The Communist Party of India (Marxist) on Friday said it will move a cut motion on the Finance Bill if its demand to rescind the increase in customs and excise duties for petrol and diesel is not met.

The party Polit Bureau, which met here on Thursday, said it will hold consultations with all the secular opposition parties to coordinate the opposition to the Budget provisions.

It felt that the Union budget is of “pro-big business, pro-rich orientation'' and cited Rs. 80,000 crore tax concessions for corporates and the slashing of Rs. 3,000 crore in fertilizer subsidy and Rs. 400 core in food subsidy to drive home the point. In addition, it said direct taxes have been reduced and there is an across the board increase in indirect taxes which burden the common man.

The party also reiterated its total opposition to the Civil Nuclear Liability Bill, strong objection to the present version of the Food Security Bill describing it as a “travesty of food security,'' criticised the Foreign Education Providers Bill, and demanded the Women's Reservation Bill, passed by the Rajya Sabha, be brought in the Lok Sabha in the current session itself.

The Food Security Bill, the Polit Bureau said, will create food insecurity since instead of enhancing entitlements reduced them by slashing the current quota of 35 kg to 25 kg with no specified entitlement for Antodaya. All those Above Poverty Line, earning more than Rs. 12 a day, are totally excluded.

“The proposal of cash subsidy is objectionable and will mean putting consumers at the mercy of the market at a time when food inflation is extraordinarily high. Worst of all, it accepts the totally flawed estimates of poverty by the Planning Commission as the basis of entitlement which excludes vast numbers of the poor from the subsidised food entitlements.''

Allowing foreign direct investment and foreign teaching shops into the country, it said, will distort the already elitist educational structure. “It will make education more commercial and there will be no regulation or control over such institutions,'' the party said, promising to lend full support to the struggle of teachers, students and the education community against the Bill.

The Polit Bureau said the UPA government was seeking to centralise all powers within the educational sphere to the detriment of the States. It said the proposal to set up a Commission for Higher Education & Research is one major step in this direction.

“The UPA government is behaving as if education is not a concurrent subject,'' it said and called upon the government not to move ahead with the setting up of this Commission till all the State governments and all those who have a vital stake in higher education are consulted and their views taken on board.

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