People's Democracy

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


Vol. XXXIV

No. 15

April 11, 2010

NATIONAL LEFT YOUTH CONVENTION AGAINST UNEMPLOYMENT

 

For Broader & United Struggles

 

FOUR prominent Left youth organisations in the country, namely the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), the All India Youth Federation (AIYF), the Revolutionary Youth Front (RYF) and the All India Youth League (AIYL) organised on March 28 a one day national youth convention against employment. It took place at the Banga Bhavan in New Delhi and apart from all-India leaders of the four organisations, renowned journalist Kuldeep Nayyar and social activist Harsh Mander also addressed the convention as guest speakers.

 

SCENARIO

TODAY

This “National Left Youth Convention against Unemployment” took place at a time when countries across the globe are struggling to come out of the global economic crisis. This crisis has hit India too and its impact on Indian economy has made the life of the people all the more miserable. In our country lakhs of people have lost their jobs and several lakhs more had to face wage cuts or increases in unpaid working hours, layoffs, closures etc.

As a result of all this, the rate of unemployment has soared and the employment scenario for the youth in the country has worsened. The rate of unemployment and underemployment has been increasing to alarming proportions. Organised sector employment is shrinking and whatever new employment is generated is extremely low paid with extremely fragile working conditions. Contractisation and casualisation of work has become the order of the day. The unorganised sector continues to expand under the neo-liberal regime. It is estimated that 94 per cent of the total workforce in our country is in the unorganised sector and they are the most exploited section.

In our country, youth constitute the majority of our population but they are the worst affected by the worsening unemployment. However, what we find to our dismay is that the government of the day, led by  the Congress party, is busy celebrating the GDP growth rate and unprecedented price rise and it is clear that rising unemployment is not its concern.

It is in this backdrop that the said four Left youth organisations have jointly decided to build a nationwide youth movement against the neo-liberal policies of the Congress led UPA government. They held this convention on March 28, which is observed as anti-unemployment day, so that a message could be given to the youth to come forward unitedly to fight against unemployment. These organisations have expressed the hope that the deliberations of this convention, and the 18 point charter of demands that the convention has adopted, will provide the youth with new energy for future struggles.

 

CHARTER

OF DEMANDS

1) Lift the ban on recruitment and stop abolition of existing posts in different central and state government departments and PSEs. Make the status of all vacancies in government departments public and initiate fresh recruitment. Stop outsourcing, contractisation and recruitment of retired employees in permanent jobs.

2) No to privatisation and disinvestment of central public sector enterprises. Expand public investment by CPSEs for expansion and modernisation using Rs 5 lakh crore reserves and surplus in sectors like power, railways, oil and gas, steel, coal, telecom, defence, research and development etc. Unlock the lands of closed factories in public and private sectors by removing legal hurdles for setting up new industries.

3) Formulate a comprehensive youth policy. Set up a national youth council giving representations to all national level youth organisations. Set up a national youth fund for the welfare of the youth.

4) Initiate an urban employment guarantee scheme at minimum wages with one third jobs reserved for women. Provide BPL cards to all unemployed persons and poor informal workers. Stop forcible eviction of slum dwellers, street vendors etc.

5) Universalise social security. Provide for provident fund, pension, health insurance, accident benefit and death benefits for all workers (not only BPL) in the unorganised sector. Set up a national social security fund to finance the unorganised sector social security schemes. Implement eight hours working day for all unorganised sector workers.

6) Enact comprehensive legislation for protecting the lives and livelihoods of migrant informal workers including pravasis. Impose strict punishment for anti-migrant violence and compensate the victims. Issue identity cards for migrant workers to ensure access to PDS and basic amenities like housing, sanitation, healthcare, schooling and social security.

7) Revamp and modernise employment exchanges. Provide unemployment allowance to the registered unemployed. Integrate employment exchanges with skill development initiatives and provide information on private sector jobs too. Enhance financial support for self-employment schemes, SHGs and small enterprises, especially for small women entrepreneurs. Check corruption in self-employment schemes.

8) Extend reservations to the private sector. Fulfil reservation quotas and all backlogs for the SC, STs and OBCs. Implement the Ranganath Mishra commission’s recommendation to provide job reservation to minorities.

9) Ensure equal pay for equal work for women and men. Provide security for women employees. Prevent sexual harassment at workplace. Abolish child labour.

10) Expand the scope of the NREGA to all individuals (not only to households) and enhance the cap of 100 days. Increase minimum wages to at least Rs 160 per day and ensure regular wage payment. Expand the schedule of permissible works. Delegate decision making powers about the type of works under the NREGA to the states and local bodies.

11) Combat corruption in NREGA implementation. Pay unemployment allowance to job card holders not given work.

12) Initiate intensive socio-economic development programmes in tribal areas. Ensure remunerative employment opportunities in tribal areas through NREGA. Implement ST reservations in all posts and services. Prevent tribal land alienation. Recognise and vest forest rights for tribals. Distribute pattas speedily and implement fully the provisions of the ST and OFD (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act.

13) Enact comprehensive legislation for agricultural workers ensuring minimum wages and social security. Link minimum wages to inflation index.

14) Implement land and tenancy reforms and distribute joint pattas for land. Increase public investment in agriculture and irrigation. Strengthen public procurement of crops at remunerative prices. Provide subsidised agricultural inputs. Ensure small farmers’ access to cheap credit, storage and marketing infrastructure.

15) Amend the Land Acquisition Act 1894 and enact a Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill in order to minimise displacement and ensure adequate compensation, sharing of profit and livelihood security for land losers and displaced persons. Amend the SEZ Act to curb real estate bubbles and tax concessions; Strictly regulate land use to prevent land hoarding and speculation and promote employment intensive industrialisation.

16) Ensure balanced regional development with emphasis on infrastructure and industrial development.

17) A special package should be declared to safeguard the interests of those who lost their jobs due to global economic recession.

18) Right to Work should be included as a fundamental right in the constitution.

 

PROGRAMME

OF ACTION

According to a press release issued on March 30 by Tapas Sinha, K Murugan, K Sunnykutty and S Bhattacharya who are general secretaries of the DYFI, AIYF, RYF and AIYL respectively, the convention also chalked out the following programme of action.    

1) It has been decided that on or before April 20, 2010 a delegation of leaders from the four Left youth organisations will meet the prime minister and submit their charter of demands to him.

2) By May 15, 2010, state level joint Left youth conventions against unemployment will be organised. Prior to that, state leaders of four said organisations will meet and discuss the possibility of inviting other democratic, secular youth organisations so that the struggle against unemployment could be made broad based. The organisations aligned to the BJP and the Congress will not be included in this process.

3) Youth marches will be organised before the coming Independence Day, i.e. August 15, 2010, to the Raj Bhavans or legislative assemblies in all the states. These marches will take place on one and the same day throughout the country, and the exact date will be announced later. Prior to this action, a campaign to popularise the charter of demands among the youth and the people will be conducted.

4) After these youth marches to the Raj Bhavans and state assembly buildings, a call of Dilli Chalo will be given before November 15, 2010. Maximum possible mobilisation of youth will be the aim for this joint all-India Youth March to Parliament against unemployment, tried for.