CPM may introduce retirement policy for party members

The key link today is to strengthen inner party democracy, says CPM politburo member Prakash Karat

Kolkata: The Communist Party of India (Marxist) leadership discussed the idea of introducing a retirement policy for the aged whole-timers of the party and also how to increase women membership.

“We are discussing on the aspects of retirement policy for the old and aged whole-timers who are not able to work due to age and ill health. We have near about 10,000 whole-timers. They are full-time dedicated to the party. We have also discussed about selection, training and the retirement policy for whole-timers," CPM politburo member Prakash Karat said at a press conference on Wednesday.

“We have said we must have a scientific policy and when they retire, the party has to provide for them. There is no such age bar. They won’t retire from the party, but from party work. Somebody can work till 70 or 80, so if they are not able to work after that, we will provide them a retirement policy," Karat said.

The former party general secretary also said the party has discussed to lay emphasis on the quality of membership. “We need to give emphasis on the quality of party membership, both ideologically and politically," he said. “We are also discussing the aspect to increase women membership in the party. Women membership is near about 15.5%, which is not satisfactory and in the next three years we are planning to increase it to 25%," he said.

While answering a query on the issue of democratic centralism in the party, Karat said there was a need to improve inner party democracy in the CPM. “As far as democratic centralism is concerned, we have reviewed it and we feel the key link today is to strengthen the inner party democracy," he said.

Karat’s comments come at a time when questions have been raised in closed-door meetings of the party on lack of sufficient democratic atmosphere within the CPM. Earlier on many occasions disgruntled leaders have accused the CPM of lack in inner party democracy and a tendency of imposing decisions from the top. PTI