Claiming that the Narendra Modi government’s move to increase the FDI cap in insurance to 49 per cent signifies its “eagerness to appease international finance capital and its commitment to pursue neoliberal policies”, the CPM’s People’s Democracy says that it seems the Congress will have “no hesitation in supporting this measure in Parliament.”
“The well-worn arguments for more FDI in insurance are being trotted out, that it will bring more capital in the sector for expansion, that it will increase penetration of insurance cover among the people and that it will create more jobs. These can be easily countered,” says an editorial. “India’s life insurance sector was nationalised in 1956 after a series of failures and scandals in the private insurance companies. We are going back to those days. The risk of the entry of profit-seeking foreign companies, investing in high-risk ventures and jeopardising the savings and interests of the people is real,” it adds. The editorial goes on to claim that the “struggle against financial sector liberalisation” is an “important area of struggle against the neoliberal regime” and that these policies are against the “interests of the people and national sovereignty”.
“This cannot be a struggle of the insurance sector employees alone. The entire trade union movement and the Left and democratic forces should take up this fight. Both inside Parliament and more importantly outside, there should be a strong protest movement against the impending amendment bill,” the editorial concludes.
Talking about US Secretary of State John Kerry’s recent visit, the CPI’s New Age says that American capitalists will now try “to extract their pound of flesh from the new dispensation”, since they played no “mean role in projecting Narendra Modi as the man who will not only take India out of the red but also play ‘crucial role’ in resolving the global economic crisis.”
“Kerry has not included several other items of the American charter of demands, but the other officials accompanying him have listed them clearly. The items… include demands to drop the nuclear liability clause… urgent conclusion of agreements on purchase of defence goods from America to revive their military-industrial complex that has been badly hit by the global meltdown…” the editorial explains. “One cannot be opposed to the concept of [a] strategic partnership among the two nations in the present international perspective, but it cannot be a unilateral or limited affair… Any undue concession and surrender to American pressure will have far-reaching consequences on India’s foreign policy, the only subject on which there had been broad national consensus,” it adds.
The latest issue of the CPI(ML)’s ML Update says that although the Modi government has been in power for a very short time, one can see the “disturbing signs of saffron forces downgrading the quality of schooling, higher education and research.”
“The appointment of Y. Sudershan Rao as chief of the Indian Council of Historical Research is the first signal that the government is allowing saffron ideology rather than academic worth be the criterion for heading academic institutions,” it claims, also citing the recent example of Supreme Court’s Justice Dave’s pronouncement that he would make the Gita and Mahabharat compulsory in schools. “This justification of a Brahminical hierarchy that epitomises discrimination is nothing new for Sanghideology,” it adds.
Compiled by Ruhi Tewari