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CPI(M) discusses approach on policy issues

Monday 11 April 2005

By Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI, APRIL 10. In an attempt to determine and codify its approach on policy issues such as foreign direct investment (FDI), loans from international agencies and working with non-governmental organisations, a debate got underway today at the 18th congress of the Communist Party of India (Marxist).

On the penultimate day of its six-day congress, the CPI(M) decided to address these issues in the wake of criticism that it had one set of standards in States where it lead a government and another at the Centre, where it supports the United Progressive Alliance Government from outside.

"After the congress discusses and adopts [the second part] of the report (Political-Organisation) one of your pet areas [of criticism] that what we accept in West Bengal is opposed in Delhi will not be there. There will be a common policy," the Polit Bureau member, Sitaram Yechury, told mediapersons at a briefing.

Conditions for FDI

Mr. Yechury, who moved the report, said that three conditions must be met with regard to FDI. One, that such capital would augment the existing productive capacities in our economy and not allow it to take over existing productive capacities; second, that such foreign capital must upgrade the economy technologically; and third, it must lead to employment generation.

"While foreign capital will seek to exploit our natural resources and labour to garner super profits, the imposition of these conditions will, apart from making the task of eroding national sovereignty more difficult, render some benefit to the Indian economy and the people," the report said.

On seeking loans from international funding institutions, he said that under globalisation, neo-liberal policies reduced the State Government to extreme penury by reducing Central transfers to them and charging high interest rates on loans being given to them. Such agencies also offered aid but these come with a package. So while accepting loans, the guideline would be that a State Government could do so only if there were no strings attached. In this regard, the CPI(M) had opposed the World Bank conditions accepted by the previous Telugu Desam Party Government in Andhra Pradesh.

Working with NGOs

Another development in the era of globalisation was the association of non-governmental organisations/self-help groups, who were being increasingly associated with welfare activities such as spreading literacy. The delegates did not want to work with NGOs that received foreign funding as many of them were being used by multinational agencies as marketing arms.

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