Left parties demand farm loan waiver, unemployment allowance

New Delhi: The Left parties on Friday slammed the management of the economy by the Modi government and demanded unemployment allowance for youth, minimum wage of Rs 18000 per month, increase in MGNREGA allocations and one-time loan waiver for farmers.

They announced a protest on October 10 to 16 to press for their demands which also include stopping privatization of the public sector and raising minimum monthly old age and widow pension to Rs 3000.

A statement issued at the convention of the Left parties held here said the Indian “economy is in the grip of an extremely serious crisis bordering on a recession”.

“All evidence, including the doctored official data, confirms that in almost all sectors of the economy, there is a collapse of demand leading to big cuts in production and unprecedented mounting job losses, women being the worst victims. The sales of automobiles, textiles up to the sale of biscuits in a country that loves “chai biskut” tellingly demonstrates the current reality,” it said.

The Left parties said Modi government is now grudgingly acknowledging that there is an economic slowdown.

“The Modi government, however, refuses to admit that its own policies like demonetisation and the ill-conceived, ill-prepared introduction of the GST have cost irreversible damage to the economy which was already beleaguered by growing unemployment, price rise and the crisis of livelihoods,” they said.

The Left parties said that Modi government continues to remain oblivious to the problems of “growing mass unemployment, underemployment, low wages and incomes and the deepening agrarian distress”.

“This has resulted in compounding the misery of the large majority of our working people. Instead of addressing these issues the Modi government is seeking to divert people’s attention by rousing passions that deepen polarization,” the statement said.

The parties said that the fruits of whatever little growth has taken place were increasingly being cornered by a small minority of India’s super-rich and the increasing levels of inequality have made “India one of the most unequal of societies in the world”.

“This is the inevitable consequences of neo-liberal economic reforms,” they said.

The Left parties called for massive public investments in infrastructure, creation of jobs and increasing people’s purchasing power and domestic demand.

“Instead of doing this, the Modi government once again seeks to provide greater concessions for private capital hoping that investment levels will grow and targeting the expansion of India’s exports. In a situation of global economic slowdown with global trade volumes declining sharply any effort to boost India’s exports simply cannot succeed,” they said.

The Left parties demanded that the Rs. 1.76 lakh crore taken by the government from the RBI reserves must be used for public investment programmes to generate jobs and domestic demand.

They also demanded to withdraw 100 per cent FDI in defence and coal sectors and providing a minimum of 200 days of work at the designated minimum wage under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).