The restructured 20-point programme of the UPA to alleviate poverty is not only "flawed" but would also remain a "pious wish", the CPI-M said on Monday. One major flaw is that the programme doesn’t address the issue of land reforms, the party added.
In the latest issue of People’s Democracy, politburo member Sitaram Yechury criticised the programme because in the previous 20-point programme the enforcement of land reforms was mentioned. "It is flawed because the government still refuses to address the structural basis of poverty. In the previous 20-point programme, there was a direction on enforcement of land reforms. In the current programme, this has been dropped," Yechury said.
Yechury added that land reforms have been carried out in large-scale only in the three Left-ruled states of Kerala, Tripura and West Bengal. "Outside the three Left-ruled states, the agenda of land reforms has been more or less abandoned. The only exception has been the commitments made by the DMK government in Tamil Nadu to distribute two acres of wasteland to each landless family," Yechury wrote.
Pointing out that India held the "dubious record" of having the largest absolute number of poor people in any country in the world, he said statistics showed India had 300 million people as poverty-stricken by the international standard of earning less than one US dollar a day.
On the other hand, the economic reforms of the government had resulted in the rich becoming super-rich, with the collective net worth of 40 richest Indians going up from $61 billion to $106 billion. "This enormous concentration of wealth is obscene in a country with abysmal mass poverty."