Preface: CPI (M) published its manifesto recently. It is 1 of the 6 national parties and currently holds 16 seats in 15th lower house of parliament. Ideologically, it is a left party which means it does not believe in social hierarchy and consequently its manifesto is pro-poor.
The manifesto has two parts. In first part, it has highlighted the misrule of Congress-led UPA government in the fields of governance, communalism, poverty alleviation, food security etc. It has also highlighted that roots of many scams like telecom scam lied in BJP-led NDA government (1998-2004) and that it is a divisive force. Hence, their punchline is
“Reject Congress, Defeat BJP, Vote for the CPI(M), Strengthen the Left For a Secular and Democratic Alternative”
In the second part it has promised the following points:
1) New Food Security Law: A new food security law which provides for universal public distribution system (excluding only income tax payees) with provision of a minimum 35 kg of food grains for a family or 7 kg of food grains per individual, whichever amount is higher, at a maximum price of Rs. 2 per kg.
2) Curbing Price Rise: Reversing the deregulated regime of pricing of petroleum products and reducing excise and customs duties on petroleum products. Banning futures trade in agricultural commodities as recommended by the Parliamentary Standing Committee (speculation lead to unnecessary price rise). Enlarge the resource base by taxing the rich, corporate profits, crackdown on tax evaders, black money, money laundering, higher taxes on luxury goods, thereby generating resources for growth. Increase public investments in agricultural production and research.
3) Resource Mobilization: Tax speculative capital gains by restoring Long-Term Capital Gains Tax and increasing Securities Transaction Tax. Launch a drive to unearth black money, especially those stashed in Swiss banks and other offshore tax havens. Plug the Mauritius route by reviewing Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement with Mauritius and other countries (many companies use this route to evade taxes)
4) Centre-State Relations: Devolving 50% of the total pool of collection of Central taxes to the States; Raising States’ share of market borrowing to 50%. Transferring Centrally Sponsored Schemes under the State subject with funds to the States
5) Land Reforms: Reverse the current thrust to dilute land-ceiling laws; Speedy and comprehensive steps for implementing land reforms. Takeover and distribution of all surplus land above ceiling and handing over of cultivable wasteland to landless and poor peasant households free of cost, with priority to SCs and STs. Joint pattas to be distributed including equal right of women to the land.
6) Foreign Policy: An independent and non-aligned foreign policy, promoting multi-polarity. Strengthen BRICS and IBSA. Opposing interventions and regime changes imposed by the United States and NATO as it happened in Libya and now taking place in Syria and Ukraine.
7) Women: Passage and adoption in the Lok Sabha of the Bill providing one third reservation for women in parliament and state assemblies, which had been adopted in the Rajya Sabha, as a priority.
8) SC & ST Welfare: Enactment of a central legislation for Special Component Plan for Scheduled Castes and for the Tribal Sub-Plan which will provide for Plan outlays at the Centre and the States equivalent to the SC population at the national and State level for the SCP and the ST population at the national and State level for the TSP respectively. Protecting land rights of adivasis and restoring land illegally alienated from them
9) Minorities: Formulating a sub-plan for the Muslim minorities on the lines of the tribal sub-plan in order to implement Sachar Committee recommendations. Special initiatives in the sphere of employment, education and health to be undertaken targeting districts where the Muslim population is concentrated. Implementing the recommendations of the Ranganath Mishra Commission report. As an immediate measure all OBC Muslims which form the vast majority of the Muslim community to be included in the OBC quota with specific State wise allocations
10) Education & Health: Public expenditure on education to be 6% of GDP. Public expenditure on health to be raised to at least 5% of GDP, which would include a significantly enhanced allocation from the center.
11) Wages & Pensions: A statutory minimum wage of Rs. 10,000 per month linked to Consumer Price Index. For senior citizens establish a publicly-funded, universal and non-contributory Old Age Pension System with a minimum amount of monthly pension not less than 50% of minimum wage or Rs 4000/- per month, whichever is higher; as an individual entitlement for all citizens.
12) Fighting Corruption: Amending and strengthening the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Lokpal Act to widen its purview and bring all contracts, agreements or MOUs of any kind between the government and the private sector within its purview. Private Financial sector institutions, banking and insurance sector in particular, and all public-private partnership projects brought under the purview of the Lokpal Act.
13) Major Constitutional & Legislative Reforms: Amend Article 3 of the Constitution to provide for the consent of the state legislature concerned before a state is to be bifurcated or reorganized by parliament. Repeal the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and replace it with a suitable law which provides a legal framework for the operation of the armed forces without the draconian provisions. Amend Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code so that it does not criminalize adult consensual relationships irrespective of sexual orientation. Amend the Indian Penal Code and other statutes to remove the death penalty from the statutes.
Please note that the content produced in this article is reproduced from the site of CPI (M). We have not changed even a word from the original content. You can comment below for further clarification as some points may not be easy to understand.
The idea for this is to debate the policies of parties and not the grandeur of their rallies or personal attacks on their leaders or by their leaders. For example, CPI (M) has included provisions for removal of death penalty, minimum wages, Gay rights etc. These things are much needed in a mature democracy according to various human rights experts. However, manifesto does not include points to strengthen panchayati raj which is also a much needed reform. Another can be increased consumptive expenditure (on education, high wages and pensions etc). This amount of consumptive expenditure can be detrimental to the growth aspirations of India. Decide for yourself which should be preferred.