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Mazdoor-Kisan Adhikar Mahadhiveshan

National Convention on the Rights of Workers and Peasants

5thSeptember 2022, Talkatora Stadium, New Delhi



We the workers, peasants and agricultural workers of India, gathered in this national convention at the call of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions(CITU), All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS)and All India Agricultural Workers’ Union(AIAWU), on the fourth anniversary of the historic Mazdoor Kisan Sangharsh Rally held on 5th September 2018, declare our resolve to strengthen our united struggle to protect the interests of the workers, peasants and agricultural workers, who through their labour produce the wealth of our country.

Representing the toiling people across our country, which has just completed 75 years of Independence, we reiterate our commitment to continue the struggle to realise the vision cherished by our earlier generations who sacrificed their everything in the freedom struggle - for an India free from hunger, poverty, unemployment and illiteracy, a secular, democratic, socialist republic in which all our people will enjoy the fundamental rights and directive principles enshrined in our Constitution.

We note with anguish that the present Modi-led BJP regime controlled by the RSS is destroying whatever we, the people have built brick by brick through our labour and whatever we haveachieved through our struggles and sacrifices, during the last 75 years. It is trampling underfoot the dream of our freedom fighters, of an India free, not only from British colonialism, but all forms of oppression and discrimination onthe basis of their class, caste, creed, religion or gender, of a nation where its people can live with freedom and dignity. Its actualpractice over the last eight years of its rule makes its blitzkrieg about ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ sounds hollow.

Our economy, our hard acquired food security and manufacturing capacities, our democratic, secular and federal political system, our Constitutional rights, Parliamentary norms and practices are all under serious attack.

The economy was in crisis and people were in distress even before Covid 19 struck. The manner, in which the Modi government handled the pandemic, worsened both. More than one lakh farmers committed suicide in the last 8 years. The increase in suicide by daily wagers, from 32000 in 2019 to 38000 in 2020 and more than 42000 in 2021, is the worst manifestation of the overall crisis. As per National Crime Records Bureau report that out of the total 164033 suicides in 2021, one in four, were that of daily wagers.  The agrarian crisis and lack of employment in rural areas and the precarious work and low incomes in urban centres are creating such a dangerous situation.

Prices are increasing, wages are declining. The share of wages in the net value added is among the lowest levels. Peasants do not get remunerative prices. Agriculture is becoming unsustainable for small and middle peasants. Agricultural work is drastically reduced in the rural areas. No decent employment is generated in the urban areas. Unemployment and job losses are increasing by leaps and bounds. Working conditions are deteriorating. Violence against women, dalits, adivasis, and minorities has reached unprecedented levels.

Prices of essential commodities are continuously rising. Prices are made to rise by the Modi government’s discriminatory taxation and other policies, only to benefit the big corporate and business houses and traders. Prices of petrol, diesel, cooking gas and other fuels are increased almost on daily basis by the present taxation regime which is having a cascading impact on the prices of all other commodities, public transport and other services.

On top of this comes the latest round of unprecedented burdens through the GST hikes on all essential commodities such as pre-packaged rice, wheat, milk and on a host of other items of daily use. The range of items on which GST has been increased includes crematorium charges, hospital rooms, writing ink etc. People have to pay 18 per cent GST on bank cheques even to withdraw one’s own savings from their bank. At the same time, GST on luxury items has been lowered.

According to aCentre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) report, unemployment among youth in the 20-24 years age group is a staggering 42%. Labour Participation Rate has dropped to an all-time low of 38.8%. Rural women are the worst affected. Their work participation rate has fallen to a historic low of below 10%. Lakhs of micro, small and medium enterprises have closed, resulting in the loss of crores of jobs. Permanent jobs are vanishing. Precarious jobs are increasing. Casualisation and contractorisation of employment is getting legal sanctity under the Modi regime.

While the demand for work under MGNREGA increased, the government reduced allocations for it. Wages for work done to the tune of Rs 1498 crore are pending for several months in almost all the states. According to the official figures 1.47crore job seekers (around 20% of the total) were refused work. 

The four labour codes passed by the Modi Government are meant to do away with whatever has been achieved by the working class through over a century of struggles, including an eight hour workday, minimum wages, social security and most important of all, the right to organise and collective bargaining.Though the government could not notify the labour codes for implementation till now, it is determined to do so at the earliest.

Hunger in the country has reached shocking levels. India ranks 101 among the 116 countries in the Global Hunger Index of 2021. But the government is reducing expenditure on schemes like ICDS and Mid-day Meals and withdrawing from the basic survival entitlements of the people.

All productive assets, the nation’s wealth – public sector undertakings, financial institutions, mines, defence production units, major ports, telecom towers, oil and natural gas pipelines, railways, highways, airports and airlines, electricity, steel, postal services - are being handed over to the big private corporates, domestic and foreign, through reckless privatisation. The National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP) is aimed at handing over our infrastructure built with public funds to the private corporates virtually free of cost, for making massive profits.

This will not only increase the burden on the people, but will also take away the constitutional right of reservation in government jobs for Dalits, tribals, OBCs and other downtrodden sections of society.Through mass scale contractorisation and outsourcing of work in most of the government departments and administration, the entire governance system is being planned to be privatized. The Agnipath scheme is meant to contractorise the defence services and also to get a private army for the communal forces.

At the same time this government has been extending bonanzas to the big monopoly companies, Ambani, Adani and the likes, by continuously lowering the corporate tax rates, abolishing wealth tax, declaring moratorium on payment of charges/taxes, on debt repayments etc. The Super Rich have amassed wealth even during the pandemic. In an obscene display of inequalities in our country, the richest 1% corner more than 70% of the GDP and lowest 50% of people have less than 10%. The central government has written off loans worth a whopping Rs 10.72 lakh crore to its crony corporates in the last seven years.

In the background of the growing world capitalist crisis and the imperialist wars, the situation is going to further worsen.

This convention salutes the lakhs of peasants of our country who heroically fought for over a year against the three pro-corporate, anti-farmer and anti-people farm laws and compelled the Modi government to repeal them. This convention appreciates the solidarity and wholehearted support extended by the working class of our country to this historic struggle.

This convention strongly condemns the Modi government for reneging on its assurances to the peasants, on legally guaranteed Minimum Support Price (MSP) for all crops, not going ahead with the Electricity Amendment Bill without consulting with them,withdrawal of cases and other issues.

Contrary to its assurance, the government has introduced the Electricity Amendment Bill to privatise electricity in the Parliament, although due to pressure it had to be sent to the Parliamentary Standing committee.

The farm laws, the labour codes, the electricity bill, the privatisation spree are all part of the neoliberal policies to which the Modi government is committed. In its aggressive pursuit of these policies for the benefit of the big corporate and monopoly companies, domestic as well as foreign, the Modi government is resorting to ruthless suppression of any opposition to these policies.

Fundamental and basic human and democratic rights are attacked. The Constitution is violated. Parliamentary norms and practices are flouted. Laws are bypassed. Journalists bringing the facts to light, intellectuals, human rights activists are arrested and jailed without bail. Dissent is sought to be ‘bulldozed’. The majoritarian communal forces seek to dictate people’s lives – the dress they wear, the food they eat, people whom they can be friends with, whom they can or cannot marry. This in turn is leading to the rise in minority fundamentalism. Both these hues of communalism are being propagated to disrupt the class unity and have disastrous impact on the lives of the people and on social harmony.

This convention warns the toiling people of our country and all progressive sections of society against falling prey to these machinations of the ruling classes and their representative in power today, the BJP guided by the fascistic RSS.

This convention congratulates the workers, peasants and agricultural workers and other sections of the people who have been displaying exemplary courage in resisting and fighting these disastrous neo-liberal policies from their independent as well as joint platforms. The historic farmers’ struggle under the banner of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), the countrywide general strike on 26th November 2020 and again on 28-29th March 2022 under the banner of the joint trade union platform, the various sectoral struggles of the coal, port and dock, defence, bank, insurance, postal, telecom, electricity, transport, scheme workers and other sections of workers and the struggles of the farmers and agricultural workers in different states on the issues of price, wage, land, MGNREGA work, government procurement, etc show the determination of our people to fight for their rights.

Not only the workers, peasants and agricultural workers; the youth, students, women and many other sections are today fighting for jobs, for the right to food, education, health, housing, and social justice, protection of democratic rights and the secular character of our nation. These united struggles show the potential to carry forward the anti-imperialist, anti-corporate struggle to fulfil the dreams of those who fought for our country’s independence, to realise their vision of a free India.

This convention asserts that the struggle today is not only for our immediate demands of livelihood and living and working conditions. It is also to save the country’s economy, to save the secular democratic character of our society from this communal and authoritarian BJP-RSS regime. It is to save our Constitution from the onslaught of the ‘Hindutva’ forces masquerading as saviours of Hindus. As Savarkar who had first used the term ‘Hindutva’ himself explained, it is a political construct and has nothing to do with religion. It was these communal forces like the RSS and Hindu Mahasabha that refused to participate in our freedom struggle, and along with the Muslim League facilitated the British colonialists’ ‘Divide and Rule’ policy by raising the Two Nation theory based on religion. The struggle today is to Save the Nation and to Save the People from these anti-people and anti-national policies and forces.

Hence, this convention calls upon the workers, peasants and agricultural workers all over the country to rise unitedly to fight for the following demands and to work tirelessly for a defeat of the neo-liberal, communal and authoritarian regime of the BJP-RSS.


  • Ensure Minimum wages @Rs26,000 pm and Pension @Rs10,000 to all workers; No contractorisation of work; Scrap Agnipath Scheme
  • Legally ensure MSP @ C2+50%for all farm produce with guaranteed procurement
  • One time loan waiver by the central government to all poor and middle peasants and agricultural workers; pension to all of them above 60 years
  • Scrapping of four Labour Codes and Electricity Amendment Bill 2022
  • Job security and guarantee for all; Expand MGNREGA and increase workdays to 200 with minimum wages @Rs600 per day; Pay all pending wages; Enact a National Urban Employment Guarantee Act
  • Stop Privatisation of PSUs and Public Services; Scrap National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP)
  • Arrest Price Rise, Withdraw GST on food items and essentials; Reduce the central excise duty on petrol/diesel/kerosene/cooking gas substantially;
  • Universalise the Public Distribution System (PDS) and expand its scope to include 14 essential items; Ensure food and income support to all Non tax payer families
  • Stringent implementation of the Forest Rights Act (FRA); withdraw the amendments to Forest (Conservation) Act and Rules that allow the union government to permit clearance of a forest without even informing the residents.
  • Stop repression of the marginalised sections and ensure social justice
  • Ensure universal and quality Health and Education for all; Scrap New Education Policy (NEP) 2020
  • Ensure Housing to all
  • Tax the Super Rich; Enhance Corporate Tax; Introduce Wealth Tax

Programme of Action

To take these demands to the workers, peasants and agricultural workers across the country, this convention calls upon all the units, up to the lowest level, of all the three organisations to take up an intensive and extensive campaign comprising:

  • Joint meetings of the state level office bearers of the three organisations to plan the campaign by the end of October 2022
  • District level joint meetings of the office bearers of the three organisations by the end of November–December 2022
  • State level joint conventions in January 2023
  • Massive campaign through distribution of leaflets, posters, wall writing, group meetings, jathas, processions etc on the issues and demands including local demands during the next four months, aiming to reach the unreached, as planned in the state and district joint meetings
  • District/local level conventions in February 2023
  • Jathas to take the message of this convention to all nooks and corners of the country
  • Massive ‘Mazdoor Kisan Sangharsh Rally 2.0’ during the 2023 budget session of Parliament

This convention also calls upon all progressive, democratic and patriotic people of our country to extend support and solidarity to this nation-wide campaign and programmes, to Save the Nation and Save the People!

CITU                        AIKS                        AIAWU


We the workers, peasants and agricultural workers of India are going to storm Delhi, the capital city of our great republic, in this 75th anniversary year of our independence from the British Imperialism, demanding pro-people policies to ensure basic right to food, health, education, employment and fair and remunerative prices for our produce and fair and living wages for our work. We are demanding a life of dignity, security, free of fear and hatred towards each other.

Instead of ensuring these bare minimum, the current BJP government controlled by the RSS is taking away whatever we have achieved through years of struggle and unity. Pain has become unbearable for the common people.

Prices of all essentials - rice, wheat, pulses, milk, curd, vegetables and so on are skyrocketing. For the first time in independent India, essential food items are being taxed through GST! Just a week ahead of the International Women’s Day and Holi the price of the cooking gas has again been hiked to Rs.1200. It was Rs. 423 in 2014! In this year of Adani’s ‘Amritkal’ Modi government has cut down the food subsidy by Rs. 90,000 crore in the budget! The budget allocation for the basic right to food schemes – anganwadi and school mid-day meal have also been cut down. Poverty, malnutrition and hunger have gripped the majority section of our people.

The unemployment is at an all-time high. According to CMIE report, unemployment among youth in the 20-24 years age group is a staggering 42%. Women are the worst victims of jobloss. Permanent jobs are vanishing. Even the government and public sector jobs are being made contractual and outsourced thus the entire governance system is being planned to be privatized. Through Agnipath scheme even the defence service is being contractorised. This will also take away the constitutional right of reservation in government jobs for dalits, tribals, OBCs and other downtrodden sections of society. Lakhs of micro, small and medium enterprises have closed, resulting in further loss of crores of jobs.

While the demand for work under MGNREGA was continuously increasing, the government has further drastically reduced allocations for it to the tune of Rs. 38,000 crore in last two years. Wages for work done to the tune of Rs 1498 crore are pending for several months in almost all the states. According to the government statistics itself, 1.47crore job seekers (around 20% of the total) were refused work. For those who are in work, the legal rights of eight-hour workday, minimum wages, social security and most important of all, the right to organise and collective bargaining are being denied. The four labour codes passed by the Modi Government are legally doing away with these rights. Under the Modi regime the employment relations are sought to be restructured in various ways to maximise profit. Contractorisation, large scale engagement of trainees and apprentices in the core production processes in both public and private sectors, keeping the huge emerging workforce of platform based workers virtually out of the purview of the labour laws etc are part of this.  

Peasants are not getting the remunerative prices. Agriculture is becoming unsustainable for small and middle peasants with increasing input costs including fertilisers, water and electricity etc. Due to lack of institutional credit, the farmers are being trapped in indebtedness. The story of the farmer who has to travel 70 kms to sell 512 kg of onion @ Rs.1 per kg to get Rs. 2 as ‘net profit’ that too in a post-dated cheque narrates the plight of Indian farmer in this ‘Amritkal’. The land, produce, the market and the value chain all are sought to be totally handed over to the corporates through various avenues. Agricultural workers and poor peasants have to migrate to cities in search of work, as the work in agriculture has been declined drastically.

The forest and land rights of adivasis are taken away to hand over the land to corporates.  Violence against women, dalits, adivasis, and minorities has reached to unprecedented levels.

All productive assets, the nation’s wealth – public sector undertakings, financial institutions, mines, defence production units, major ports, telecom towers, oil and natural gas pipelines, railways, highways, airports and airlines, electricity, steel, postal services - are being handed over to the big private corporates, domestic and foreign, through reckless privatisation. The National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP) is aimed at gifting-out our infrastructure built with public funds and sweats and bloods of public sector workers to the private corporates virtually free of cost, for making massive profits.

The unprecedented increase in suicide by daily wagers, 1,12,000 in just three years from 2019-2021 is the worst manifestation of the distress of the working people of our country. The disastrous situation in agriculture can more concretely be assessed from the fact that more than one lakh farmers have committed suicide in last 8 years. Workers and farmers of our country are being pushed towards a dead-end manifesting the breakdown of our societal structure.

This government has been extending bonanzas to the big monopoly companies, Ambani, Adani and the likes, by continuously lowering the corporate tax rates, abolishing wealth tax, declaring moratorium on payment of charges/taxes, on debt repayments etc. At the same time, it is imposing 18% tax to the people, even for withdrawing their own money from banks! The Super Rich have amassed wealth even during the pandemic. In an obscene display of inequalities in our country, the richest 1% corner more than 70% of the GDP and lowest 50% of people have less than 10%. The central government has written off loans worth a whopping Rs 10.72 lakh crore to its crony corporates in the last seven years.

The biggest ever financial fraud of independent India by Adani Group, as revealed by the Hindenburg report, has caused the public sector banks loss of thousands of crores- the SBI has lost nearly Rs.78000cr!. But till today, the Adani brothers who are under the direct protection of none other than the Prime Minister, were not even questioned by any government agency! The RSS is terming the exposure as a conspiracy against the country! Opposition party leaders, civil rights activists and journalists are being targeted and booked under false cases and jailed without bail.

RSS led majoritarian communal organisations and fringe elements are consciously propagating non issues and spreading venom and hatred among the people in the name of religion. They seek to dictate people’s lives – the dress they wear, the food they eat, people whom they can be friends with, whom they can or cannot marry. When the elections are near, they start unleashing violence and terror. BJP led state governments are into ‘buldozing’ people to create fear. Recently, two marginally poor farmers were burnt alive by the so called ‘cow vigilantes’ to create terror.

This in turn is leading to the rise in minority fundamentalism. Both these hues of communalism are being propagated to disrupt the class unity and have disastrous impact on the socio-economic lives of the people and on social harmony.

Despite all of these multi prong attacks, the workers, farmers and agricultural workers and all other sections of the people of our country have resisted this corporate communal government and its disastrous policies and also had many successful struggles during this period. The historic farmers’ struggle under the banner of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) with the active support of the trade union movement could make the Modi government take back the notorious farm laws. Maharashtra electricity workers made the state BJP government withdraw its move to handover the electricity distribution to Adani, this year. Various joint struggles including the general strike and numerous sectoral struggles of the coal, port and dock, defence, bank, insurance, postal, telecom, electricity, transport, scheme workers and other sections of workers and the struggles of the farmers and agricultural workers in different states on the issues of minimum support price, wage, land, MGNREGA work, government procurement, etc show the determination of our people to fight for their rights.

Not only the workers, peasants and agricultural workers; the youth, students, women and many other sections are today fighting for jobs, for the right to food, education, health, housing, and social justice, protection of democratic rights and the secular character of our nation. These united struggles show the potential to carry forward the anti-imperialist, anti-corporate struggle to fulfil the dreams of those who fought for our country’s independence, to realise their vision of a free India.

For developing these struggles, CITU, AIKS and AIAWU have played a crucial role in building the unity of these basic producing classes, workers, peasants and agricultural workers. The Mazdoor Kisan Sangharsh Rally held on 5th September 2018 was the first one of its kind and was a milestone in advancing the slogan of worker-peasant unity which further advanced during the historic farmers’ struggle.

In this time of fierce attack on the livelihood of the people by this corporate communal ruling nexus, it is of utmost important for us to build the counter offensive. So, taking these struggles forward, advancing the unity of the toiling classes, upholding the legacy of the anti-imperialist freedom movement, we have decided to storm the capital city on 5th April 2023, during the budget session of Parliament in a show of strength and conviction of the people of our country, on the following demands of all sections of the people.


  • Ensure Minimum wages @Rs26,000 pm and Pension @Rs10,000 to all workers including the scheme workers; No contractorisation of work; Scrap Agnipath Scheme
  • Legally ensure MSP @ C2+50%for all farm produce with guaranteed procurement
  • One time loan waiver by the central government to all poor and middle peasants and agricultural workers; pension to all of them above 60 years
  • Scrapping of four Labour Codes and Electricity Amendment Bill 2022
  • Job security and guarantee for all; Expand MGNREGA and increase workdays to 200 with minimum wages @Rs600 per day; Pay all pending wages; Enact a National Urban Employment Guarantee Act
  • Stop Privatisation of PSUs and Public Services; Scrap National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP)
  • Arrest Price Rise, Withdraw GST on food items and essentials; Reduce the central excise duty on petrol/diesel/kerosene/cooking gas substantially; Withdraw the increase in price of cooking gas forthwith
  • Universalise the Public Distribution System (PDS) and expand its scope to include 14 essential items; Ensure food and income support to all Non tax payer families
  • Stringent implementation of the Forest Rights Act (FRA); withdraw the amendments to Forest (Conservation) Act and Rules that allow the union government to permit clearance of a forest without even informing the residents.
  • Stop repression of the marginalised sections and ensure social justice
  • Ensure universal and quality Health and Education for all; Scrap New Education Policy (NEP) 2020
  • Ensure Housing to all
  • Tax the Super Rich; Enhance Corporate Tax; Introduce Wealth Tax

We call upon the workers, peasants and agricultural workers from all over the country to rise unitedly to fight for these demands and to work tirelessly to defeat the neo-liberal, communal and authoritarian regime of the BJP-RSS. We call upon all progressive, democratic and patriotic people of our country to extend support and solidarity to this action to Save the Nation and Save the People.

Come Let Us Storm Delhi on 5th April 2023!

Mazdoor Kisan Sangharsh Rally Zindabad!

CITU                        AIKS                        AIAWU

Sunday, 19 March 2023 16:16

Talking Point 9 -  On Unemployment

Though the Unemployment and Income Disparity have always been the two most horrible parameters exposing the structural problem of the system from the very beginning of the Neoliberal Regime, now, at this current juncture, they have become severely acute – blatantly depicting the crisis of the System itself. The global unemployment rate has disastrously increased by 30% in the era of neoliberal globalization with 75 million unemployed youths searching for jobs all around the world. And with prediction of unavoidable recession in coming years, even neoliberal-imperialist global agencies like  World Bank or IMF are also projecting the figure of 657 million (nearly 8% of the world population) undernourished people in 2030.

The unemployment rate in India has always hovered around 5-5.5% from 1991 until this Modi-era. During past several years, it has increased further; it averaged around 7.4% in 2019, further shot up to over 10% average in 2020 (highest after independence). Mark that the youth (15-24 years) unemployment rate terribly reached 28.96% in 2021. More strikingly the labour force participation rate (LFPR) which was more than 58% in 1991 declined to around 40% in 2021 with a grievous significant reduction by 7% in last 5 years. In November 2022, the labour force was estimated at 43.7 crore which still has not achieved the pre-Pandemic lowest, i.e. 44.2 crores of 2019. Most Devastating is the exclusion of female workforce from labour-market; during Jan-April, 2022, male LFPR was 66% while for female it is 9%; it is majorly due to the decline in agricultural work. All these alarming statistics are tips of the ice-berg – Thanks to Modi-Govt’s notorious manipulation with the Statistics!

The severity of India’s real unemployment crisis is clearly manifested through the sluggish growth of consumption expenditure- that growth is vital to the expansion of domestic demand which would trigger the demand for our production and thus expressing distress in living condition of workers, farmers and all section of toiling people. Strikingly the per capita real consumption expenditure has grown by less than 5% between 2019-20 and 2022-23, which is less than the rate of growth of the gross domestic product (GDP). It means a drastic cut down in the rate of consumption due to incapacity of purchasing power.

Instead of addressing the issues of under-consumption, the so called Amritkaal budget 2023-24 has squeezed the government expenditure on the social sectors while giving shameless tax reduction to super riches. The expenditure in social sector would help to generate employment whereas capital expenditure in infrastructural sector will only lure the gigantic capitalist firms. Conspicuously India’s infrastructural development has become entirely import based and it will further widen our current account balance deficit further and affect negatively the employment generation capacity further.

The most precarious pauperisation arising from unemployment practically manifests in hunger. India with an alarming incessant decline in per-capita food grain supply has ranked 107 out of 121 countries in the Global Hunger Index 2022, with its child wasting rate at 19.3% - being the highest in the world. Around 20 crore additional people have fallen under poverty line by the end of 2021. These figures depict the criticality of the current situation and the urgency of our tasks hereon.

To clearly understand the problem of unemployment with all its peculiarities and diversities, we have to comprehend the special characteristics of development of capitalism along with sustained and perilously stressful reproduction of petty-production in modern India. Petty production in agriculture, being the largest employing sector in India had always absorbed increasing number of work force from 1951 until 2001. From 2001, the number started decreasing in absolute terms. It was the clear expression of the growing agrarian distress.

The anti-farmer policies of successive governments, overwhelming takeover of agricultural sector by big corporate and corresponding increase in cost of input items like seeds, pesticides or fertilizers which made the agriculture an unremunerative venture have caused disastrous Agrarian Crisis.  It has resulted in the constant decay in share of employment generation through agriculture and agrarian distress with increasing precariousness in employment in all sort of petty production aggravated.

In post-colonial India, the development of capitalism has traversed a very non-linear path through primitive accumulation as well as capitalist appropriation; sometime through direct dispossession from means of production, through expropriation, sometime through coercion of petty-economy distressfully squeezing the income, through appropriation via a complex network. Now India’s employment market has become most perilously governed by the self-employed petty producers. 95% of firms in India employ fewer than 5 people. They worked as disguised wage labourers or unpaid family-labourers, exploited, virtually squeezed by the attack of big corporate and monopolies controlling the market. The introduction of ‘gig economy’-induced self-employed jobs has mystified the employer-employee relation more, further disguising the exploitation. The casualisation-contractualisation-apprenticisation of workforce in formal sector has degenerated the precarity to an unprecedented level.

The RSS like agent institutions of ruling classes are pro-active in all fora to divert the discontent of the masses, in order to cover up the blatant nakedness, increasing barbarity and perversion of the capitalist system and its structural crisis. The corporate-hindutva think-tanks are introducing and aggressively campaigning in favour of various so called populist schemes in one hand, on the other hand they are seeking to polarise the society in the name of religion, caste or ultra-nationalistic chauvinism to distract the anger of the people from the ruling classes and their policies. CITU, AIKS and AIAWU are trying to keep on forging struggle against the root cause of the miseries due to the unemployment crisis and to keep raising the slogans of sustainable alternatives within this dispensation also, which can alter the balance of class forces in the existing society. This task needs a continually developing concrete understanding of the problem in the contemporary situation.

The World Inequality Report, 2022 has published that per adult average annual income of bottom 50% population of India based on purchasing power parity is Rs. 53,610. If a household of 2 adults and 2 children is considered, then average income of bottom half household will be Rs. 8,935 per month. It is far below than the 2017’s Central Pay Commission-stipulated minimum wage, the bare minimum remuneration for subsistence, Rs 18,000, with which dearness allowances were added to neutralize the inflation. The meagerly low income of producers, self-employed, under-employed or contractual workers, and unemployed youths locked in various petty and informal production sectors is the most prominent reality today.

The huge reserve army of unemployed, vocationally educated youths with the up-to-date knowledge about the most modern technology is heinously utlised by the ruling class to further degenerate the quality of the employment of the working people. The job-losses of the running work-force further negatively diminish the employability of the new entrée in the labour-market. These two-pronged attacks devastatingly affect the quality of lives of working class, both employed or those in the queue for jobs.  We can certainly claim that a material ground has emerged when India’s workers peasants need to fight united for ensuring right to employment, statutory wage and need-based income for a decent life. 

What should be the righteous possible role of the state in this grave situation? The Global Inequality Report, 2022 showed that the progressive income tax rate in mid of 1970s, in India was more than 95% which has gradually come down to 25.17% today; although the beneficiary corporate class has extracted much bigger accumulation of wealth compared to actual real value-generation on their account during the same period.  In 2021, the direct corporation income tax received was only 7.19 lakh crores. To ensure Rs. 21,000 minimum income to bottom half households, 28.80 lakh crores will be needed and it can be raised through taxing the corporate at a rate similar to 1970s. The direct income support schemes hitherto existing or proposed are not only pity insufficient but also came up to snatch away the present free and subsidised service schemes like PDS, universal health care, mid-day meal or fuel, electricity and fertiliser subsidies.

Article 21 of the Constitution of India provides, “No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.” While elaborating the Article, the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India once explained : “The right to live includes the right to live with human dignity and all that goes along with it, viz., the bare necessities of life such as adequate nutrition, clothing and shelter over the head and facilities for reading writing and expressing oneself in diverse forms, freely moving about and mixing and mingling with fellow human beings and must include the right to basic necessities the basic necessities of life and also the right to carry on functions and activities as constitute the bare minimum expression of human self.”

After 75 years of our independence, the workers, underemployed, unemployed, self-employed youths, the petty producers and the peasants are now in a situation to forge a war, together, for their constitutional Right to Life with dignity and assurance. together, for their constitutional Right to Life with dignity and assurance. The slogans must echo together: Tax the rich, guarantee the minimum income in parity to the statutory minimum wages for every household of India. Ensure minimum wages, ensure MSPs, advance the PDS, regulate the market prices and ensure the right to work. These struggles will build-up the organic basis of alliance of workers-peasants-petty producers-unemployed youths to change the class balance in modern India in favour of toiling masses; unite and fight for Right to Life.

CITU-AIKS-AIAWU call upon all sections of workers, peasants, self-employed, under-employed and employed in all other precarious forms to unleash a valiant movement in demand to make Right to Decent Work and Decent Life as fundamental rights through appropriate amendment in the Constitution. March to Mazdoor-Kisan-Sangharsh Rally to demand to the governments at Centre and States to formulate policies to generate decent permanent employment, fill-up the vacant posts in all public sectors, regularize the non-permanent work-force, expand the Guarantee of Work in Urban areas with 300 days allotment, ensure Rs. 5000 unemployment allowances and ensure minimum support income for all section of toiling masses.

This is a Battle of Working Class and Peasantry – to prepare the Reserve Army of Unemployed to March Together – Convert the Crisis into Consensus for Social Change.

Unite and Fight for the Right to Decent Work to ensure Constitutional Right to Life!

Come and join the Mazdoor-Kisan-Sangharsh Rally en masse!

Sunday, 19 March 2023 16:15

Talking Point 8 - On Health

Health is our Right. But in India it is not recognized as a fundamental right in the Indian Constitution. Most provisions related to health are in Part-IV –i.e., in the Directive Principles of State Policies that is not obligatory on the part of state to implement. In 1990s India had “liberalized” its economy which meant opening it to international markets, leading to mass-scale privatization of public services and goods. Moreover, it advocated state withdrawal from sphere of public services like health. Accordingly they had directed the third world governments to reorient public health spending for selective health programme for targeted populations against the aims of universal health care for its all citizen. Thus bulk of health care were left the mercy of market- private

  • That is why India continues to have one of the highest out of pocket expenditure on health. Although it fell from 64 per cent in 2013-14, it stands at 48.2 percent in 2018-19. There is also a lot of inter-state disparity. In Uttar Pradesh the share of out-of-pocket expenditure stands at 71 percent. High out of pocket expenditure on health has direct links with deepening poverty as well as impoverishing large sections. This is due to the neoliberal policy of the state abdicating its responsibility to provide health for all
  • Continuously sliding budgetary allocation for Health. Last year’s health budget saw a decline by 7 percent in real terms, while this year the real decline was of 2 percent as compared to the budget estimates of last year. Share of health in total budget this year has declined from 2.26 percent to 2.06 percent as compared to last year.
  • The Revised Estimates of Budgetary allocations for 2022-23, show that health spending stand at a pitiable 0.3 percent of the GDP. This kind of budgetary cuts in the aftermath of a devastatingCovid-19 pandemic amounts to a criminal act against the working people of the country.
  • There have been deliberate attempts to weaken the public health system by reducing the budgetary allocations and thereby pushing people towards private healthcare. For instance, the National Health Mission (NHM), which is the largest public-health programme and includes the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) and National Urban Health Mission (NUHM), with a focus to support poor and marginalized sections, has been flushed out of funds. In real terms the budget for the programme has been reduced by Rs 1438 crores between 2022-23 and this year. The Ayushman Bharat – Health and Wellness Centres which had been announced with much fanfare last year, found no mention in this year’s budget.
  • The thrust of this government has been on health insurance, such as the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY), which in reality is diverting public funds to the private sector. 75 percent of the insurance claims went to the private sector under the scheme. The scheme failed miserably to provide any relief and support to the most vulnerable and poor sections during the Covid-19 pandemic. But still the government has increased allocations towards the scheme in this year’s budget, despite a significant underspending of almost half of allocations in the last year. Reports have shown that the more complicated diseases are not treated by the private sector and are sent back to the public health system. The scheme has failed to serve the poorer and marginalized sections that it was intended towards.
  • There has been a constant demand from public health activists to absorb all publicly funded health insurance schemes into an expanded public health system publicly financed through general taxation. This program should include a comprehensive system for healthcare protection of unorganized and organized sector workers, linked to the rejuvenation of the Employees State Insurance Scheme (ESIS).
  • In the current neo-liberal eco-system, private health insurance companies are getting entrenched. They have deep rooted in the healthcare sector. They have been advocating to get rid of government guaranteed health schemes. Accordingly, the corporate servile Modi regime has been doing everything to dismantle ESI so as to fill the coffers of the private health insurance merchants at the cost of workers’ lives.
  • When shamefully India ranks 107th in the Global Hunger Index, among 121 countries of the world, with 19.5 percent and 35.5 percent of its children below 5 years wasted and stunted respectively, the central budgetary allocations under SAKSHAM and POSHAN 2.0 schemes have seen a decline by 4.3 percent in real terms. These two schemes cover the essential child-nutrition- ICDS and Anganwadi programmes. No scope for increasing the pay of essential ASHA and Anganwadi workers, who are the backbone of child and maternal healthcare and nutrition programmes, have been kept in the budget.
  • Similarly, the Pradhan Mantri Matri Vandana Yojana which provides maternal nutrition supplements, has seen budgetary slash. Overall, the spending on health and nutrition focused welfare schemes have in recent years seen spending less than 2014-15 levels.
  • The government’s tall claims of becoming Atmanirbhar or self-reliant in healthcare falls apart against the actual spending on making healthcare a universal right. The Covid-19 experience had shown the iniquitous nature of India’s public health infrastructure and services, and continues to be so.

The COVID-19 pandemic exposed a severe lack of healthcare infrastructure across the world. India has also fared poorly on health infrastructure indices for many years-the Human Development Report 2020 shows a national ratio of only five beds per 10,000 people. This inadequacy was further exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic resulting in medical infrastructure being placed under extreme stress. 

Another pressing problems in India remains a severe shortage of trained manpower in the medical stream, this includes doctors, nurses, paramedics and primary healthcare workers. The situation remains worrisome in rural areas, where almost 66 per cent of India’s population resides.

The doctor-to-patient ratio remains abysmally low, which is merely 0.7 doctors per 1,000 people. This is compared to the World Health Organisation (WHO) average of 2.5 doctors per 1,000 people. Improving this situation needs a protracted struggle join struggle of all working people.

Come and Join 5th April Mazdoor-Kisan Sangharsh Rally En Masse!

Sunday, 19 March 2023 16:14

Talking Point 6 - Food Security


Hunger and starvation deaths loom large as food security comes under severe threat!

India is the country with the largest number of people facing chronic hunger. According to Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), 22.4 crore people in India suffered from chronic hunger in 2019-21. No other country in the world has such a large number of people facing hunger. As per FAO estimates, about 56 crore people, i.e. 40.6% of the population in India suffered from moderate to severe food insecurity in 2019-21. The proportion of the population that is severely food insecure in the country has risen from 20.3% in 2018-20 to 22.3% in 2019-21. The corresponding proportion for the world was about 10.7% in 2019-21.

India alone accounts for 37% of the world’s total severely food-insecure population.

When Modi came to power in 2014, India was at 56th rank in the Global Hunger Index. The latest Global Hunger Index ranks India at 107th out of 121 countries. The much hyped Modi growth story in the last eight years is actually the growth of hunger, starvation and crony capitalism.

According to the National Food Security Act (NFSA), three fourths of the rural and half of urban population counted in the last census should be covered by the public distribution system (PDS). However, since the last census is more than 11 years old, and the census for 2021 has been delayed, the coverage of PDS has fallen way below the mandated 66 per cent. If one goes by the official population projections, over 10 crore people in the country are excluded from the coverage. Second, since 2014, over 4.4 crore ration cards have been cancelled. This has been done by linking ration cards with the Aadhaar in the name of weeding out duplicate cards.

About 70 per cent of the cards have been cancelled in states ruled by the BJP and its allies, suggesting that the cancellation of original cards and issuing of new cards may have been done with the political motive of creating a class of beneficiaries beholden to the current ruling dispensation.

While the original identification of beneficiaries of NFSA was done through a national socio-economic census, cancellation of cards and inclusion of other households in lieu of them have been done on an ad-hoc basis, without any specified criteria or procedure.

As per the data provided by the government of India, 81.5 crore people were covered by the subsidised food scheme of 5 kg grains per head at Rs.2 /kg for rice and Rs.3/kg for wheat under NFSA.

During the Covid pandemic, the government increased free allocation of 5 kg grain per head to households in addition to the prevailing scheme. Millions of workers lost jobs due to the lockdown and economic crisis. Such households were pushed into food insecurity but none of them were covered under NFSA as the government refused to universalise the public distribution system.

The recent decision to merge PMGKAY with NFSA is in reality a decision to reduce the entitlement of NFSA beneficiaries back to 5 kg of grain per person per month.

On the basis of a Cabinet decision, the Union Government had stopped the subsidised grain since 1st January 2023 and announced the free ration of 5 kg per person to continue for another one year.

As per the scientific norms accepted by the Indian Labour Conference, bare minimum of 2700 k calorie is required for sustaining the life of a person. Thus, 400 gm of rice and 100 gm of dal is essential per day for consumption. It necessitates 12 kg of rice and 3 kg of dal per person for a month. For a family of five-person 60 kg of rice and 15 kg of dal is required.

The decision of the Narendra Modi government to stop subsidising grain has affected poor families by forcing them to depend on the open market to purchase the remaining 35 kg of rice and 15 kg of dal by paying minimum Rs. 36 and Rs. 80 per kg respectively. This will cost these families Rs.1260 for rice and Rs.1200 for dal, i.e., Rs.2460/ per month.

In the context of this huge cut in food subsidy, the Union Budget 2023-24 has curtailed Rs.90000/crore from the allocation compared to the last year Budget. This is a brutal attack on the poor people of the country.

Neo-liberal policies of the Union Government deny minimum wage to workers and minimum support price to farmers pauperising them and pushing them into absolute poverty.

By negating the right to food security, the policies of the Modi led BJP government are leading towards a situation where starvation deaths loom large. The peasants, agricultural workers and the workers who produce the wealth of this country are thus forced towards starvation and deprivation while the Super Rich and the big corporates including foreign monopoly companies are provided lakhs of crores of rupees worth tax concessions and reliefs.

The Mazdoor Kisan Sangharsh Rally on 5th April 2023 is to warn the Modi led BJP government that these policies are not acceptable to the peasants, agricultural workers and workers of this country. It is the beginning of a struggle for pro worker, pro peasant and pro people alternative policies.

Come, Let us join en masse!

MNREGA has proved its worth in providing employment in rural India even during the years of economic slowdown as well as pandemic lockdown. It has helped the poorest and most oppressed sections of the rural masses to survive, while at the same time preventing general wages of the agricultural workers and rural labour from declining. The Economic Survey of India 2023-23 also credited MNREGA for having positive impact on the income per household, agricultural productivity and production related expenditure.

But BJP Government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi who are committed to implement neoliberal economic policies are not acknowledging these facts. The advocates of neoliberal economic policies are not only principally against MNREGA and but consider schemes like MNREGA an obstacle in the capitalist mode of development of country. Therefore, while praising MNREGA in Economic Survey a day earlier, the Central Government inflicted a huge cut to the budgetary allocation for MNREGA in the union budget for 2023-24. This year allocation for MNREGA is only Rs 60,000 crore, while the revised estimate for 2023 was Rs 89,400 crore, up from the budget estimate of Rs 73,000 crore. Normally more than 20% of the MGNREGA budget goes towards clearing the arrears of the previous years. According to the estimates MGNREGA needs a minimum budget of Rs. 2.72 lakh crore to provide 100 days work.

During the BJP regime the allocation for MNREGA as percentage of total budgetary expenditure is decreasing in the recent years. The percentage for MNREGA of the total budget was higher in 2009 at 3.4% which came down to only 1.3% during current budget. The result of this unscientific allocation is that every year the allocated budget is exhausted in the states by the month of October and November which leads to crises of employment. This limitation is against the basic nature of MNREGA. The demand driven MNREGA is being converted into a simple welfare scheme with targeted beneficiary according to the allocated funds.

This also leads to less number of working days in a year. The mandate of MNREGA is to provide minimum 100 days of work in a calendar year to any house hold applying for work. There is also a provision to increase the working days in situation of drought and other hardships. But the ground reality is very different and there are very few families which are getting 100 days of work. Despite of higher demand for work the average working days generated for the year 2021-2022 was only 49.7 days, which is less than half of the guaranteed 100 days of work under the Act. This year the average working days per house hold is only 42 and the 100 days of work was provided to only 10.488 lakh families which is 0.61 percent of the total job cards and 1 percent of active job cards.

One of the aspects which require immediate attention is MNREGA wages which needs to be increased. The increase in wages of MNREGA for financial year 2022-23 was very meagre. Out of 34 states and Union Territories, the increase in 24 states was less than 5 per cent. In absolute terms, wages have been increased in the range of Rs. 4 to Rs 21 per day. It is clear that the BJP led Modi government is totally apathetic to the plight of rural masses who are finding it difficult to cope with the back breaking hike in the cost of essential commodities.  18 States are yet to receive Rs.4,700 crore in MGNREGS wages from the union government.

There is an effort to artificially reduce the demand of work under MNREGA by discouraging working through various means. Ministry of Rural Development has taken various measures in the recent times which not only discourage the workers but is also against the basic nature of MNREGA. 

Ministry of Rural Development has made it mandatory to mark attendance through National Mobile Monitoring System app from 1st January 2023. In an internal review meeting of Rural Development Ministry questions were raised about various technical problems, such as the malfunctioning of server developed for attendance, incompatibility of phones of mates’ mobiles to the app and internet access etc. But the Government ignored these concerns and went ahead with its decision. However according to the information of Ministry itself, despite making it mandatory, more than 40% of panchayats have not reported online attendance. Only 158390 panchayats have reported online attendance out of total 269637. A total of 383421 mates have been registered on the NMMS but so far only 99,687 registered devices have been used to record the attendance, which is merely 25.9%. We know that work under MNREGA is piece work, where worker has to accomplish a required piece of work. Accordingly, the technical engineer assesses the work and decides the wage. When the work is piece work then what is the relevance to have twice-a-day attendance.

Recently the Government has limited simultaneous work in a gram panchayat to 20 at a given point of time. Earlier no such restriction was there. It would be difficult to assure 100 working days for a family with this limit. Some state governments have opposed this decision. This condition was relaxed for state of Kerala after protest from state Government. Instead of existing cap of 20 simultaneous works per gram panchayat, the state can have up to 50.

Adding one more blow to workers, on 30January 2023, the Ministry of Rural Development decided that an Aadhaar-Based Payment System (ABPS) will be used for all payments to MGNREGA workers from 1 February 2023. In its notification, the Ministry directed all UT/states to make payments to workers using no other payment mode but ABPS. This will create huge problems for workers as presently only 44% of workers are eligible for payment under ABPS. This means 56% of MNREGA workers will be suffering.

The Ministry has asked all states and union territories for the division of wage lists under the MNREGA into different caste categories – Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and others. It resulted in different categories of workers, separate fund transfer orders, and a separate labour budget which can be delayed sectionally at will. These modalities have created new complications in the payment system which resulted in further delays in the payment of wages. Apart from other concerns, it is very important to understand that this decision is basically against the basic principle of MGNREGA. As stated above MNREGA is a universalised and demand driven programme. Linking caste categorisation with allocations undermines the basis of the law which is also leading to segregation of beneficiaries on the caste basis which is against the proper and just operation of law itself. The social impact is already being seen in rural areas, where groups of workers are getting work on the basis of castes leading to MNREGA work sites according to the caste composition. This will break the unity of the working class and adversely affects struggle for proper implementation of MNREGA.

Recently the Minister of Rural development has given a statement that the wages share under MNREGA which are paid by the Central Government should also be shared by the state government in the ratio of 60:40 (Centre: State). This is very dangerous and reflects the future planning of BJP. Principally BJP and its corporates lobby are not in favour of continuing MNREGA. Prime Minister has admitted his perception about MNREGA in the Parliament where he expressed how he wanted to continue MNREGA only as a live monument of UPA’s failure. This also shows the perspective of BJP about the development of rural India.

MNREGA has shown its importance in poverty elevation and has provided work to the deprived sections and women. The participation of workers from Scheduled Castes and Tribes in MNREGA is more than their general percentage of population. Out of total workers women were 54.78% in the year 2019-20, 53.19% in 2020-21, 54.67% in 2021-22 and almost 56% in 2022-23. The regressive measures implemented by BJP led Central Government are weakening the MNREGA. This will adversely affect the lives of rural people who are already reeling under the condition of unemployment.

It is high time to extend MNREGA into urban areas but the BJP-led Central Government which is busy spreading communal hatred on one hand and assisting the corporates in looting the resources of the country has different priorities. After continuous struggle the Tamil Nadu state government has launched an urban employment scheme but without adequate funds. A similar programme has also been started in Rajasthan.

CITU, AIKS and AIAWU representing the workers, peasants and agricultural workers of this country, have been demanding the government to increase the number of work days under MGNREGA to – days, ensure work to all individuals demanding work under the scheme and payment of Rs 600 per day as wage. They have also been demanding the government to formulate an urban job guarantee Act. But the Modi led BJP government, which does not think twice to extend tax reliefs and exemptions worth lakhs of crores of rupees every year to the big corporates is not willing to allot adequate funds to the job guarantee scheme. This clearly proves that this Modi led BJP government works for the benefit of the Super Rich and the corporates, not for the poor.

The Mazdoor Kisan Sangharsh Rally on 5th April 2023 in the national capital is to raise our voice against the anti poor neoliberal policies and communal divisive forces that divide people and disrupt their unity.

Come on, let us join en masse!

Modi Budget in Amrit Kaal:

Poison for the Common People! Amrit for the Corporates!

Arise in Anger!

Join the Mazdoor Kisan Sangharsh Rally on 5th April 2023!

The budget 2023-24 was the last full budget for the Modi led BJP government as Parliament elections are due in the first half of 2024. Being a pre election budget, people expected that at least in this budget some measures would be announced that would provide relief; that their burning issues like unemployment, price rise etc would be addressed. Such impression was fuelled by some sections in the media. But their expectations were belied. The budget 2023-24 proved to be yet another exercise by this Modi government to continue its policies of heaping burdens on the people and providing concessions to the big corporates, the Super Rich and its cronies, another move to forward its neoliberal agenda.

The deteriorating living conditions of workers, farmers, agricultural workers and all sections of toiling people is reflected in the sluggish growth in the consumption expenditure, which, at less than 5%, was less than the rate of growth of GDP between 2019 -20 and 2022-23. It means that people are cutting down their consumption because they have no purchasing power. Prices are shooting up. Thus there is a fall in real wages. Wages are not keeping pace. Incomes of small and medium farmers are also falling. Jobs are being lost. Permanent employment is becoming scarcer by the day. Common people are compelled to spend more on private health care and private education by incurring huge debt at high rates of interests, pushing them into indebtedness. Unable to bear all these burdens, not only the peasants but also agricultural workers and daily labourers are committing suicide. 1.12 lakh daily wage earners, 66,912 housewives, 53,661 self-employed and 43,420 salaried persons, 43,385 unemployed youths, 31,839 engaged in the farming sector such as cultivators and agricultural labourers committed suicide in three years. The suicide rate of daily wage labourers has increased steeply from 2019.

The Modi government turned a blind eye to all the problems of the common people. The budget does not address the issues of unemployment, malnutrition, falling living standards for large sections of the people. It has squeezed government expenditure on social sectors and provided tax reduction to the Super Rich. It has diverted public money to build and transfer infrastructural assets to its private corporate cronies.  

Food security: The number of hungry in our country increased from 19 crores to 35 crores since the pandemic began up to November 2022. One would expect that the budget would strengthen the public distribution system. But, this budget has the drastically cut down subsidy to FCI by 36%. The subsidy for decentralised procurement under National Food Security Act has been reduced by 17%. The allocation for mid-day meal (PM-POSHAN) has been cut down by 9.4%; that for micro-food processing enterprises by 29% and nutrient based subsidy has been cut down by 38% - all from revised estimate of FY 22. The gross subsidy on food has been slashed down from Rs 2,87,194 crore to Rs 1,97,350 crore, i.e. by 31%. At the same time, the effective tax rate on the Super Rich has been lowered from 42.7% to 39%.

Public health and education: The pandemic exposed the pathetic condition of public health especially in rural India. Instead of enhancing, this Modi government budget has reduced the allocation in Ayushman Bharat scheme by sharp 34% and in National Health Mission by 1% from last year’s estimated budget. Amidst the surge of massive drop-out from school and digital divide in education, the allocation in education empowerment scheme is drastically cut down by 33% from last year’s estimates; the allocation to National Education Mission is cut down by 2%. There is no increase for ICDS schemes and the anganwadi workers and helpers. There is massive 46% reduction in Central Sector Schemes/ Projects, 13% slash down in research & development, 18% education in environment protection.  Clearly, this Modi led BJP government wants to ransack the public health and education system, depriving the poor of the basic right to universal and free health and education.

Employment: While the economic survey lauds the MGNREGA scheme as not only employment generator, but as a rapid asset creator for national economy, the allocation to MGNREGA has been cut down by 33% from last year’s revised estimates. The rural employment budget has been slashed down from Rs 1,53,525 crore to 1,01,475 crore, by 34%. Thus, the budget has blatantly neglected employment generation, a vital issue for the common people. Allotment to National Livelihood Mission has been curtailed. The allocation for highly boasted Atmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana has been reduced by 65%. This budget has reduced the investment in PSU by 11%. 

There is nothing about employment creation in the informal sector, about GST relief and release of large outstanding payments for MSMEs. There is nothing about raw material price control and no plan for demand creation.

Agriculture: The economic survey has repeatedly asserted that agriculture and allied activities have kept the trajectory of Indian economy to some extent during the global crisis. But, the gross allocation in agriculture has been reduced by 7%, the allocation in PM-KISAN has been cut down by 11.76%, to Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana by 31%, to Krishi Sinchai Yojana by 17% and to Krishionnati Yojana by 2% from last year’s budgeted estimate. Fertilizer subsidy has been slashed down by 22%, urea subsidy by 15% from last year’s revised estimates. The budgeted allocation for crop insurance scheme is cut by 12% from last year’s estimate. The Green Revolution, PMM-MIS (crop price support scheme) and PM-AASHA (for ensuring MSP) have been wiped out.

Housing and social welfare: The government claims of a huge increase in allocation to the much tomtomed housing scheme. But the reality is that the allocation to the scheme, which was Rs 90020 crore in FY 21, has been drastically cut down to Rs 77130 in FY 22. This has now been marginally increased to Rs 79 590 crore but is still much lower.

Funds for Umbrella Programme for Development of Minorities have been cut by 66%. The fund for pension has been slashed down by 4.2%. The allocation for maternity benefit scheme Matru Vandana Yojana has been cut down by Rs 40.15 crore. The gender budget is only 4.9% of the total expenditure; SC budget is mere 3.5%, ST welfare allocation is only 2.7%. Most devastatingly the petroleum subsidy has been reduced by massive 75%, the LPG subsidy by 61%! The attack is atrocious, brutal and planned to turn Indian people into slave of Super Rich.

Thus, the first budget in the so called Amrit Kaal, which is also the last full budget of this government, has turned out to venomous for the people. Probably the BJP-RSS want to rely more on their communal divisive agenda.

The workers, peasants, agricultural workers, and all other sections of the toiling and progressive people of our country cannot allow this attitude of imposing burdens on the toiling people and allowing huge concessions to the big corporates. They cannot allow the continuation of the disastrous neoliberal policies that have been ruining the livelihoods of the toiling people, the country’s self reliance and sovereignty. They have to be vigilant, protect and strengthen their unity to fight and defeat these neoliberal policies and the Modi government that is committed to neoliberalism.

The 5th April 2023 ‘Mazdoor Kisan Sangharsh Rally’ called by CITU, AIKS and AIAWU, three major organisations representing the workers, peasants and agricultural workers, who produce the wealth of our country is to fight and defeat these disastrous policies reflected in the budget and for alternative pro worker, pro peasant and pro people policies. It is to save our country and save our people from the ruinous corporate communal nexus

Come on, let us join en masse!

Sunday, 19 March 2023 16:09

Talking Point 3 - Scrap the Labour Codes


One of the chief defining characters of the present political dispensation’s economic governance, inter alia, is its intransient push for rolling-out the labour reforms in India. The BJP government, immediately after assuming power at the Centre, embarked upon labour law codifications exercise, a euphemism for corporate unbridled process of profit maximisation at the cost of labour, so as to overhaul the entire gamut of capital-labour relations to the tune of neo-liberal regime. It is well acknowledged that super-profiteering by capital is dependent on the flexibility that exists within labour relations. Such flexibility has been made more ruthless by the so called labour reforms. The origin of the neo-liberal assault on labour rights can be seen in the recommendations of the second national labour commission (2002) during the NDA’s first spell under Vajpayee.

The BJP government, immediately after assuming power for the second time under Modi in May 2019, with absolute majority in the Lok Sabha, started to legalise more aggressively all their attacks on whatever labour rights that exist in our labour laws. While the Code on wages was passed in Parliament in 2019, the other three codes were passed in September 2020 without any debate when the entire opposition was absent as it boycotted Parliament over the notorious farm Bills.  

The overhauling of the 29 existing labour laws into four labour codes – the Code on Wages, the Industrial Relations Code, the Code on Social Security and the Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code- is aimed at substantially eliminating all their protective components in terms of rights, wages, social security, health and safety and welfare benefits. They are part of the neoliberal regime that seeks to change the entire gamut of capital labour relations and push out even major sections of workers in the organised sector, not to speak of the unorganised sector workers, from coverage by most labour laws. It is part of the neoliberal regime.

The Code on Wages, 2019;

The Code on Wages subsumes four wages/ bonus related Acts that existed till then. But in reality, what it does is selectively incorporate some of the provisions while diluting or removing many to the advantage of the employers. It does not incorporate the basis for fixing minimum wage, recommended by the 15th Indian Labour Conference (ILC), way back in 1957 and reinforced by the Supreme Court in its judgment in the Raptakos and Brett case in 1992. This formula was reiterated again and again in the 44th ILC (2012), the 45th ILC (2013) and the 46th ILC (2015), the last being the only ILC held under the Modi regime. The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Labour also recommended incorporating this unanimous recommendation of the ILCs.

After the Bill was passed in Parliament, the Draft Rules were notified in November 2019, seeking comments. The formula for fixing minimum wage was included in the Draft Rules. The trade unions gave their detailed comments on that. But, strangely, instead of finalising and notifying the Rules, the BJP government has again notified the Rules in July 2020. Till today, the government has not notified the final Rules. Is the inordinate delay in notifying the Wage Code Rules due to the pressure of the employers, to remove even the reference to the formula from the Rules? The workers are genuinely apprehensive of the BJP government’s intentions, given its history of going to any extent to serve its corporate masters.

The fixation of minimum wage, calculation of bonus and their prompt payments without any delay/denial along with ensuring the payments of wages/remunerations and other payments like overtime allowances/incentives and other payments incidental to wages are supposed to be the main focus of this Code. But, everything has been diluted here.

The Occupational Safety, Health and working Conditions Code, 2020

It seeks to amalgamate and subsume thirteen enactments related to factories, mines, dock workers, building and other construction workers, plantation workers, contract labour, inter-state migrant workers, working journalists and other news paper employees, motor transport workers, sales promotion employees, beedi and cigar workers, cine workers and cinema theatre workers.

All basic worker-related aspects of the 13 laws,are going to be repealed by the OSHWC, pertaining to working conditions, principal employers’ obligations in case of contract work, clear-cut definition of wage, basic components and details of occupational safety and health as available in the parent laws, tripartite implementation mechanism etc and above all enforcement - everything has been diluted and/or grossly altered only and only to the advantage of their masters -the capitalists - in their mad drive to ensure ‘ease of doing business’. Through this enactment, violation and loot on workers by the employers are being sought to be legitimised.

One thing needs to be noted in particular. The sector specific Acts, which have been repealed dealt with working conditions, employment relations, safety and other related matters taking into account the sector specific work patterns, processes,  problems and issues. This was the case in Acts related to construction, beedi and cigar, mines, and docks workers, working journalists, sales promotion employees, motor transport workers etc. This ensured some protection to the concerned workers. Repealing all these, the OSH Code seeks to define working conditions of all in the same ‘one model fits all’ manner. As a result, most of the workers in the unorganised sector, as in beedi and cigar, construction, motor transport, and major sections of working journalists, migrant workers, contract workers will be the worst to suffer as their working conditions will be subject to arbitrary interpretation by the employers with a helping hand from the ‘appropriate government’.

The Industrial Relations Code, 2020:

The Industrial Disputes (ID) Act deals with the basic rights of the workers to organise themselves in trade unions, collectively agitate and act against exploitation and intrusions on their basic rights and also the right to grievance-redressal. All these basic rights are sought to be totally curbed in the IR Code. Gross changes are sought to be made in the character of the employment relations by introducing temporary and fragile work relations through fixed term employment, contract work etc in the name of flexibility. Once this is achieved, employers and their representative governments need not bother at all, even if some rights and facilities for the workers remain on paper. They can rest assured that these will remain only on paper so long as workers in fragile and precarious employment relations devoid of the right to organise, the right to collectively bargain and act will be in no position to get them implemented. With the Damocles’ sword of losing jobs and income hanging above their heads, the employers feel reassured that workers will not dare to form unions and fight for the implementation of these rights. Without such rights and initiative from the workers and a supportive government and pliant administration on their side, they feel they will be under no threat or challenge to their unbridled exploitation of workers. 

It legally arms the capitalist class with comprehensive instruments to suppress the workers’ right to strike, drastically curb workers’ rights to fight for their demands, make it almost impossible for them to get organised into trade unions. It is nothing but a direct affront on the workers’ right to freedom of association and collective bargaining – provided by the core Conventions 87 and 98 of the International Labour Organisation (ILO). It is nothing but a blatant attempt by this government to ensure a “trade union-free work place” for its corporate masters. In addition, the employers’ liberty to hire and fire has been well assured in the Code. That is the core element of neo-liberal trajectory that BJP government sincerely adopted and implemented through this piece legislation.

The Code on Social Security, 2020:

In fact, in the Code on social security, existing legally prevalent social security rights and provisions for a large sections of workers in the industries like beedi, iron ore mines, mica mines, limestone and dolomite mines are thrown to total uncertainty, practically to oblivion by the government’s own act of abolishing all the related provisions of cess collection. Nothing has been proposed to them in this code. The unorganised workers are left in lurch without any government commitment for fund allocation so as to address the minimum social security measures.

Thus the Code on Social Security, under the deceptive claim of rationalising the existing social security schemes including EPF and ESI, has actually laid the foundation of the process of dismantling this time tested social security schemes by open endedly empowering the central government to reduce the rate of contribution, change the existing EPF scheme (obviously to benefit the employers’ class), exempt any establishment from the EPF schemes and provisions and finally allowing any establishment to exit from the EPF obligations altogether. The Code created the enabling arrangements for self-elimination by empowering the government to demolish the EPF scheme altogether at appropriate time as their corporate masters desire.

On gratuity, the unanimous demands of the entire trade union movement are being continuously ignored by the government and the same is reflected in this Code also. Gratuity is a retirement benefit after long years of service and there should not be any restriction /ceiling either on entitlement, eligibility and calculation. But that just demand is not taken into consideration in the Code.

Labour Codes betrayed the Scheme Workers.

All persons employed in any trade or industry is eligible to register trade unions including unorganized workers. This requirement for registration, ostensibly, similar to that was under the Trade Unions Act, 1926. But the more than one crore-strong militant Schemes workers like Anganwadi workers are left out of this definition in the Industrial Relations Code which subsumed the Trade Unions Act, though they all were recognized as ‘workers’ in the 43rd Indian Labour Conference. Therefore, they do not fall under the ambit of Industrial Relations Code leave alone the rest of three codes.

Thus 29 existing labour laws have been repealed and replaced by these four labour codes. With all their limitations and shortcomings, all these 29 Acts were intended to regulate the workplace from unhindered exploitation by the employers and to provide some rights and benefits to the workers. Once the labour ministry of central government finally notify the Rules, these 29 labour laws would no more exist.

The entire codification exercise is full of stipulations like “as may be specified / as may be prescribed/ may be framed”, in respect of almost all substantive provisions of the Codes for any change to be made in future in the provisions of working hours, safety and health and criteria/norms for minimum wage, entitlement, contributions and benefits and also on the aspects remaining undefined in these Codes. Any future change in many substantive provisions of the Act can be made through executive decision by-passing Parliament and also by-passing all the stakeholders, the workers and their unions in particular.

All these Codes and enactments are thus aimed at institutionalising virtual conditions of slavery on the workers and to facilitate the project of the ruling class and their pet government to eliminate almost all statutory entitlements of working people for defined working conditions, minimum wage, working hours and social security along with right to organise, right to collective bargaining and right to strike etc both directly and circumstantially.  Along with these, the very provisions of inspection, which is the lifeline of implementation of the labour laws, have been practically done away with.

That is why the entire trade union movement is strongly opposing these labour codes and demanding scrapping of these. The organisations of the peasants and agricultural workers, and all sections of progressive people are extending their support to this demand. This is one of the major demands of the Mazdoor Kisan Sangharsh Rally on 5th April 2023.

Let us all, from every village and every workplace join the Mazdoor Kisan Sangharsh Rally and intensify our united struggles against the labour codes and force the Modi government to reverse its anti worker anti people neoliberal policy regime. As the peasants, with the support of the workers have done in the case of the farm laws.


The current struggles of the people of various sections of India against notorious attempts of privatization of electricity might be the most prominent embodiment of Mazdoor-Kisans’ slogan of resistance and defiance. The latest instance is obviously the valiant victory of united struggle of Maharashtra electricity workers and people against the criminal intrusion of Adani in most revenue generating distribution areas.

In November 2021, finally after prolong head-on battle with the corporate-Modi government duo, the historic Kisan struggle compelled the government to bow down and issue written declaration not to go for Electricity (Amendment) Bill along with repealing of three draconian firm laws. But the notorious deceptive government broke its promise under the dictate of its corporate masters by re-introducing the Electricity (Amendment) Bill in 2022. And certainly after that, the focus of all anti-privatisation struggles of electricity sector has now boiled down to the struggle against this autocratic deceiving move of the Central Govt. In clear words, the clear objectives of this Bill are to privatise electricity distribution; to turn already financially stressed state distribution companies sick to gift-over at throw away price to corporate; and to destroy huge public service infrastructure of state DISCOMs built since independence with public money through blood and sweat of the electricity employees. Notoriously disintegrating the generation and transmission utilities, the final prey of private monopoly capital is the state distribution sector.

What was the post Independence power policy of our country? In independent India, State Electricity Boards (SEBs) were constituted for rapid electrification of the country, under the Electricity (Supply) Act, 1948. Their major objective was extending electricity to the entire country, including village electrification, as an essential service for the socio economic development of the country. They were given the task of pump set electrification for irrigation of agricultural fields in the villages, to enhance food production. Around 2 crore pump sets were energised by the SEBs. Because of these efforts, India became a food surplus country from a food-deficit nation. Through seven decades of their service to the country, SEBs and public sector electricity distribution companies (DISCOMS)were able to electrify 6 lakh villages and 25 crore households.

During early days of independence, expansion of electricity sector was conceived as a project of serviceprovider to the entire economy and society, not with profit orientation; it was conceived to be for  promoting industrialisation, expanding MSME segment of the industrial and service economy as largest employment generator outside agriculture, expanding agriculture, horizontally in particular to achieve self-reliance in food production and other areas. Instead of earning profit themselves, the electricity sector was supposed to promote profit-making and employment generating industrial, service and agricultural economy on the one hand and ensure electricity services to every household up to the remotest corner of the country on the other. The onset of neoliberal policy regime acted in sabotaging this national developmental perspective and the corporate-communal-nexus  in governance jumped with fangs and claws finally to destroy the  state-run electricity  distribution network to impose unbearable burden on people and the economy including agriculture only to benefit their handful masters among private corporate, both foreign and domestic.    

Up to late ’80s, the Power-policy in India was focused around developing indigenous and self-reliant electricity expansion programme. With around 10% average annual growth in installed generating capacity and consumption, the average electricity price in the country remained one of the lowest in the world.  Indian indigenous plants and equipments were cheaper by 50% compared to imported system.

With the onset of neoliberal regime, the contribution of the SEBs to the socio economic progress of the country, in providing electricity to the requirements of domestic purposes, agriculture, industry, transport, health, education, science and technology was sought to be negated to disarm and un-popularise the public service. The whole anti-people electricity reform process has to be deciphered in this political context.

The Disastrous 1991 Reform: At this historic juncture of Indian power sector, GoI opened up power generation to private and foreign sector companies. Already Indian Power sector entered into a disastrous path. During mid seventies SEBs had an operating surplus equal to 24% of their revenue earning while by 1990-91 they were incurring financial losses around 30% amounting Rs. 4320 crores. So, it was a 5 fold increase in the tariff but a steep inversion from profit to loss.

Providing quality electricity in adequate measure at minimum costs to the national economy - the fundamental policy objective of the power sector was replaced by the profit-oriented commodification of electricity and wider participation of private sector. Though the tariff was increasing continuously (from 105.4 paise per KWH in 1992-93 to 240 paise per KWH in 2001-02), the steep input cost was raising the gap between average cost of supply (ACS) and average revenue realization (ARR) and hence loss started to mount hugely.

False and Failed projection: Electricity Act (EA) 2003 and National electricity Policy (NEP 2005): The next onslaught on Power Sector came through the imposition of the Electricity Act in 2003. It was meant to distance government from regulation of electricity business with the goal of privatisation and commodification. Generation was de-licensed and a provision for private transmission and distribution licensee was introduced. The Act provided for unbundling (read forceful disintegration of the synergised togetherness of generation-transmission-distribution sector) of the SEBs. This Act entailed the entry of speculation in the electricity industry without any material investment. The Electricity Act, 2003 prescribed the abolition of cross subsidy and the mandate to GoI to wash its hands from the responsibility of rural electrification especially targeting the small and middle peasants of India. In spite of wide scale contractorisation, franchising, and outsourcing it callously failed to provide cheap and affordable electricity to the common people.

Modi Regime: most atrocious onslaught ever: In course of these gross debacles, the current anti-people regime of Modi-Govt. unleashed the final blow on the public electricity sector policy of India. This government is incessantly pursuing the Electricity Amendment Bills since 2014, just after taking charge of the Government. Notoriously Modi government has imposed multiple taxes and duties on coal including royalty on basic price (14%), Goods and Services Tax (5%) and GST Compensation cess (Rs 400 per tonne), corporate taxes and higher railway freight charges. These taxes imposed a huge burden of tariffs to the end consumers. On the other hand, in the name of disastrous 'hair cuts', big corporates are transferring assets among themselves at a hugely discounted liability - the losers being public sector banks and hence the people.

Heinous NITI Ayog’s prescription will destroy the public electricity sector in India: In midst of these, the NITI Ayog 2021 policy paper has blatantly proposed to destroy the state-owned DISCOMs, though globally 70% of the distribution utilities are public owned except the higher-income countries. While promoting de-licensnig (to hand-over the public distribution infrastructure to private players), horizontal un-bundling of the discoms and short-term power procurement, atrociously NITI Ayog has stated “the Act requires that cross-subsidies and surcharges be progressively reduced and eliminated within three years by ensuring that the reduction in cross subsidy is not less than six percent every year.”

The withdrawal of cross subsidy is the last murderous blow on Indian farmers: The cross-subsidy pattern in India was established through long struggle. In India, the heavy industries with large capital and high revenue generation capacity who consume higher quantities of electricity are paying cross subsidy to sustain the agriculture, MSME and household consumers within their affordability. It was pivotal to build India’s food sovereignty and small-medium commodity production network. It assisted the farmers and unemployed youths to survive at least with bare minimum income.  If such support is withdrawn, it will lead to abrupt increase in price of retail electricity, and promote unemployment further, consequent defaults in payment and eventually the forceful disconnections and denial to electricity service.

Irrigation costs will rise. Farmers who are already in an acute agrarian crisis and facing escalating costs of cultivation, facing huge risks will again be pushed to a situation of complete dependence on unpredictable rains for cultivation. A shift to Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) for agriculture will deny the real cultivators- the landless, tenants/sharecroppers who pay for the electricity. The deceiving case of DBT is already apparent to everyone through the experience of mounting price of cooking gases re-pushing them towards non-LPG fuels.

The Disastrous Electricity Amendment Bill 2022: In course of this whole reform onslaught, the Electricity (Amendment) Bill was brought in. The key Provisions of the Electricity (A) Bill-2022 are: abolition of licenses for distribution i.e. de-licensing of distribution; unbridled grant of permission of distribution to private players just through an application to appropriate commission and the specified qualifications and fees to be prescribed by the Central Government i.e. Infringement in the State Government’s domain; permission to private distribution companies to supply electricity in their choice of areas (read most profitable cherry-picking areas) within Municipal Council or Corporation or revenue district or a smaller area as notified by appropriate Government; distribution can further be entrusted to an individual who need not to register separately; State distribution companies are bounded to provide their distribution infrastructure for use of private distributor almost free of cost.

In a nutshell, private distributors will have to make no investment in creating distribution infrastructure; only have to pay a nominal fee for its use; state DISCOMs will be forced to offer their infrastructure to their competitors; the responsibility of incurring expenditure on maintenance, losses and network development will remain with state DISCOMs. On the other hand, private distributors can demand compensation in case of breakdown; private generators will enjoy advantages as private distributors.

When there are multiple distributors in a territory, the private distributors will offer incentives to lure profitable and large customers initially like telecom sector (especially the example of JIO) and then will enhance the tariff as per their monopoly control over the supply-system. State DISCOMs will not be able to compete due to their universal supply obligation, vast customer base and costs associated with past regulatory gaps. State DISCOMs will be left with small and unprofitable and far-away customers. The losses of state DISCOMs will have to be made up by people’s money. Ultimately DISCOMs will be fully privatized at throw away prices.

This bill will compel the state DISCOMs to be a customer of renewable generation companies while 96% of India’s renewable power production is in private sectors. Failing the targets set by Central Government there is provision of steeper penalty mechanism on state DISCOMs. According to the Bill, supply of electricity to state DISCOMs may be stopped by NLDC if there is any delay in payment and state DISCOMs will be driven out of business. This bill is anti-worker as jobs of 15 lakh workers will be at stake, anti-farmer as it will snatch away the cross subsidy and anti-people as it will increase tariff-rate and deteriorate the services to the remote village areas.

The Unbundling onslaught is the Dictate of Private-Monopoly: The whole recourse to the power reform programmes in India or in Global level exposes the desperate dictate of the WB-IMF to unbundle-disintegrate the state monopoly power sector. The global experience of unbundling is nothing but the privatization of state utilities in throw away prices.

The opening up of commercial energy market, smart metering and renewable generation with real-time purchasing will enhance the fluidity and hence financialisation of electricity service. The whole reform process is private financial monopolisation of the electricity sector. 

The Maharashtra electricity workers explained the danger of Adani intrusion in distribution sector to the people and the people vehemently participated in the struggle. They brought 31 different unions together, made step by step plan to reach all section of workers and consumers, they held massive protests and rallies and finally went for indefinite strike. The government was compelled to bow down. The same resistance took place in Haryana, Chandigarh, J&K or Puducherry. Wherever we could bring all section of workers and the toiling masses in action to resist and defy the corporate run government, the people have emerged victorious. Truly days are coming when the anti-privatisation movement, the movement to save the interest of people and toiling masses can build an army of resistance to fight this corporate communal nexus. And movement to save the Right to Electricity will be cardinal to this. This is a battle India can’t afford to lose.

Let’s join April 5th Mazdoor- Kisan Rally in thousands demanding….

Roll Back the Electricity Amendment Bill 2022!

Roll-Back the Pro Corporate Reforms!

Electricity is not a Commodity but a Right!

Talking Point – 1

 Mazdoor-Kisan Sangharsh Rally-2


5th April 2022



Pension is not charity. It is a basic right of people who have contributed all their lives to the development of society, to lead dignified lives in their old age without being at the mercy of others. It is the responsibility of any elected government to ensure universal old age pension to all its citizens.

India does not have any universal social security system to protect its working people.

Several pension schemes do exist covering different sections of population like the non-governmental organised sector workers, the government employees, farmers, unorganised workers etc. On the whole, all these schemes taken together are estimated to cover only 58 million people, or around 12% of the workforce, according to the 2011 census. The 2020 National Commission on Population report estimated that there will be nearly 13.8 crore elderly people (persons aged 60 or more) in India in 2021.

Instead of extending coverage and improving benefits, the governments committed to the neoliberal order that have been trying to squeeze and curtail pension benefits.

Let us have a look at the existing pension schemes, their coverage and how this hard won right of the working people is being diluted.


The Employees’ Pension Scheme (EPS) is implemented by the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation that manages the EPF of the workers. Only the workers’ money from the provident fund is heavily diverted to the pension fund. Employers practically do not contribute anything to the pension fund as it is only their statutory share to the provident fund that goes to the pension fund.

It is estimated that 26 crore workers were members of EPFO as on March 2021. But on an average, only 4.6 crore members were actively contributing. The number of pensioners under EPS was only 69.2 lakhs. Not all, but only low income EPFO subscribers are covered by pension. Not all workers earning above Rs 15000 per month are covered by pension.

Modi led BJP government has been trying to deprive the workers even of the limited benefits under the EPS. It announced its intention to tax EPF amounts, but had to withdraw after massive protests. Then, it announced that workers cannot withdraw their own money in EPF accounts till their superannuation, but had to withdraw this decision too because of strong opposition from workers. But despite opposition from all central trade unions, it is investing 15% of annual accruals in the share market and is planning to increase the same. The interest rates of EPF corpus have been continuously reduced. This reduction of interest rates in all the saving schemes is aimed at driving the funds to the share market.

The EPF and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 has been subsumed under the Code on Social Security, which proposes to reduce the contribution rate of both employers and workers to 10% from the present 12%. The workers can contribute more than 10% if she/he desires, but the employer has no obligation to pay more than 10%, thus enabling the employers covered by the EPF Act to save hundreds of crores of rupees. In addition, huge numbers of establishments and employers are left uncovered by EPF

EPFO had given an option of EPF and EPS contributions beyond the wage ceilings i.e. for the full wages, if employee and employer had agreed. This was in existence till August 2014. But many workers who had contributed for full wages were not getting increased pension. Though the Supreme Court provided some relief to the workers, the government is not willing to comply and only issued a toothless circular to obfuscate its failure to implement the Supreme Court judgment in letter and spirit.

Over time, EPS 95 has become a mockery; so far minimum admissible pension is concerned. Lakhs of workers are getting less than Rs 100 per month as pension. As the demand for increasing minimum pension became widespread, the UPA II government decided to increase minimum pension to Rs 1000, but failed to implement it. The present NDA government started implementing it in 2014, but with some conditionalities and formulae to keep pension as lower as possible. Large numbers of pensioners are still getting less than Rs.1000/a month as pension despite the relentless persuasion of the trade unions and pensioners to hike pension amount.   

In August 2019, the CBT recommended that minimum monthly pension payable to member/widow/widower pensioners may be raised to at least to Rs.2000 per month provided the government of India extends budgetary support for the same on yearly basis. But that was put on cold storage. In March 2021, the Standing Committee on Labour also recommended to increase the minimum pension amount from Rs 1000 to Rs 3000.

The demand of for monthly pension of Rs 9000 is based on the premise of pension being 50% of the last drawn salary and takes into the statutory minimum wage of 18000 per month announced by the Central government to its employees.


Till 2003, government employees were covered by the Old Pension System (OPS). Under OPS, on retirement, employees who worked for ten years or more, received 50% of their last drawn basic pay plus dearness allowance or their average earnings in the last ten months of service, whichever was more advantageous to them, as pension. OPS was discontinued by the BJP led NDA government in December 2003. The New Pension System (NPS) came into existence on 1 April 2004.

Until then, the pension system for government employees are pay-as-you-go defined benefit plan. Defence and railway employees, seamen, coal miners, Assam Tea Plantations, and some public sector entities had their own independent pension plans on par with the central government employees.

Under the NPS, those employed by the government contribute 10 percent of their basic salary to NPS, while their employers contribute up to 14 percent. Private sector employees can also participate in the NPS voluntarily, although some rules have changed. NPS is basically a market linked, defined contribution scheme without defined benefits and guaranteed pension. All central trade unions and government employees’ associations have been opposing the NPS and are on war path since its introduction. Because of their consistent struggle some state governments have decided to restore the OPS. But the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority is not ready to return back the money that was so collected in the name of NPS to these states.

Pension for farmers

Under Pradhan Mantri Kisan Maandhan Yojana, a voluntary and contributory pension scheme, the small and marginal farmers having not more than two hectares of land can avail a monthly fixed pension after attaining the age of 60 years. They have to contribute Rs 55 to Rs 200 per month, depending upon their age, to the pension fund managed by LIC. Modi had announced this scheme in 2019 with his patent rhetoric that it would cover five crore farmers. But, as of now, only 21.4 lakhs farmers are enrolled.

Pension for unorganised workers including Agricultural Workers

Just before the 2019 general elections Modi announced what he claimed is a ‘mega pension scheme’, the Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maandhan for unorganised workers including agricultural workers. This is also a voluntary and contributory scheme where workers in the 18 -- 40 years age group have to contribute Rs 55 to Rs 200 per month till they attain the age of 60, after which she/he would receive a minimum assured pension of Rs 3000/- per month

There are approximately 42 crore unorganised workers in the country. But so far only 43.98 lakh people have been enrolled in this so called ‘mega pension scheme’!

Other pension schemes

Rs 200 per month is given as old age pension to BPL persons aged 60 and above under Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS) under the National Social Assistance programme (NSAP). The NSAP covers around 4.2 crore beneficiaries.

Here it is pertinent to mention that some state governments have been paying Rs 2000 or more as old age pension in their respective states without any contributions from the beneficiaries at all. Kerala Government is paying Rs1600 to all senior citizens including EPF pensioners who are getting less than Rs 1000 pension from EPF-95 scheme.

Life insurance sector has a core beneficiaries of around 1.0 crore. Mutual funds have about 27 lakh folios. Other entities such as coal miners have about 20 lakh provident fund beneficiaries.

Private pension funds

Under the current neoliberal regime private pension fund companies are getting entrenched. They have been advocating to get rid of government guaranteed pension schemes. The corporate servile Modi regime is doing everything to dismantle the state assured pension schemes and allowing private pension merchants, including foreign pension funds to loot the workers and the people. International finance capital and its political operatives are hell bent to swallow the entire available corpus of the pension funds throwing the pensioners to the mercy of global financial markets!


Hence, CITU, AIKS, AIAWU demand; -


  • Universal pension to all old aged population not less than Rs. 3000 per month
  • Scrap the NPS; restore OPS
  • On EPS-95 we demands
  • Increase government contribution to the EPS-95 from the existing 1.16%of basic wages (basic pay plus dearness allowance) to 8.33% as recommended by the Parliament Committee on Petition headed by Shri Bhagat Singh Koshiyari.
  • Implement the Supreme Court Judgment dated 4-11-2022 on EPS-95
  • Exclusive contribution to pension fund by the employers
  • Minimum monthly pension of not less than Rs.9000
  • No statutory wage ceiling on pensionable salary; it should be the last drawn pay and not the average of 60 months
  • Indexation of pension.
  • Universal coverage of all workers irrespective of wages and number of workers employed.
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