New Delhi, Mar 26 : Welcoming raising issues of corruption and inequality by Aam Aadmi Party, CPI(M) today said AAP needs to bring more clarity on its understanding of the ‘neo-liberal’ economic policies which were “responsible” for such a situation.
Replying to questions on AAP, senior CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury also said it was up to Arvind Kejriwal’s party to decide whether it would join the Left and other secular forces, but it could be decided only after the elections.
“It is good that they are taking up these issues…. but corruption has to be nipped at its genesis. The neo-liberal policies have expanded the scope of crony capitalism and corruption. We have to target these policies… and there, the clarity needs to come in (from AAP),” he told reporters when his reaction was sought on AAP raising issues which have been consistently raised by the Left in the past.
He also said AAP needed to clarify its understanding on communalism and expressed the hope that “clarity on both these issues will come up further during the campaign”.
Yechury, who released two campaign booklets titled ‘The Two India Reality: Obscene Wealth, Grinding Poverty’ and ‘To Build a Corruption Free India’, said the fight against corruption does not end at setting up of an independent Lokpal.
“While strict laws are needed to fight graft, the struggle to reverse the policies which have allowed corporates a free run to loot the resources of our country must be strengthened,” he said.
Asked whether CPI(M) would join a government of the Left and regional parties if such a combination came to power, Yechury said a decision would be taken by the party’s Central Committee after the elections.
Maintaining that both BJP and Congress were “committed to strengthening the neo-liberal framework of policies”, he said the economic inequalities have led to “two Indians – shining India and suffering India”. Yechury said India has 70 “dollar billionaires” in 2014, 17 more than 2013, whose combined wealth equaled Rs 24 lakh crore or nearly one quarter of the GDP. The top ten among them have personal wealth equal to six per cent of GDP.
“There is also a huge amount of undeclared assets, much of which has been taken out of the country.
“Against this obscene wealth, more than 80 per cent of the poverty-ridden masses have a daily per capita consumption expenditure of just Rs 50 or less in 2011-12. This was also true for nearly 45 per cent of all urban households,” he said, adding 93 per cent of the country’s total workforce was in informal employment with little social protection.
Half of India’s children under five are underweight or stunted and almost 60 per cent of women suffer from anemia, even after 66 years of Independence, the CPI(M) leader said.
Terming 2G as the “largest political corruption” in the history of modern India, he said the booklets listed all the major financial scandals under the UPA or the BJP state governments.
All these were a result of the policies the two parties have pursued that have pushed the people to “conditions of misery and a situation where they can barely survive”, he said.
Noting that there was “no dearth of resources in the country”, he said Rs five lakh crore had been “lost as revenue because of tax concessions granted to the rich and corporates”.
“The alternative is to collect the legitimate taxes, plugging the sources of corruption and stopping sweetheart deals through public-private partnership projects and invest the resources earned in social infrastructure,” he said.
Such huge investments in social infrastructure would enhance jobs and income, which would lead to higher demand and encourage manufacturing activities, Yechury said, adding this was the alternative policy direction the Left was pursuing in these elections.