Centre's neo-liberal policies imposing economic burden on people

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) on Thursday cautioned that the ‘Jail Bharo' protest held across the country marks only the beginning of such popular mobilisation and protest actions against the economic policies of the Manmohan Singh government.

“April 8, 2010 will go down in history as one of the biggest protest actions organised in recent memory. Tens of lakhs of people, at the call of the Left parties, participated in civil disobedience programmes all across the country. Lakhs were arrested as they deliberately violated the law angrily and militantly to protest against the neo-liberal economic policies of the UPA-2 government that were imposing unprecedented economic burdens on the vast mass of our people,” the CPI(M) noted editorially in its latest edition of party organ Peoples' Democracy.

It said the focus of the protests was against the unbridled rise in the prices of essential commodities which was eroding their livelihood. This came on top of the problems due to the impact of global recession leading to loss of a decent livelihood for a crore of people.

Among other things, the protesters demanded universalisation of the public distribution system; a ban on all speculative futures/forward trading in essential commodities; and release of excess buffer stock of rice and wheat lying in the Central government godowns. It said that as against the required norm of 200 lakh tonnes of buffer stock, the government was holding 474.65 lakh tonnes.

The demands also included a rollback in the prices of petroleum products announced in the budget and stringent action against black marketeers and hoarders. “Far from accepting these demands, the Central government has been brazenly defending its anti-people decisions and refusing to accept the growing misery of the vast mass of our people,” the editorial said.

Quoting estimates of the National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector that about 77 per cent of the population was living with wages below Rs.20 a day and the 2009 Forbes list that said the number of billionaires in India in had doubled to 52 with the combined net worth reaching $276 billion, the editorial said: “This is nothing but a resounding re-confirmation, if any such re-confirmation were ever necessary, that the neo-liberal trajectory is leading not merely to the creation but to the widening of the hiatus between the ‘shining' and the ‘suffering' India,” the editorial said, cautioning more such actions in future against this trajectory of economic reforms.

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