that with economic growth picking up in
imperialist countries, they could taper off this stimulus. These ‘generous

Crisis, Rising NPAs and
doles’, all in the form of lending, seriously compromised the condition of
public sector banks and financial institutions. But the economic growth
kept on declining. The domestic contradictions intensified and the people’s

Loot of People’s Money anger against anti-people policies grew. This anger came forth also in the
form of an anti-corruption movement which did not address the real culprits
behind the massive corruption i.e. foreign and domestic corporate and only
Free fall in the value of rupee, rising NPAs of public sector banks and targeted the party ruling at the time. This was an attempt by the corporate
failing non-banking financial institutions are some of the characteristics of to save the system by sacrificing those earlier representatives. It was in
what is being propagated as the fastest growing economy. The Rupee has this condition that the biggest corporate orchestrated campaign brought
declined by over15 percent in this year and share market, despite its wide Modi led RSS Govt. to power. Corporate had banked that RSS would be
fluctuations, lost 5.5 percent in the first week of October, 2018. The current able to distract the people’s attention from the frank loot and robbery of
crisis is a continuation and deepening of the economic crisis at the root of the people, of the state exchequer and natural resources of the country.
which is the agrarian-industrial crisis. Growing unemployment, rising prices This nexus between corporate and Hindutva demonstrated that ruling
of essential commodities and increasing distress of peasants and workers classes – big capitalists and big landlords- wanted to unleash the weapon
are its impact on the people who are groaning under the burden being of division of the people on a large scale though it had been a pillar of the
imposed on them by the rulers. state policy of the ruling classes along with repression and reforms
(deception) since the beginning of their class rule. Modi led RSS Govt.
Prices of petrol and diesel have increased sharply putting a lot of continued the economic policies of Manmohan Singh led UPA Govt. with
economic burden on the people besides adversely affecting economic renewed vigour, intensifying pro-imperialist pro-corporate policies and
activities. Besides increase in the prices of essential commodities, increase suppressing people’s struggles. The present deepening of crisis is both
in the diesel prices has made agricultural inputs costlier thereby increasing the result of continuing economic policies as well as intensification of these
agrarian distress which was already quite severe. policies under RSS Govt.
At the root of this crisis is the model of economic growth being pursued
This crisis once again demonstrates the continuing dependence on
by the successive govts. This FDI dependent and export oriented model is
imperialism. In the first week of October 2018 alone, stock markets lost
suffering from the lack of demand. The demand in the markets of western
nearly 5.5% on the back of withdrawal of foreign portfolio investments (FPI).
countries has dipped due to continuing stagnation and low growth in those
In September 2018 nearly 21,035 crore rupees were withdrawn from FPI
economies and rise of protectionism there. Domestic demand is stagnant
both from equity market (10,825 crores) and debt market (10,198 crores).
reflecting the continuing abysmal conditions of the overwhelming majority
In the first five days of October 2018, 9,358 crore rupees were withdrawn,
of the people of the country. This has any way not been the concern of
Rs. 7,094 crores from equity market and Rs. 2,261 crores from debt market.
those ruling the country.
This withdrawal led to one of the sharpest falls in the share prices. In fact
Explosion of world financial economic crisis in 2008 seriously affected since April 2018, i.e. over last six months, there has been negative FPI
Indian economy which was and continues to be subservient to imperialism. (withdrawal) to the tune of Rs. 84,115 crores. This is also a result of the
Indian rulers sought to keep the economic growth rate high by pumping in protectionist policies of Trump Admn. which has seen foreign capital
money, mostly handing over large sums to corporate in the name of including US capital flocking back to US. How Modi govt. is robbing the
sustaining high growth. They did not and could not assess the systemic public money in the interest of foreign capital would be clear from the way

November, 2018 55 56 November, 2018
NEW DEMOCRACY Organ of the Central Committee, CPI(ML)
it is handling the collapse of Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services made some suggestions on this issue of rising NPAs, the first of which
Ltd. was “To prevent recurrence: Improve governance of public sector banks
and distance them from the Government” thereby highlighting the role of
Pro-corporate economic policies being pursued by UPA Govt. and now Govt. in the creation of NPAs. Apologists of corporate, who are abundant
with greater vigour by Modi led RSS Govt. has led to sharp rise in the Non among official economists, talk of ‘market forces’ and 'vigour of capitalism'
Performing Assets of Public Sector Banks (PSBs). This is a result of but this vigour owes itself to patronage of the Govt. All corporate are in a
‘generous’ lending to the corporate to spur economic growth and much of way cronies, some being more favourites of the dispensation in power at
this lending is fraudulent. These fraudulent exercises were termed by the time.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley as a failure of the ‘business’ model pursued
by these fraudsters. All of these, who robbed the PSBs of tens of thousands The case of Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Ltd. (IL&FS)
of crores, were helped by Modi Govt. to leave the country before the represents the most shameless robbing of public money by the Modi led
skeletons came tumbling out of the closet. Contrast this with the jailing RSS Govt. This company, a private company, thrived on public money. It
and humiliation of peasants even for loans of small sums in thousands. has outstanding loans worth over Rs. 91 thousand crores with equity capital
and resources of about only Rs. 6,950 crores which is less than even one
NPAs of the PSBs have been largely a result of doling out of their thirteenth of the outstanding loans. According to some reports outstanding
money to big capitalists and then these NPAs are waived off from the loans are being under-reported and amount to nearly Rs. 1 lakh 15 thousand
public funds. In the period between April 2014 and April 2018, the Modi cores. The Central Govt. has taken over the Company and reconstituted
Govt. wrote off NPAs to the tune of Rs. 3,16,000 crores while the recovery its Board with richest banker of Asia, Uday Kotak, as its new Chairman.
of NPAs has been only Rs. 44,980 crores, the written off amount being Thus the Govt. has taken over the outstanding loans. This company was
more than seven times the recovered amount. In comparison Modi Govt.'s running into problems for quite some time but the Govt. had turned a blind
projected budgetary allocation for health, education and social schemes eye to it. Regulations regarding non-banking financial institutions like IL&FS
for the year 2018-19 has been only Rs. 1.38 crores, which is only around were also given a good bye. Even while the Company was in the red, its
two fifth of the NPAs waived off by it. Though waiving off of NPAs has founder and CEO, Ravi Parthsarathy, reportedly took home Rs. 20.5 crores
been continuing from the period of UPA Govt., NPAs waived off by Modi in annual wages over the past year and Vice-Chairman, Hari Sankaran,
Govt. in four years ending April 2018 is 166% of that done in the over ten Rs. 7.76 crores.
year period of UPA Govt. (Indian Express, October 3, 2018) NPAs have
been continuously rising over the period. These were 4.62% of total loans IL&FS was an amalgamation of foreign capital and public money
of PSBs in 2014-15, rising to 7.79% in 2015-16 and reaching 10.41% in controlled privately in the interest of corporate. Foreign investors in this
December 2017. These are despite massive waive offs of these loans as company are Japan’s Orix Corporation which has 23.54% shares and Abu
mentioned earlier. The Finance Ministry claims that this is due to Asset Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) having 12,56% stake. These two foreign
Quality Review undertaken in 2014, but this is only partially true. Govt. investors had over 36% of the company’s shares. The biggest shareholder
has referred 41 accounts to National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT). Of in the company was Life Insurance Company (LIC) having 25.34% stake
these accounts, 12 accounts were worth 1.75 lakh crores and another 29 and State Bank of India (SBI) had another around 6.42% of the stake.
worth were over 90 thousand crores. These two alone had over 30% stake in this company. Among other stake
holders are HDFC 9.02% and Central Bank of India (PSB) 7.67%. From
These rising NPAs represent robbing of public money by corporate with this it is apparent that this company had large infusion of public money
the help of the Govt., i.e. political representatives of the ruling classes in through LIC and SBI which are now being asked to foot the bill. Though
power. In his quite circumspect interview to Indian Express (September Govt. has not fully disclosed the exposure of other public sector banks
12, 2018), former Governor of Reserve Bank of India, Mr. Raghuram Rajan and funds, reports say that Public Provident Fund may have a ‘serious

November, 2018 57 58 November, 2018
NEW DEMOCRACY Organ of the Central Committee, CPI(ML)
exposure’ to IL&FS. This shows the criminal conspiracy of the Govt. against contractualization of workers thereby fruther depressing the abysmal
the people, whose money is being squandered. According to reports, HDFC conditions of workers. Terms of trade are turning more adverse to agriculture
has been the biggest mortgage lender for the IL&FS, the biggest state which is contributing to the deepening agrarian crisis. The Govt. has long
lender has been Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) which abandoned even the talk of giving land to landless peasants, the crisis
filed an insolvency petition against IL&FS. Among the major lenders to has deepened even for the land owning peasants. A large number of people
IL&FS are Bank of India, SBI, PNB (all PSBs) and Yes Bank. are being rendered unemployed. Labour migration from backward areas is
less to do with increase in demand for labour and more to do with
These figures not only show how the Govt. has been diverting public replacement with cheaper labour power. This is the cause of tension in
money to Corporate in the name of infrastructure projects, it also shows some parts of the country.
that the recent growth is being maintained through large scale employment
of public funds in the construction of infrastructure projects. No wonder The Union Govt. has been increasing the economic burden by increasing
construction has been contributing maximally to economic growth in recent taxes. Govt. talks of only rise in international prices of crude to explain the
years. This is a debt driven growth in which Corporate are generously increase in the prices of petrol and diesel, but the fact is that Govt. taxes
partaking of public funds. It demonstrates the real story behind the ‘fastest are the biggest (more than half) component of the prices of petroleum
growing economy’ as claimed by the Govt. of India. products. It is due to very high taxes that petrol and diesel are more costly
in India as compared to neighbouring countries like Pakistan, Nepal, Srilanka
The growth of NPAs has been phenomenal under Modi led RSS Govt. and Bangladesh. Union Govt. has already almost reached the limit of fiscal
This is putting a great strain on the public sector banks and financial deficit it had kept for the current year. So it is planning to raise (borrow)
institutions which are the repository of public deposits. The Govt. is making Rs. 2.47 lakh crores from the market. It is worried about the failures of
the large public sector institutions pay for its profligacy and its service to PSBs and non-banking financial institutions as these raise the cost of
corporate. LIC has been made to take over IDBI at the cost of over Rs. borrowing (interest rates) in the market.
13,000 crores. Recently Dena Bank was merged along with Vijaya Bank
with Bank of Baroda. Dena Bank had a serious problem of NPAs. So the While its economic policies are leading to deepening crisis, Union Govt.
crisis created by reckless lending through ‘proximity’ with the Govt. is is planning to sell more of the natural resources. According to a report in
being transferred to hitherto viable banks and financial institutions. Govt. Hindu (October 8) Govt. has raised Rs. 1.81 lakh crores by auctioning 50
is seriously compromising their already fragile health. Though some of mineral blocks since 2015. The Govt. is planning to further auction 102
these institutions are considered too big to fail, one should keep in mind mineral blocks in different states including Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Madhya
the fall in US in 2008 explosion of mighty companies which were considered Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha and other states. Forget Make in India,
‘too big to fail’. One can easily guess the hardships to the people in that Skill India, and the like, it is plain “Sell India” that Modi led RSS Govt. is
event. doing.
The real cause underlying rising NPAs is the Govt. push to increase
the Corporate's profits without addressing the question of ‘demand deficit’.
Infrastructure spending through borrowing without adequate backup of returns
is bound to create crisis. The corporate take their profits and people are
forced to pay the bills. To address the demand deficit which reflects the
real conditions of the people of the country, the real income of vast sections
of people, workers and peasants must be increased. But far from increasing
their real income, the same is being further attacked. There is increasing

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The current ‘me too’ in India- It was the aftermath of 2012 that resulted in a virtual outburst, with
working women in various sectors speaking out against power based sexual
Solidarity Statement violence. Young women journalists spoke then, as did women in institutions
like TERI against their exalted bosses, as did young legal interns against
judges of the Supreme Court itself. The complaints were either converted
Fight to Demolish Feudal Patriarchal culture at into FIRs as support at workplace faltered before power or they came to
workplaces and for Democratic Culture. naught in the absence of internal committees and hesitation in going to the
police. Can one blame the women when not just careers but even the
In India, the “Me Too’ movement exposes that possibility of lasting in the professions is at stake?
forcing law enactments are not enough- The ripples have continued incessantly and women’s speaking up could
Movements alone can ensure implementation not be throttled, only there was not so much focus on them. Since the past
year there have been outpourings of anger in both the Malayalam and Telegu
Brave, angry outpourings from women journalists and women in the film industry. In the first case, when the Cine Artists organization mocked
entertainment industry in Mumbai are reigning over headlines in India. the women by reinstating a powerful actor accused of sexual misconduct,
Comparisons are being drawn with the movement with the same name the women of the industry responded by forming a platform of their own
which burst out over a year earlier in the US and it is being made out that where both women actors and women supporting staff have organized
the inspiration has been drawn from there, but this is only a partial truth. themselves. In the Telegu industry, one woman actor expressed her protest
One struggle lends strength to another. It is also true that it is due to the by a public stripping. (The Malayalam Cine Artists forum has removed the
movement in the US that India's newspapers picked up the issues here. It actor from membership after the current ''me too''picked up steam.)
was after December 16th 2012 that the floodgates of women’s anger in India
burst open in a new way. It was not that women had not spoken about A fresh round of fighting for justice is on as women in various professions
power based sexual violence at workplace or in course of performing duty, recapture relief, recapture the right to be at peace with themselves, by
earlier. The failed attempt at justice in semi feudal India by a saathin in breaking their silence. There are many women who are putting their current
Rajasthan in 1990s became the prod for women’s movements which resulted high positions in the profession, their lives, their families at stake and
in the Vishakha judgement of the Supreme Court. It called for internal voicing their anger and their sense of humiliation at what they were forced
committees at workplace till a law to the same effect was enacted. After to go through so that they could pursue their professions, or how they were
that this Court also set the tone, by violating its own judgement on its own denied opportunities if they refused. Women’s organizations and democratic
premises. individuals and organizations must rally in solidarity, must salute the
Several women dared to speak out after Vishakha – in the capital city
of Delhi they faced severe backlash despite being sometimes backed by What will become of these voices? The test is of the democratic
support by co workers, with one case seeing a powerful movement; there movement, not of these survivors. The test is of progressive movements.
was similar experience in the rest of the country. Yet, several institutions Some of these voices will become FIRs. Some will be silenced by the
were forced to set up committees. Due to the overall patriarchal and non finger pointings which will inevitably get into action at the behest of the
democratic culture at workplaces, often women complainants were let down powerful accused and other powerful yet to be accused guilty. Feudal
by senior women in the Vishakha committees which existed. Apart from patriarchal values hold sway in this society, the point is the fight against
that, even when the complaint was not directed against very senior people, them. There have to be powerful movements in support of justice for those
the Vishakha committees usually let down the complainant. who have spoken. There must be movements for throwing out of the named

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NEW DEMOCRACY Organ of the Central Committee, CPI(ML)
from public offices and professional bodies, for social boycotts at workplace of a 'sathin'and her experience with the system including the Courts.
and for work boycotts. There must be investigations through sexual However it provked similar struggles by journalists, cinema workers, nurses,
harassment investigation bodies which should be constituted of persons librarians, teachers, scientists, law interns, etc. After 2012 women and
whose uprightness should be the issue and not their fame. These girls from villages, far off districts spoke up about gangrapes and sexual
committees should be set up by democratic processes. But it must be violence. More and more often their families participated in their quest for
clear to all- justice can only be done if democratic and progressive struggles justice. Any section of the workforce speaking out and struggling can force
remain alert and active and continue the fight to ensure gender justice. thinking about ensuring gender safety to women at different types of work
Getting laws written and committees formed is only the beginning of the places. Creativity will be needed to ensure appropriate forms for the same.
battle. It will give women in other sectors confidence to question work place
cultures. It can break silences of 'shame' that society ingrains,help fight
There are several questions being raised though right now they are social pressures. It has provoked movements that enlarged definitions of
being spoken in low voices. Why not FIRs, even if the quests for justice sexual harassment. It has now ensured that secual harassment is not
are belated? Should there be no limit to the time in which women can throw considered the shameful fault of the victim but a criminal offence by the
these accusations? It should be clear- the outbursts represent total refusal accused.
by the powers that be to implement healthy, gender safe, non feudal
workplace cultures. The Vishakha judgement which emerged as a result of There is worry about such opportunities being misused for settling scores
women’s movements, showed one way- by forming internal committees especially professional or political ones. They are not misplaced, but such
and taking internal action. The logic was that there may be several types cases are just a fallout of positive steps. The grain will always need
of suggestive sexual harassments not easy to prove in a court of law separation from the chaff and in this issue, the way out is clear- fair, regular,
before a skeptical judicial and police system (which even the Verma elected sexual harassment committees at workplace with teeth to ensure
Commission report conceded), but would be common knowledge within compliance and enough power to ensure reach to all levels. Their functioning
the workplace. It is also true that most of these committees, even where must be monitored by employees at the workplaces and a democratic
they were set up, were subservient to power and toothless. This is true of culture at workplace must be part of the struggles of all democratic
Govt., public and private sectors. The Law on Sexual Harassment at organizations. Without this, feudal cultures prevalent at workplaces have
Workplace, though quite watered down from what was demanded, is also ensured that even senior women fail to stand up for justice for women who
unimplemented. In all these circumstances, any attempt to deny the face sexual harassment and violence, even if the victims speak up. In all
affected women the right to speak, must be opposed tooth and nail. These types of work, trade unions, employees'organizations and other class bodies
are times of social media, or cell phones that allow visual and voice can play a huge role in ensuring gender safe work places provided they
recordings; all of which have acted as aids to securing justice, to capturing fight patriarchy within the organization too. In this the working women
proof. These facilities were not there earlier. The support struggles for at themselves can play a role in ensuring that they are counted and ensuring
least middle class women who speak up are now far more enabling than democratic functioning of their own class organizations by playing an active
earlier, and this change is allowing the women to speak out the torment role in all types of issues taken up for struggle,by ensuring their
they have kept bottled up so long. representation in leadership so that they are part of decision making.
Breast beating is on that the ''Me Too'' movement is 'elitist'. This a It should be clear – an overall powerful struggle against feudal patriarchal
distortion. Big sections of Indian women go out to work- as agricultural values alone can provide the mileu for ensuring both justice for all victims
labourers, in unorganized sectors as construction workers, as AASHA and also more supportive and gender sensitive workplace environments.
workers etc.; in institutions, factories and offices. The movement against Only forcing law enactments are not the answer- struggles alone can ensure
sexual harassment at work place in India was sparked off by the gang rape their fair implementation.

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