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01.08.2003, New Age, Issue No. 31 August 3, 2003 
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From: Communist Party of India, Friday, August 01, 2003
http://www.cpofindia.org , mailto:cpi@vsnl.com 
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NEW AGE, ISSUE NO. 31 AUGUST 3, 2003

EDITORIAL
Degeneration of Bourgeois Politics

The crisis in the ruling coalition of Uttar Pradesh has
thoroughly exposed the degeneration of bourgeois politics. 
BJP-BSP, the coalition partners in the biggest state of the
country is at loggerheads from the day of its formation.
Still they find it convenient to pull on this most
uncomfortable coalition. It is nothing but political
opportunism of worst type. 

Actually, the very formation of this coalition was
unnatural and un-logical. During the election campaign, the
BSP leader Mayawati had   repeatedly assured the
electorates that she would never commit the crime of
entering into a coalition with the BJP. She had called it
betrayer. Apart from labeling the BJP being  "Manuwadi"
Mayawati had openly abused the BJP leaders individually and
collectively on so many counts. After the emergence of a
hung assembly she first refused to join the coalition but
after closed-door meetings she agreed after a few months.
She openly acknowledged that a "deal" has been struck at
the highest level of the two parties, though she did not
divulge the content of the deal.

But the later events revealed every thing. While agreeing
to install Mayawati as the chief minister, the BJP
extracted two promises from the BSP. First, no fresh charge
sheet will be allowed to be filed against Lal Krishna
Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharati and other top
leaders of the Sangh Parivar in the Babri Masjid demolition
case. Second, BSP will continue the coalition till next Lok
Sabha elections and the two parties will join the poll fray
together. On its part the BJP assured a free hand to
Mayawati in running the administration in UP.

It must be said to the credit of Mayawati that she kept the
first promise and contested the demand for fresh charge
sheet against Advani and Co. up to the Supreme Court. It is
another matter that BJP got it in its neck when the apex
court ordered the CBI to file a fresh charge sheet in the
Special court at Rae Barely. It is yet another matter that
the Vajpayee government manipulated the CBI to drop the
conspiracy charge against Advani and Co. This caused uproar
in the Parliament.

Though the central leadership of the BJP did its best to
keep Mayawati in good humour and allowed her to humiliate
and insult even senior leaders of the state BJP and party
ministers in the coalition. It caused much heart burning
among the state BJP leadership. But the looming danger of
defeat in the next Lok Sabha elections kept them in check.
Every week a new crisis was created by Mayawati and BJP
leadership had to solve it on the cost of public
humiliation of its ministers and state leadership. 

But the flash point came with the expose of Agra Heritage
Corridor scandal.  Mayawati is deeply involved in it.  The
case is so obvious that the Supreme Court ordered the CBI
to thoroughly probe the matter and give its report to the
court.  Mayawati finding herself in the soup, tried to pass
on the blame to Union tourism minister Jagmohan who
retaliated. Mayawati, in an unprecedented manner demanded
removal of Jagmohan from the Union Council of ministers.
Not only this. She asked her MPs to disturb the proceedings
of Parliament to get her wish fulfilled.  Fed up with her
antics, the BJP thought enough is enough. It threatened to
withdraw support to the coalition in UP.  Mayawati, to save
her chair, had to withdraw her demand for removal of
Jagmohan. While doing so, she claimed that this has been
done after prime minister and his deputy has promised to do
justice to her in the CBI report. This was in one way,
admission   of the fact that the Vajpayee government has
been manipulating the premier investigating agency of the
country. Advani has to clarify in the Rajya Sabha that no
specific assurance has been given to Mayawati. This has
once again enraged the lady and she is now threatening to
dissolve UP assembly and order fresh elections.

No one knows what twist and turn the ongoing drama in
Lucknow will take. But one thing is certain.  The
degeneration that is eating into the bourgeois politics
will become more and more evident with every passing day.

One Crore Jobs A Year: The Bluff of the Prime Minister 
R. S. Yadav 

The government informed Rajya Sabha on July 24, 2003 that
during the years of economic reforms (6 years from 1994 to
2000) the growth rate in employment opportunities came down
to 0.98 per cent. This was 2.04 per cent during the earlier
period from 1993-94. There was, however, nothing new in
this information as it is a much publicised information and
was given by NSS more than two years back. This down-trend
was attributed to failure to achieve the expected economic
growth during these years. It was also informed that on
April 30, 2003, names of 4.07 crore persons were enrolled
in employment exchanges. But after this information in
Rajya Sabha, the prime minister had the cheek to declare
that the government has the target of providing one crore
jobs every year and that it stands for this promise and the
government will meet this target. 

This was an important declaration of the prime minister.
But perhaps considering that the prime minister is habitual
of such acts of bluffing, most of the newspapers just
ignored if and did not consider it worth a news. 

Job market is continuously shrinking year by year both in
rural and urban sectors. Factories after factories are
closing. Lay off and retrenchment are rampant. During the
two years period between 1998-2000, the factory sector has
shed more them 7 lakh jobs. That is about 8 per cent of
employees in the factory sector in 1998. The CSO data has
shown that number of employees dipped by closed to five per
cent during 1999-2000 on top of a fall of 3 per cent in the
previous year. Lakhs of employees and workers are thus
being thrown out from their jobs after years of service.
Very few of them have the capacity and ability to get any
other job in such a shrinking job market. Otherwise also,
when crores of young menunqualified and illiterates to
highly qualified and highly educatedare wandering
desperately in search of jobs, who will care for these
comparatively aged employees and workers and who will offer
them a job on respectable wages? 

The economic reforms have landed the country into a vicious
state. The government has decided, as a matter of policy,
not to invest in any manufacturing, producing or in any
servicing activity whatsoever. The government has virtually
decided to withdraw from all manufacturing, producing or
servicing activity or any other sort of activity which may
generate employment. The government says it has no business
to remain in business. So there is no investment by
government which may generate employment. Rather than that,
the government has sought to restrain its budget deficit by
cutting back investment, which has slowed industrial
growth. The private sector has also not come up with any
notable fresh investment. The pace of investment in the
industrial sector has slowed down considerably during the
last 5 years. There has been notable decline in investment
in mining an quarrying, manufacturing, electricity, gas,
water supply, and construction etc.   So the country has
reached a point that there is a drought of investment. This
situation is responsible for the slowdown of GDP growth and
the negative growth of employment in the organised sector. 

Where are the chances of generation of employment in such a
dismal situation of investment?

The government boasts of increase in foreign direct
investment. But most of the foreign direct investment has
come to exploit the home market and not to set up
manufacturing units and generating employment. 

It is worth remembering that Montek Singh Ahluwalia
committee was set up to suggest means and ways to create
one crore jobs per year. But what did the Ahluwalia
committee suggest? The committee suggested an outright
"hire and fire" policy. The committee stated that in
agriculture future jobs creation potential was near zero.
The committee advocated more economic reforms to achieve
higher employment, de-reservation within four years and
increase in foreign direct investment and FDI in retail
trade. 

The government is following the Ahluwalia committee
recommendations, although one more committee, the S. P.
Gupta committee was also setup on the same subject. 

Decline in employment 

There is an increased tendency for capital intensive
industry, which has adverse implications for employment
generation. Take for example manufacturing sector. The
ratio of capital to labour has steadily risen in
manufacturing sector. In real terms, it has increased from
Rs. 1.8 lakh per worker in 90-91 to Rs. 3.4 lakh in 99-00.
But the intensive capital has not shown any sign of
enhanced efficiency, whereas it has resulted in decline in
employment. 

As per an "Economic Times" study growth rate of capital and
output are almost identical over the decade (nineties) as a
whole. The ratio of capital to output has remained
unchanged. In fact, during 90s, this ratio has been in the
region of 0.5. This means that on average, Rs. 2 worth of
capital produced Rs. 1 worth of output, and this
input-output relationship has not changed for the better
after shift to capital intensive production. But employment
declined by 18 per cent between 95-96 and 99-00, while
capital grew by 16 per cent in this sector. 

Maharashtra, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Uttar
Pradesh are the five major manufacturing states (going by
contribution to total factory output and share in total
number of factories), which account for between 55-65 per
cent of the total number of factories and output between
90-91 and 99-00. As a result of economic reforms and
increase in capital intensity the share of these states in
employment, which was 72 per cent in the factory sector in
1991, fell to 56 per cent in 95-96. The economic reforms
have left devastating effects on employment in this sector.
Similar has been the experience in other sectors. 

Till few years back railways employed more than 18 lakh
employees. The number has now come down to around 15 lakh
and the railways ministry now proposes to bring down the
number of railway employees to 11.8 lakh by 2010. Is this a
generation of employment, Mr. prime minister?

It was claimed at the time of introduction of economic
reforms that these would create new prospects for
employment, but reverse has happened. The economic reforms
and liberalisation have not resulted in creation of
additional jobs. Rather even the existing jobs are getting
thinner and thinner. The number of persons who got jobs
during the decade of economic reforms (nineties) was only
one third of that in the earlier decade of 1980-1990. Even
the S. P. Gupta committee, which was set up to advise on
employment generation has noted that the economic growth in
1990s has been of a `jobless Varity'. This implies that the
growth vate of employment is less than the growth late in
labour force and thus has resulted in an increase in the
unemployment vate. The committee pointed out that due to
all around "downsizing", neglect of agriculture and cottage
industries, and other economic policies the country is
moving ahead towards a dangerous future, and by 2007 the
rate of unemployment is going to be double. It is
nauseating that despite such a grim scenario on employment
front, the prime minister of the country goes on making
false claim of generating one lakh jobs every year! 

S. P. Gupta committee has opined that haste in
disinvestment is dangerous. It has warned if there is a
haste in privatisation, removal of import restrictions, and
sanctioning of foreign direct investment, the employment
situation in the country will reach a more frightening
shape. 

Share of wages dip

A decade of reforms has seen wages as a percentage of total
cost of production decline from 11 per cent in 1991 to 5.56
per cent in 200-01. In 1998-99, wages as a percentage of
the total cost of production deteriorated to 7.8 per cent.
The slide continued in 1999-00, and also in 2000-01 when it
reached to a further low of 5.56 per cent. What does it
mean? Apart from other things, this means that during the
decade of reforms the labour element (which in the ultimate
means number of workers) in the production process has been
going down and down with every passing year during the
decade of economic reforms and even more sharply during the
present regime. This is the effect of thrusting of
continuously more and more workload on workers along with
increased capital intensity, which has resulted in
retrenchment of a vast number of workers and closures of a
large number of factories. 

As per S. P. Gupta report, during the period from 1983 to
1993-94 the number of unemployed persons had reported a
decrease. The rate of unemployment was 8.33 per cent in
1983, which came down to 5.33 per cent in 1993-94. But then
it started increasing and reached 7.32 per cent in
1999.2000. Employment growth rate was 2.7 per cent during
1983 to 1993-94. But it fell down to 1.07 per cent by
1999-2000. Employment generating capacity of the economy
was declining rapidly with the organised sector reaching
almost a near jobless growth. As per an estimate 22 per
cent of the workforce is unemployed today. Even the number
of persons registered in employment exchanges amounts to 10
per cent of workforce. It is common knowledge that a bigger
number of the unemployed, especially the illiterates and
the rural unemployed do not get themselves registered in
employment exchanges. In view of this the estimate appear
to be quite nearer to truth.  

Out of the total employment in the economy the organised
sector contributes to 8.34 per cent of employment. Out of
this 8.34 per cent, the share of public sector was 5.77 per
cent and that of private sector was 2.57 per cent. 

Thus public sector contributed to 70 per cent of organised
sector employment and till 1999-2000 remaining 30 per cent
employment of organised sector was contributed by private
sector. Now, when the Vajpayee government is systematically
and mercilessly killing the public sector, does it not
amount to killing the employment opportunities? And even
then the prime minister has temerity to declare that his
government will provide one lakh jobs every year! 

It is estimated that during 1999-2000 the unorganised
sector provided around 92 per cent of employment, while its
contribution to GDP was 59 per cent. Out of this 92 per
cent of employment by unorganised sector, the share of
agriculture was 57 per cent. The other major sectors of
unorganised sector are: Trade, restaurants, and hotels
including tourism; education and health services; small and
medium enterprises in non-agriculture sector; transport and
manufacturing. With 57 per cent share in total employment,
agriculture and allied activities continue to be the
biggest providers of employment.  

But the Ahluwalia committee had stated that in agriculture
future job creation potential is zero. Contrary to this, S.
P. Gupta committee said the agriculture had still a very
high potential for contributing to employment. But it has
certain "ifs". "If proper restructuring and deregulation
were initiated", he says. 

Decline in agriculture 

There has been no growth in agriculture between 1993-94 and
1999-2000. In 2002-03, agriculture has reported a negative
growth of around 3.5 per cent. Under such a state of
agriculture, there can be hardly any expectation of
employment generation in agriculture and rural economy.
Cottage and small and medium industries are badly shattered
due to dereservation and imports and other liberalisation.
Most of the cottage industries are in a ruin. As such there
is hardly any scope of further employment generation in the
sector. 

The employment scenario is more grim than what the
Ahluwalia committee or the S. P. Gupta committee have
stated. They have given almost diametrically opposite
recommendations. Taken together, the reports contradict and
nullify each other. 

Employment growth rate in the organised sector, both public
and private fell from 1.44 per cent in 1991 to 0.04 per
cent in 1999 and 0.5 per cent in 2000. And with the ongoing
furry of VRS, retrenchments and closures and no investment
in public sector, and investment not picking up in the
private sector also, there is no employment generation, no
employment growth whatsoever. This is a situation of
negative growth  in employment. Generation of fresh
employment is less, disappearance of existing employment is
more. 

Same is the condition in agriculture sector. Earlier it was
said that Indian farmer is born in debt, lives in debt and
dies in debt. But now the Indian farmer is committing
suicide because of the debt. In agriculture, the growth
rate of employment during 1983 to 1993-94 was 1.51 per
cent. But during the period of liberalisation, the growth
rate of employment in agriculture sector became negative
(-0.34 per cent) during 1993-94 and 1999-2000.

Under such a situation of negative employment growth, the
prime minister's claim for generation of one crore jobs a
year is just making castles in the air. In his 5 year of
tenurearound one year earlier and 4 years of the present
regimehis policies have been instrumental in causing more
loss of jobs than generation of new jobs, and thereby
resulting in negative employment growth. Who will believe
that in his remaining tenure of around one year he will
create miracle? 

Presentation to 12th Finance Commission 
West Bengal Proposes more Devolution of Resources
From Chandan Chakraborty

KOLKATA: West Bengal government has presented a
comprehensive memorandum to the 12th Finance Commission
while commission members came to Kolkata on July 22-25 to
interact with the state government as well as interested
political parties and organisations. CPI, CPI(M) and other
parties placed separate memoranda to the Finance Commission
particularly referring to special problems of West Bengal.
West Bengal government had exchanged views with political
parties, eminent economists and concerned organisations and
persons in preparing memorandum submitted to the 12th
Finance Commission. The outlook of the state government has
been appreciated in different quarters. The demands and
issues raised by West Bengal government are generally
directed to defend interests of all the states of the
Indian Union. 

In the Memorandum, the state government has presented the
basic causes behind the current financial problems and
suggested an outline of the steps to be taken by the Centre
and the state together for restoring budgetary balance and
macroeconomic stability consistent with the social
objective of equitable growth and employment generation.
The attention of the Commission has also been drawn to the
special problems that the state is facing for some
historical reasons and geographical characteristics. 

In addition, the expenditure requirements for essential
investment in social and infrastructure sectors for
development of human capital and improvement of investment
climate have been furnished. The forecast of receipts and
expenditure shows that in spite of special efforts at the
State level for revenue augmentation and reduction in
non-plan revenue expenditure, there is a gap in resources.
The requirement of fund for upgradation of administration,
tackling special problems, maintenance of assets and
investment in social and infrastructure sectors will
increase the gap further. This overall gap has to be
bridged by necessary augmentation in devolution of tax
revenue and duties debt-relief, grant-in-aid and other
general and special transfers. The state government firmly
believes that the twelfth finance commission will make
appropriate recommendations in this regard. keeping in view
the objective of attainment of fiscal sustainability by the
State consistent with planned social goals with special
emphasis on employment generation. 

The persistent imbalance in the centre-state relations has
arisen out of the basic fact that while in the
constitutional allocation of responsibilities between the
centre and the states, the major responsibilities in the
sphere of development and administration lie with the
states, and within the states, with the panchayats and the
municipalities, the more important powers of
revenue-raising are concentrated in the hands of the
centre. But in spite of this greater burden of
responsibility of development expenditure of the state and
concentration of revenue-raising powers in the Centre there
has been no matching transfer of resources, from the centre
to the states in terms of share of central taxes and grants
in-aid

While this has been generally responsible for the steady
deterioration of the state finances, the problems got
aggravated in 1998-99 on account of two major causes: The
first major cause originated from the "decision of the
government of India on pay revision of central government
employees on recommendation of the Fifth central pay
commission and its widespread effect in terms of the
subsequent decision of the state government beginning
1998-99. In consequences the expenditure on salary and
pension has nearly doubled over the last five years. As all
States, including West Bengal, found it difficult to bear
the additional expenditure on account of pay revision, a
demand was unanimously raised by all the States in the
meeting of the National Development Council held in
February 1999 that they should be provided with special
ways and means advance from the Reserve Bank of India, and
without straining the' Central budget resources, for- only
half of the, traditional burden of pay revision for a
period of 5 years. No additional assistance in the form of
special ways and means advance or in any other form has as
yet been obtained. An effective package of remedial
measures is necessary to neutralise the impact of pay
revision on the state finances. 

The second major cause is related to the mounting debt
burden, of the, states resulting from specific policies of
the central government. More than 60 per cent of the state
loans are central loans. Of the central loans, the small
savings component constitutes the most dominant portion
primarily on account of the fact that our state has taken
the National Small Savings Programme very seriously and has
always excelled in small savings collection. The rate of
interest on central loan in general and small savings loan
in particular has been very high. As a result of this, the
interest burden on the state has almost doubled over the
last 5 years. It seems that West Bengal has been punished
for achieving the first position among all the states in
the national programme on small savings. 

The memorandum says the state has been implementing, on its
own a fiscal reforms programme with the basic objective of
reducing the revenue deficit as a percentage of revenue
receipt, consistent with the social objective of employment
generation and needed plan expenditure. Success has been
achieved in containing the growth of non-' plan revenue
expenditure in general and salary expenditure in
particular. The State has also taken a number of steps in
increasing the tax and non-tax revenues through a
combination of measures, namely, enhancement of existing
tax rates, imposition of new taxes, and enhancement of user
charges. However, the state, on its own, will not be able
to move far along the path of reforms unless the debt
burden, which is the main obstacle in achieving budgetary
balance and fiscal stability, is significantly reduced and
adequate debt relief is given so that the interest
liability does not exceed 25 per cent of the revenue
receipts.

West Bengal government has placed a demand of Rs. 1.14 lakh
crore for the period of five years to be finalised by the
12th finance commission which includes proposed
appropriation for tackling state's specific problems like 
Problems relating to erosion of the rivers Ganga-Padma in
Maldha and Murshidabad districts.
Flood problems in North Bengal region. 
Kolkata Megacity project
Rehabilitation of refugees
Arsenic contamination of ground water
Development of disadvantage regions.
Grants to strengthen locoe bosies etc

The West Bengal government has urged to asses the
requirement for appropriate investment in social sectors
and infrastructure.

West Bengal government has urged for urgent corrective
measures to resolve persistence imbalances in centre-state
relations particularly in distribution of central
revenue-taxes, demanding increase in the share of central
taxes from existing share of 29.5 per cent to 50 per cent
and additional grant to cover revenue deficit, more scope
in mobilising resources for states, to substantially reduce
interest for the loans given from foreign funding as well
as market borrowing by the centre, to extend the scope of
market borrowing for the states, to reduce the interest
rate for loans given to states from small-saving and to
convert a share of such loan to grants in aid. West Bengal
government proposed: 
writing off of a portion of the debt; or 
consolidation of past loan and significant reduction of the
average rate of interest on such loan, keeping in view the
prevailing rate of interest on market borrowings which is
about 6 percent: or 
allowing the states to raise cheaper loans from the market
for retiring the entire quantum or a substantial portion of
high cost loans: or 
providing grant-in-aid to cover a portion of the interest
liability. 


Special attention has been drawn of the finance commission
to the issue of transfer of centrally sponsored schemes in
the sphere of state subjects to the states along with
funds. In the conference of the chief ministers convened by
the prime minister in July, 1996, it was firmly resolved
that all centrally sponsored schemes at the state level
would be transferred to the states with funds. This issue
was again raised by the chief ministers in the National
Development. Council meeting in January, 1997, when the
decision was reiterated. Although several exercises have
been made in this regard, no significant progress has been
achieve towards transfer of centrally sponsored schemes to
the states. We would urge the twelfth finance commission to
recommend transfer of the centrally sponsored schemes in
the sphere of the state subjects to the states with funds.
This will reduce the effective cost of implementation of
the schemes and would thereby enable the central government
to save resources and raise the States' share of Central
taxes. 

There are several critical problems in the state which are
of national importance. The memorandum particularly drew
the attention of the Twelfth Finance Commission to one such
critical problem. 

Serious bank erosion has been continuing in the Ganga-Padma
river for decades together in the state of West Bengal. The
erosion has engulfed a vast tract of land including
populous villages, townships, orchards in the district of
Malda and Murshidabad. At one place called Fazilpur in the
district of Murshidabad, the gap between the Padma and the
Bhagirathi has precariously narrowed down with only 1.3 km.
of land separating them. There is a serious apprehension
that if the erosion continues unabated, both the rivers may
merge together frustrating the purpose of the Farakka
barrage itself and resulting in one of the worst, national
disasters for centuries. The problem of erosion of the
Ganga-Padma river system is, therefore, not a problem- of
West Bengal alone but a problem of the' entire country. The
state government has been drawing the attention of the
government of India to the severity of the problem during
the last two decades. Several Expert Committees have been
formed to suggest measures to check erosion. The fund
required to implement these measures is quite large against
which the State has received a very insignificant amount.
The requirement of fund for checking this erosion should,
in our view, be a matter of genuine concern for the Finance
Commission. 

The state government also requires adequate fund for
investment in social sectors and infrastructure for
development of human capital and improvement of the
investment climate. In addition, funds need to be
transferred to the local bodies on the recommendation of
the state finance commission, for which suitable
augmentation of the Consolidated Fund of the state is
necessary, said the memorandum. 

People's Warning to TMC  BJP Board of Kolkata 
From Chandan Chakraborty

KOLKATA: At least thirty thousands people of Kolkata led by
left front's Kolkata district committee gheraoed the
Kolkata Corporation building on July 25 to sternly warn
virtual dysfunctional Trinamul Congress-BJP board. 
Thousands of people assembled in front of different gates
of Kolkata Corporation with the slogan `either work or
quite'. Left front's district leadership have appealed to
the people of Kolkata to further strengthen movement at
every level against the most callous, indifferent,
inefficient corrupt board as well as demanding required
civic services in road, drinking water street electricity 
garbage clearance, bustee development, drainage and other
sectors. 

For last three years Subrata Mukherjee led Trinamul
Congress-BJP board has been running the Kolkata Corporation
most unethically with marginal majority, even, people say,
purchasing a number of independent councillors whose past
credentials are very much questionable. 

Services have come to stand still. The entire
mayor-in-council is in the guigmire of corruption. Serious
corruption charges are being raised against
mayor-in-council members themselves, while they all are
going public in travelling charges against one another.
Recently Mayor Subrata Mukherjee sacked the entire
mayor-in-council in the background of a very serious
corruption charge in giving a contract worth of Rs. 220
crore to a foreign firm. This charge was levelled even
against him.

After three days he reinstated the same mayor-in-council
changing some port-folios which expressed Mayor's
vindictiveness. Now-a-days regular sessions do not take
place. Undemocratic functioning has become the order of the
day for Kolkata Corporation. Mayor Subrata Mukherjee is
busy only with his image-building exercise. Recently he
readied all preparations for laying down the foundation
stone by Deputy prime minister L. K. Advani to construct
huge `Kolkata Gate' at E. M. by pass in eastern Kolkata at
the cost of Rs. 22 crore. But he had to shelve the project
at least at this level due to strong opposition from the
state government as well as people, of all walks of
Kolkata.

State urban development minister Ashok Bhattacharya
refuting the charge of vindictive attitude of state
government towards opposition led Kolkata Corporation said,
present board of Kolkata corporation received over Rs. 800
crore in last three years from state government while the
previous left front board had received over Rs. 400 crore
in previous three years. The present board is incapable of
spending money earmarked for special Kolkata Development
Fund worth Rs. 1600 crore. All the major schemes for
long-term all-round improvement of the city taken in
co-operation with a number of international and national
organisations by the previous Left Front board have now
been forezen.

For example Kolkata has now been experiencing unprecedented
water-logging virtually at every corner of the city even in
low intensity rain for one hour. Kolkatans are waiting for
nightmare in the days to come when sustained monsoon would
come down. But the water logging problem was tackled
remarkably during left fronts rule in Kolkata. In 80s
Mayor-in-council member in charge of drainage, veteran CPI
leader Purnendu Sengupta played significant role in facing
the challenge of water logging. He led overhauling of the
major old-drainage systems during his time, as a result
situation improved drastically. Later he became chairman of
Kolkata corporation and remained in that position till he
passed away. The next mayor-in-council member in charge of
drainage, also a young CPI leader of Kolkata Chanchal Ghosh
exerted equal initiative and strength. Chanchal Ghosh faced
premature death. Now Kolkata's mayor says, Kolkata will be
submerged in the rainy seasons. Naturally people of Kolkata
demands that the present board should go.

Addressing the huge gathering in front of Corporation
building former mayor Prasanta Chatterjee (CPIM) said,
now-a-days councillors are in the dark regarding
functioning of mayor-in-council. Regular sessions are not
being held. One mayor-in-council member publicly levelled
charge against the Mayor that he questionably transferred a
land to a promoter which resulted in loss of Rs. 22 crore
to corporation. Trinamul Congress-BJP board transformed the
corporation to a "Chorporation" Chatterjee remarked. 

Opposition leader of the corporation Nirmal Mukherjee said,
illegality corruption, cut money have become buzz words for
Kolkata corporation in three years. Not a single point is
discussed in general body meeting. Ruling combine
councillors flex muscle in the general body meeting. 

CPI leader Prabir Deb said, only in three years Trinamul
Congress-BJP combine demolished all the cherished
traditions of Kolkata corporation. Recently taxes worth Rs.
50 crore have been written off for a number of big business
houses at the whip of mayor. Mayor has declared war against
his labour-employees, suspending employees even without
show cause notices. Kolkata, one citadel of democratic
movement cannot pardon such persons and forces, Deb
cautioned. 

Other left parties leaders Bamacharan Chakraborty (RSP),
Nihar Roy chowdhury (Foroward Block) Subhash Roy (RCPI),
Ramapada Samanta (DSP), Biren Chakraborty (MFB), Amlan
Bhattacharya (SP), Umesh Chowdhury (BBC) also addressed the
gathering. Former Mayor of corporation and veteran
communist leader Prasanta Sur presided over the meeting.
The mock session of Kolkata corporation organised by 61
left front councillors at the main gate was one major
attraction of the day. 

CBI is Being Manipulated 

Supporting the adjournment motion in Lok Sabha on July 23,
CPI leader Ajoy Chakrborty charged the government of
manipulating the premier investigating agency  CBI for
dropping the "conspiracy" charge against L. K. Advani and
other Sangh Parivar leaders in the Babri Masjid demolition
case. Excerpts from the intervention: 

The CBI has filed a charge-sheet before the Special Court.
Under the FIR 198, it has levelled charges, including the
conspiracy charges, against L. K. Advani, Dr. Murli Manohar
Joshi, Uma Bharati and others. On September 9, 1997 the
Special Judge of the Lucknow Court P. Srivastava, after
hearing both the sides and after scrutinising all the
materials and evidence available before him, was pleased to
frame charges under section 120B  dealing with criminal
conspiracy  against Advani and others. He wanted the trial
to commence. The aggrieved party rushed before the High
Court at Allahabad  headed by Justice Bhalla and requested
that it should drop the FIR 198 on procedural and technical
grounds. The Judge also opined that the technical defect is
curable. He advised the state government to come forward
and cure the technical defect. But it is a sorry state of
affairs that the Rajnath Singh government and the Mayawati
government have not taken steps to clear the procedural
defects.

Further, the FIR 197 is pending before the Lucknow Special
Court. In spite of that, the present government headed by
Mayawati, has filed a special petition to drop the FIR 197
for the purpose of dropping the charges framed against
Advani and others from the charge-sheet. This is a
long-drawn conspiracy played by the BJP to clear Advani,
Dr. Joshi, Uma Bharati and others from the conspiracy
charges. Advani started the conspiracy through the Rath
Yatra. Even the Allahabad High Court opined that there was
sufficient material for framing charges  including the
conspiracy charges  under FIR 197. Despite that, the same
agency, the CBI, dropped the charges against Advani and
others. Earlier, the same CBI opined that there was
sufficient ground for framing charges.

CPI DHARNA AGAINST WB TEAM

CHANDIGARH: More than 500 communist leaders, belonging to
CPI, comprising of state council and district council
members staged a dharna here on July 28 at Matka Chowk, to
protest against the surrenders policies being pursued by
the state government in the name of so-called economic
reforms. 

The dharna was held at the time when a World Bank team was
visiting Punjab to held discussion with Punjab government.
It is the very same World Bank which in the past had
imposed severe conditions to consider the loan which the
Punjab government had faithfully implemented.

Addressing the dharna Dr. Joginder Dayal, secretary Punjab
state council of CPI said that new economic reforms better
known as LPG  liberalisation, privatisation and
globalisation are in reality meant to capture the economies
of other countries and to make them subservient. These
economic policies are not for the welfare of people of
world but for privileged few who are heading MNCs. He said
that this is new form of colonialism to subvert the
economic independence of other countries is very clear that
terms of trade are in favour of developed world against the
developing and under developed countries and even against
the people of developed countries. 

These policies are very aggressively being implemented by
BJP-NDA government the national level and by state
government in our state who had a readly carried out
dictate of World Bank to impose water and electricity
charges on farmers, withdraw subsidies give to weaker
sections of people, privatisation of PSEB and other public
sector undertakings, putting billions of rupees burden on
millions of people. It is also under these dictates that
such great hike of college fees, power, water, sewerage and
other utilities and service were imposed by Punjab
government. 

The Captain government crossed all limited in implementing
these policies. He has please his WTO masters even more
than what here all Indian president on flag galore session
of his party says. In Bangalore AICC Economic Resolution,
it was declared that Congress is not in favour of selling
profit making public sector undertakings. But caption
government has to PTL where last year profit was Rs. 1
crore which this year was manipulated by the government and
bureaucracy to bring it to 25 crores. The has which deal
was carried put question on the so-called transparency
which he claims. PTL assets which are 500 crores rupees
were thrown away for half its price. Congress president
also needs to explain whether her party chief minister in
Punjab is implementing the Congress policies on his own
agenda which he had been advocating vociferously from the
very beginning. 

Dr. Dayal said that all these economic policies and step
have provided fertile ground for SAD-BJP to stand on their
feet again in Punjab where they had lost it concluding his
speech, Dr. Dayal said that CPI will work for a broad front
of all those forces who are against the implementation of
WTO policies. 

Bant Singh Brar, general secretary of Punjab AITUC said
that these policies effected all the sections of the
people. In our state 60-70 per cent of mills have been
closed. In the name of providing cheaper goods they have
captured our domestic market because the economies like
ours don't compete with developed economies. 

Bhupinder Samber, general secretary of Punjab Kisan Sabha,
severely imbasted the economic policies which had ruined
the Punjab peasantry. These have freezed the MSP
agriculture produce, withdrawn the subsidies, increased the
cost of inputs. Peasants are caught in debt-trap which is
forcing theme to suicide. More loan from WB will take the
country to economic dependence. 

Apart from these those who addressed the dharna included
Com. Gurnam Karnar, member state, secretariat, Gulazar
Goria, general secretary Punjab Khet Mazdoor Sabha,
Pirthipal Singh Marhimegha, vice president of AIYF and
Narinder Kaur Sohal, president of Punjab unit of AISF.

The dharnaites were led, apart from the state secretariat
of CPI, by district secretaries of party: Baldev Singh from
Sangruu, Randhir Gill from Mogar, Sukhdev Singh Dugal from
Patiala, Amarjit Singh. Asal from Amristar (Urban)
Principal Joginder Singh from Hoshiarpur, Kapur Singh Jadle
from Nawan Shahar, Devi Dayal Sharma from Chandigarh, Natha
Singh from Fatehgarh Sahib, Niranjan Singh, Jcha from
Kapurthaa and president and general secretary of AIYF
Kashmir Singh Gadaia and Kuldeep Singh Bhola respectively.

The veteran communist leader Avtar Singh Malhotra, though
bed     for many years, also sat on dharna, whose presence
was greeted by slogans.

In a resolution the dharnaites condemned the conspiracies
against setting of Bathinda Refinery, which was warded to
Punjab by united front government under I. K. Gujral.

In another resolution the privatisation drive of Amrinder
Singh government was strongly criticised who was
implementing WTO prescriptions more energetically than the
BJP-NDA government, which was leading to more unemployment
and costlier goods and service. 

Another resolution demanded the implementation of promises
made to Punjabi writers when they were sitting on chain
hunger strike at the time of Punjab assembly session for
the cause of mother tongue Punjabi. Attacks on Punjabi
language and culture were condemned. 

The dharna urged the state government to send requited
instructions to implement the withdrawal of unprecedented
30 times fee hike and the restoration of free education
concession for girl students up to graduation.

Still another resolution strongly opposed the proposal of
Punjab government to introduce police commissioner system
in Punjab. Here the police administration is already too
heavy since the days of terrorism when many new police
districts were setup but not done away after so many years
of normalcy. The fund starved state exchequer needs the
reduction of heavy top civil and police administration.   

Com. Indradeep Sinha Remembered 

Comrade Indradeep Sinha was remembered with warmth, respect
in a memorial meeting held at Speakers Hall in Delhi on
July 24, 2003. The meeting was presided by A. B. Bardhan
general secretary of CPI.

Born in 1914 Indradeep Sinha had a brilliant academic
carrier securing a gold medal in post-graduation in
economics from Patna University. He chose to serve the
people by fighting for political freedom of the nation and
social and economic justice to its people. Jagannath Sarkar
the veteran of the party remembered Indradeep Sinha as a
simple, modest and honest person who lived his life as a
champion of the vulnerable and have nots. His writings
touched various subjects and were guidelines for the
movement. He was a scholarly person and we need to carry
forward his struggle by facing with courage the dangers
looming large on our nation. 

Ram Vilas Paswan, MP and President Lok Jan Shakti while
paying his homage remembered his initial days of political
life when he drew inspiration from political veterans of
those times and Comrade Indradeep Sinha was one of them. He
said that he had grown up by watching the communists in
Bihar having championed the cause of down trodden sections
of the society, the workers peasants and other
discriminated sections. The time has come once again for
that party to play a significant role in bringing various
parties and forces together in facing the communal fascist
forces who are raising their head to destroy the very
unity-and integrity of the people, he said. 

Bhisham Narain Singh the former union minister in the
Congress government and former governor of Tamil Nadu paid
his homage by remembering his able leadership, his
political integrity and very cordial behaviour with all. He
was always ready to help those who needed him. He proved to
be a competent minister in united government in Bihar in
mid 60's.

Chaturanan Mishra remembered Indradeep Sinha as a man with
distinguished intellect who proved it by fulfilling his
assignments with brilliant competence. He was praised even
by the then prime minister Indira Gandhi for Indradeep
Sinha's tackling of drought situation and food scarcity in
Bihar when he was revenue minister. His contribution in the
peasant movement as general secretary of AIKS was
tremendous. His integrity during his ministership forced
even Tatas to visit his office for discussion. He had
refused to go to Tatas for discussion. Subodh Rai, MP from
Bihar representing CPI(M) remembered how he was encouraged
to be whole time worker of the party when Indradeep Sinha
was party secretary in Bihar.

Prabhat Kumar from CPI(ML) paid his tributes mentioning
that Indradeep Sinha was an inspiration to many a youth and
peasants in Bihar who were drawn towards left politics.
AIFB's Devrajan also paid his tributes. Amarjeet Kaur
conducted the meeting. 

She in her remarks while narrating her encounters with
Indradeep Sinha said that he was gender sensitive and great
admirer of young students who worked in the All India
Students Federation. He wished his daughters to be part of
the movements. 

CPI general secretary A. B. Bardhan in his homage to the
great veteran mentioned how his generation of student
leaders regarded Indradeep Sinha and his colleagues in high
esteem. Indradeep Sinha chose to serve the masses and he
ably did so. His contribution as editor "New Age" is
unforgettable. He wrote about 25 books and his writings are
guidelines for the next generation committed to people's
cause.

ABB said that Indradeep was extremely worried about the
growing strength of the communal fascist forces outside and
inside government. He expressed his desire that the party
take initiative alongwith others for building broadest
possible understanding and alliance to defeat the forces of
obscurantism, fundamentalism and communal fascism which are
posing the biggest ever threat to the very fabric of
plural, diverse, multi-lingual, religious culture of India.
Homage to him would be to meet these challenges
determinedly declared Bardhan.   

Controversy over Service Sector Tax Escalates 
By Gyan Pathak 

NEW DELHI: The fears have come true. The Vajpayee
government's move to bring in fresh legislation to prevent
the states from taxing the service sector has escalated the
centre-states row on the issue.

It may be mentioned that the Bill on service tax was passed
in the budget session of Parliament without even a
discussion.

No major political party except the AIADMK had raised
objections to that constitution 85th Amendment Bill, mainly
because of ignorance of the subject. As a result, the
centre managed to get it passed overruling the objections. 

But, now that the cash-strapped. States have understood the
law, and intend to raise money from the service sector
through sales tax, the centre proposes to stop them by
introducing a fresh legislation. 

When the Jayalalitha-led AIADMK could not stop the Bill,
which undermines the federal structure of the country, the
party ruling the Tamil Nadu came with a proposal in the
budget 2002-03 of the state itself to levy sales tax on the
service sector beginning with telephone connections. It was
a very sensitive issue and had the potential of becoming a
point of tussle between the state governments and the
centre. 

Naturally, other states followed the example set by Tamil
Nadu. Now Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh
and Delhi have signalled their intent to impose 12.5 per
cent states tax on the telephone connections or rentals
over the above the service tax of eight per cent that is
being levied by the centre. Many other states are keen to
follow the same route to overcome their acute financial
crises.

Now the centre wants to crush the move of the various
states in this regard by introducing a fresh legislation
against them, Accordingly, the Department of
Telecommunications is pushing hard for the legislation to
bar the state governments from levying sales tax on
telephone rentals.

Whether the centre would succeed in its fresh move to
prevent the state governments from levying "sales tax" on
telephone rentals as a tax on "right to use" good, would be
clear in the days to come. But there is no doubt that the
issue, inevitably, will create a big controversy.

However, the centre will face a big difficulty, because the
state government are able to levy sales tax on telephone
rentals through a court ruling stretching the meaning and
scope of the 45th constitution Amendment of the 1980s,
which enables the states to levy tax on "deemed sales" that
includes works contracts, hire purchase and leasing
transactions where effective transfers of ownership and
control of goods used to escape sales tax. If all the
states levy sales tax on telephone rentals, they can raise
an additional revenue of Rs. 600 crore from the 40 million
landline subscribers alone. 

It may be mentioned that the department of
Telecommunications had already raised the issue of levying
sales tax on telephone rentals in various high Courts of
the country. Only the High Court of Uttar Pradesh has so
far ruled in favour of the department. But the Supreme
Court had given a judgement in February this very
indicating that such sales tax is payable and that too with
retrospective effect from 1988. That is why the centre
wants to bring in a legislation that can neutralise the
Supreme Court judgement besides enabling it to acquire a
tool to stop the cash-strapped states from raising
additional revenue from this route. 

The centre has, in fact, got the constitution (95th)
Amendment Bill passed in May this year without discussion.
The bill had been originally proposed by Union minister of
finance, Jaswant Singh during his budget speech in
February. The aims and objects of this constitutional
amendment bill was to enable the centre to "levy" the
service sector and "its collection and appropriation" by
both the centre and the states in a manner to be decided by
Parliament. 

Service tax is, of course, relatively a new entrant in the
system of indirect taxation. That is why its potential
impact on the economy has not yet been discussed property
by the various state governments. There seems to be lack of
awareness in this regard, and most of the political parties
ruling at the state level are ignorant. It was reflected at
the time of passage of the bill. No major political party
except the AIADMK raised any objection against the bill.

The service tax is presently being levied by the centre,
which exercises its residuary powers under schedule VII of
the Constitution. The states have also been trying for
securing the power to tax services for quite some time.
However, there has been no concerted effort on the part of
the state governments. The question of levying tax on
services has never been debated seriously, and consequently
cash strapped state governments are finding if difficult to
mobilise more resources for their development. 

Since the service sector is becoming important day by day,
the question of "right to levy" should be settled first
before we venture for a comprehensive legislation in this
regard. Service tax is the only hope for additional revenue
both for the centre and the states, which are increasingly
falling into greater financial crises. 

In the process of mobilising more funds, the centre has
increased the rate of service tax from five per cent to
eight per cent, which amounts to an effective increase of
sixty per cent. Such a high rate of increase shows the
greed of the centre. This may trigger a lopsided
development of the service sector. It is worth mentioning
that the growth in aggregate tax revenue from the service
sector, almost 75 per cent, comes from only five services 
general insurance, telephones, share-broking, advertising
and couriers. The remaining 55 activities yield only 25 per
cent of the service tax revenue. 

If only the centre will be benefited by the service tax
revenue, how can it expect the states to mobilise more
funds for their development! Therefore, the issue has to be
sorted out in near future to avoid arbitrariness either on
the part of the centre or the state governments. 

For the moment, only one regional political party AIADMK
led by Jayalalitha had objected to the constitution (95th)
Amendment bill in its present form. Sooner or later, other
political parties like the left are bound to oppose it.
These parties have always demanded devolution of powers to
the states and grant of greater economic autonomy.

There is a formula for sharing tax revenue between the
centre and the states. But it cannot be a substitute for
giving powers to the states to levy taxes on the service
sector activities in their territory. It would be harmful,
analysts say, to undermine the federalism and
decentralisation in favour of centralisation.  

Democratic Local Bodies: Panda

Participating in a debate on July 28 Prabodh Panda, raised
few very important  points on the motion "consideration of
progress of implementation of parts IX and IX-A of the
constitution(Dealing with panchayats and municipalities as
institutions of self Government) during the last ten
years." Excerpts from the speech:

At the very outset, I must thank the Minister as he has
brought this Motion here. But I must say that it is a
Motion brought in a casual manner and it is late. Of
course, it is better late than never. A little over a
decade ago, the 73rd and 74th Amendments to the
Constitution were passed, but the dream of Panchayat Raj is
standing sound. A few States like West Bengal and Madhya
Pradesh were able to register notable examples in this
field. Several hon. Members of this House had rightly said
about the great contribution of the former Prime Minister,
Shri Rajiv Gandhi. But I would like to say that before the
enhancement of panchayat raj system at the Centre, West
Bengal had introduced the panchayat raj system more than a
decade before.

In the year 1978, the three-tier panchayat raj system was
successfully introduced in West Bengal inducting women and
also inducting Scheduled Castes. The voting right at the
age of eighteen was first introduced in West Bengal. So, we
have gathered experience of not only a decade but we have
gathered experienced of 25 years in panchayat raj system in
West Bengal but what is the position in major parts of our
country and how is the system being introduced in other
States? The States should delegate powers to the panchayat
raj institutions because panchayat raj institutions
constitute local self-government. May I know from the hon.
Minister how many States have passed legislation for
devolution of powers to the panchayat raj institutions? I
think, most of the States have not done it so far. So, what
is the achievement if most of the States have not enacted a
law for devolution of powers to the panchayat raj
institutions?

Some vital aspects of democratic functioning of the local
bodies have to be looked at closely. There should be
regular elections. There should be adequate representation
of the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes, women, etc.
In West Bengal, we have recently finished our three-tier
panchayat elections. I am pleased to say here that just 33
per cent but more than 42 per cent women have occupied
seats in panchayats. I am very glad to inform this august
House that in my constituency and in my district, two gram
panchayats are completely controlled and run by women.

When we are talking about local self-government, we say
that local self-government should have adequate legislative
powers, executive powers and judicial powers. So, we should
introduce the system of naya panchayats at the grass-root
level. Nothing has been done so far about this. This should
be looked into.

Some hon. Members have raised the point of direct elections
for the post of pradhans and pramukhs. I oppose that idea.
No direct election should be there for the district heads
or the heads of blocks. The other point is regarding
reservation for the posts of pradhans, pramukhs or district
heads or panchayat samiti heads. This should be thought
over and should be changed. This idea should be dropped. If
we talk about reservation for the post of pradhans and
pramukhs at the district level, why we can that system not
be introduced at the level of the Prime Minister and Chief
Ministers? Reservation of seats is all right but
reservation should not be there for the post of head of
institution. So, this should be reviewed. Mani Shankar
Aiyar has raised the point that Panchayat is in the State
List and we should think over to bring it in the concurrent
List. I oppose to that idea. We should think of
strengthening the local system.

The most important point about the Panchayat Raj System is
participation of people. We are talking about democracy.
Democracy means the participatory democracy where people
are involved in the panchayat system. This should be main
thing.

In the State of West Bengal, the commitment of
decentralization of power is already in progress. So,
keeping this thing in mind, they have passed the
legislation. They are also emphasizing for strengthening
the local administration, the local self-government. I know
what you are trying to say. But your leader has already
said that panchayat is irrelevant to her. She does not
think about the panchayat system. She made a public
statement like that.

I would like to request the hon. Minister, through you, to
see how far the panchayat system is running all over the
country. The hon. Minister should take an initiative to
have a meeting of all the State Ministers to assess and to
monitor everything for the better performance of Panchayat
Raj System.

Last but not least, without land reforms, the Panchayat Raj
System will not be meaningful. So, that should be taken as
a priority. .


Greetings to Fidel

Com. Fidel Castro,
General Secretary,
Central Committee
Communist Party of Cuba

Dear Com. Fidel,

On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the heroic
attack on Moncada garrison on 26th July 1953, which paved
the way to the triumph of the historic Cuban Revolution, I,
on behalf of the National Council of the Communist Party of
India and on my personal behalf, convey our revolutionary
greetings to you, to the Communist Party of Cuba and to the
people of Cuba.

The Cuban Revolution led by you and your dedicated comrades
is an inexhaustible source of inspiration to Communists,
and the exploited people and nations the world over.  Being
so close to the shores of USA and withstanding the blockade
for decades, Cuban revolution has proved its invincibility
and the socialist system has proved its moral superiority
over the capitalist-imperialist order.

At a time when American imperialists who have now been
joined by the European Union, have turned arrogantly
aggressive against Cuba, the Communist Party of India
reiterates its unflinching support and solidarity with the
government, the Party and the people of Cuba.  

We wish you good health and wish all success to the
Communist Party of Cuba and the people of Cuba in this
struggle for the defence of Cuba's independence, revolution
and socialism.

								Yours Comradely,


								(A.B. Bardhan)
								General Secretary

Greetings to Kim Il Jong

Com. Kim Jong Il
General Secretary,
Workers Party of Korea
Pyongyang
DPRK
Dear Comrade,
The National Council of the Communist Party of India convey
its warm greetings to you and the Workers Party of Korea on
the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Korean people's
victory in the Great Fatherland Liberation War.

The Victory of the Korean people led to the foundation of
DPRK and it was an important event in the history of the
liberation movement which gave strength to the peace loving
people of the Asia in the struggle against the forces of
imperialism for Peace, Democracy and for Social Progress.
The Workers Party of Korea under the leadership of Com. Kim
IL Sung played a pivotal role for the liberation of the
country and for the foundation of the Socialist State of
DPRK.

Today it is of paramount importance not only to remember
those hero's who sacrificed their lives to defeat the US
imperialists, but also to have more resolve to fight back
the present conspiracies launched by the Bush
administration to isolate and destroy the DPRK.   

On this happy occasion, dear comrade, we once again
reiterate our support to all your initiatives for
reunification of Korea and for defending the sovereignty of
DPRK and building a modern socialist state. 

With revolutionary greetings,
Comradely yours,

A.B. Bardhan
General Secretary
Weak ties but strong hearts

Borders, bondages, boundaries; heart knows none. It
transcends all hurdles and goes straight to express its
quintessence. Wars are imposed. Diplomatic ties are
weakened but humanity never dies, it holds its flag high
and demonstrates it whenever occasions arise. This has been
proved vehemently when a Pakistani baby Noor was brought to
India by her parents for heart surgery and has been
received with much fanfare and love by people living on
this side of the border. Entire Indian media, whether
visual or print, flashed their pictures as signs of renewed
ties between the two countries by the resumption of the bus
service after a gap of 18 months. Two-year-old Noor Fatima
was the centre of media frenzy since the time she arrived
in India on board the freshly resumed bus, Sadaa-e-Sarhad.

The reason why her parents chose India over other countries
may several, viz. the supremacy of facilities available
here, monetary aspects et al. but it has highlighted the
fact that people across the border want better ties between
the two nuclear nations who has been virtually on the verge
of war in the recent past only with armies of both sides
facing each other eyeball to eyeball on the border. No
matter what the official line is and how leaders from both
sides plan to improve the ties, but one thing remains
evident that average Indians and Pakistanis want enhanced
people-to-people contact and wish to resolve all disputes
through amicable means, without resolving to war or
violence. Air and road links between the two countries were
broken and over flights facilities were also shunned after
the terrorist attack on Indian parliament in December.
Since then the expense of traveling between the two
countries via Dubai has risen to Rs. 18000. But now with
the resumption of the bus service with ticket of only Rs.
800 the prospects of enhanced people-to-people contact and
better trade has improved to a significant extent. Since
the arrival of Noor's family in Indian thousands of
messages and calls of support and good wishes poured in on
channels as well as papers. Indians belonging to all
religions and castes prayed for the success of surgery, as
it got successful. Noor is in a stable condition and this
stability should lead to the stability of Indo-Pak ties.
There may be thousands other like Noor who must be
suffering due to severed links. Resumption of the bus
service is just a good beginning; there is still a long way
to go, a distance to be bridged, which can be made possible
only with an open and rational approach by burying the
rigidness in stands and moving step by step towards the
destiny of peace and harmony. The entire Noor's case has
brought to light a very significant fact that people have
soft corners for each other and want an end to the
atmosphere of hatred, animosity, distrust and suspicion. It
is high time that politicians from both sides realize this
reality and work sincerely to achieve to achieve this.
Let's hope that Noor, true to her, name has just lit a lamp
of hope which will lit thousand more to enlighten the
entire subcontinent with peace and tranquility.

Grim Picture of Poverty and Unemployment 
By H. Mahadevan 

The Director general of ILO Juan Somavia presenting his
report entitled "working out of poverty" to the 91 session
of the ILO (June 2 - 19) observed that the global efforts
aimed at cutting poverty in half by 2015 will fail unless
new ways are found to create opportunities for the world's
poor for a decent living. Painting a grim picture of
poverty affecting half the global population and every
country in the world, he reported that amongst the nearly 3
billion people living on less than US 2 dollar day, some 1
billion or about 23 per cent of the developing world's
population-struggle along on US 1 dollar day or less;
official unemployment-currently at some 180 million people
worldwide and growing and over a billion people working
without fully utilising their creativity, (known as under
employed); the world's labour force is increasing by about
50 million each year, the income gap between the wealthiest
and poorest fifths of the world's population is growing. In
1960 it was 30 to 1, by 1999 it had widened to 74 to 1;
Two-thirds of the female workforce of the developing world
are in the informal economy mostly doing the lowest paid
work; the global economy is not well organised to make full
use of the 1 billion young people who will enter the age of
working population. Even in the most industrialised
countries, over 10 per cent of the population live below
poverty line of less than 50 per cent of the median income.
The four tools for poverty eradication are (I) creation of
jobs (ii) guaranteeing to right at work (iii) provide basic
social protection (iv) promote dialogue and conflict
resolutions. 

The presentation of the AITUC representative on behalf of
the Asia-Pacific Worker participants in this committee
included the following: 
"Workers in many countries still face the grimmest threat
to their occupational safety and health. Be it the factory
fire at 'Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York in 1911
killing 146 workers or 82 years later on May 10,1993 in
Kedar Toy Factory in Thailand The similarities do exist.
The Silicosis, believed to have been found in the workers
who built the Pyramids in Egypt continue as a dreadful
disease now also. The two notorious disasters... 'Three
Mile Island' of Pennsylvania in 1979 and Chernobyl in
Ukraine in 1986 still warn of the future nuclear plant
accidents. Since the first documented case of Carcinogens
and sectoral cancer in the London Child -Chimney -Sweepers,
comparable occupations causing environmental cancer exist
even in 2003. The giant MNC-Union Carbide Factory disaster
at Bhopal whose sufferers continue in the next century also
did not provide enough lessons to prevent subsequent
chemical disasters. What all these illustrations drive us
to? 

The dismal record of ratifications and implementation of
OSH Conventions and Recommendations, the manufacture and
usage of even banned chemicals, the work related stress and
hazards reducing the active life of the 'educated bonded
labour' in the Sunrise industry IT Sector, the reproductive
hazards, the untold miseries silently suffered by the
vulnerable workers in the growing informal sector, an
aftermath of globalisation and similar horrifying
experiences drive us to the conclusion that we have not
done enough and the intellectual jugglery to justify what
has been unfortunately happening cannot continue any more. 

We are of the firm conviction that Safety and Health must
be a fundamental human right of the workers. Production and
service shall not be at any cost, particularly at the
health of workers. Cleaner and harmless production will
have to be guaranteed. Decent Work Agenda of the ILO cannot
be achieved without asserting Safety and Health as the
fundamental right of the workers, irrespective of
employment relations and economic conditions. Development,
which is essential, should not be at a premium on Health
and Safety or a compromise on OSH protection."

There was a Special Plenary Siting on "Situation of Workers
of the Occupied Arab Territories"

The Director general presented a very realistic report.
Speaker after speaker-country after country emphasized that
attainment of sovereign state of Palestinian is the basic
answer and Israel must vacate all the occupations, as per
the UN resolutions. Alexander Zarikov, general secretary,
WFTU pointed out "Almost 2000 Palestinians have been killed
in less than two and a half years, including 275 children
and youths. In April this year alone, more than 5,000
Palestinian were detained or imprisoned, according to the
Report. Hundreds of houses and enterprises were demolished,
leaving people homeless and without work. The share of the
population living below the poverty line, tripled between
1999 and 2002. Part of the Palestinian population is
"virtually encircled by a fence and an eight metre
high-concrete wallincluding a concrete wall, guard towers,
electric fencing and large ditches, with buffer zones and
patrol zones of various depths", and living in conditions
equal to reservations for indigenous people, Bantustan or
concentration camps. We agree with the conclusions in the
report, that "the current disastrous, economic and social
situation in the territories will not be improved by a new
labour law, no matter how progressive it may be", because
this is a situation of genocide exercised over the
Palestinian nation as a whole.

During his speech in the special sitting. Mahadevan
observed "while closure remains the dominant feature of
daily life in the occupied territories, workers and their
families live in constant fear of the physical, economic
and social consequences of occupation. Violence occurs
daily, causing severe psychological stress. The plight of
Palestinians separated from resources by a psychical
barrier has been documented in the press as "death by
asphyxiation." 

"The Golan had been occupied by Israel since 1967 and was
unilaterally annexed by a decision that was never
recognised by the United Nations, and the Security Council
adopted resolution 497 calling on Israel to rescind its
decision. The report of the Director General reveals that
the economy of the occupied territories has suffered a
massive shock, resulting from the closure, restrictions and
the like. 

In the light of the foregoing, we believe that the answer
to many issues is the most basic need to remove all
settlements in the occupied Arab territories and establish
an independent Nation of Palestine, with Jerusalem as the
capital ". 

Statement on Iraq 

The worker group meeting in this ILO adopted a unanimous
statement calling for "a speedy end to the occupation of
Iraq and for every assistance to ensure the establishment
of a transitory national government under the auspices of
the United Nations, free from military or any other form of
autocratic control". (Statement separately published)
Speaking on this statement the Advisor from AITUC said
"This statement on Iraq is timely, crucial and a very
welcome one. On behalf of all the Indian Trade Unions and
the Indian working class, we welcome this statement and
propose that further efforts should continue involving the
other constituents of ILO so as to bring peace and
prosperity to the people of Iraq, the working people of
Iraq and to provide all assistance to Iraq in its
reconstruction. Iraq should be ruled by Iraquians and their
sovereignty must be protected by all means. There should
not have been aggression on Iraq." 

The ILO also urged the authorities in Myanmar to guarantee
the freedom of Aung San Sun Kyi and her supporters as well
as to continue efforts to end forced labour in that
country. 

Thambo Mbeki, President of the Republic of South Africa
speaking in a special sitting mocked at the institutions of
Washington Consensus and EU on their aid policy. He said: "
I am certain that the distinguished delegates here are all
familiar with what is known as the "Washington Consensus",
which was developed in the early 1990s. This was a list of
policy prescriptions that were said to be necessary to
stimulate economic growth, especially in developing
countries, ensuring among things, the necessary capital
flows into countries that respected these prescriptions.
These included trade liberalisation, fiscal discipline and
"sound" macro- economic policy, privatisation,
deregulation, tax reform, absence of civil strife,
democracy, promotion in inward investment, secure property
rights, avoidance of "crony capitalism", adherence to all
manner of standards relating to banking and financial
markets, and others. The rules that have been set tell the
poor that unless they can reassure the 'haves' that more
will be given to them they must not expect the "haves" to
concern themselves about the fate of the "have nots". Many
developing countries, eager to secure the much needed
investments to pull their peoples out of the morass of
underdevelopment, embraced the Washington Consensus policy
conditions for growth and used whatever capacity they had
to implement them. "A weekly newsletter dated 12 April,
2000, Sand in the Wheels, addresses the question of capital
flows in the context of the debt burden of the poor
countries. 

"Too often, payments on debt take precedence over vital
needs of the population. Take sub-Saharan Africa, which
paid out 14.5 billion dollar to service the debt- four
times the total sum spent on public health. Take Latin
America, where the service of the debt represents annually
35.6 per cent of the sub-continents' exports of goods and
services. Take Mozambique, so recently hit by terrible
floods, and where in 1995, 33 percent of the budget went to
servicing the debt against, only 3 percent for health, and
7 percent  for education". 

The Washington Consensus urged these countries had to make
themselves as beautiful and alluring as the best mythical
maiden in order to attract the rich suitors with investment
funds, who populate the global capital markets. On the
other hand, developed and prosperous country, the United
Kingdom, has been allocated Euro 16.6. billion by the
European Union to address development challenges that are
relatively minor compared to those confronting the
developing world. In the instance of the United Kingdom, as
with other relevant regions within the European Union, no
call is made that these regions should beautify themselves
for the benefit of the market and depend on this market to
supply the resources to pull them out of their relative
backwardness. 

Bear in mind that even as it tried to prepare itself for
the suitors, sub- Saharan Africa was transferring to the
rich countries of the North, including those of the
European Union, 14.5 billion dollar to service its debts.
As a result, these African countries could not provide
jobs, adequate health services and nutrition, education,
housing, clean water and sanitation and other basic
necessities to their citizens. 

Part of the money given to the United Kingdom is for what
the European Union describes as "a unique peace programme"
in Northern Ireland. But for developing countries, there
must be peace, stability and "absence of civil strife", to
use the words of the Washington Consensus, before the rich
can consider giving any financial assistance. In one case,
resources are allocated to achieve peace. In another, peace
must be achieved before assistance can be considered.
Structural adjustment programmes were imposed on countries
of the South to resort their capacity for debt repayment,
and caused further deterioration in the living conditions
of the most fragile classes of the population. The
financial transfers from South to North in service of the
debt set a mortgage on all chances of development,
representing as they do four times the DECO budget for
public aid to development". 

(The author participated in the ILO meeting).

Invest More in Agriculture  V. V. RAGHAVAN
Participating in the discussion on fiscal management bill
CPI leader V. V. Raghavan said: I do appreciate the concern
of the finance minister to set right the precarious fiscal
situation. The revenue and fiscal deficits of the states
and the Union government have reached an alarming stage.
The debt burden is above the danger mark. On several
occasions, the reserve Bank of India had warned the
government. Now, the World Bank, with sufficient data, has
pointed out the impact of these deficits. A debt burden of
Rupees 18 lakh crores is certainly beyond what this country
could bear. About half of the revenue income is spent on
interest alone. I am afraid the remedies proposed in this
Bill will not save us from the deep waters. Piecemeal
remedies will not work. It is high time the planning
commission and the Union Cabinet reviewed the entire
economic policy in this background. 

When we opened up our economy to monopoly capital  both
Indian and foreign and when we shifted to the market
economy from planned economy, the system was corrupted from
top to bottom. Tax evasion and tax arrears piled up when
unaccounted money played havoc in our economy. How does our
Stock Exchange function? The ill-gotten money is pumped
into the stock market just to cheat common people. From the
days of globalisation, so many scams were detected and it
goes on repeating. Agriculture is the backbone of our
economy. After the agreement on agriculture in WTO, our
agriculture sector is in crisis. Heavily subsidised
products of the developed countries dominate our own market
and the external market. Hence, market accesses to our
products are very rare. In this connection, I must draw the
attention of the finance minister that in the ensuing WTO
ministerial conference at Cancun, Mexico, the main focus
will be on market access and investment, especially in the
agrarian sector. Why don't we send our agriculture minister
to this ministerial conference? I have respect for Arun
Shourie. But he is not a man of investment; he is a man of
disinvestments. So, at least, when agriculture is going to
be discussed, our agriculture minister should be present
there along with Shourie. 

Unless we unleash the vast potential of our agriculture
sector  the productive forces  how can we strengthen our
economy? That is the main thing we are facing now. We have
ignored the agriculture sector. The agrarian reforms are
still lacking. For development, even in a capitalist
economy, agrarian reform is a must. In India now, even
these days, our villages are dominated by kulaks, the
landlords, with their own armies and with the backing of
the local police force also. So, about 25 crores of
agricultural workers, about 70 per cent of our poor
peasant, are still in a very bad shape. So, please uplift
the villages. Please, pay some attention to the agriculture
sector. 

Investment in the agriculture sector is still lacking; it
is going back year by year. Unless we invest more in the
agriculture sector, how can we revive our economy? Unless
we find market for their products, how can they revive?
Even in the internal market after you have lifted every
protection including quantitative restrictions, our market
is dominated by development countries and multi-national
corporations. So, to strengthen our economy and to enhance
the purchasing power of poor village people, some drastic
steps have to be taken in the agrarian sector. The Cancun
ministerial conference is a very important conference.
Therefore, we should enlist the support from many
developing countries. 

Prime minister, when he visited the people's republic of
China offered a joint effort to mobilise the opinion of the
developing countries to safeguard the vital interest of
these countries from the WTO. So, I appeal to the finance
minister that with these piecemeal measures, we cannot tide
over the difficult situation. Some very basic economic
measures have to be taken. Please consider these vital
things. 

Iraqi Workers up Against US Corporations 
By Judith Le Blanc

US Labour Against the War (USLAW), a nationwide network of
labour groups, recently presented an expose of the US
corporate invasion of Iraq under cover of the US-British
occupation. The report was presented to the workers' Group
of the International Labour Organisation in Geneva, June
14-15.

The report's introduction says, "If photos of corporate
criminals were hung on post office walls, many firms
identified in this report would find their profile
prominently displayed there."

Iraqi workers face a daunting challenge under the US
British occupations' open door policy for corporations with
records of labour, environmental, and human rights
violations as well as Wall Street finance scandals. The
Bush administration's prejudicial process for awarding
contracts for Iraq has set off congressional calls for full
disclosure. For example, MCI is receiving a 30
million-dollar deal to build a mobile telecommunications
system. "MCI was found to have committed the largest
corporate fraud in history, and that should be a major
factor in determining the fitness of contractors to do
business with the federal government," Sen. Edward Kennedy
(D-Mass.) said in a letter questioning government contracts
with this corporation. Kennedy continued, "The firm's false
and deceptive reports of earnings caused substantial harm
to its employees and shareholders and to the
telecommunications industry as a whole".

Communication Workers of America, the union representing
MCI workers, calls MCI "one of the most union-hostile
corporations in the telecommunications industry."

The USLAW report details the history of the 17 other US
corporations set to privatize Iraqi industries and services
and be given full control of the development of a "free
market economy".

With visions of a Middle East Free Trade Zone, the Bush
administration I steamrolling a privatization plan on a
country in which 30 per cent of the workers were employed
by the state. Who will ultimately control the Iraqi economy
is also a big worry for Iraqi business people and
merchants. The Wall Street journal reports Iraqi businesses
are now fighting to survive under occupation without laws
to protect their interests. Mohammed Al-Saraf, managing
director of the Al-Saraf Group, a family-owned company,
said, "The doors are closed just like under Saddam."

The labour report also says, "We can be sure that [the Bush
administration's] definition of `democracy' does not
include workers' rights and strong independent unions. Bush
and his cohorts have waged a relentless assault against
organised labour and working families in the US. We would
expect nothing different in their treatment of unions and
workers in Iraq."

US corporations are poised to reap huge profits while the
Iraqi people lack essential human services and democratic
rights.  With an eye to winning fat corporate kickbacks to
its 2004 elections campaign, the Bush administration has
pursued a plan for post-war Iraq, which can only bring more
misery to the Iraqi people unless effective international
support is given to their democratic right to organise
against US corporate control of the rebuilding of their
country. 

The USLAW report aims to mobilise US working people to
support the efforts of Iraqi workers, but also to challenge
the Bush administration's anti-worker, anti-labour policies
at home.

Gerald Zero, secretary-treasurer of Teamsters local 705 in
Chicago, the union's second largest local of UPS workers
and a USLAW affiliate, said, "As Iraqis begin to rebuild
their labour movement, they will confront not only US
authorities and their former Baathist managers, but also
some of the most powerful multinational corporations in the
world. This report serves as an important introduction to
those employers."

Amy Newell, USLAW national organiser, said USLAW plans to
participate in an international labour delegation to Iraq,
"with the aim of gathering facts about the state and needs
of the workers in Iraq." Newell added, "We will want to be
part of this delegation and to build support for it widely
among working people in the United States."

The report says, "A strong, independent, free and
democratic labour movement and respect for workers' and
human rights must be an essential pillar of a new
democratic Iraq."

Linking Human Security with Development 
Amartya Sen 

In his millennium Report, UN secretary  general Kofi Annan
called to advance the twin goals of "freedom from want" and
"freedom from fear". A new human centered approach has to
be developed if these issues are to be addressed in an
effective and comprehensive way.

As a contribution to this effort, the Commission on Human
Security (CHS) was established in 2001, co-chaired by
Sadako Ogata, former UN High Commissioner for Refugees and
Professor Amartya Sen, Nobel laureate and Master of Trinity
College, Cambridge. 

The goals of the CHS were outlined as follows:
To promote public understanding, engagement and support of
human security and its underlying imperatives. 
To develop the concept of human security as an operational
tool for policy formulation and implementation and
To propose a concrete programme of action to address
critical and pervasive threats to human security. 

The Process

Two broad areas of research and related consultative
processes formed the Commission's deliberations. One area
dealt with human insecurities resulting from conflict and
violence, and the other with the links between human
security and development. Ultimately, the two areas of
research will be integrated to address the need for
providing effective protection in critical situations. 

The project on conflict focused on individuals or
communities facing extreme situations like displacement,
discrimination and persecution. It deals with special
security needs of people and the protection of victims,
internally displaced people and refugees. Equally, it looks
at the means to promote coexistence by recgonising the
interrelations between the various elements of insecurity,
and the need to ensure that development activities proceed
alongside with conflict resolution. 

The research project on the development aspects of human
security focuses on insecurities related to poverty,
health, education, gender disparities, and other types of
inequality. It also works on problems that cut across these
themes, including institutional arrangements for reducing
insecurities, new vulnerabilities associated with the
current global situation, and an analysis of the magnitude
and distribution of various types of insecurities. 

Consultation, outreach and collaborative arrangements are
important to the success of the project. The Commission
intends to both propagate its ideas, and benefit from the
first hand experience of people in need of human security.
It will take note of existing initiatives and advance an
integrated framework for launching collaborative action.
The Commission issued its final report in May 2003,
integrating all its research efforts and proposing a
concrete plan of action for the international community.
The outline of its Report is as follows:

Human Security  Now

People's security around the world is interlinked  as
today's global flows of goods, service, finance, people and
images highlight. Political liberalisation and
democratisation opens new opportunities but also new fault
lines, such as political and economic instabilities and
conflicts within states. More than 800,000 people a year
lose their lives to violence. About 2.8 billion-suffer from
poverty, ill health, illiteracy and other maladies.
Conflict and deprivation are interconnected. Deprivation
has many causal links to violence, although these have to
be carefully examined. Conversely, wars kill people,
destroy trust among them, increase poverty and crime, and
slow down the economy. Addressing such insecurities
effectively demands an integrated approach. 

The report's call for human security is a response to the
challenges in today's world. Policies and institutions must
respond to these insecurities in stronger and more
integrated ways. The state continues to have the primary
responsibility for security. But as security challenges
become more complex and various new actors attempt to play
a role, we need a shift in paradigm. The focus must broaden
from the state to the security for people  to human
security. 

Human security means protecting vital freedoms. It means
protecting people exposed to threats and situations,
building on their strengths and aspirations. It also means
creating systems that give people the building blocks of
survival, dignity and livelihood. Human security connects
different types of freedoms  freedom from want, freedom
from fear and freedom to take action on one's behalf. To do
this, it offers two general strategies: protection and
empowerment. Protection shields people from dangers. It
requires concerted effort to develop norms, processes and
institutions that systematically address insecurities.
Empowerment enables people to develop their potential and
become full participants in decision making. Protection and
empowerment are mutually reinforcing, and both are required
in most situation. 

Human security complements state security, furthers human
development and enhances human rights. It complements state
security by being people centered and addressing
insecurities that have not been considered as state
security threats. By looking at "downside risk", it
broadens the human development focus beyond "growth with
equity". Respecting human rights are at the core of
protecting human security. 

Promoting democratic principles is a step toward attaining
human security and development. It enables people to
participate in governance and make their voice heard. This
requires building strong institutions, establishing the
rule of law and empowering people. 

Ways to Advance the Security of People 

Human security seeks to strengthen and bring together
efforts to address issues such as conflict and deprivation.
Attempts are being made, for example, to realise the United
Nations Millennium Declaration and the Millennium
Development Goals (MDGs). Achieving human security requires
building on and going beyond the MDGs, by undertaking
efforts to address the full range of critical and pervasive
threats facing people. 

In this respect, the Commission, while recognising that
there are many pressing issues of concern to human
security, examined more particularly six areas relating to
conflict and poverty, in which manifestation of human
insecurity were considered critical and pervasive. 

Protecting people in violent conflict: Civilians are the
main casualties in conflicts. Both norms and mechanism to
protect civilians should be strengthened. This requires
comprehensive and integrated strategies, linking political,
military, humanitarian and development aspects. The
Commission proposes placing human security formally on the
agenda of security organisations at all levels. There are
critical gaps in how human rights are upheld, in respect of
citizenship and humanitarian law. These gaps need to be
closed as well as attention give to ending the impunity of
perpetrators of human rights violations. Community-based
strategies to promote coexistence and trust among people
will support these efforts. Equality urge is meeting the
life-saving needs of people through humanitarian
assistance. Special attention should be give to protecting
women, children, the elderly and other vulnerable groups.
Disarming people and fighting crime through preventing the
proliferation of weapons and illegal trade in resources and
peoples has to be a priority.

Protecting and empowering people on the move: For the
majority of people, migration is an opportunity to improve
their livelihood. For others, migrating is the only option
to protect themselves, such as those forced to flee because
of conflicts or serious human rights violations. Others may
also be forced to leave their homes to escape chronic
deprivations or sudden downturns. 

Today, there is no agreed international framework to
provide protection or to regulate migration, except for
refugees. The feasibility of an international migration
framework should be explored, through establishing the
basis of high-level and broad-based discussions and
dialogues on the need to strike a careful balance between
the security and development needs of countries, and the
human security of people on the move. Equally important is
to ensure the protection of refugees and internally
displaced persons, and identify ways to end their plight.

Protecting and Empowering People in Post-Conflict
Situations: Cease-fire agreements and peace settlements may
mark the end of conflict, but not necessarily the advent of
peace and human security. The responsibility to protect
people in conflict should be complemented by a
responsibility to rebuild. A new framework and a funding
strategy are necessary to rebuild conflict-torn states  one
that focuses on the protection and empowerment of people.
Such a human security framework emphasises the linkages
among the many issues affecting people, such as ensuring
people, safety through strengthening civilian police and
demobilising combatants; meeting immediate needs of
displaced people; launching reconstruction and development;
promoting governance. To be successful, it requires setting
up unified leadership for all actors close to the delivery
point of human security. To implement such a framework, a
new fund raising strategy should be designed for
post-conflict situations, at field level, to ensure
coherence in the planning, budgeting and implementation of
human security related activities. 

Economic insecurity  the power to choose among
opportunities: Extreme poverty remains pervasive. The
proper functioning of markets as well as development of
non-market institutions are key to poverty eradication.
Efficient and equitable trade arrangements, economic growth
reaching the extreme poor and a fair distribution of
benefits are essential. Together with addressing chronic
poverty, human security focuses on sudden economic
downturns, natural disasters and the social impacts of
crises. To make people secure when crisis hits or to enable
them to move out of poverty, we need social arrangements to
meet their basic needs and ensure an economic and social
minimum. Three-quarters of the world's people are not
protected by social security or do not have secure work.
Efforts to ensure sustainable livelihoods and work based
security for all need to be strengthened. Access to land,
credit, education, and housing, especially for poor women,
is critical. An equitable distribution of resources is key
to livelihood security and can enhance people's own
capacity and ingenuity. Social protection measures and
safety nets can advance a social and economic minimum.
States, supported by the international system, need to
establish early warning and prevention measures for natural
disasters and economic or financial crises. 

Health for human security: Despite the progress in
healthcare, 22 million people died of preventable diseases
in 2001. HIV'AIDS will soon become the greatest health
catastrophe. In their urgency, depth and impact, global
infectious diseases, poverty-related threats and health
deprivations arising from violence are particularly
significant. All health actors should promote health
service as public good. It is essential to mobilise social
action and invest in supportive social arrangements,
including the access to information, to remove the root
causes of ill health, to provide early warning systems and
to mitigate health impacts once a crisis occurs. Providing
access to life-saving drugs is critical for those in
developing countries. An equitable intellectual property
rights regime needs to be developed to balance incentives
for research and development with ensuring people's access
to affordable life-saving drugs. The international
community must also form a global network of partnerships
for health, promoting, for example, a global surveillance
and control system for infectious diseases. 

Knowledge, skills and values- for human security: Basic
education and public information that provide knowledge,
life skills and respect for diversity are particularly
important for human security. The Commission urges the
international community to actively help the achievement of
universal primary education, with a particular emphasis on
girls education. School should not create physical
insecurities, but protect students from violence, including
sexual violence. Education should foster respect for
diversity and promote the multiplicity of our identities by
employing a balance curriculum and method of instruction.
Public media are important as they can provide information
on life skills and political issues, and give people voice
in public debate. Not only should education and the media
provide information and skills that will improve work
opportunities and family health, but they should also
enable people to actively exercise their rights and fulfil
their responsibilities. 

Policy Conclusions  

Based on the foregoing, the commission has arrived at
policy conclusions in the following areas:
Protecting people in violent conflict. 
Protecting people from the proliferation of arms.
Supporting the security of people on the move.
Establishing human security transition funds for
post-conflict situations.
Encouraging fair trade and markets to benefit the extreme
poor.
Working to provide minimum living standards everywhere.
According higher priority to ensuring universal access to
basic health care.
Developing an efficient and equitable global system for
patent rights. 
Empowering all people with universal global system for
patent rights.
Clarifying the need for a global human identity while
respecting the freedom of individuals to have diverse
identities and affiliations.

For each of these policy conclusions, joint efforts are
necessary  a network of public, private, and civil society
actors who can help in the clarification and development of
norms, embark on integrated activities and monitor progress
and performance. Such efforts could create a horizontal
source of legitimacy to complement traditional vertical
structures and accompany the emergence of an international
public opinion. 

But effective and adequate resource mobilisation is also
required. Not only must there be greater commitment to
providing additional resources but also a shift of priority
assistance to people in greatest need. In this respect, the
commission recognises the valuable contribution of the UN
Trust Fund for Human Security and encourages the broadening
of its donor base. It also recommends the establishment of
an Advisory Board on Human Security to provide orientation
to the UN Trust Fund and follow-up on the Commission's
recommendations. 

The Commission proposes the development of a core group
made up of interested states, international organisations
and civil society around the United Nations and the Bretton
Woods institutions to forge links with disparate human
security actors in a strong global alliance. 

Raghavan on Panchayati Raj 

Participating in the debate on Panchayati Raj in Rajya
Sabha on July 24, CPI leader V. V. Raghavan demanded better
management of centrally sponsored welfare schemes. Excerpts
from the speech:

The richest experience of the last 10 years, during the
Panchayati Raj experiment, is the potential of our toiling
masses as successful rulers. Around ten lakh women folk
took up the responsibility and successfully discharged it.
The Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe cadres who have
been entrusted with the responsibilities discharged their
responsibilities to the satisfaction of the people.

I will confine myself to some of the deficiencies
experienced during the last ten years. One of the
deficiencies in the Panchayati Raj system is, there is no
cohesion in the district administrative unit. We have the
Panchayats, Zilla Parishads, we have separate municipal
corporations, municipalities and Nagar Palikas in the
district, and we have the district collector with the
revenue department. This creates a dual loyalty even among
the staff itself. So, a single cohesive administrative unit
in a district is quite essential for the successful
development of planned economy. That is lacking now-a-days.
We, in Kerala, had a district council administration under
the district administration Act. The elected district
council was the supreme authority of the district. The
Chairman was a executive head. The collector was working
under him as secretary. So, it was a very successful
experiment. But after the LDF rule, UDF came to power and
it was dissolved and when the Panchayati Raj Act came into
force, this dual loyalty of district administration
thrived. Why don't we bring all the elected representation
thrived. Why don't we bring all the elected representatives
together as we had done in the Kerala Zilla council
administration. That is a must not only for the development
works but for the planned economic development. A single
administrative unit of elected representatives, is quite
essential. That is one of the points that I have to make. 

I hope, S. S. Ahluwaliaji, will seriously take up this
issue for a further discussion. I do not want to request,
O. Rajagopal, the minister of state in the ministry of
parliamentary affairs, because I know it is not fair on my
part. And, I will also leave the Rural Development
minister. I hope you will take up the issue of a single
administrative unit in a district which is quite essential.
There are DRDAs, DDCs, and so many other agencies working
in different directions. That must be put to a stop.

Another that I have to point out is that the union
government is not devolving finance and powers. I have gone
through the background materials in the library. The
figures of the Tenth and Eleventh Finance Commission are
showing as to how much money they have allotted to the
Panchayati Raj institutions. You will feel ashamed. An
amount of only Rs. 4000 crores each had been given by the
Tenth Finance Commission and the Eleventh Finance
Commission. If the Finance Commission would not allot
sufficient funds to the Panchayati Raj institutions, how
can it function? So, this has to be taken seriously. If we
really want the Panchayati Raj institutions, the Gram
Panchayats, the Block Panchayats, the District Panchayats
to function call we it as local governments then, they must
be provided with sufficient funds. So, I appeal to Pranabda
to take up this matter with the Twelfth Finance Commission
also. Please allot sufficient funds to the most essential
structure of our democracy, i.e., the Panchayati Raj
institutions.

Another thing, is that we have got centrally-sponsored
schemes. We are spending huge amounts on them and the rural
development ministry and social welfare ministry are
spending a lot of money. As far as the centrally-sponsored
schemes are concerned, is it possible to adopt a set
pattern in this country? This country of ours has so many
peculiarities in different parts. You plan and set up a
certain centrally-sponsored scheme for the whole country.
But you don't take into consideration access to various
areas, various states and various regions. And, so the
centrally-sponsored schemes are not being implemented
successfully. That is what late Rajiv Gandhi had pointed
out in the implementation, only a very small portion
percolates down to the village level. This is sheer
wastage. So, instead of setting up a unitary level. This is
sheer wastage. So, instead of setting up a unitary pattern
of centrally-sponsored schemes, you allot the money to the
states and the Panchayat Raj units; of course, with
definite instructions to be sent on such schemes or any
other yojanas. But seething up a certain pattern for the
country as a whole is not at all workable, it is
impracticable. So, please, reconsider the
centrally-sponsored schemes as to how they can be
successfully implemented with the full utilization of
funds. Sir, another thing is that the rural development
ministry and the social welfare ministry are encouraging
NGOs for implementing certain schemes. Why? Many of the
NGOs are misusing it. There is ample evidence before us, in
various states, as to how the NGOs misuse these funds.
Corruption is rampant. When we have got such local
governments as the Panchayat Raj, why should you depend
upon these NGOs to implement these programmes? Why don't
you entrust those funds to the Panchayat Raj units? There
might be some rare, good NGOs, but most of them are paper
organisations, misleading you and misusing funds. 

Terrorist Attack 

On July 23, Raghavan raised the question of terrorist
attack on military camp and said: The is not the first time
that terrorists came in military uniforms and attacked the
vulnerable military camps. Sir, this time three of them
came. Two of them were shot dead during an encounter. One
was hiding himself in an elephant bush. It has been
reported in the press. When he was hiding himself in the
camp, a message went to the Headquarters that everything
was clear. A batch of topmost officers came to the camp. A
suicide bomber killed the Brigadier. How can this happen in
the military? Why did a message go that everything was fine
while one terrorist was still there in the camp? I would
request the hon. Minister to please explain. 

Similarly on functioning of CBI he said: We are concerned
about the smooth functioning of our parliamentary
democratic system. For that a close scrutiny of the
executive by this house is quite essential. In this
connection, the recent development in the Babri Masjid
demolition case raise some grave concerns about the
interference in the CBI's functioning.

The CBI is the premier investigating agency of the country.
It is a constitutional body. It comes under the direct
control of the hon. Prime minister. So, it should function
freely. If the functioning of the CBI is influenced by the
external pressure, then our Parliamentary democracy will
suffer. We have very eminent lawyers of the country as
members of this House. I was closely hearing their
arguments. Apart from hearing arguments from both the
sides, it is quite obvious, in this present set up the CBI
cannot function freely. How can the CBI prosecute the
deputy prime minister? The prosecutor is the central
government and the accused is the hon. Deputy prime
minister. How can the CBI function impartially? How can it
discharge its duties in this context? It is a very logical
question. So very propriety demands I appeal to the hon.
Friends of the ruling benches that when Advani is an
accused and the prosecutor is the CBI he should have
stepped down. Otherwise, how can they proceed to prosecute
the hon. Deputy prime minister? They are compelled to
proceed. But, the circumstances compel them to proceed in a
direction as the recent developments show. So, even now,
when this crucial issue is before the public and debate
hotly, it is proper for the hon. Deputy prime minister, who
is also the Home Minister of the country, to step down. The
deputy prime minister, also, sometimes, performs the
functions of the hon. Prime minister and the CBI directly
comes under the control of the hon. Prime minister! So, it
is now proper for the hon. Deputy prime minister to step
down and set an example. So many arguments have been put
forward arguing that the Babri Masjid demolition was
necessary, whenever my young friend, Sanjay Nirupam gets an
opportunity to speak, he raises this issue. What has he
said just now? He wanted to ignore the court. He wants to
ignore the verdict of the court. He wants Parliament to
enact a fresh law to build Ram temple. 

I remind you Shiv Sena Sainiks, you have now realised the
force of Bhim Sena. Now, you are trying for Shiv Shakti and
Bhim Shakti together after thousands of years! Are you
serving the Hindu community Do you know what harm you have
done by bringing the Chaturvarna divide in the Hindu
community? You have divided them under your ideology of
Chaturvarna. You have no right to speak about Hindus. Quite
recently, you have realised that danger and now you are
propagating Shiv Shakti and Bhim Shakti.

There may be a settlement to build a mandir. But that
settlement can only be by the verdict of the court. It is a
constitutional body. When the court is dealing with it, and
the verdict is awaited what right has the House got to
enact a law? How can be the BJP pass a resolution on this
subject? When they demand for a law, while the court is
dealing with it, they are going out of the constitutional
framework. 

Tamil Nadu: 1 lakh youth to go to prison on September 1
M. Gopu 

Three days colourful conference of the Tamil Nadu unit of
the AIYF began, in the midst of exuberant enthusiasm with a
very long procession started the pleasant cloudy climate on
the evening of July18.

Former state president of the undivided AIYF in 1962 and
the present state president of the AITUC, A. M. Gopu
flagged off the procession.

The procession was preceded by a hundredstrong trained red
volunteers, led by eminent personalities like M.
Veerapandian, Sisubalan, Chandrasekhar Azad and D. Lenin.
It started from the Manro statue erected on the famous
island grounds in the heart of the capital city of Chennai
and passed through the heavily populated streets,
participants shouting slogans, reached Triplicane where a
big public meeting was held. 

When the procesion on was on, a contingent of nearly 100
members of the DYFI led by their state secretary,
Thiruvettai offered their warm greetings extending welcome
by raising full-throated slogans. 

Former state and national general secretary of the AIYF and
present national council secretary of the CPI, D. Raja,
West Bengal Minister Kumar Mukerjee. D. Pandian Ex MP, CPI
MLA G. Palanisamy, K. Subbarayan Ex. MLA, V. Rajamohan, M
Veerapandian, D. Lenin were the main speakers apart from
the organisers. V. Alagiriswamy Ex.MP was in the chair. 

The next two days, July 19, and 20, saw the
delegate-session being held in a spacious double decker
marriage mantap, which was lavishly decorated with flags
and festoons and named after the late P. Manickam, who was
the first state chairman of the AISF and later state
secretary of the CPI.

After the perrenial torch in memory of the marty'rs was
received and installed in the hall, the out-going president
Chandrasekhar Azad presided. 

Condolence resolution mourning the death of the national
and state leaders of the movement, the session was
inaugurated by R. Nallakannu, state secretary of the CPI.

"Youthhod in human life is the most vibrant aspect. It
dares to sacrifice the very precious life in the fight for
achieving a noble cause. Old age remembers the triumphs,
and trivilations faced by the self and society in the past.
Bubbling with a burning desire for human happiness and
brilliant future, the youth ventures to think boldly and
walk into a new path leading to progress and peace. Hence,
we, the elders, rely on you to move forward to ensure a
better society based on freedom and sovereignty, democracy,
secularism, communal amity, civil liberties, employment
opportunities and caste equality  he, emphasized, amidst
thundering applause from the audience. 

He further reminded the listeners. "You have done well to
adorn the Hall with so many beautiful portraits of the
legendary young martyr Bhagat Singh. Let his heroism and
patriotism inspire and guide you in your future
activities'.

"Chief minister boasts of taking Tamil Nadu to be the
number one, in the galaxy of advanced states. But, as on
date, the employment exchange has recorded the number of
latest unemployed as 51 lakhs. The figure was 39 lakhs,
when her party assumed office, 3 years ago. This is
"progress" evident in reverse". 17 lakhs of registered
unemployed young ladies are there in our state.

"The government announced to recruit 8000 persons to the
police department. 1,60,000 youths, thronged in the maidan
where selection of fresh hands were to take place. As the
crowd was unmanageable it was brutally lathi charged and
driven out. This is the reality of the grim situation
prevalent in the state and the country. Get ready to face
such challenges threatening the very future of the youth'.

414 delegates including 46 ladies rose as one person and
gave a standing ovation to R. Nallakannu and emotionally
approved his exhortations.

D. Raja, national council secretary of the CPI, who rose to
his present position from the youth movement, delivered the
key-note address.

"The main twin-object of the conference in the present day
context is to demand immediate relief to the drought 
afflicted and job for the unemployed. Those at the helm of
affairs of the country and the state consider themselves
not as genuine representatives of the people who elected
them, but as agents of the WB, IMF, WTO and MNCs, and
shamelessly act accordingly. When the government employees
and teachers struggle to safeguard their existing rights,
draconian laws like Esma and Tesma are used to dismiss,
without even an enquiry, to imprison nearly 2,300 innocent
leaders who performed their legitimate duties! Neither the
state nor the country had seen such a heartless onslaught
on of the toiling people. Very recently, I was in Athens,
taking part in the international gathering of communist
parties. 

During my stay, I could witness a huge demonstration of
government employees and workers, numbering several lakhs,
hailing from many European countries at Tessaliniki. They
protested against the evil-effects of liberalisation,
privatisation, globalisation resorted to by US imperialism
and its instruments and agencies. The very same dangerous
forces are operating in our country and our rulers are
serving as willing tools in their hands. That is why we are
countenancing a menacingly dark future. 

"BJP-led government at the centre and Jayalalitha's at the
state are competing with each other in implementing the
dictates of the MNCs. Unless you plunge into a determined
powerful battle against these intrusion, your success for a
bright and prosperous future is unimaginable. Awake. Arise
and Fight. Victory will be yours!"

S. S. Thiagarajan (AITUC), Iraniappan (Revolutionary Youth
Front). C. Thiruvettai (state secretary, DYFI), Dr. V.
Duraimanickam (AIKS), R. Mutharasan (BKMU), Ponneelan
(Tamil Nadu Art and Literary Federation), K. Murugan (Pondy
state AIYF), K. Santhakumari (NFIW) greeted and wished the
conference a success. 

Wrong economic policies pursued by the governments of the
centre and state are destroying the traditional, small and
tiny sector industries. Indispensable product in daily use
are mostly manufactured and distributed by MNCs. Thus,
employment opportunities are curbed. Even free flow of
money is also blocked. 

State and central governments are competing with each other
in permitting MNCs like Coke and Pepsi to exploit the
ground water to produce their packaged water bottles in
lakhs and corner crores of profits. The registered
unemployment in the state has risen to the never before
reached level of 51 lakhs. The officially recognised
vacancies have not been filled and new appointments are
barred. The youth are to be either provided employment or a
monthly relief of Rs. 500 to each unemployed till he is
employed. To rouse the youths to seek immediate remedy, a
statewide one-week campaign starting from August 9-16, to
awaken the masses on the issue, was planned. 

With a view to achieve the goal, youths throughout the
state will defy the ban, if any, and court arrest in
thousands in each district head quarters on September 1.

The new office bearers elected are K. P. Kandaswamy
President, A. V. Saravanan and Krishanveni vice presidents,
D. Lenin  secretary, P. L. Prabhakaran, Manjula and L.
Udayakumar - assistant secretaries, P. Mani - Treasurer. 

75 member general council and 25 member executive
committee, including the office bearers, were unanimously
elected. 

Three Days Commemoration for Firaq Gorakhpuri in Pakistan
From Muslim Shameem 

Humanism, universalism, secularism, Marxist aesthetics and
commitment to society were the topics of deliberations at
the three days International Seminar held to commemorate
Firaq's creative genius manifested in his poetry, literay
criticism and his other thought provoking writings. 

Firaq Gorakhpuri (1896-1982) perhaps the most eminent
ghazal poet of Gangatic  Jumuna colour of Urdu poetry was
remembered in Pakistan in an international seminar (July
11-13) in Karachi, in a befitting and impressive manner.

I believe this event would have come as a welcome surprise
to the literary circles in Pakistan. I know that it is in
the wake of multiferious confidence building efforts going
on between the two neighbouring countries after Atal Bihar
Vajpayee's reconciliatory letter to President Musharraf.
Irtiqa Adabi Forum and Wadah had been thinking of paying
Urdu reading public's debt to Firaq Gorakhpuri for some
time and it was the appropriate time to do so. "Irtiqa" a
progressive organisation has been actively engaged in
promoting cordiality and friendliness between India and
Pakistan since its inception in late eighties. Firaq was
thus a very relevant choice in this regard.

Firaq was such a great devotee of Urdu language that he
always preferred to write in the column for "Religion" in
the census "Urdu-Panthi" instead of "Hinduism". Who can
forget his momentous efforts to make Ghair-Muslim
Musannifeen  e -- Urdu conference in Lucknow in the 80s a
success. Ramlal was the key figure in organising the
conference to impress upon the Indian government that it
was grossly erroneous on the part of the Indian leadership
to regard Urdu as a purely Muslim language, a stand that
had been taken all along by Firaq. Moreover, how could a
language which had sprung from Surseni Parakrit (Khari
Boli) of the western UP and Delhi  having similarities of
syntax, grammer and parts of speech  except its peculiar
share of Persian, Trukish and Arabic diction, been called a
"Muslim language'. Firaq Gorakhpuri succeeded in a big way
and Gujral committee's report was the logical step in the
right direction.

But Firaq does not require any support from the history of
Hindu-Muslim contribution to Urdu literature to merit our
attention. He is, perhaps, himself the most patient
argument in favour of all that history of literature could
ever make us believe. No other ghazal poet of our epoch or
even since ghazal became the main repository of our genius,
has used `ghazal' as the expression of the `whole man' now
ecstatic, - now tormented, now forgiving and now
unrelenting in his disgust. One really can't keep pace with
the myriad of shades he has introduced in Urdu poetry. I
believe that some unique `feelings' have found expression
through Firaq Gorakhpuri alone. 

Firaq has many collections and selections of his poetry but
his books Man Aanam, a collection of letters addressed to
Muhammad Tufail of Naqoosh, Aandazey, Urdu Ghazal Goi and
Urdu Ki Ishqia Shairi explain his uniqueness as a critic.
He was as well-steeped in Persian tradition as in Sanskrit
tradition. An unusual combination indeed. He talked of
Sulistan, Bosten, Hafiz, Rumi, Mir, Ghalib, Kabir, Tulsi
Das, Mirabai and all great English and European writers in
one breath. Firaq, according to Majnoon Gorakhpuri, could
mint "English phrases".

In commermorating Firaq Gorkahpuri's contribution to Urdu
literature, Irtiqa and Wada had only tried to draw our
attention on someone who has gifted us so much by way of a
rich and varied expression that we cannot really imagine.
It really needed conscious effort to know how best to make
up for the loss. 

Firaq was also an ardent appreciator of Allama Iqbal
insofar as contribution to Urdu ghazal and nazm is
concerned. His eulogies of Iqbal outweigh his differences
with Iqbal's commitment to seek refuge in religion. Firaq
thought that Iqbal's Islamic poetry prevented him from
being a universal poet. 

The inaugural session of the three-day seminar on the life
and poetry of eminent poet Firaq Gorakhpuri (1896-1982) was
held on Friday July 11, 2003 at the Pakistan Arts Council
at Karachi. The keynote address by noted diction writer
Intezar Hussein was listened to with attention in the
packed Manzer Akber Hall. He deloved into the philosophical
aspect of the great lyricist Firaq and the contribution he
made to the making of a composite "Hind Islami" culture.
Apart from being an erudite critic, Firaq, Intezar said,
was also the founder of "jadeed" ghazal and the modern Urdu
poets had not yet been able to liberate themselves from the
charisma the master carried with him. Sponsored jointly by
the Irteqa Adbi Forum and WADA (Women and Development
Association), this session was presided over by Dr. Jameel
Jalebi.

A nemorable aspect of the Jashn was the display of
paintings and drawings done by painters Naheed Raza, Aziz
Mirza, Farrukh, Ghalib Baqer, Mansoor A and Moona Kidvai.
In the next session famous singer Teena Saani enthralled
the audience with rendering of ghazals by Firaq.

It looked like an attempt to re-discover Firaq Gorakhpuri
by many writers on the second day of the seminar held on
July 12, 2003. Looking at the number of speakers the time
allocated was short, so most writers presented the synopses
of their full length articles. Aftab Ahmed Khan, Chairman,
Anjuman Taraqqi-e-Urdu, was in the chair, and poet-fiction
writer Anwer Ahsan read his paper on various dimension of
Firaq's poetry. Dr. Rubina Tareen narrated Firaq's
lamentation in his life and also what he thought about
himself. Dr. Najeeb Jamal (from the Bahawalpur University)
found Firaq's poetry a "complete beauty" composed with the
unity of mind and soul with all the senses engaged in it.
Semina Raja, editor of a literary journal, said Firaq was
basically a ghazal poet and yet he tried his hand in
various other forms, poems, rubaiat etc. Akhlaq Akhtar
Hameedi in his discourse attacked the detractors of Firaq
and defined the influence of Hindi culture and classics on
Firaq's poetry. Prof Saher Ansari said: "Firaq's greatness
lies in his being a secularist. He was a humane and liberal
thinker and with his foresight could see the conflicting
forces emerging on the South Asian scene. Dr. Mohammad Ali
Siddiqui could only read some pieces from his article. "A
symbol of "ganga-jamni tehzeeb", Firaq could see the
dangerous rise of fundamentalism. Dr. Farman Fatehpuri
said, Firaq was one among the three great composers of
"rubaiat" in Urdu after Amjad Hyderabadi and Josh. Firaq
presented the glamour, beauty and sanctity of Indian
culture in his rubaiat. But he was certainly the greatest
among the ghazal poets of the 20th century. 

Bouquets and brickbats, both were in abundance that was
what Firaq received at the concluding session of
Jashne-Firaq on Sunday July 13, 2003. The papers read out
by eminent writers were scholarly without hollow praises
and critical without undue prejudices. In "Understanding
Firaq", a lengthy analytical article by a researcher Dr.
Nawazish Ali, the writer said Firaq was true to his name,
lonesome, dejected and saddened. Some other papers read out
in the sitting, presided over by Dr. Farman Fatehpuri,
dealt with that most enigmatic writer and poet of the
present time. Prof Razi Abedi, Saba Ikram, and Jamal Naqvi
presented Firaq as he was seen by his contemporaries, one
found in his letters and dialogues. Dr. Robina Tareen's
paper revealed as to what Firaq thought about himself. Dr.
Aslam Farrukhi narrated what he had heard about Firaq and
what he observed after meeting him once or twice. In the
next sitting critical writings of Firaq were discussed by
Rauf Niazi, Mobina Mirza, Asif Farrukhi, Shafiq Ahmed
Shafiq and Ambreen Haseeb. 

The last and concluding session, which was presided over by
Dr. Manzoor Ahmed and conducted by Dr. Jaffer Ahmad, could
not pass smoothly. After Muslim Shamim/Secretary General
PWA and Prof Riaz Siddiqui, who had presented their papers
on Firaq's progressive thought and a sociological study of
Firaq's poetry by the latter, came Zaheda Hina with her
paper titled, "The concept of women in Firaq's poetry".
Firaq had no respect for women, no mercy for his wife, not
even for his mother, about whom he used abusive and
derogatory remarks, said Zaheda. Unkind remarks about Firaq
were received with patience by the audience although some
listeners thought, the personal weaknesses pointed out by
Zaheda and some earlier speakers did not diminish the
stature of Firaq as a great poet, critic and intellectual.

The issue of Indo-Pakistan peace and friendship also
emerged as a talking point during the deliberations. In
this regard, Dr. Manzoor Ahmad opined that cosmetic acts of
friendly gestures between the two nations would not go a
long way. Tracing the historical and psychological factors
found in the roots of conflicting relationship, he
suggested that a common thought must be developed to
establish dependable and friendly relationship between both
countries. 

To sum up the proceedings and deliberations of the three
day seminar held to commemorate the works, genius and
personality of Fariq Gorakhpuri it can be opined without
any hesitation that the seminar was an extra-ordinary
cultural event in the city of Karachi and will be
remembered for a considerable period of time to come.
Earlier such seminars were held few years ago by the same
organisation "Irtiqe Adabi Forum" to commemorate life and
works of Prof. Ehtasham Hussein and Josh Malihebadi. The
instant seminar in memory of Firaq Gorakhpuri will be also
remembered for its significance and contribution towards
promotion of d�tente between India and Pakistan as Firaq
was correctly projected as confluence of two cultures in
the sub-continent and ambassadar of tolerance, sanity,
goodwill and cordiality among the two peoples in this
region. The seminar rated Firaq as one of the most
outstanding poets and literary figures of the history of
Urdu literature and the leading "Gazalgo" of 20th Century.

Unending Railway Accidents 
J. Narayan Rao 

On July 22,  Railway minister Nitesh Kumar made a statement
in the Parliament that "all afforts were being made to
prevent mishaps at all costs though their number have come
down as compared to previous year". Earlier after
withdrawing his resignation while addressing his first
press conference he made an announcement that a voluntary
Retirement Scheme (VRS) will be introduced for senior
gangmen and drivers to induct young blood to cater for
better standards of safety in the wake of serious train
accidents recently. There are 8000 drivers and 42,000
gangmen in the age group of 50 to 57 years who will be
targeted for VRS. Of course there is a bait in this i.e.
appointment of one of the wards. In a country where to get
employment has become impossible, many staff will opt for
VRS and get their wards appointed.

It is not understood how young blood will replace those who
opt for VRS after the age of 50 and more. The post of a
driver is a promotional post and there is no direct
recruitment of drivers. It is not known whether direct
recruitment in the category of drivers will be introduced.
It is also not clear whether it will be one time offer or
it will be a permanent step to encourage staff to opt for
VRS. Being tempted to get appointment of wards, the
employees who opt for VRS stand to lose in the shape of
less gratuity, pension, commutation service. Even the
salary of the ward plus the pension of the father out
together will not be 5 per cent of the salary of the father
in case he is a driver. 

While discussing about the railway accidents it is
essential to scrutinise the policies of the railway
ministry being followed for the last one decade.
Indiscriminate surrender of posts, privatisation of even
safety areas, violation of safety rules, corruption in
recruitment and promotions, long hours of work and too much
bureaucratic hold are some of the reasons which affected
the efficiency of the railways. 

It is gratifying that the Railway minister has conceded
that gangmen and loco running staff experience physically
and mentally taxing frontline duties. There is no
exaggeration in this. To improve their working and reducing
their physical and mental strain, their working hours have
to be reduced. At present they are classified as
"continuous" under the hours of employment regulations" and
are given 8 hours roster. But the running staff always made
to work not less than 10 hours minimum at a stretch. The
gangmen also work under the continuous roster. When the
control staff and the clerks in the reservation offices are
provided "intensive" roster i.e. 6 hours duty why not the
drivers and the gangmen who work under mental and physical
strain be provided with "intensive" roster. This only is a
permanent solution to reduce the strain on the staff which
will go a long way to reduce accidents. 

This year is the 150th year of Indian Railways. Over the
years the railways developed a scientific basis for
creation of posts. Every category has a yardstick basing on
the workload. With complete scrutiny of the department
concerned, the personnel branch and the accounts branch,
posts could be created in any category. But during the last
one decade indiscriminate surrender of posts is taking
place. Infact there is competition amongst the officers at
the divisional level to surrender posts to please their
bosses. On one hand the work in the railways is increasing
every day due to augmentation of the passenger trains,
increase in the goods traffic, intensive working etc and on
the other hand reduction of staff strength is taking place.
No new yardsticks have been laid down. 

Maintenance of the railway track is a safety item. It is a
sensitive and skilled nature of work. But a part of this
work has been privatised and the contractors are engaging
low paid workers without any experience in track
maintenance and without any knowledge of safety rules. The
contractors have no responsibility for the safety of the
railway tracks. Running Rooms exist where the Loco and
operating staff like drivers and Guards take rest after
working their trains and wait for their next trips. These
running rooms are also being privatised. While the railway
minister makes announcements that there are no moves for
privatisation of railways, in practice there is piecemeal
privatisation taking place in the railway regularly. 

The Railway Board has developed very sound safety rules.
But the working conditions as a result of reduction of
staff conflict with the safety rules. The staff responsible
for maintenance of locomotives, rolling stack, loco and
traffic staff, operating staff like, station masters,
points man and porters do not have such nature of duties
which do not conflict with the safety rules. 

Patrolling and track checking are done by Group `D' Staff
of the P. Way Deptd. A key man whose duty is to check the
UP & Down tracks in a length of 4 KM has to walk for 8 KM
checking the tracks minutely. There should be two key men
one each to work on each track. Like wise the patrolman who
checks the line during the night time also has to walk for
8KM up and down. These are the staff who detects rail
fractures, damage to the tracks, sabotage attempts to the
tracks and bridges. Even in night time also two patrolman
should be deputed instead of one at present. 

Another issue is the publication of accident reports.
Whenever there is an accident, the Safety Commissioner and
other high officials inquires into the causes of the
accidents. Unfortunately these reports are treated as
confidential documents and the public and the railway staff
are not aware what these reports contain. There should be a
public discussion on these accident reports. At various
levels the railway administration organises safety
seminars. Outspokeness lacks in such seminars. Officers do
not like the lower categories of staff to point lapses of
the management. In such seminars the retired staff who have
got vast experience should be associated. 

Railway working is very complex. Serious attention is
required to the running of the railways. Corruption,
favouritism and laxity have become entrenched. These
elements are getting emboldened with every passing day. No
railway system will be 100 per cent free from accidents.
But avoidable accidents have to be avoided and the loss of
life and property has to be controlled. 

White House Lies Prompt Call for Inquiry 
Judith Le Blanc

As president Bush and other administration officials
scramble to explain away their use of doctored evidence to
launch a preemptive war on Iraq, calls for independent,
bipartisan investigations grow. Mounting evidence shows
that the administration's top right-wing hawks manipulated
a series of debunked intelligence reports to promote their
policy.

Former CIA experts say the evidence trail implicates Vice
President Dick Cheney. Veteran Intelligence Professionals
for Sanity sent a memorandum to Bush calling for Cheney's
resignation, saying, "This was not case of petty corruption
of the kind that forced Vice President Spiro Agnew's
resignation. This was a matter of war and peace. Thousands
have died.

There is no end in sight. The CIA veteran charged that the
fraudulent intelligence was used, also successfully, the
campaign leading up to the mid-term elections-a reality
that breeds a cynicism highly corrosive to our political
process."

The White House, CIA state Department and Pentagon are on
over-drive to shift blame away from Bush, Cheney and top
advisers like Condoleeza Rice.

Some may be hoping CIA Director George Tenet will be the
"fallguy". Tenet said he took responsibility for Bush's use
of false intelligence in his state of the Union address.
But few are buying that effort to divert attention from the
White House. 

Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) out-lined a series of
administration lies before, during and after the war,
telling the Senate this week, "There is a significant
amount of troubling evidence that it was part of a pattern
of exaggeration and misleading statement". He blasted
administration attempts to obscure facts and confuse the
public on Sunday TV talks shows, especially assailing
Rice'' efforts at obfuscation.

At calls for an independent investigation stir up images of
past scandals like Watergate that have cost Republicans
reelection, the Republican National Committee and Bush's
re-election committee attacked Democrats for "politicising"
the Iraq war and the media for a "feeding frenzy". But in
this week's Gallup poll, more than half of those surveyed,
53 per cent, say it would matter a great deal to them if
they became convinced the Bush administration deliberately
misled the public. And CBS reports that 56 per cent believe
administration officials were hiding important elements of
what they knew, or were outright lying about weapons of
mass destruction.

In one of the largest online petitions ever, MoveOn.org
collected, in less than a week, over 380,000 singers asking
Congress people to support Rep. Henry Waxman's (D-Calif.)
legislation to establish an independent commission adding
11 new Congressional cosponsors. 

Republicans with an ear to public opinion like Nebraska
Sen. Chuck Hagel are voicing concern. On CNN's "Inside
Politics," Hagel said, "We know, in fact, last fall the CIA
was saying, this is bad intelligence. But we need to go a
lot wider and deeper. Listen, it wasn't juste the CIA
involved here. We had the vice president and his office
involved, secretary Rumsfeld, Condi Rice, Secretary
Powell's people. This wasn't just a one-man show". 

The New York Times, in a lead editorial, ridiculed the
White House's "the British made us do it defense," nothing
mounting evidence that both US and British officials were
informed by the CIA that the Iraq-Niger uranium deal
alleged by Bush was untrue. The International Atomic Energy
Commission also discredited that claim even before the war
was launched.

Damning evidence continues to mount that in fact there are
no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, nor connections to
Al Qaeda and September 11.

Raymond McGovern, a 27 year CIA analyst and steering
committee member of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for
Sanity, emphasized the need for public security of the Bush
administration's foreign policy decisions, charging the
White House has embarked on a "dangerous policy" of
pre-emptive war.

"War should not be condoned with or without the existence
of WMD", McGovern told the World. Citing the dangers of
possible new military actions against Iran Syria, and North
Korea, he said, "There are peaceful ways to address" these
problems. McGovern also expressed shock at the pressure the
administration put on the CIA. "I worked for 27 years at
the CIA, never did a Vice President  come to the [CIA]
building to work or visit analysts"

Columnist David Broder commented in the Washington Post
that the past week's TV coverage  featuring the Bush
administration's lies and the chaos in Iraq alongside the
highest unemployment in 20 years  may signal the beginnings
of the defeat of the Bush presidency in 2004. "If president
Bush back on last Thursday, July 10, 2003, as the day the
shadow of defeat first crossed his political horizon,"
Broder wrote.

Peace Action Communications Director Scott Lynch told the
World. "The fa�ade of the Bush administration being above
board is crumbling. Looking at the economy and the
cascading bundle for winning the vote in Congress for war
on Iraq, this could be their undoing." But, Lynch added,
more congressional pressure for truth is vital. 

Writer Resolve to Risist Fascist onslaught on Our Composite
Cultural Heritage  

NEW DELHI: Speaking at the convention organised jointly by
Progressive Writers Associal (PWA), Janvadi Lerhak Sangh
and Jana Sanskrit Manch, writers expressed their anger
against BJP led government and resolved to fight against
all sorts of divisive and communal forces. The convention
was basically organised by these organisations to express
their disapproval to replacing Prem Chand's novel "Nirmala"
from the CBSE syllabus and introducing non-writer's so
called novel for "11th and 12th standard students. Before
this national convention the writers and intellectuals had
demonstrated in front of CBSE head quarters and had warned
the authorities against this non-academic attitude. They
had said that any attack on the composite cultural heritage
will not be tolerated and pointed out that Prem Chand
symbolises this great tradition. 

Writes from different parts of India were invited to
express their opinion and evolve a strategy to launch
movement all our India. First session's topic was, "School
Education, present government and Prem Chand". Participants
said that an attack on Prem Chand was an attack on our
basic cultural roots which were based on human values.  The
present government wants to introduce a kind of education
which can be helpful in pleasing the market forces who are
hell bent to destroy the cultural ethos of our society.
They said that the time has come when people from all walks
of life have to come together and jointly fight against all
these ill designs of the communal forces.

The first session was chaired by a panel of presidium which
included Dr. Namvar Singh, president of PWA Kumar Misra and
Manager Pandey. On the occasion speaking first, a renounced
educationist. Anil Sadgopal said that the entire education
system was taken our by obscurantists and agents of
multinationals. By negating Prem Chand these forces want to
convert the economic policy to serve their interests. He
pointed out that it was in 1992 when an amended education
policy was introduced by the Narasimaha Rao government
alongwith economic policy of neo-liberalism which suited
the multi-nationals. He also said that these forces think
that education was an extra burden on the government. That
is why they have recommended that formal education should
be wounded up. There is also an attempts to recruit
teachers on contract basis to do way with the formal
education system. 

President of the Bihar Secondary Teachers association and
former member of Parliament, Shatrughan Prasad Singh said
that the novel which has been introduced to replace Prem
Chand's Nimala is not actually a novel in its form and
content. He said that there is an attempt to introduce RSS
clement in every walk of life and pollute the atmosphere.
He called upon writers and intellectuals to be prepared to
take this fight to the streets. He pointed out that the so
called novel has communal tenor and tone and preaches RSS
Ideology. He declared that this is not only an insult to
Prem Chand but an insult to the nation. 

Anjun Dev, former director of the NCERT gave some revealing
information about the attempts of the HRD ministry to
saffronise the minds of the school going children. He
pointed out that a book entitled "Chayamilia" has a number
of factual mistakes and gives distorted  version of
history. 

Speaking on behalf of the presidium Shre Kumar Misra said
that he comes from Gujarat, where the state government has
decided to observe August 15, in collaboration with
religious organisation. Even Independence day is being
communalised. He said that destroying our composite
cultural heritage started in Gujarat which should be
stopped at all cost to sale the nation.

Namwar Singh said this is not a question of replacing one
book with another but has more serious repercussion. He
said that the RSS and its allied forces actually are trying
to destroy the whole social fabric of India. He said that
Prem Chand was not only a fiction writer but was a symbol
of India's freedom struggle which has its roots in
pluralism.  

Vidyadhar Singh Gill from Rajasthan Secondary education
association said that there is a conspiracy to communalise
the entire education system of the country by the present
government. 

The session was conducted by MMP Singh

Main theme of the second session was "India of Prem Chand's
Dreams." This session was president over by Dr. Mohd. Hasan
and Chandra Bali Singh. The session was conducted by Dr.
Ali Javed of PWA. Speaking on this occasion Vishwanath
Tripathi veteran critic and PWA activist said Prem Chand
had never dreamt that after independence  India will be
reduced to such a state where communal forces will take
over. 

Ashok Vajpayee said that inspite of communal forces taking
over the power at the centre, there was a positive trend in
Hindi writings. Almost every Hindi writer has sense of
responsibility towards the society and has stood up against
all sorts of obscurantist ideas: 

Kamleshwar a renowned Hindi fiction writer said that Prem
Chand can never become irrelevant for us and his dreams can
not die. 

The general secretary of the PWA, Dr. Kamla Prasad said
that Prem Chand through his writings has dreamt of a new
society. He dreamt of a society free from exploitation and
based on secular values.

Another fiction writer Shekhar Jogi pointed out that threat
of communalism is more eminent these days. We will have to
face the challenge posed by communal forces.

Hindi critic Manager Pandey said that for Prem Chand the
country was first. He devoted his writings for a better
society. He criticised division on caste basis and warned
that this has to be opposed. 

Chandra Bali Singh said that actually what is happening
with Prem Chand happening is with every progressive and
secular writer.

Mohd. Hasan in his presidential address said that if we
don't stand up today and save the secular fabric of our
society, it will be too late as the fascist forces are out
to destroy the secular and democratic values of the
society. 

At the end, the president of the Dr. PWA Namvar Singh
thanked the participants and audience for a over whelming
response in defence of our composite cultural heritage. He
said Prem Chand fought  British who were outsiders. Today,
we have enemies to be fought from within our country. This
enemy is not an ordinary enemy but they are agents of
outside forces led by USA. He said fighting against these
enemies will be a big tribute to the legacy of Prem Chand. 


*End*

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