People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
April 08, 2007
FMRAI Holds 21st All India Conference
P R Krishnan
THE city of Mumbai, the citadel of pharmaceutical industry in India was host to the 21st all India conference of the Federation of Medical and Sales Representatives’ Association of India. An open rally was organised at Azad Maidan in south Mumbai. The conference began with flag hoisting ceremony by the FMRAI president R Viswanathan followed by floral tributes to the martyrs. The FMRAI, the leading organisation of medical and sales representatives, represents different industries in India. Founded in 1963, the FMRAI has a 50,000 strong membership base in 305 cities and towns across the country. These members are spread over and drawn from 40 major industries such as pharmaceutical, paints, biscuits, cosmetics, publications, blades, books, homeopathy and ayurvedic etc. 1200 elected delegates and observers from all the states and union territories participated in the Mumbai conference .
CITU president M K Pandhe inaugurated the public rally. Pandhe noted that the FMRAI members have been in the forefront of many struggles. These struggles, said Pandhe, were not merely for amelioration of their service conditions but were also against the disastrous globalisation policies of the previous BJP led NDA government and the present Congress led UPA government. He pointed out that multinational corporations under the aegis of imperialist powers are trying to enslave the developing countries through the dictates of World Bank, International Monetary Fund and World Trade Organisation. Pandhe cautioned that unless the working class and the other toiling sections of people wake up and launch resistance movement unitedly, the national freedom and self reliance will get endangered. He pointed out that some trade union organisations both in developing countries and developed countries are not yet realising the dangers of World Bank, IMF and WTO dictated policies. Pandhe said that the CITU has consistently fought against these anti-national and anti-people policies in India. In this context, he referred to the recently concluded CITU conference at Bangalore and said 68 representatives from 30 foreign countries came to participate in the Bangalore conference.
The rally at the Azad Maidan was next addressed by the chief guest justice P B Sawant, a former Supreme Court judge. Justice Sawant, in his speech referred to the preamble and the directive principles of state policy and said that the word socialism was inscribed in the constitution and warned that the rulers in Delhi are trying to dismantle these mandates. This has to be resisted, he said.
Basudeb Acharya, MP, who addressed the rally pointed out that like the previous NDA government, UPA government is also launching more and more attacks on the working class rights in different ways. They are out to change the labour laws and give umpteen opportunities to the employers to trample the workers’ rights. It will therefore be the task of the all trade unions to fight against such policies unitedly, he said.
Sukomal Sen, general secretary, state government employees confederation in his speech said that he is indebted to the members of FMRAI who made him aware of the issues relating to the Indian Patents Act and the conspiracies of WTO. He said that many governments in the world are now declaring that socialism shall be the process of development. He in that behalf referred to the speeches made in the World Social Forum by representatives from different countries and said that socialism is the only alternative to globalisation.
The venue for delegate session was the famous Fine Arts Society at Chembur in the north east Mumbai. CITU’s national secretary W R Varadarajan inaugurated the session . In his speech Varadarajan spoke about the many issues faced by the working class and other sections of people in India and at the international level. He said that for us it is not only a question of fighting for the rights of working population in India. We have also to guard against the communal forces and be equally vigilant against the divisive forces. He referred to the role of NGOs and pointed out that while the NGOs propagated they are champions of people’s rights, they never speak anything about the exploitation of the down trodden in the society. He criticised the UPA government’s anti-people economic and industrial policies. He demanded that the UPA government should reverse its US appeasement policy and try to uphold the spirit of Non-Alignment policy mentioned in the National Common Minimum Programme. Varadarajan wanted the Manmohan Singh government to take steps to implement people oriented programmes.
The delegates session was conducted by a presidium comprising FMRAI president R Viswanathan and four vice-presidents. D P Dube, the general secretary, presented report on the FMRAI activities covering the period since the last all India conference held in 2004 at Hyderabad. In his report, Dubey pointed out several achievements such as gaining recognition from unwilling employers and advancement of the FMRAI organisational structure. He also mentioned about the struggles conducted by the FMRAI and said that the organisation has widened its involvement with other mass organisations on several issues facing the people. This is particularly so in the area of medicines and health, he said. Treasurer, S R Roy presented the report of accounts. In the discussion which followed the general secretary’s report, 76 delegates including six women delegates spoke about their experiences and offered suggestions for future movements.
The conference adopted resolutions on several issues. They related to demand for reduction of drug prices and for revival of public sector drug companies; against downsizing of workforce in ESI hospitals in Maharashtra; against the decision of Maharashtra government to withdraw MRTU & PULP Act from the preview of medical and sales representatives; demanding implementation of eight hours work for the medical and sales representatives; against pension regulatory and development authority bill; for restoration of PF interest and in support of All India Demands day in March . The conference also adopted an elaborate agenda of action to be implemented by FMRAI units in the forthcoming period.
The reception committee had made elaborate arrangements for the conduct of the conference and worked hard for its successful conclusion.
On the concluding day, the conference elected a 400 member general council comprising a 70 member working committee and 20 member office bearers with R Vishwanathan as president, D K Dubey as general secretary and A Ghosh as treasurer. Amitabh Guha proposed a vote of thanks.
FMRAI former general secretary J S Majumdar remained present on all the days of the conference and guided its deliberations. Majumdar also addressed the delegates session on the concluding day of the conference. Earlier, the FMRAI activists and delegates were greeted by K L Bajaj, Maharashtra CITU president, Dr Ashok Dhawale, All India Kisan Sabha vice president, Sukumar Damale, AITUC Maharashtra general secretary, Mariam Dhawale, AIDWA state president and D M Deshpande, the reception committee secretary at Azad Maidan.