People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


Vol. XXXIII

No. 23  

June 7, 2009

 

CITU Proposals To Make

Ensuing Budget People-Oriented

 

The Centre of Indian Tradu Unions (CITU) has submitted a set of proposals to the union finance minister Pranab Mukherjee listing out various measures to make the ensuing budget people-oriented and worker-friendly.

 

CITU president M K Pandhe and CITU general secretary Mohammed Amin met the finance minister on June 3, 2009 as part of the pre-budget discussions being held by the ministry. They submitted the following memorandum.

 

THE global economic meltdown has affected the Indian economy adversely affecting the livelihood of the people. The government of India has provided several packages to bail out the Indian industrialists but the worst sufferers, the working class, has not got any relief whatsoever. According to an estimate over 15 lakh workers have lost their jobs since September 2008 and have become destitute. The government of India should provide some relief to them.

 

Economic inequality is growing rapidly in India consequent to government of India’s liberal concessions to the rich. A total of 48 billionaires (in dollar terms) in India control one fourth of the national income while 77 per cent of the people live on a measly Rs 20 per day. A large number of peasants and unemployed workers have committed suicide. The fruits of second largest growing economy in the world have not reached the common people.

 

In such a context, the following proposals are being placed to make the ensuing budget people oriented and worker friendly:

 

·                    Effective measures to arrest the spiraling price rise of food and other essential commodities; Universalise and strengthen the Public Distribution system. Rationalise taxes/duties of petroleum products, like reduction of excise duty on diesel vis-à-vis ATF;

·                    Review the basis of compilation of Consumer Price Index Number (Base 2001=100) and take corrective measure;

·                    Ensure at least 25 per cent allocation of government revenue for social sector, covering health, education and housing. Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) to be universalised as directed by the Supreme Court. Allocation of Rs 12,000 crore minimum for this purpose out of which Rs 2500 crore should be specifically allocated for improvement of the conditions of anganwadi workers;

·                    Increase annual plan expenditure to 10 per cent of India’s current GDP (currently it is below 5 per cent);

·                    Make massive public investment to augment agricultural production; Ensure remunerative prices for agricultural produce through effective procurement system;

·                    Review Unorganised Sector Workers’ Act, which in its present form does not have any funding provision, factoring in the unanimous inputs of the trade unions on funding and universalisation of coverage, with a budgetary allocation to the extent of 3 per cent of GDP;

·                    In view of the ongoing huge loss of jobs caused by the present global financial crisis, immediately withdraw the ban on recruitment in government departments, autonomous institutions and PSUs;

·                    Bailout/stimulus package to industry should be conditioned with strict ban on retrenchment, lay-off and wage reduction.

·                    Requisite budgetary allocation for addressing the problem of sickness and crisis in traditional industries such as Jute, Textile, Plantations, Handloom, Coir, Beedi, Khadi & Village industries etc;

·                    Expedite revival of sick CPSUs like Hindustan Fertliser Corporation, Fertliser Corporaion of India, Hindustan Cables, Hindustan Photofilms Ltd, HMT, Burn Standard etc through necessary budgetary support and financial restructuring;

·                    Hike the interest rate on SDS to at least 9.5 per cent to roll back the reduction in interest rates on Provident Funds and small savings effected since 2005-06; All savings on social security account and the superannuated senior citizens’ savings in particular should be given differential treatment through higher interest rate; Enhance the coverage under the EPF Act covering all wage earners;  Hike the income limit to Rs 10,000 per month on par with that in the ESI Scheme; the PF and pension fund should not be handed over to private fund managers and so called Asset Management Companies. 

·                    Enhance the exemption limit for Income Tax to Rs 2 lakh per annum. Rescind the taxation for availing of company-quarters and fringe benefits extended to workers. Extend the benefit of standard deduction to pensioners and retirees;

 

RESOURCE

MOBILISATION

 

·                    No disinvestments of profit making, strategically important and potentially viable units to make up budgetary deficit. Expansion of CPSUs utilising its vast reserves and surplus of more than Rs 4 lakh crore. Profit making PSUs including Navaratna PSUs should approach debt market because of their high equity base instead of capital market for resource mobilisation;

·                    To ensure strong regulation of financial sector, halt any further dilution of government equity in public sector banks. Strengthen public sector in banks and insurance. Ensure strict adherence to priority sector lending norms;

·                    Increase the tax-GDP ratio by taxing the rich and affluent and by increasing tax coverage;

·                    End the ‘fiscal profligacy’ of showering scores of incentives/concessions to the corporate industrial houses, MNCs, SEZs etc. Review the same vis-à-vis employment;

·                    Review the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements to curb speculative profiteers evading tax;

·                    Stop Participatory Notes in share market transactions;

·                    Enhance the rate of personal and corporate income tax for those in the higher income brackets;

·                    Introduce wealth tax in view of the enormous accumulation of wealth by a tiny segment of the population;

·                    Set targets for recovery of huge tax arrears and bank loan defaults by the big business borrowers;

·                    Reintroduce the long term capital gains tax;

·                    Increase the rate of Securities Transaction tax;

·                    Increase the tax on luxury goods and imports;

·                    Impose tax on lavish spending on ostentatious consumerism and social functions;

·                    Take aggressive measures to unearth black money within and outside the country;

·                    Bring under the service tax net ITES and outsourcing sectors, educational institutions, health services and other service outfits run on commercial basis.

 

We reiterate that there should be post-budget discussion with trade unions also.