Pittance for suffering masses  ♦  Bonanza for big corporates  ♦  Permanent squeezing of workers

The fifth and final round announcement by the Finance Minister on so called Rs 20 lakh crore ‘relief package’ of Prime Minister is a heartless cruel joke on the suffering people. It does not even provide the required immediate relief from the situation of continuing hunger and destitution.

Out of total Rs 20 lakh crore, a very meager percentage came as direct immediate cash and food support to the immensely suffering jobless, income less, shelter less crores of working people. Lakhs of migrants are either locked down in hutments haplessly or desperately walking along the highways, facing death due to exhaustion, hunger and accidents or police brutality. The BJP government led by Modi has shown inhuman contempt to the basic entitlement for dignified survival of common people, while making noise on so called empowerment. The multi-facet measures the finance minister has announced about so called reforms embracing all the sectors of the economy are aimed at permanently empowering the handful of big foreign and domestic corporates and big business houses, to freely exploit workers to maximise profits.  

Direct cash and food support for the suffering millions, to be funded from Govt exchequer taking together all the announcements by the Govt is not more than even 10% of the total package claimed to be of Rs 20 lakh crore plus.  Whatever direct cash and food support has been announced in different tranches through free ration and cash transfer, has not reached 80% of the needy working people. Around half of the announced quantum of package comes from Reserve Bank of India and not from the Govt exchequer. An overwhelmingly major part of whatever has been announced for industries, MSMEs, and agriculture are in the form of loans and advances from financial institutions in the days to come. It does not immediately reach them. The survival needs of the majority of the populace have been ignored totally. When direct support and loan waiver is the urgent need of the hour, liberalising loan provision in future cannot help in any manner.

Moreover, the Finance Minister’s claim on EPF withdrawal provisions or cash support to construction workers as a part of her relief package is nothing but an act of deception and fraud on people. All these provisions are funded not by Govt but by workers’ own accumulation in their EPF account and the accumulation of cess account in the construction workers’ welfare fund.

Along with this, the series of measures of aggressive neoliberal reforms announced by the Govt announced, instead of strengthening the national economy, will put the country in the track of destruction. They will destroy our manufacturing capability and lead to gradual de-industrialisation.  In the name of self-reliance, measures like liberalisation of FDI and FII, allowing Indian companies to freely list themselves in foreign jurisdictions, leading to increased foreign domination and in many cases foreign take-over, are being announced. This will threaten our self reliance itself.   

This dangerous trend of erosion of self reliance is further aggravated by the policy of allowing minimum one to maximum four PSUs in each strategic sector to be notified by the Govt in future. This Govt has already been acting systematically for destroying almost all PSUs in the much crucial pharmaceutical sector; in defence production sector as many as 40 plus Ordnance factories are being forced to convert themselves in PPP mode paving way for full privatisation, through corporatisation route, there being no ceiling on private equity participation in them as per the new policy on defence production sector. Same design of virtual marginalisation of functional and profit-making PSUs in various strategic sectors like Coal, Airports network, central power utilities, shipyards, Railway production units etc is being actively pursued through hostile policy interventions of the Govt, not to allow them to viably operate. And as culmination to said systematically pursued destructive policy-hostility towards PSUs, obviously to benefit the private players and contractors in the same sectors, today’s policy announcement on PSU is aimed at finally eliminating PSUs from the economic map of the country. And that is going to be biggest disservice and betrayal to the national interests, interests of the people at large only benefitting the international finance capital and the Indian corporates as its junior partner.

The Finance Minister is notoriously liberal in empowering the big corporate not to comply the laws under which they function and operate as seen in decriminalising the offences under Companies Act, grossly relaxing compounding of offences owing to continued non-compliance, easing the bankruptcy resolution process in favour of the debt-defaulters and so on. These are being done in the name of helping MSMEs which is again a deceptive posture to befool the people. Very few MSMEs will be benefitted by such liberal concessions since MSMEs are generally compliant either to their debt obligation or other legal obligations. They actually require direct support and wage support like that given to them in many countries in the world, and did not get anything tangible from these packages. On the other hand, the Govt shamelessly shut their eyes on the gross violation of its own directives regarding non-termination of employment and full payment of wages to workers by the same corporate community and the so called mega-package did not just care about the same. 

Selecting the Pandemic and lockdown time, severely squeezing the space for democratic exercise of debates and dissents for all the above misdeeds involving national interests reflects authoritarian and anti democratic attitude of the BJP government to mask its dubious and destructive intents.

CITU condemns such desperate and destructive neoliberal reforms in favour of private and foreign players which are severely detrimental to national interests. CITU calls upon the working people, all the trade unions irrespective of affiliations as well as all patriotic and progressive sections of the society to raise their united voice in protest against these anti people and anti national deceptive measures. CITU appeals to the entire nation to prepare itself for safeguarding the self reliance of the country and the lives and livelihood of our working people.

Issued by
Tapan Sen
General Secretary 

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