An Imperialist Agent in Pro-people Garb

Globalization and ‘Left’ Front Government — A Fact-sheet



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Disinvestment: Khetoric & Facts

Globalisation has not spared the industries run by the West Bengal government. ‘Left’ MPs on the one hand oppose privatisation of ‘Balco’ of Chattisgarh, and on the other hand carries on the project of privatisation in West Bengal, with every cunning and utmost deceit.

A special discussion took place in the Lok Sabha on August 1, 2003 on dis-investment of the public sector undertakings. Among the opposition MPs who criticised the NDA’s disinvestment policies, Somnath Chatterjee, veteran member of CPI(M), voiced the most scathing criticism.

Mr. Chatterjee’s attack was: the NDA’s disinvestment policy demonstrates that for the central government, making money through sale of the PSUs is more important than protecting the interest of workers. He stated that many of the sick public sector units in West Bengal had originally belonged to the private sector; these had been taken over by the government because of their sickness. He called for a complete reversal of the Centre’s disinvestment policy.

Mr. Chatterjee’s ‘opposition’ to the disinvestment policy came in sharp contrast to the West Bengal government’s act. On July 12, 2003 the CPI(M)-led government in West Bengal unveiled its own disinvestment policy. Nirupam Sen, the West Bengal commerce and industries minister announced a new thrust towards industrial re-structuring in the state whereby non-viable units would be closed down and joint ventures with private sector partners (74 percent shares to be sold) would be pursued. With this broad policy outline in the backdrop, the minister announced the closure of two units — the Indian Paper Pulp Company and the Sundarban Sugarbeet Company. Moreover the state govt has been granted loans from the imperialist funding agency DFID to the tune of Rs. 400 crores for 16 state government enterprises.19 It will save Rs. 65 crores in the cash-starved fund of West Bengal, as stated by the commerce minister. There are 89 more sick industries in West Bengal. The ‘Left’ government is planning to satisfy their imperialist masters and seek funds for more projects of disinvestment.20

Thus in the entire aspect of the government’s drive for industrialisation there is no space for the people or the toiling mass. The products which are given due importance by the government have little resemblance with the people at large. Infotech, processed food, hotel, tourism etc. are not the people’s/society’s thrust of necessity.

Hence it is nothing surprising that the Indian Chamber of Commerce in their last survey report of 2003 gleefully hailed the role of the West Bengal government. Over 79 percent of the industrialists acknowledge the government’s ‘conducive’ attitude to business and 73 percent admit that initiatives over the past three years have brought a change in the investment climate.21 A recognition for a pro-toiling peoples’ government indeed! The Chief Minister also boasts fully to acknowledge the fact that some results have been achieved by the government. He also put forward the logic of private/imperialist investment in explicit terms, "our government is in favour of investment. We want investment here. We have to convey this to the industrialists of our country and also foreign countries in the backdrop of recession. Recession has gripped the entire world. Despite this if Mitsubishi or IBM comes, let them come.’’22 The plea that the government of West Bengal usually puts forward for nakedly prostrating before the enemies of the people, is for the sake of employment opportunities. But, what’s their real intention can be is clear from the humbug statement of Mr. Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee. He stated ‘’what we are stating is for mutual interest. We want to fulfill both interests. Their interest is profit (of course through inhuman exploitation) and our interest in employment.’’23 Let us venture the validity of these crocodile’s tears.

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