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Revised 20-point programme 'flawed': Left

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Oct 23: The Left parties today flayed the Manmohan Singh government's revised 20-point programme for its ''lack of direction and thrust'' and said it offered nothing concrete to alter the present ''disastrous'' economic course.

Terming the entire programme as ''flawed'' and ''lacking sincerity and the political will to address structural basis of poverty'', top Left leaders said the Congress, which is leading the UPA, should instead, adhere to the agreed National Common Minimum Programme (NCMP).

The UPA government has decided to launch a revamped 'Garibi Hatao' programme from April 1 next year. The Union Cabinet has restructured the 20-point programme, which was last updated in 1986.

Criticising the programme, CPI General Secretary A B Bardhan said the programme includes only bombastic terminology while claiming to support to farmers, housing for all, food security, develoment of backward areas and e-governance.

''The programme does not offer anything concrete to alter the present disastrous economic course. It is simply an amalgamation of various poverty alleviation programmes that may provide some relief but can not eradicate poverty and the burgeoning unemployment,'' said Mr Bardhan.

CPI National Secretary Shamim Faizi said the government had to change its approach towards rural India. Land reforms and promotion of cottage industry and handicrafts will generate employment opportunities, he added.

''The basic question, however, is how to increase the purchasing power of the rural poor. The revised programme has failed to instil that confidence,'' said Mr Faizi, editor of the CPI mouthpiece 'New Age'.

The CPI(M) in an editorial in 'People's Democracy', said ''in the previous 20-point programme, there was a direction on enforcement of land reforms'', but this aspect has been dropped in the revised programme.

When addressing the issue of rural poverty, the basic issue of land reforms can not be evaded, the party said.

The CPI (M) said the goal of abolishing poverty was more relevant and pressing now, given the experience of one-and-a-half decades of liberalisation. ''India has the dubious record of having the largest absolute number of poor people in any country in the world,'' the 'People's Democracy' editorial said.

Forward Bloc National Secretary G Devrajan said the old slogan of 'Garibi Hatao' simply showed the ''ideological bankruptcy'' of the Congress party.

The CPI, CPI(M) and the Forward Bloc, however, welcomed the move to introduce a Bill on judges' accountability during the winter session of Parliament.

The Left had been advocating accountability in judiciary and the setting up of a Judical Serivice Commission.

Mr Bardhan and Mr Faizi said the proposed Bill had a limited scope. The judicial system from the lowest to the top had degenerated and curruption had crept in and any attmept to overhaul the judicial system should aim at proper checks and balances in the functioning, they said.

''It is good that the judges of the Supreme Court and the high courts are being made accountable, but it will not suffice to cleanse the rot that has set in the judicial system,'' the CPI leaders added.

Mr Devrajan said the recent developments and ''over activism'' of judges should be de discussed and debated in Parliament and the sanctity of Parliament should be protected.


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