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Thursday, 02 October 2014 00:00

Workers Against Unemployment

      1. International Day of Action – 3rd October

        World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU), the only class oriented International Trade Union, has called upon the working people to observe its foundation day – 3rd October – as the International Day of Action. This year the call is to observe the day as a Day of struggle against unemployment.

        The slogans for the observance of the day, as finalized by the Presidential Council, in its meeting in Rome, in February 2014, are of crucial importance to every workers, in different parts of the world. “Fighting against unemployment and for dignified work, demanding protective measures for unemployed and also for permanent and stable work”. These slogans being raised in the present day situation of the world of work demands total involvement of the working people to make it people’s demand.

        Unemployment and under employment continues to be one of the most crucial issues confronting every section of working people – For those who are already employed and for those who are in search of a job.

        International Labour Organisation in its World of Work report 2014, pointed out that over the next five years, there will be an estimated 213 million new labour market entrants – 200 million in developed countries alone. The same report also underlines the critical aspect of youth unemployment as a serious offshoot of the crisis.

        As is well known, capitalist system exists on the basis of keeping a large chunk of job seekers as unemployed. With the crisis that broke open in 2007-08, situation has become grim. In every part of the world, unemployment has become the most serious issue confronting the society.

        As the General Secretary of WFTU, George Mavrikose pointed out in his report to the 16th Congress of WFTU - “the capitalist financial crisis, which unfolded in all developed capitalist countries has dramatically worsened the situation for the working class in all aspects of lives.” In his report to the Presidential Council in Rome, General Secretary noted that “Capitalism is condemning millions of workers to unemployment, poverty. The system is unable to meet even the basic needs of the people”.

        In the developed world

        Europe, which generally is bracketed with the developed world is witnessing massive protest actions against the policies of the ruling class. Unemployment continues to be a major issue. Unemployment figures, especially youth unemployment, are shooting up. It is 57% in Greece, 54 in Spain, 43.3 in Italy and 36.1 in Portugal. In the 34 countries coming under OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) there were 10.7 million unemployed youth in April this year. This is about 25% of the total unemployed in those countries, i.e. about 45 million registered unemployed are there in those 34 countries!

        This is how an Indian Financial Daily very recently noted on the situation in Europe – “In much of the Euro zone, the toxic combination of high public debt (it is over 100 percent in large parts of the region) and high unemployment persists”. They are sure that “there is little doubt that the euro zone is not emphatically out of crisis”. And so, the toxic situation prevails!

        Identical situation exists in USA. In an article published in Washington Post on 1st September in connection with the Labour Day in US, it is noted that “ever since the 2008-09 financial crisis, job market has been in a state of heart breaking weakness”. The article itself was titled “Workers at the mercy of Markets”. It quoted a poll by Gallup which said, “19 percent of workers still fear of being laid off”. Read with this, another report which said 62 per cent of Americans judged jobs `difficult to find’. A report by news agency Reuters on 5th September says that US job growth in August 2014 is weakest in 8 months.

        On the quality of jobs in USA, a report in Economic Times dated 8th September 2014 noted that unemployment rate has `fallen’ to 6.2% “but the experts are wary of the strength of US economy”. It noted that “participation rate of US labour has fallen to 62.9%, the lowest figure since 1980. The participation rate shows the share of working age population either employed or seeking job. The chief reason assigned to the drop of participation rate is lots of people who are jobless for 3-4 years have stopped searching jobs! A drop of work force saps the largest economy of the world of manpower needed to boost economic expansion”. In simple terms it means that in addition to those working and those searching for a job there are huge number of men and women who have stopped searching for a job, as it is “difficult to find”!

        Freelance Workers

        Here, we are not going into the problems of those who are working. Washington Post in an article on 1st September said that `Since late 2009, hourly earnings have risen at an annual rate of about 2 per cent, but when corrected to inflation, wage increase vanish’. They also say that `bargaining power has shifted to employers. With jobs scarce, workers just take what they get’. Washington Post also notes – “Companies have controlled costs through lay-off, skimpy wage increases and greater reliance on independent contractors, which often pay less and provide fewer fringe benefits’. American `experts’ have now started writing about freelance workers! – A worker who has no job security, no statutory benefits and who will work whenever, wherever he or she gets a job. A really free person at the mercy of the free market – the, liberated freelance worker’.

        Though all the above said are about the situation in USA, this applies to almost all countries under the capitalist system to-day.

        India to-day

        The census report of 2011, details of which were released in July 2014, says that the unemployment rate in the 25-29 age group was nearly 18 per cent and more than 20 per cent of Indians in the 15-24 age group were jobless and seeking work. Times of India on 2nd July 2014 reported that “the army of unemployed youth is staggeringly huge – around 4.7 crores of which 2.6 crore were men and 2.1 crore women”.

        Over all unemployment rate among the working age population in 15-59 age group was according to Times of India “a worrisome 14.5 per cent, including marginal workers seeking work. In the 25-29 age group, the unemployment rate was nearly 18 per cent. Even among those in 30-34 age group, nearly 6 per cent were unemployed, number over 1.2 crore”.

        As per reports, unemployment rate among the socially oppressed sections likes Dalits and Adivasis was higher with 18 per cent among Dalits and 19 per cent among adivasis in 15-59 age group.

        Lack of any worth mentioning Social Security Scheme in our country is exposed again when the Census report mentions that 18.5 lakhs persons of age over 80 years are still working and another 6.5 lakh octogenarians eke out a living as ill paid marginal workers.

        In absolute terms, 46.9 million of India’s youth, of whom much is being discussed nowadays, as demographic dividend to the country, were in search of jobs in 2011 compared with 33.5 million in 2001. This 46.9 million works out to 20 per cent of our youth population!

        Govt. and the unemployed

        As far as the Govt. of India is concerned, the only effort on job guarantee was on rural employment with the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Act (MGNREGA). This was confined to `guaranteeing’ – a misnomer in practice – 100 days of work in rural areas. After almost a decade, the data shows that barely 9% house holds allotted work under the scheme have got work for 100 days! Now, the Modi Govt is after the scheme, by reducing the fund and trying to dilute the scheme in various methods. This so-called flagship scheme itself is facing serious threat.

        Vulnerable employment

        World of work report 2014 from ILO says that `more than half the workforce in developing world numbering 1.45 billion are in vulnerable employment and this presents a formidable challenge’.
        It is well known that the same is the situation in India, where the huge majority of workers are without a guaranteed income, social protection etc putting the future of the young generation in jeopardy. The latest NSSO (National Sample Survey Organization) report says that “68.8 per cent of workers across India in 2011-12, neither had a job contract or were eligible for paid leave, compared to 63 per cent in 2004-05”. The report also point out that “95 per cent of casual labourers are without any job contract”. This makes it clear that these workers, who are involved in asset building for the country, did not even exist in any records so as to get at least some statutory benefits!

        These facts are again confirmed by the World Bank’s World Development report 2014, which shows that “during 2001-10, people with a regular wage and salaries were only 17% of India’s total employed population”. World Bank also says that the so-called high growth years following 1990s “have failed to create jobs”.

        Planning Commission

        Recent analysis on the employment scene in India point out to the facts that even among professional people unemployment is increasing. Planning Commission, which will soon be extinct had said – “India needs to create 1 to 1.5 crore jobs per year for the next decade to provide gainful employment to its young population”. The Commission has also noted –“Large Indian business – both in the Public and Private Sector – have not generated significant employment in the past few decades and are unlikely to do so in the coming decade or two”. The Commission also noted that `Public Sector and Govt. employment has declined in the past few years’ and `large private sector firms have also been slow in generating employment which is unlikely to change due to increase in automation, digitalization and productivity gains!’

        Magic Wand!

        So, it is a vicious circle – no jobs and even and if there are we get only vulnerable jobs. And all the gains of productivity and profit to go to the corporates. It is in such a situation, World Bank, International investors and the Indian ruling class have found out that the only magic wand to increase employment is the labour reforms – immediately amending labour laws to take away almost 90% of the existing workers out of purview of labour legislations! Our Labour Minister told the Indian parliament recently that “World Bank suggested simplification and modernization of labour laws to encourage higher productivity and employment generation in India”.

        It is in this situation Indian workers should be shoulder to shoulder with the unemployed youth and also join their brothers and sisters all over the world, demanding employment and security of jobs.

        The demands raised by WFTU are demands of the huge majority of the world population. But, the efforts of attaining these demands will raise many questions about how and why of the present social set-up.

        Comrade B.T. Ranadive, founder President CITU, reminded us – “It is the law of the capitalist society that unemployment must increase, that there must be an army at the disposal of capitalists to keep down the wages of workers when the need for more labourers arises. In the competition all capitalists try to surpass their rivals to economise labour, use less labour and these lead to increased unemployment”.

        It is not the observance of a day or a protest week that is going to make a change. These issues need to be constantly taken up and people mobilized in support of the demand for job for all and make the right to work a fundamental right.

        Considering the basic character of capitalist state, this struggle for right to work and jobs for all has to be taken up as a struggle against the policies of the Govt. to be developed into a struggle for a change in the social set up!

        The mobilizations on 3rd October should reflect the reality of our arduous task before the Indian Working Class.

 - A.K. Padmanabhan

Friday, 29 August 2014 10:01

SC judgment on Coal Scam

26TH August 2014

       

CORRUPTION IN-BUILT IN NEOLIBERALISM STANDS VINDICATED

The Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) welcomes the Supreme Court’s observation in declaring all coal-block allocations for captive use since 1993 illegal on ground of gross lack of transparency and fairness, exercise of arbitrariness and violation of guidelines causing huge loss to public exchequer as well as to the consumers both in industry and the common people.  In fact such irregularities and corruption being indulged since 1993 in coal-block allocations for captive use under almost all successive central governments since then vindicate the inbuilt corruption-prone character of the neoliberal policy trajectory; in fact, the legislation amending and/or diluting the Coal Mines Nationalisation Act to permit such allocation of coal blocks to specific industry for captive use has been proved to be self-defeating and opened the floodgate of rampant exercise of unfair arbitrariness and discretion in such allocations particularly to private sector giving rise to such huge scam. None of governments in the centre since 1993 can wash-off their hands from the responsibility of such scam and irregularities.

It should also be noted that out of 200 plus coal blocks allocated for captive use since 1993, hardly 30 blocks could be brought under operation during these long 21 years, which also comprehensively proved the total inefficacy and impracticability of the very scheme of such allocations for captive purpose, thereby warranting scrapping of the concerned enabling legislation.

Supreme Court will be considering the consequences of cancellation of coal block allocations for captive use because of the irregularities/illegalities involved, on September 1, 2014 as reported by the press.

In this context, CITU is of the considered and firm opinion that the allocated coal blocks should come back to Coal India Ltd, and Coal India should be empowered and strengthened with adequate financial, operational and functional autonomy to act as an only nodal agency to develop, mine, produce and deliver coal both to industries and the common people. CITU demands upon the Govt of India to ensure return of all the coal blocks to Coal India Ltd for further development, mining and production operation besides taking concrete steps to bring those responsible for the coal-gate scam and irregularities to book.

Issued by,


(TAPAN SEN)
General Secretary

29th August 2014

Dear Shri Ananth Kumar ji,

I request your urgent intervention in bringing about effective corrective action to the gross perversion created in the market of the essential and life savings drugs severely affecting the right to access to those essential and life saving drugs at affordable price for the mass of the common populace through the Drug Prices Control Order, 2013(DPCO, 2013),  introduced by the previous government. The DPCO 2013 brought 387 odd drugs under the price-control regime but simultaneously the basis of stipulation of the ceiling price was changed from the cost-based approach prevalent earlier to market-based average price regime thereby rendering the price-control meaningless rather deceptive. Moreover the manner, drugs have been listed under DPCO suffered from serious inadequacies in terms of coverage of the actual medicinal necessities/usage by the common people, defeating the very purpose of price-control of essential and life saving drugs for the benefit of common people. Therefore, the DPCO, 2013 needs a thorough overhauling both in respect of enlisting the essential drugs ensuring full coverage of the drugs needed and used as essential and life-saving and also in respect of basis of stipulation of celing price to be made on a cost-based approach.

The basic issues involved may be presented as following:    
1.     The previous UPA-II Govt. introduced a Drug Prices Control Order(DPCO), 2013 following direction of the Supreme Court. But Supreme Court never directed a switch-over from cost-based pricing to market-based average pricing for drugs listed in the control order.
2.    But the order departed from the policy so far followed  to determine ceiling prices of medicines from cost based regime to market based regime which is average of prices of brands of a particular medicine of all the brands sharing one per cent and above of the total sale. This resulted in increase in the prices of essential drugs, both within and outside control on the one hand and also phenomenal increase in the profit of the already high-profit-minting drug barons. Is that the purpose of the Drug Prices Control Order, 2013?
3.    This departure is unwarranted since nowhere in the world,  price control measures of medicines have been determined on the market based prices only.
4.    The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) was given the task of determining the ceiling price of all the medicines given in the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) prepared in 2011.
5.    The UPA-II Govt. took decision of changing to market based pricing in their National Pharmaceutical policy, 2012 when amidst the cost based pricing system itself, the pharmaceutical industry had been earning large amount of profit and was growing by 15% annually. The decision was more to promote the profit of the drug-barons, both domestic and foreign, than giving relief to people in respect of their health-care needs.
6.    Moreover, drugs listed under DPCO, 2013  had covered only about 18% of the existing market of essential and life saving drugs, thereby leaving 82% of the drugs of regular necessity to Indian people out of any price-control.  According to NPPA’s calculation this became further less to 15% in the year 2013-14.
7.    As per NPPA’s own recorded observation, DPCO, 2013 covers very little in the important as well as regularly availed/used therapeutic segments like-antidiabetics (14%);antimalarials (12%); anti-infectives (37%); anti-TB (19%); blood related (01 %); cardiac (29 %);derma (10%);
gastrointestinal (15%); gynaec (14%); hepatoprotectives (00%); HIV/ AIDS related (27 %); hormones (44%); neuro/ CNS (18%); opthal/ otologicals (06%)/01%); ;pain/analgesics (10%); respiratory (06%); stomatologicals (00%); vitamins/ minerals/ nutrients (01%); vaccines (32%)
8.    This shows that the so called price control through DPCO, 2013 ultimately turned out to be a deception of common people, in reality, generous relief has been provided to the already high profit earning pharmaceutical companies including the multinational companies fleecing the mass of the common people, sometimes forcing them sell everything including themselves to survive from various ailments thrust upon them both by the society, environment and the nature.
 
You will definitely appreciate, such a situation must not continue and urgent measures are required to correct perversion created in the pricing of essential and life-saving drugs by DPCO, 2013. The pricing regime for the purpose of price control must be brought back to the cost-based regime and the list of drugs under control need to be thoroughly overhauled to include all drugs of essential necessity from all therapeutic segments. All the stakeholders including the consumers and the trade unions in the concerned sector should be consulted for the purpose.   

I request you to please appreciate the gravity of the issue and do the needful  in due consideration of the observations and suggestions given hereinabove.

With regards,
Yours sincerely,

( TAPAN SEN )
Shri Ananth Kumar
Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers
Govt of India
Shastri Bhawan
New Delhi

Wednesday, 20 August 2014 15:02

Illegitimate drawal of natural gas

Tapan Sen MP writes to Petroleum Minister regarding complain of ONGC about illegitimate drawal of natural gas worth thousands of crores of rupees from the ONGC's block in KG basin by Reliance Industries Ltd
20th August 2014
 
Dear Shri Dharmendra Pradhan ji,
 
I like to draw your pointed attention to the shocking news-item published in Hindustan Times (Delhi edition) dated 19th August 2014 that the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas, Govt of India (MoP&NG) has, in an affidavit filed in Delhi High Court, pleaded for rejecting the petition filed by its own Maharatna Company, ONGC complaining illegitimate drawal of natural gas worth thousands of crores of rupees from the ONGC's block in KG basin by Reliance Industries Ltd(RIL) through its well located adjoining to block of ONGC, terming the complaint of ONGC as "frivolous."
 
ONGC is one of the pioneer institutions in the country in exploration of gas and oil and their complaints must be based on their techno-geophysical findings. My simple query is that on what basis the MoP&NG did conclusively arrive at the conclusion that ONGC's complaint is "frivolous allegation"? Does such conclusion have requisite support of similar techno-geophysical examination? if so by which agency?
 
Ministry's observations that ONGC "woke up from slumber only in July 2013" or ONGC "was never vigilant and mindful of its rights' are not wholly correct. In fact, geological and geophysical data of all the relevant blocks KG-DWN-98/3, and G-4 Godavari and KG-DWN-98/2 blocks are being regularly supplied and appraised to the Ministry and the DGH since long, Even if we assume for arguments' sake, ONGC delayed in making such complaints or it remained negligent or was not alert enough on its rights etc, but such delay or negligence, if there be any, cannot justify such illegitimate, unauthorized and stealthy drawl of natural gas from ONGC's field by the private operator operating in the adjoining area, I had already brought the entire matter to your attention vide my letter dated 12th June 2014 urging upon you to take appropriate measures to defend the interests of Govt exchequer and the commercial right of ONGC" in the instant case, Unfortunately, the Govt have taken a stride in opposite direction in favour of the private contractor/operator.
The complaints of ONGC pertains to theft of natural gas under the domain of the Govt owned company and it should be dealt in public interest only through proper scientific examination/scrutiny of the complaint by an independent competent expert agency and before any such examination of the veracity of the complaint, any pleading for rejection of the complaint-petition itself tantamount to unduely guarding the probable offender or indulgence to the offence at the cost of national interests, I believe, you will appreciate the revealing impropriety in the stance of Govt of India, or in that matter of MoP&NG in the instant case reflecting undue bias in favour of the "charged" without verifying the veracity of the charges by a competent agency, I request you to please review the stand taken by the Ministry in this regard as reflected in its affidavit before Delhi High Court in the instant case, Rather, along with judicial examination of the complaints of ONGC, the Ministry should also get the complaints examined by an independent expert agency to ascertain the truth instead of pleading for rejection of ONGC's petition, I urge upon you to please intervene appropriately in that direction in the interests of all concerned.

Awaiting early response,

With regards,

Yours sincerely,
(TAPAN SEN)
PRESS BRIEF
ON
 
MEET AND DISCUSSION OF SIX REPRESENTATIVE DELEGATION OF JOINT FORUM OF 21 – TEA TRADE UNION OF WEST BENGAL ACCOMPANIED BY TAPAN SEN, MP, RAJYA SABHA WITH SMT. NIRMALA SITARAMAN, HON’BLE MINISTER IN-CHARGE, COMMERCE & INDUSTRIES, GOVERNMENT OF INDIA AT UDYOG BHABAN ON 13TH AUGUST 2014 BY 1 PM
 
Discussed in detailed regarding –
 
Policy intervention on the issue of improving the present poor rates of wages in West Bengal and Assam Tea plantation.
 
Minister In-Charge will make necessary correspondences with the Governments of West Bengal and Assam so that the workers can get their justified basic rates and dearness allowances for leading decent lives. For that matter also she is going to meet all the stake holders on 8th September 2014 at Guwahati to take stocks and do whatever required.
 
Closed tea gardens’ issue was discussed for immediately bringing those in normal operations & save the workmens’ acute miseries including deaths on starvation.
 
She affirmed the delegation of taking necessary measures for saving the workmen & opening the closed gardens. But she informed that government of West Bengal has denied the problem of deaths on starvation etc.
 
On developmental matters pertaining to the regions of plantations were discussed particularly health, education and other basic infrastructures.
 
She requested the delegation to write her department on this vital aspect and her government will do whatever necessary for overall improvement of lives of the tea garden residents.
 
On the environmental and climate issues, the delegation brought the very features of indiscriminate mining and deforestation in Bhutan Himalayas and random use of chemicals in plantations.
 
Minister In-Charge took very interest and insight into the matter and requested the delegation to bring immediately this issue before Environment Ministry when she will also take it up in broader dimension of sustainability of the plantation and vital regions of the country.
 
The Minister – in – charge appreciated the delegation for working together and requested for keeping touch with her department on issues of concern.
 
      sd/-                                                                    sd/-                                                                       sd/-
Ziaul Alam                                                 Mani KumarDarnal                                                      John Barla
 
      sd/-                                                                   sd/-                                                                          sd/-
P.T. Sherpa                                                  Manohar Tirkey                                                         Saman Pathak

8th August

PRESS RELEASE

A meeting of the leaders of all Central Trade Unions was held at the INTUC Headquarters, New Delhi on 7th August, 2014. Among those participated in the deliberations included Tapan Sen, M.P., General Secretary, CITU, Gurudas Dasgupta, General Secretary, AITUC, Brijesh Upadhyaya, General Secretary, BMS Harbajan Singh Sidhu, General Secretary, HMS. The meeting was presided over by G.Sanjiva Reddy, President, INTUC.

At the end of the meeting, a statement has been issued. The substance of the statement is that all the Central Trade Unions have strongly opposed in one voice the onslaught on the working class by the Narendra Modi Govt. through its move of massive amendment of various fundamental Labour Laws and that too unilaterally totally ignoring the Central Trade Unions.

Therefore, all the Central Trade Unions are vehemently opposed to both the unilateral path and dangerously anti-labour contents of the amendments (already legislated by Rajasthan Government and moved in Parliament by Modi Government). While the role of the Rajasthan Govt. was condemned for their first initiation in the matter, it is understood that things are happening with the approval from the Narendra Modi Govt. at the Centre. CTUs also denounced the move of the Modi Govt to hike FDI in Defence, insurance and Railways and disinvestment in CPSUs.

The meeting has decided a National Protest Convention of Workers in Delhi in the first week of September 2014 where from programme of actions shall be declared. In the meantime, more Rajasthan-centric initiative for powerful united movement of the working class shall be initiated.

TAPAN SEN, M.P.,

GENERAL SECRETARY

 1st August 2014
 
Shri Prithviraj Chavan
The Chief Minister of Maharashtra
Mantralaya
Mumbai – 400 032
 
Dear Shri Prithviraj Chavan ji,
 
I am writing this letter with much shock and anguish on the national disaster and tragedy causing death of more than 200 Adivasi men, women and children and wiping out of the entire Malin village in Ambegaon in Pune district of your State due to landslide triggered by heavy rains.
 
It is reported that your government had had adequate warning months before when repeated smaller landslips had occurred. Yet, no preventive measures were taken by the government.
 
The flow of the backwaters of the nearby Dimbha dam may be one of the causes. Yet, recently, JCP heavy machines were being used on the hillside under MNREGA under Padkai scheme in gross violation of the Act. Despite strong opposition by the local Adivasis the government did not prohibit their use.
 
My organization, the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) urges you to institute an impartial enquiry to the causes leading to the disaster pin pointing failures and complicity.
 
CITU also demands that compensation be paid to the families of the deceased and injured; and proper rehabilitation of the surviving people be made without delay.
 
With kind regards,
 
Yours Sincerely
(Tapan Sen)
General Secretary
Press Release                                                                                                                         
 
28th July 2014
                                                                                                                                               
 
                                                           
The Centre of Indian Trade Unions condemns the move to bring about anti-labour amendments in Industrial Disputes Act, Factories Act and Contract Labour (Regulation & Abolition) Act by the BJP Govt in Rajasthan on which Amendment Bills have already introduced in Rajasthan Assembly. CITU calls upon to organize countrywide protest at the earliest against such corporate driven onslaught on working people by the Rajasthan Govt at the behest of the capitalist class.
 
The amendments proposed in Industrial Disputes Act aim at empowering the employers to retrench workers at will, without prior permission of the Govt in all establishments employing up to 300 workers, and also deny the trade union in any establishment to represent the grievances/demands of the workers unless they have at least 30% membership strength among the workers of the concerned establishment. Moreover almost all protective clauses on contract labour, particularly the responsibility of the principal employer have been proposed to be deleted. Also the employer is being empowered to attribute any failure in production or operation as a failure of the workers as the provision is being made to widen the definition of “go-slow” in the Act. The changes in the Industrial Disputes Act will empower the employers to freely retrench the workers at will in overwhelming majority of the industrial establishments in the country, freely engage workers on contract in permanent perennial jobs and denying them all rights to statutory wages and social security, and victimize the workers at their whims and fancies.
 
The amendments proposed to Factories Act increase the threshold limit of employment for the factories operating without power from 20 to 40 and for the factories operating with power from 10 to 20 for the purpose of being covered under the Act. Moreover the Govt made provisions that without prior written permission from the state government complaint for violation of law against the employer cannot receive cognizance by the court. Punishment provision for violation of labour law has also been proposed to be relaxed. These changes will lead to pushing out a large number of factories and workers out of the coverage of almost all basic labour laws.
 
The amendments proposed to Contract Labour (Regulation & Abolition) Act also removes all contractors employing up to 49 workers out of the purview of the coverage of the Act. This will in effect throw out vast section of contract workers out of the coverage of almost all labour laws.
 
In fine, the amendment proposals to labour laws by the BJP Govt in Rajasthan is aimed at establishing a jungle raj in workplaces giving the capitalist class complete freedom to loot and exploit the workers. In fact, the enforcement of labour laws in Rajasthan had all along been worse with the numerous complaints of violation of all labour laws pertaining to minimum wages, contract labour, PF, ESI, working hours, unlawful retrenchment etc have been piling for years without any redressal in almost all the industrial areas in the state. These amendment proposals of the state government are designed to legitimize or legalise all those violations by the employers class.    
 
If the overactive move by the BJP Govt in Rajasthan to amend labour laws in the most obedient service of the employers class, both domestic and foreign, is any indication, the working people throughout the country as a whole are going to face a severe onslaught on their rights and livelihood in the days to come from corporate-servile polity in power at the centre. Already such move is reported to be afoot in respect of number of labour laws.
 
CITU calls upon the working people of the country and all trade unions irrespective of affiliations to organize protest such corporate driven retrograde changes in labour laws by the Rajasthan Govt and prepare for united countrywide struggle to resist such onslaught on their rights and livelihood.
 
(TAPAN SEN)
General Secretary

Resolution against Continuing Attacks on the People of West Bengal and in Solidarity to Struggles against such Attacks

 The General Council meeting of CITU being held on 11-14 July 2014 at Bellary, Karnataka expresses serious concern on the continuing phenomenon of severe attacks and intimidations  on our comrades and also con the common people  in West Bengal by the TMC led goons and antisocial elements since last 37 months since May 2011 and also in the run up to the election campaign and even after declaration of election results. During this period more than 157 Left and CITU activists were killed and the number is increasing every day.  Thousands were physically attacked and injured by the physical onslaught by the TMC goons with the police administration aiding and abetting such attacks and onslaughts. Even after declaration of election results on 16th May 2014 such attacks and intimidation have been continuing in full steam and 12 comrades including two women were murdered. Several thousands are ousted from their areas of work and residence. More than 15000 comrades and activists have been implicated in false cases and many of them were even jailed for months together having been booked on non-bailable cases. Molestation and rape of woman by TMC hoodlums have become almost a frequent happenings in the state. Latest has been the brutal rape of one anganwadi worker by TMC miscreant at Nadia district on 7th July 2014 and it is the same district where the TMC MP had given open threat to get women raped by his men a few days before such dastardly incident of rape.   The Police has been actively patronising such attacks shamelessly. After the declaration of election result, intensity of such attack has increased targeting the working people, both in towns and rural areas. Livelihood of the people are being attacked by way of ousting thousands of small farmers from their land;  evicting contract workers in thousands in several industries and replacing them with new set of workers with lower wages in connivance with the contractors; blockading functioning of numerous small cooperatives and self-help groups through terrorand violence; and even forcibly closing down small shops and similar small businesses through violence and extortions—all designed to maintain an atmosphere of terror and fear among the people at large and prevent any opposition to the reign of extortion and loot by the TMC goons with the active support of administration.  The main purpose behind such attack is to sustain an atmosphere of terror maiming all kinds of dissent and protest against such beastly misrule of the TMC Govt as well as the anti-social and anti-people activities of the miscreants under their shelter. And the basic aim is to marginalise and eliminate Left, it being the only potential opponent to the regime of loot and plunder under stewardship of thecorporates either through TMC in West Bengal or through BJP at the centre.

 The democratic right of holding meetings, rallies etc are being sought to be denied to the Left parties and even other trade unions and mass organisations. Also many non-political progressive organisations are being obstructed to have their activities involving mass of the public. Refusal of permission by the police administration to hold public meeting, even hall meetings and using mike throughout the state at the instigation of TMC has become almost a regular affair. Even labour department officials are being directed by the TMC Govt or their cohorts not to respond to the complaints or grievances raised by the trade unions and not even call conciliation meetings. Massive corruption, irregularities, nepotism, and anarchy in every segment of social life and governance being openly practiced by the TMC brigade is continuing and entire administration has been working overtime to ensure that nobody can raise their voice against such anarchy and hoodlumism. In fact total abrogation of all democratic rights of the people to collectively voice concerns and dissent had been the project of the ruling party in the state and that has gained momentum after the 16th Lok Sabha election. 

CITU and other mass organization of the Left parties have been bravely combating such situation while carrying on their organized opposition and protest against such anarchic regime and denial of democratic rights to common people by the TMC regime and their virtually lumpen-led administration. Other trade unions like HMS, AICCTU and INTUC etc are also joining protest against such attacks and onslaught on democratic rights.

The General Council meeting of CITU, while condemning such lumpen-raj in West Bengal, expresses full support and solidarity with the struggle by CITU, other mass organizations and the Left parties and  demands upon the state Govt in West Bengal to put a stop attack and onslaught on the Left parties, trade unions and mass organizations forthwith. CITU calls upon working people and trade unions all over the country to organize solidarity action and campaign against the ongoing brutalities by the fascistic lumpen-led TMC regime on the democratic people of West Bengal.   

Resolution on Union Budget 2014-15

The General Council meeting of CITU being held on 11-14 July 2014 at Bellary, Karnataka denounces the anti-people Budget (2014-15) of the Narendra Modi Government. The Union Budget (2014-15) is an exercise in piloting large scale FDI-PPP mode in the financial and policy governance of the country under BJP rule. It followed the same policy trajectory deregulation, privatization and corporate-orientation so long followed by its predecessor the UPA Govt which has been rejected by the people in election. And pursuit of these policies by UPA has landed the national economy in gloom with dwindling growth rate, continuing inflationary spiral and aggravating unemployment.  The Budget has set in motion the process of betrayal of the promise for “so called good days” made by Modi in his election campaign. The Finance Minister has said in his Budget speech, “ these are only the first steps and are directional.”

The Finance Minister, just three days before the presentation of his Budget spoke in Rajya Sabha on 7th July 2014 while replying to debate on “price rise” that any exercise in containing fiscal deficit through cutting down expenditure will lead to contraction of the economy in a situation of already dwindling growth rate of sub-5 per cent. He repeated the same statement orally in Lok Sabha while presenting the Budget. But while making high sounded commitment and promises for all round growth in his budget speech, in actual budgetary exercise, the Finance Minister meticulously practiced the same route of drastically cutting down central plan outlay on almost all heads impacting common people like Agriculture, rural development, Transport, General Economic Services and Social Services etc. The Ministries of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation, Human Resource Development and the Department of School Education and Literacy in particular and Women & Child Development also faced a drastic cut in allocation of funds. The share of SCs and STs in plan expenditure is kept far below (by Rs 47000 crore) the stipulation of planning commission guidelines based on proportion of population. Therefore, the first budget of the Modi Govt took off engineering a deceit on the people.

On the other hand, the Budget has launched onslaught against various flagship welfare schemes. MGNREGA is going to be immediate target of attack due to the policy pronouncement in the Budget that State Governments will have to spend two-third of the revenue transferred in ‘capital asset creation.’ Also a move is afoot to turn the right based employment guarantee legislation into just a welfare scheme with no guarantee in employment.

While engineering a drastic cut in expenditure on almost all heads impacting common people aimed at containing fiscal deficit, the budget remained reluctant in taking any action in arresting organized pilferage from public exchequer in the form of deliberate tax default by big corporate houses which reached a huge sum of Rs 4.18 lakh crore on account of corporate tax and income tax by the end of 2012-13 of which Rs 72901 crore is not under dispute. Rather the measures envisaged in the budgetary proposal to avoid dispute and litigation on tax claim are basically designed the defaulters a long hand to legitimize the default and pilferage from the public exchequer.

Added to this is the decision to constitute the Expenditure Management Commission to look into basically the subsidies for common people aiming at further deduction in the same. The Budget has already proposed a cut in subsidy on petroleum to the tune of Rs 22054 crore which would have a cascading effect on prices of all goods. And such cascading effect on prices of goods and services is going to be perpetual as the Budget announces total decontrol of diesel pricing before the end of current financial year.

Simultaneously, the budget reduced the direct tax leading to a revenue loss of Rs 22200 crore while increasing the indirect tax burden to the tune of Rs 7525 crore. And the manner the budgetary proposal extended liberalized concessions/reduction of customs and import duty on various heads, the additional revenue of Rs 7525 crore in indirect tax means a larger revenue on account of tax on domestic consumption goods to be borne by common people already reeling under continuing price-rise and mounting burden of unemployment and joblosses.  

The Budget has announced raising of FDI cap in defence and insurance sector from existing 26% to 49% musct to the detriment of the interests of national economy. The target for revenue from PSU divestment has been set at a huge amount of Rs.63,000 crore and the Finance Minister has announced that instead of earning dividend from PSUs they prefer divestment of Government equity in the PSUs. Number of measures have been incorporated in the Budget to actually weaken the public sector banks making them easy prey of privatization policy of the Government.

Budget while sounding high on promoting investment for boosting manufacturing sector, practically relied on good intention of the private investors through more liberal incentives and tax concessions. In an atmosphere of shrinking market and declining purchasing power of the people owing price-rise and industrial sickness, incentives and tax concessions cannot boost employment generating investment except causing revenue losses. Rather the measures announced in the budget for liberalization of tax regime on portfolio investment, transfer-pricing and mutual fund and steps envisaged for energizing capital market etc would attract flow of investment more towards speculative market than employment generating productive investment. That will definitely make the corporates and big business, both domestic and foreign, happier while common people will be left high and dry. 

In respect of almost all development expenditure including various infrastructural projects, the Budget relied more on PPP and FDI despite dismal performance and non-materialisation  of PPP during the previous regime. Rather, the Budget indicated further concessions/incentive to private players in the name of reducing rigidities and taking a more liberal approach.

On the whole, the first budget of the NDA Govt has basically turned out to be grossly anti-people in character promoting more aggressive loot by the corporate and big-business houses on the mass of the people. The General Council of CITU condemns such anti-people Budget and calls upon the working people and trade union movement to build united opposition to the said anti-people budget and related policies of deregulation, privatization for promoting corporate loot on the people.            

 

Resolution on Allocation under scheduled Castes Sub Plan

This meeting of the General Council of CITU being held in Bellary on 11 – 14 July 2014 strongly condemns the decline in the allocation for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes under the Scheduled Castes Sub Plan (SCSP) in the Union Budget placed by the Finance Minister in the Parliament.

The SCSP, one of the most important budgetary issues for Dalits was initiated 35 years ago, became necessary as the SCs were continuously denied their adequate share of government funds essential to meet their needs and improve their conditions. It mandates setting aside a proportion of the total Plan outlay of the Centre and state governments equivalent to the proportion of the SCs at the national and state levels, exclusively for their development. According to the Census 2011, SC population comprises 16.6% of the total population.

However, the total plan allocation in this Budget has declined in real terms by around 4%. Moreover the total share of SCs and STs in the total plan expenditure is falling short by Rs 47000 crores and Rs 14000 crores according to the Planning Commission guidelines based on the proportion of the population. It is also a matter of serious concern that what is being allocated is also not being spent. While Rs 41561.13 crores was allocated for SCSP in the Budget 2013 – 14, according to the Revised Estimates only Rs 35800.6 crores have been spent. There have been several instances of SCSP funds being diverted to entirely different uses like construction of flyovers, Commonwealth Games etc. The Twelfth Five Year Plan document itself had to admit that ‘The expenditure in many states/ UTs was not even 50% of the allocated funds. No proper budget heads/ sub heads were created to prevent diversion of funds. There was no controlling and monitoring mechanisms’

In order to ensure effective implementation of the SCSP, there is an urgent need to enact a national legislation to provide statutory backing to the provisions of the SCSP.

This General Council meeting demands that the government of India should

  • Enact a legislation providing statutory status to SCSP in this Budget session itself
  • The government should allocate 16.6% of Plan Outlays for the SCSP
  • Take effective measures to ensure that the funds are spent for the development of Dalits and are not diverted for other purposes and also that the funds are spent in time and are not allowed to lapse. 

 Resolution on Israeli aggression on Palestine

The meeting of the General Council of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) at Bellary from 11th to 14th July expresses its anger and protest against the Israeli attack on Gaza. For more than one week Gaza is being bombarded by the Israeli armed forces killing more than 165 people including many children. The attacks are being targeted on the residential areas. Latest reports say that Israeli armed forces have begun invasion at ground level also and thousands are forced to flee. The whole region is under threat of escalation of war.

CITU condemns these attacks, which are in contravention of international lands. In the back ground of happenings in the middle-east region, these Zionist attacks by the closest ally of US imperialists will aggravate the situation.

The CITU demands the Govt. of India to condemn Israeli aggression on Palestine and take necessary steps to bring international pressure on aggressors.  CITU expresses solidarity with the people of Palestine and calls upon its affiliates and democratic movements to protest against the Zionist aggression.

CITU General Council Meeting inauguration at Bellary Karnataka

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