(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
March 25, 2012
The Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) secretariat has issued the following statement on March 16:
THE UPA- 2 government’s utter disregard for the workers has once again come out in the open in the union budget. Presenting the tax proposals in his budget speech, the finance minister said, ‘Various players, including policy makers, politicians, agriculturists and business houses, participate in the making of the economy’. Not a word about the contribution of the workers to the national economy!
The union budget 2012-13 continued the pattern of providing concessions to the rich while imposing burdens on the poor – Rs 4,500 crore relief was extended in direct taxes while a burden of Rs 45,000 was imposed on the common people through indirect taxes. The increase in the service tax will lead to further price rise.
Not a paisa has been allocated for the Unorganised Sector Social Security Fund, making the Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Act, a mockery. The finance minister reiterated the government’s commitment to allow FDI in retail, to the enactment of the PFRDA Act. While the public sector enterprises have a huge surplus of Rs Six lakhs crores, the government is determined to garner Rs 30,000 crores through disinvestment. He has announced income tax concession under the Rajiv Gandhi Equity Savings Scheme to lure people into the share market, even while announcing that expenditure on subsidies to the poor would be brought down.
While increasing the allocation for Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) and National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), the finance minster revealed the attitude of the government to exploit women workers through extraction of unpaid work. The ‘scope of activities’ of the Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) under the NRHM will be increased and they would be required to play a ‘more active role’, but no regular and fixed income is ensured for them. Allocation for ICDS and Mid Day meal programmes have been increased but no provision has been made for ensuring minimum wages, pension and other social security benefits for the anganwadi employees and the mid day meal workers.
Not a single demand of the joint trade union movement raised through the February 28 strike has been addressed in this budget. It is a clear indication of the determination of the UPA-2 government to pursue with the neoliberal policies despite the massive and unprecedented united countrywide strike and its dismal performance in the elections to the state assemblies that reflected the serious discontent among the people towards its policies.
The CITU calls upon the workers all over the country to intensify the joint struggles in the coming days to ensure the reversal of the anti-worker and anti-people policies.