People’s Democracy & Its Programme

6.1 Experience shows that there is no hope of emancipation of the people from backwardness, poverty, hunger, unemployment and exploitation under the present bourgeois-landlord rule. The big bourgeoisie since independence has been continuously in State power and has been utilising that State power to strengthen its class position at the expense of the mass of the people on the one hand and compromising and bargaining with imperialism and landlordism on the other. Unlike in the advanced capitalist countries where capitalism grew on the ashes of pre-capitalist society, which was destroyed by the rising bourgeoisie, capitalism in India was super-imposed on pre-capitalist society. Neither the British colonialists during their rule nor the Indian bourgeoisie assuming power after independence attempted to smash it, which was one of the most important preconditions for the free development of capitalism. The present Indian society, therefore, is a peculiar combination of monopoly capitalist domination with caste, communal and tribal institutions. It has thus fallen on the working class and its party to unite all the progressive forces interested in destroying the pre-capitalist society and to consolidate the revolutionary forces within it so as to facilitate the completion of the democratic revolution and prepare the ground for the transition to socialism.

6.2 The Communist Party of India (Marxist) firmly adheres to its aim of building socialism and communism. This, it is evident, cannot be achieved under the present State and bourgeois-landlord government led by the big bourgeoisie. The establishment of a genuine socialist society is only possible under proletarian statehood. While adhering to the aim of building socialism in our country, the Communist Party of India (Marxist), taking into consideration the degree of economic development, the political ideological maturity of the working class and its organisation, places before the people as the immediate objective, the establishment of people’s democracy based on the coalition of all genuine anti-feudal, anti-monopoly and anti-imperialist forces led by the working class on the basis of a firm worker-peasant alliance. This demands first and foremost the replacement of the present bourgeois-landlord State by a State of people’s democracy. This alone can complete the unfinished democratic task of the Indian revolution and pave the way for putting the country on the road to socialism.

The tasks and programme which the peoples’ democratic government will carry out are:

6. 3 In the sphere of State structure: The Communist Party of India (Marxist) works for the preservation and promotion of the unity of the Indian Union on the basis of real equality and autonomy for the different nationalities that inhabit the country and to develop a federal democratic State structure as outlined below:

i) The people are sovereign. All organs of State power shall be answerable to the people. The supreme authority in exercising State power shall be the people’s representatives elected on the basis of adult franchise and the principle of proportional representation and subject to recall. At the all-India Centre, there shall be two Houses — House of the Peoples and House of the States. Adequate representation to women will be ensured.

ii) All states in the Indian Union shall have real autonomy and equal powers. The tribal areas or the areas where population is specific in ethnic composition and is distinguished by specific social and cultural conditions will have regional autonomy within the state concerned and shall receive full assistance for their development.

iii) There shall not be upper Houses at the states level. Nor shall there be Governors for the States appointed from above. All administrative services shall be under the direct control of the respective States or local authorities. States shall treat all Indian citizens alike, and there shall not be any discrimination on the ground of caste, sex, religion, community and nationality.

iv) Equality of all national languages in parliament and Central Administration shall be recognised. Members of Parliament will have the right to speak in their own national language and simultaneous translation will have to be provided in all other languages. All Acts, government orders and resolutions shall be made available in all national languages. The use of Hindi as the sole official language to the exclusion of all other languages shall not be made obligatory. It is only by providing equality to the various languages that it can be made acceptable as the language of communication throughout the country. Till then, the present arrangement of the use of Hindi and English will continue. The right of the people to receive instruction in their mother tongue in educational institutions upto the highest level shall be ensured. The use of the language of the particular linguistic state as the language of administration in all its public and State institutions shall also be ensured. Provision for the use of the language of the minority or, minorities or, of a region where necessary in addition to the language of the state shall be made. The Urdu language and its script shall be protected.

v) The people’s democratic government will take measures to consolidate the unity of India by fostering and promoting mutual cooperation between the constituent states and between the peoples of different states in the economic, political and cultural spheres. The diversity of nationalities, languages and cultures will be respected and policies adopted to strengthen unity in diversity. It will pay special attention and render financial and other assistance to economically backward and weaker states, regions and areas with a view to helping them rapidly overcome their backwardness.

vi) The peoples’ democratic State, in the field of local administration, shall ensure a wide network of local bodies from village upward directly elected by the people and vested with adequate power and responsibilities and provided with adequate finances. All efforts shall be made to involve the people in the active functioning of the local bodies.

vii) The people’s democratic State shall strive to infuse in all our social and political institutions the spirit of democracy. It extends democratic forms of initiative and control over every aspect of national life. A key role in this will be played by the political parties, trade unions, peasant and agricultural workers’ associations, and other class and mass organisations of the working people. The government will take steps to make the legislative and executive machinery of the country continuously responsive to the democratic wishes of the people, and will ensure that the masses and their organisations are drawn into active participation in the administration and work of the State. It will work for the elimination of bureaucratic practices in the State and administration.

viii) The people’s democratic State will unearth black money; eradicate corruption, punish economic crimes and corrupt practices by public servants.

ix) Democratic changes will be introduced in the matter of administering justice. Prompt and fair justice shall be ensured. Free legal aid and consultation will be provided for the needy people in order to make legal redress easily available to such persons.

x) The people’s democratic government will infuse the members of the armed forces with the spirit of patriotism, democracy and service to the people. It will provide them good living standards, conditions of service, cultural facilities and education for their children. It will encourage all able-bodied persons to undergo military training and be imbued with the spirit of national independence and its defence.

xi) Full civil liberties shall be guaranteed. Inviolability of persons and domicile and no detention of persons without trial, unhampered freedom of conscience, religious belief and worship, speech, press, assembly, strike, the right to form political parties and associations, freedom of movement and occupation, right to dissent shall be ensured.

xii) Right to work as a fundamental right of every citizen shall be guaranteed; equal rights of all citizens and equal pay for equal work irrespective of religion, caste, sex, race and nationality shall be ensured. Wide disparities in salaries and incomes will be reduced step by step.

xiii) Abolition of social oppression of one caste by another and untouchability and all forms of social discrimination shall be punished by law. Special facilities for scheduled castes, tribes, and other backward classes shall be provided in the matter of service and other educational amenities.

xiv) Removal of social inequalities and discrimination against women, equal rights with men in such matters as inheritance of property including land, enforcement of protective social, economic and family laws based on equal rights of women in all communities, admission to professions and services will be ensured. Suitable support systems in childcare and domestic work will be part of the thrust to democratise family structures.

xv) The secular character of the State shall be guaranteed. Interference by religious institutions, in the affairs of the State and political life of the country shall be prohibited. Religious minorities shall be given protection and any discrimination against them will be forbidden.

xvi) Public educational system shall be developed to provide comprehensive and scientific education at all levels. Free and compulsory education upto the secondary stage and the secular character of education shall be guaranteed. Higher education and vocational education will be modernised and updated. Development of science and technology will be promoted through a whole range of R&D institutions. A comprehensive sports policy to foster sports activities shall be adopted.

xvii) A wide network of health, medical and maternity services shall be established free of cost; nurseries and creches for children; rest-homes and recreation centres for working people and old-age pension shall be guaranteed. The People’s Democratic Government will promote a non-coercive population policy to create awareness for family planning among both men and women.

xviii) Comprehensive steps will be taken to protect the environment. Development programmes will take into account the necessity to sustain the ecological balance. The country’s bio-diversity and biological resources will be protected from imperialist exploitation.

xix) The right of disabled persons to lead lives as full citizens, integrated in society shall be ensured. The right to a dignified life for elderly persons shall be taken serious care of by the State. On the whole, the social rights, considered as fundamental rights, constitute a basic principle of People’s Democracy.

xx) The people’s democratic State and government will foster the creative talents of our people for developing a new progressive people’s culture which is democratic and secular in outlook. It shall take necessary measures to nurture and develop literature, art and culture to enrich the material and cultural life of the people. It will help people get rid of caste, gender bias and communal prejudices and ideas of subservience and superstition. It will promote a scientific outlook and help each linguistic-nationality including the tribal people to develop their distinct language, culture and way of life in harmony with the common aspirations of the democratic peoples of the country as a whole. It will also imbue the people with feelings of fraternity with peoples of other countries and to discard ideas of racial and national hatred.

xxi) The media will be developed with emphasis on a public broadcasting system for the electronic media. Concentration of media assets in private hands and foreign ownership of Indian media assets will not be allowed. Democratic control and accountability will be ensured.

6.4 In the field of Agriculture and the Peasantry

India has an agriculture-based economy with over 70 percent of the people living in the rural areas. Hence, development of agriculture and raising the living standards of the peasantry is the key to the comprehensive development of the economy.

To achieve this objective, the People’s Democratic government will:

1. Abolish landlordism by implementing radical land reforms and give land free of cost to the agricultural labourers and poor peasants. 2. Cancel debts of poor peasants, agricultural workers and small artisans to moneylenders and landlords. 3. Develop a State-led marketing system to protect the peasantry from big traders and MNCs and sharp fluctuation in prices. Ensure long term and cheap credit for the peasants, artisans and agricultural workers and fair prices for agricultural produce. 4. Maximise irrigation and power facilities and their proper and equitable utilisation; promote indigenous research and development in the agricultural sector; assist the peasants to improve methods of farming by the use of better seeds and modern technology for increasing productivity. 5. Ensure adequate wages, social security measures and living conditions for agricultural workers. 6. Promote cooperatives of peasants and artisans on a voluntary basis for farming and other services. 7. A comprehensive public distribution system to supply foodgrains and other essential commodities cheaply to the people shall be introduced.

6.5 India is a huge country with different levels of economic development and varying social, economic patterns. Hence the rapid growth of productive forces necessary for the development of the economy and the steady improvement of the people’s living conditions will require that the people’s democratic government play a decisive role through public ownership in the key sectors of the economy and the State performing a regulatory and guiding role in other sectors. The people’s democratic economy will be a multi-structural one with various forms of ownership, with the public sector having a dominating position. In view of the big changes in the world economy, the country will firmly strive to strengthen its self-reliant basis while making use of advanced technology from abroad.

6.6 In the field of Industry and Labour: Our industry suffers not only from the low purchasing power of the peasantry but also from the stranglehold of monopoly houses and the increasing penetration of foreign capital and the various forms of domination by the imperialist agencies in almost all spheres of production. Concentration of assets in the hands of monopoly concerns distorts economic development and breeds wide-scale disparities. Dependence on foreign capital and the dictates of international finance capital facilitates exploitation and a distorted form of development which will not meet the needs of the people. In the field of industry, therefore, the people’s democratic government will:

1. Take steps to eliminate Indian and foreign monopolies in different sectors of industry, finance, trade and services through suitable measures including State take-over of their assets. 2. Strengthen public sector industries through modernisation, democratisation, freeing from bureaucratic controls and corruption, fixing strict accountability, ensuring workers participation in management and making it competitive so that it can occupy commanding position in the economy. 3. Allow foreign direct investment in selected sectors for acquiring advanced technology and upgrading productive capacities. Regulate finance capital flows in the interests of the overall economy. 4. Assist the small and medium industries by providing them credit, raw materials at reasonable prices and by helping them in regard to marketing facilities. 5. Regulate and co-ordinate various sectors of the economy and the market in order to achieve balanced and planned economic development of the country. Regulate foreign trade. 6. Improve radically the living standards of workers by: a) fixing a living wage, b) progressive reduction of working hours; c) social insurance against every kind of disability and unemployment; d) provision of housing for workers; e) recognition of trade unions by secret ballot and their rights of collective bargaining as well as right to strike; and f) abolition of child labour. 7. Provide maximum relief from taxation to workers, peasants and artisans; introduce graded tax in agriculture, industry and trade; and effectively implement a price policy in the interest of the common people.

6.7 In the sphere of foreign policy: In order to ensure that India plays its rightful role in the preservation of world peace, against imperialist hegemony and democratisation of international relations, the people’s democratic government will:

1. Develop relations with all countries on the basis of friendship and cooperation. Strengthen the solidarity and ties between all developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Promote South-South cooperation and revitalise the non-aligned movement to counter the domination of the imperialist countries. 2. Develop friendly relations and cooperation with the socialist countries and all peace-loving States; support to all struggles against imperialism, for democracy and socialism. 3. Work for eradicating the threat of nuclear war; work for universal nuclear disarmament; elimination of all types of weapons of mass destruction — nuclear, chemical and biological– and prohibition of their testing and manufacture; demand the abolition of all foreign military bases; promote international cooperation for the preservation of the environment and protection of the ecological balance. 4. Make special and concerted efforts to peacefully settle existing differences and disputes and strengthen friendly relations with India’s neighbours — Pakistan, China, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Burma. Promote South Asian cooperation.

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