(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
January 25, 2009
Against Sale-out of workers & Bail-out of big business
Mammoth Workers’ Rally Denounces UPA Govt’s Anti-People Policies
A mammoth rally of workers and employees staged a militant demonstration before the parliament on January 20, 2009 at the call of CITU. The demonstration was organised to raise certain crucial questions before the government at the centre with a determination to get answers from them. The basic point was: whom is this government working for? Whom are they serving - the national economy or the foreign players? Who do this insensitive Govt at the centre care for? The aam admi or a handful of amirs among the employers and big business, both domestic and foreign?
These questions have become critical when the country’s economy is in the face of severe crisis created by the policies of neo-liberal brand and toiling millions are being pushed towards ruin and disaster. The working people need an answer to these questions. And they are determined to extract them from the anti-people government. The mammoth workers rally in the national capital demonstrated such determination.
The workers from all segments of the economy in the capital and adjoining areas converged at Ramlila Maidan at the call of the CITU. Workers from both the organised and unorganised sector joined in big numbers as all are affected by the crisis created by the anti-people economic policies and the biased anti-people measures of the government to address the situation of crisis. Since early morning workers from the adjoining areas of Delhi –Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh – started assembling at Ramlila Maidan in several thousands. Among them were workers of glass bangle factories from Ferozabad, brick kiln workers from Haryana and Rajasthan, cycle factory workers and textile workers of Punjab, even anganwadi workers in big numbers from the adjoining states up to the hill states of Himachal Pradesh and Uttaranchal. Hydel project workers from Himachal Pradesh have also come in a big way. Added to them were the workers of the industrial areas like Wazirabad, Mayapuri, Samaypur Badli, Patparganj, Kirtinagar, Okhla etc of the national capital.
The procession started around 12 noon from Ramlila Maidan with the national leadership of CITU at the forefront of the rally. Slogans against the biased policy of the government acting in favour of the big business and indifference toward the massive job-losses, demanding complete reversal of neo-liberal policies and increased public investment in agriculture and infrastructure were raised with great enthusiasm. The demands for universalisation of public distribution system and extension of coverage of the Employment Guarantee Act to urban areas were also raised by the demonstrators. The massive participation of workers could be gauged from the fact that when the front portion of the procession reached Jantar Mantar, the tail was still inside the Ramlila ground.
The procession converged into a rally at Jantar Mantar. The huge rally was presided over by Kanai Bannerjee, secretary of CITU. It was addressed by M K Pandhe, CITU president, Mohammed Amin, MP and CITU general secretary and K Hemlata, CITU secretary. The rally was also addressed by the leaders of various state committees of CITU, viz., Pramod Pradhan (MP), Daulat Ram (UP), Kashmir Singh Thakur (HP), Hazarilal Sharma (Rajasthan) and Sudhir Kumar (Delhi). Speakers pressed for waging militant struggles to defend the workers rights and also to save the national economy and industries from further disaster. The policies of the UPA government are directed towards benefiting the big business and foreign capital at the cost of the national economy and ruining the toiling people as well as the small industries and agriculture which provides livelihood to the majority of the country’s populace, the speakers asserted. From the rally, a call was given to again join in more numbers the ‘March to Parliament’ on February 18, 2009 at the call of Sponsoring Committee of Trade Unions.
From the rally at Jantar Mantar, a huge procession marched towards parliament which was blockaded by the police at Patel Chowk. But the iron barriers could not deter the marching workers; the police were forced to take several thousands of the demonstrators into custody.
WHOM DOES THIS
When almost all the giant multinational insurance companies have either collapsed or gone bankrupt, the UPA government at the centre moves to invite those bankrupt or collapsing entities to have a share in the country’s insurance sector and grab the country’s domestic savings to gamble more. When all foreign institutional investors have taken away their money in Indian stock market to save their bankrupt parent entities in their own country, thereby bringing a dip in Sensex in India, the UPA government instigates the public sector units to divert their resources to the same stock market through disinvestments or IPO so that the stock market becomes bullish and the foreign players can make money out of it. Whom does this government represent? The Indians or are they serving their foreign bosses?
When the high prices of petrol and diesel is making the prices soar further, putting millions of common people into dire hardship and distress, the government of the day chooses to reduce the tax on and thereby the price of only aviation fuel by a bigger rate to help a handful of private airlines operators. When lakhs of workers are losing employment owing to mass scale closure, retrenchment, lay-off, shut-down etc by the employers, the same UPA government is busy in extending concessions, tax-cuts, liberalised funds etc to the same employers — all from public exchequers, while keeping a complete mum on their ongoing spree of retrenchment, lay-off, wage cuts, job-cuts etc. When almost all the infrastructure projects, be it construction of highways, bridges, ultra-mega-power projects etc, came to a standstill only because the private partners in their public-private partnership – all among the big corporates of both domestic and foreign variety – are shying away to put funds. Instead of dealing with it strongly for breach of contract, the government of the day is busy in extending more concessions to oblige them.
When the country is in need of more direct public expenditure in agriculture and infrastructure to tackle the deepening recession, the Manmohan Singh government is miserly enough to commit only Rs 20,000 crore in plan expenditure (hardly 0.5 per cent of GDP) while it decides to channelise Rs 27,000 crore to mutual funds and non-banking financial institutions who mainly play in stocks and securities. When the peasants are committing suicides owing to poverty, hunger and indebtedness and loss of earnings, the government is unmindful. When poverty and hunger are widely prevalent in urban areas owing to widespread retrenchment, wage-cuts, lay-offs and closures and the need of the hour is to spread wider and universalise the public distribution system and also the coverage of the Employment Guarantee Act at least to enable the poorest millions to at least survive, the government has turned a deaf ear to the yearnings of theirs.
When the poorest of the lot – the workers of the unorganised sector – are in dire need of a social security cover in absence of regular earning, at least to survive at the time of illness or temporary or permanent disablement owing to accident or old age, the government of the day cheats them with a piece of enactment showcasing certain schemes which deliver only to those below the official poverty line which does not cover even all the beggars, not to speak about workers.
It is in such a background that the CITU has decided to embark on militant struggles against the government’s anti-worker and anti-people policies.