October 15, 2008

‘Liberalisation has affected national integration’: JYOTI BASU

NEW DELHI, Oct. 13: The CPI-M veteran and former West Bengal chief minister, Mr Jyoti Basu, has told the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, that national integration had suffered due to “unbridled penetration of foreign capital” and policies of liberalisation.

Replying to an invitation to attend the National Integration Council (NIC), Mr Basu told the Prime Minister that policies of liberalisation had opened the economy to “marauding forays of multi-national corporations” and regional imbalances were growing. Mr Basu said national integration would have received strength if the Directive Principles of State Policy were implemented, and recommendations of the Sarkaria Commission were put into practice.

The basic thrust of the political outlook, he said, must comprise land reforms, higher wages, more state intervention in agrarian, economic and financial sectors, defence of the public sector, and a strong defence of the rights of the socially and economically oppressed, and the minorities. The CPI-M veteran said “an important component of the move towards national integration would be a move away from a US-dominated foreign policy. For all this to be reality, the Central government must exert the correct political will in abundance or the nation’s existence itself will in the long run be imperilled”.

According to Mr Basu, even communalisation had its roots in economic and social backwardness. “Mere reservations, necessary as they are, cannot prevent such a phenomenon from taking place without economic empowerment in particular. Because of what can be called the class-caste correspondence, those at the bottom of the economic structure are also thus at the bottom of the social structure,” Mr Basu said.

He said various reports on the plight of the minority communities were gathering dust. The communal menace could be fought through political will and administrative courage and commitment to secular values. “There is widespread compromise with communalism for narrow electoral gains. Majoritarian communalism has in turn given rise to minority communalism and things are taking a more and more violence turn,” the Left stalwart said. He said national integration could be improved through electoral reforms, definition of secularism as a basic feature of the Constitution, and a reversal in the harmful direction of Centre-state relations.

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