Calls for promotion of alternatives that bridge the rich-poor gap

The Left parties should mobilise public opinion against the “anti-people” policies of the Central Government and promote alternatives that will retard the disparities these policies are bringing about between the rich and the poor, Communist Party of India (Marxist) Polit Bureau member Sitaram Yechury has said.

Participating in a seminar on the “Central government's anti-peoples policies and alternatives” held at Tummalapallivari Kshetrayya Kalakshetram on Friday, he said the UPA-II was trying to project concessions to the rich as “incentives” and those to the poor as “subsidies”.

The Central Government proposed to give tax exemption to the tune of Rs. 2 lakh crores to the very companies that were the reason for economic recession.

It gave Rs. 80,000 crore of tax exemption as a stimulus package in the first year and it was getting ready to forgo another Rs. 1.20 lakh crores taxes in the second year.

The idea behind the tax exemption was that the companies would spend the money saved for production and salaries of employees. Salaries would only create demand for various goods and buoyancy would be created in the economy.

But the alternative to this model was the government collecting Rs. 2 lakh crore taxes and investing it in infrastructure, thereby creating jobs that would, in turn, generate wealth in terms of salaries, resulting in demand for production. This would also lead to economic recovery, but more gradually.

Futures trading

He said that the money made in the form of profits by companies that were being given tax exemptions was finding its way into the “futures and speculation markets.”

These markets were making profit only by driving up the prices of commodities. The increase in prices was becoming a burden to the common man.

Another step that should be taken to revive the economy was banning futures trading on essential commodities.

The Rajya Sabha member said that another alternative that would stop the downward spiral of the economy was exempting petroleum products from tax.

“The import of petroleum products is very essential for the functioning of the economy.

“Why should tax be collected on a commodity that is so necessary for the working of the economy?” Mr. Yechury asked.

He said the victory of the CPI (M) in the Durgapur Assembly by-elections was a welcome trend in West Bengal.

The victory had helped the party regain its “confidence”.

In the party's three-decade rule in West Bengal, “mistakes were made” but these were now being rectified.

CPI (M) city secretary R. Raghu welcomed the gathering and district secretary V. Umamaheswara Rao concluded the session. Party floor leader in the VMC general body Ch. Babu Rao was on the dais.

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