The joint statement has been signed by Sitaram Yechury, general secretary, Communist Party of India (Marxist); D Raja, general secretary, Communist Party of India; Debabrata Biswas, general secretary, All India Forward Bloc; Manoj Bhattacharya, general secretary, Revolutionary Socialist Party, and Dipankar Bhattacharya, general secretary, Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist)Liberation.
Alleging that the government, instead of helping people to combat the ravages of the Covid health catastrophe, hiked the prices of petroleum products by at least 21 times after the announcement of results of the recent assembly elections on May 2, the parties said that this is leading to a “cascading inflationary spiral with the wholesale price index (WPI) rising to an 11-year high.”
“The prices of food articles have risen by nearly 5 per cent in April. Primary commodities saw a rise of 10.16 per cent and manufactured products have risen by 9.01 per cent. By the time these commodities reach the retail markets, the consumers are charged much more.
“This is happening while the economy is witnessing a deep recession, galloping unemployment, collapsing purchasing power and rising levels of hunger. Clearly, unscrupulous black-marketing and hoarding is taking place under state patronage. The Modi government must strictly crackdown on such black-marketing especially of essential drugs, vital for people’s survival,” the statement said.
The parties demanded that the government must immediately give direct cash transfers of Rs 7,500 per month for six months to all families not falling in the income tax paying bracket .
The statement further said the provisions announced by PM Modi regarding extension of PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) till Diwali of 5 kg foodgrains is “completely inadequate and does not cover the most needy.”
The parties demanded 10 kg foodgrains per month to all individuals including a food kit with pulses, edible oil, sugar, spices, tea and other essentials which they said should be distributed free.
“Given the Covid conditions and the necessity to strictly adhere to the precautions and protocol, the Left parties call upon their state units to conduct these protests in the concrete conditions obtained in their states during this fortnight,” the statement said.