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CPI (M): UPA should introspect

Friday 25 May 2007

Special Correspondent

Neglect of farm sector is most serious

Certain positive measures initiated Promised laws yet to be legislated

NEW DELHI: The United Progressive Alliance Government, which has completed three years in office, will have to "seriously introspect" on areas it lagged behind against the target set in the Common Minimum Programme (CMP), the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has said.

"Has the UPA Government lived up to its CMP promises and popular expectations? There are, of course, certain positive measures that have been initiated, under pressure from the Left parties... In vital areas, the promises made in the CMP are yet to see the light of the day," an editorial in the latest edition of the party organ, People’s Democracy, said.

In the past two years, the Left parties had prepared a detailed note, highlighting areas in the CMP on which no progress had been made.

The editorial noted that despite promises that the profit-making public sector units would not be privatised or disinvested, there were efforts to negate this. Vital areas, such as education and health, got greater allocation, as promised in the CMP but these were far from meeting the target of 6 per cent and 3 per cent of the GDP respectively.

Agrarian distress

"Most serious is the continued neglect of the agricultural sector. The agrarian distress, reflected in farmers’ suicides, declining food grain production and declining per capita availability, seriously imperilling India’s food security, continues to deepen."

The promised substantial hike in public investment in agriculture, particularly in rural infrastructure and irrigation, had not happened at the required levels. Despite the growth in institutional credit, about two-thirds of farmers were still at the mercy of private moneylenders and their usurious interest rates.

Though the CMP mentioned fair and remunerative prices for farmers, special attention for procurement and adequate protection to farmers from agricultural imports, particularly when international prices fall, nothing substantial was done.

Many promised laws — to protect unorganised labour, for agricultural workers, women’s reservation, Lok Pal Bill, the Prevention of Communal Violence Bill — were yet be legislated.

Neo-liberal agenda

The editorial said: "Even after crossing the halfway mark, the non-implementation of crucial CMP promises is, in itself, most disappointing. More disconcerting, however, is the relentless pursuit of the neo-liberal agenda of economic reforms.

"The UPA will have to seriously introspect on this occasion. Apart from the above, this must also include the manner in which the communal forces are being combated as are the threats to internal security and failures in facing pressures on the CMP-stated independent foreign policy."

In the coming days, popular pressure would have to be exerted on the UPA Government if the growing hiatus between `shining’ and the `suffering’ India was to be bridged, it said.

See online : The Hindu

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