General Strike Call Against Inflation and Unemployment
India’s Left parties have called for a nationwide struggle against price rise and unemployment between May 25, 2022 and May 31, 2022. The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), the Communist Party of India (CPI), the All India Forward Bloc, the Revolutionary Socialist Party and the Communist Party of India -Marxist-Leninist (CPI-ML) signed a joint press release calling upon all units to join the struggle.
Parties condemned the price-hike of petroleum products by 70 percent, vegetables by 20 percent, cooking oil by 23 percent and cereals by 8 percent over the last year. Wheat, which is a staple diet for crores of Indians, saw a price rise of over 14 percent. Parties said this has made the crop unaffordable.
“Wheat procurement has declined. The central government has procured less than half of last year. This year procurement will not cross 20 Metric Tonnes as against the target of 44.4 Metric Tonnes,” said CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechury.
This, in addition to unemployment, is compounding people’s miseries by propelling overall inflation, said parties. Similarly, rising cost of electricity is another concern in face of coal shortage.
As such, they demanded the roll back of all surcharges/cess on petroleum products, and restoration of wheat supplies through the Public Distribution System (PDS). Parties also asked the Centre to strengthen the PDS by distributing all essential commodities particularly, pulses and edible oil. Further, they recommended increased direct cash transfer of ₹ 7,500 per month to all non-Income tax paying families. Parties said that the government should increase MGNREGS allocation and legislate central scheme for unemployment allowance. They also recommended an employment guarantee scheme for urban areas. Lastly, they asked that vacant posts be filled.
On May 23, a state-level online meeting by the Peasant Workers Party, the Red Flag Party and the Communist Party of India (Male-Liberation) among others resolved enthusiastic participation from Maharashtra.
“An appeal was made in this meeting to protest against the anti-people, anti-corporate and anti-bigotry policy of BJP at the Centre by holding fierce rallies and demonstrations on behalf of the people at all the Collectorate and Tehsildar offices,” said a joint press release.
Maharashtra’s rights groups Samyukta Shetkari Kamgar Morcha, Jan Andolanchi Sangharsh Samiti also promised their participation. The meeting was chaired by CPI’s Ashok Dhawale, Uday Narkar, S. K. Reggae; Tukaram Bhasme, CPI-ML’s Shyam Gohil and Ajit Patil among others.
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