Right off the bat, the Communist Party of India’s (Marxist) manifesto opens up with an array of unproven allegations and continues as a minority rights commission report. Promising to return to the good ol’ planning days and beating globalisation, they promise to revive the socialist policies that caused the foreign exchange problems of 1991.
New Delhi, 8th April, 2019: The quite uninteresting presentation of the manifesto is excused by the content of the Manifesto. At least the matter compensates the uninteresting looking manifesto. The extremely long document can be found here. Anyway, the plan of action of the red party will have its share of criticism and praise. Keeping with the lines of the party and as the “savior and protector” of minorities and may just have made half of the manifesto dedicated to minorities.
Also, they have maintained their apparent sense of protection for Indian firms from the monster known as Foreign Direct Investment. The plan put forward by the CPI(M) uneasily shares a considerable part with the INC Manifesto. For example, repeal the colonial era Sedition Law, Sec. 124A of IPC. And, complete withdrawal of AFSPA [From Jammu and Kashmir]. And, repeal Section 499 of IPC relating to defamation. Along with, restore the Planning Commission. This is uncommon for a party that has rejected alliance in West Bengal and Tripura, both having a strong presence of the Left. Read my previous article demolishing the Congress Manifesto and its over ambitious claims here.
Moving on to the CPI(M)’s manifesto:
1. Anti-Globalisation Move:
The manifesto has clear plan of: Halt privatisation of public sector enterprises and rollback privatisation in defence, energy and railways and basic services. Withdrawing the proposal to open finance sector for the entry of FDI. Ensure the FDI cap in the insurance sector of 26 per cent. Reversal of privatisation of defence production sector; immediately taking measures to rescind private participation in defence production; stopping FDI inflows in defence sector.
These steps, initially taken to increase efficiency of PSU had yielded great results. “Rollback” of such policies would just lay waste to the steps of the 1991 Industrial Policy and high rate of growth India experiences today.
Protecting Indian interests and standing up to the US moves to increase tariffs on Indian goods and waging ‘trade wars’. Contrary to their claims, until recently USA had cut tariffs for Indian goods and hoped that India did the same too for American Whisky.
Reviewing existing Free Trade Agreements (FTAs): It is sad to note that the anti West feelings of a party is getting converted to a anti Trade policy for an entire country. FTAs help the citizens of both the West and India.
2. Foreign Policy Minus Five years: The proposal of CPIM for the FP of India is just reversing India’s stand on anything that happened since 2019. Reverse the pro-Israeli tilt in foreign policy. Also, strengthening relations with West Asia and South East Asia and establishing close ties with the Community of Latin American and Caribbean countries (CELAC).
In short, the attempts at strengthening relations with the West must be discontinued and India must ally up with anti US nations, just like the good ol’ days of the Soviet Union.
3. Eco(no)mic policies: For starters, depreciation of the rupee to its historically lowest levels ─ the value of the rupee to a US dollar was 63.19 in 2014. This shot up to 71.76 in 2019. The Drafting Committee may just have to update themselves because the rupee has become the strongest currency in Asia, as of 2019.
Drastic fall in India’s export earnings: between February 2014 and January 2019 India’s trade balance declined by a whopping 29.8 per cent. But this claim is contrary to actual statistics. View actual and recent deficit here. The defamation campaign against Indian commerce is not in the spirit of a national party.
Right to work as a Constitutional right; provision of unemployment allowance for jobless. Understanding basic economics is important to form a practical theory. Even if the constitution is amended and the right is enshrined, no one would be willing to work because of an “unemployment” provision in the law. This will lead to new levels of unemployment. This provision also undermines their honest attempt at the increment of the MGNREGA programme from 100 to 200 days.
Setting up special welfare board for fish workers and providing them identity cards and social security schemes. But such a programme, called Common Minimum Programme was set up during UPA which called for: Enhance the welfare and well-being of farmers, farm labour and workers, particularly those in the unorganized sector and assure a secure future for their families in every respect. The CMP had already created a social security programme for fisheries and other non formal sectors. Instead of expanding the existing programmes they look forward to increase the beaurocratic backlog of the country.Ironical corner because nothing is concrete in politics.
1.Pursuing policies for demilitarization of cyber space. But protecting Indian Internet and telecommunications networks from cyber attacks and surveillance by building indigenous capability.
2.Protect the fundamental and secular principles and democratic rights enshrined in the Constitution.
But, amend the constitution to make parliamentary approval mandatory for any international treaty. And, replacing Article 356 with a suitable provision and amending Article 355 to prevent their misuse.