AICCTU’s Proposals for the Forthcoming Union Budget

[Central TU organizations were invited for a pre-Budget consultation meeting with the Finance Minister on 16 January 2012. Central TUs presented a joint memorandum with a detailed set of proposals for the forthcoming Union Budget 2012-13. Rajeev Dimri, National Secretary, represented AICCTU at the meeting. Along with the joint memo, AICCTU also submitted a complementary note with its views and proposals. Excerpts of the latter are reproduced below.]

The views and proposals submitted by central trade unions in the pre-budget consultation meetings every year either do not find any place in the budget or are addressed in the form of some cosmetic measures, which too are not implemented as can be seen from the examples of “Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Act 2008” and increase in the honorarium of Anaganwadi workers in the last budget. The issues of unorganized, contract workers, honorarium/incentive based workers like ASHA, Anganwadi, Mid-day meal, etc. working in several lakhs, implementing the most important schemes of the government but living in miserable conditions, do not find due importance in the budgets.

The note on “State of Indian Economy”, sent by MOF to us appears more interested in giving details of GDP and outflow and inflow of foreign capital without proper assessment of actual impact of the economic growth on the people particularly regarding the mounting unemployment, growing agricultural crisis, inflation, declining real wages, etc.

One slogan has emerged universally which epitomizes the crux of ongoing situation. “We are the 99%”- this slogan emerging from “Occupy Wall Street” movement has universally symbolized the growing anger against the policies of economic globalization and their growing rejection, and at the same time has symbolized the demand of working people for bringing the policies and measures for the 99%, and not 1%. The views and proposals raised by we all central trade unions collectively in our memorandum submitted in this pre- budget meeting also reflect the same.

So, in view of the prevailing situation in the country and also the ongoing global crisis, we urge upon you that the coming budget should be oriented towards working people, with a focus on addressing the issues of unorganized labour, domestic workers, honorarium/incentive workers particularly increasing their minimum wages, bringing them under social security cover and extending the coverage of all govt. schemes and statutory benefits to them; the issues of poverty, unemployment and social infrastructure; with focus on strengthening the purchasing power of working people and domestic market, and on resource mobilization through taxing the corporate and the rich, unearthing huge accumulation of black money including the huge unaccounted money in tax heavens abroad, recovering the NPAs etc. and putting a halt on extending all kinds of concessions and sops to the corporate and the rich. We reiterate the following demands for the coming budget for serious consideration by the government:

1. a) Make Massive public investment in agriculture and rural sector and guarantee the implementation of land reforms. b) Housing for urban poor (workers’ colonies) and land pattas for rural poor.

2. For all unorganized workers - Universal coverage of all employments under Minimum Wage Act and fixation of statutory minimum wage not less than Rs 10,000/- per month with indexation. Extend PDS and the benefits like PF, ESI, bonus, etc to all unorganized workers. Grant status of government employee to honorarium workers, like ASHA and Anganbadi and others, and immediately regularize them and bring them under the coverage of statutory minimum wage and social security. It may be noted that ASHA workers have been applauded by the health ministry of government for bringing down the infant mortality rate to more than half and doing excellent service in rural health sector. The survival of this important NRHM scheme depends on their well being.

3. Assured Pension for all including all unorganized workers. The pension should not be less than Rs. 7500/ with VDA for all pensioners/workers. Also stop privatization and FDI in Pension and withdraw the PFRDA Bill being introduced. Stop the move to reduce interest rate on PF. Raise this rate to 12.5%.

4. National fund for unorganized workers with allocation of 4% of GDP in present situation. b) Inclusion of agricultural workers under the “Unorganised Workers Social Security Act 2008”. Also a separate Act for agricultural workers.

5. No to Contractualisation and outsourcing of work of permanent / perennial nature. Till the contractualisation is abolished, payment of wages and benefits to such workers at the same rate as available to the regular workers of the industry/establishment

6. Bring Urban employment scheme in the lines of NREGA and provide employment under NREGA for a minimum period of 200 days.

7. Take stringent measures against hoarders and ban forward trading in food grains to curb Price rise, and take other protective measures against price rise.

8. Lift ban on recruitment in govt. and public sector.

9. Stop disinvestment in CPSUs and provide budgetary support for revival of sick CPSUs.

10. For protection of migrant workers bring legislation in line with SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

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