Giving a clear message that the Communist Party of India (Marxist) plans to reach out to the dispossessed tribals in a bid to take on the Maoists, the 20th Party Congress being held here adopted resolutions demanding amendments in the government’s mineral policies to guarantee the rights of the Adivasis as stakeholders in the mineral wealth of the country as also a legal mechanism to implement sub-plan and employment quotas for the Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Caste.

Briefing the media on the resolutions adopted by the Party Congress on its third day on Friday, CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat said, “In the implementation of the tribal sub plan (TSP) and special component plan (SCP), there is a huge gap between the official norm and the actual allocation for the development of the ST and SC communities. It was a matter of deep concern that the mineral resources of the country were allowed to be looted by corporates, she said. The resolution upholds the rights of the tribals over the mineral wealth, she added. “We want legal mechanism that these rights are upheld,” she pointed out.

Expressing its strong opposition to the mineral policies being followed by the Central government, the resolution stated that the government had used arbitrary powers to provide huge profits and windfall gain to private mining companies to the detriment of the masses living in mineral resource-rich areas. Much of the mineral wealth is under land inhabited by the tribal communities or under common property resources such as forests.

In the face of growing resistance by tribal communities, the government is proposing an amendment to the Mines and Mineral (Development and Regulation) Act 2011 to make it mandatory for companies to give funds for tribal development in districts where they have mining leases.

Terming this proposal as ‘tokenism’, which does not address the basic issue of the rights of the tribals as stakeholders in the mineral wealth, the resolution demanded complete reversal of the present policies on mineral mining. It also demanded that the government should not hand over mineral wealth to private companies through leases or user rights or any other mechanism.

Responding to a query that touched on Maoists and their political activities in the tribal areas, Ms. Karat said that the Maoists were not doing anything for the tribals. “Today, they [Maoists] have degenerated into bands recklessly killing people who oppose them and they are using the Adivasis as a cover,” she said.

The resolution, which she moved also calls upon party units, especially those in States where tribals are being displaced from land in the name of mining, to launch resistance struggles for their rights.

Another resolution demanded legal mechanism to ensure mandatory implementation of the Planning Commission guidelines for the demand for legal mechanism to carry out TSP for tribals and SCP for the Scheduled Castes.

The resolution noted that in the latest budget as also the previous resolutions the allocations for the ST and SC are roughly half of what it should be. The Party Congress also noted that the constitutional mandate for reservation of jobs for SC/ST communities in the government sector was not being implemented, leaving huge backlog in SC/ST quotas.

Demanding a legal mechanism to ensure that the backlog was cleared within a timeframe, the resolution also called for a new legislation to ensure quota for these communities in the private sector.

To a question concerning West Bengal, Ms. Brinda said that Trinamool Congress does not even believe in minimum democratic norms either in the governance or in electoral politics.