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CPI suggests amendments in CMP

By K.V. Prasad

NEW DELHI, MAY 25. The Communist Party of India today suggested amendments in the draft common minimum programme (CMP) of the United Progressive Alliance in the areas of employment, labour, industry, and regional development, fiscal policy, including a firm commitment that prices of kerosene and LPG would not be raised in consumer interest.

After considering the draft CMP, the CPI has suggested that the offer to enact a National Employment Guarantee Act providing legal guarantee for at least 100 days of employment on asset-creating public works programme be increased to 180 days.

On the promise of public investment in agriculture and investment, the party suggested that it would be desirable to add ``research and development and extension'' and include crop and livestock insurance scheme in the section where assurance was given to make farm insurance scheme more effective.

In the area of education, the party said a review committee of experts should be set up immediately to identify the ``distortions, blunders, communal toxications in textbooks and eliminate them'' and that all existing apex bodies in educational and cultural spheres would be reorganised and revamped.

The party said that in health care, the public spending must be raised to 3 per cent of the GDP as against the CMP pegging it at 2 per cent. It said steps should be taken to ensure availability of life saving drugs at reasonable prices.

The CPI said the UPA should also offer to take steps to see that the reservations in public sector undertakings, which have been privatised, continue. It said the CMP stated that the UPA Government would initiate a dialogue with industry and other bodies on how best the private sector can fulfil the aspirations of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes youth and should also include the question of reservations.

In the section on labour, the draft CMP had said that the UPA Government rejected the idea of hire and fire. ``It recognises that some flexibility has to be provided to industry in the matter of labour policy but such flexibility must ensure that workers and their families are fully protected.''

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