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Sangh affiliate BMS to embarrass Modi govt with protests over ‘anti-labour’ Budget

Catch Team | Updated on: 9 February 2018, 19:01 IST
(Arya Sharma)

Miffed with the Union budget, the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), RSS's labour wing, is planning to hold a nationwide agitation against the central government over its anti-labour policies. The decision to hold the agitation was taken at the BMS' National Executive Committee which directed all its unions to observe 20 February as Black Day wherein these unions will hold demonstrations, wear black badges and hold gate meetings.

Condemning the central government for not keeping its promises made to the BMS delegation on 17 November 2017 after the labour wing held a massive protest rally in Delhi. A statement released by BMS General Secretary Virjesh Upadhyay read: “The protest is against the negligent attitude of Central Government towards labour problems. Indian workers belonging to different Central Trade Unions have put forth burning issues of labour before the government. But the Union Budget 2018 was totally silent about any of the issues raised by Unions.”

Further, BMS' executive committee has directed all its districts, states and industrial federations to hold dharnas, huge demonstrations at district headquarters, state capitals and industrial estates on 26 and 27 February. These demonstrations are specifically being done to embarrass the government which will be holding the Indian Labour Conference which is being held in Delhi on these dates.

“The conference will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi while the Union Labour minister will preside as chairman. Apart from that several ministers, government officials, among others, would participate in the two day conference which is being held after a gap of three years. If BMS doesn't participate in the conference, it will be a huge embarrassment for the government which has till now ignored all our pleas,” said Pawan Kumar, organising secretary of the BMS.

He further claimed that a huge demonstration would be organised outside the ILC venue on 26 February to mount pressure on the central government to resolve labour issues and address demands raised by the BMS. The labour wing has put forth nine demands before the central government which include increasing honorarium of aanganwadi workers and also bringing them under the social security coverage; Reimbursement of cess amount to concerned labour welfare boards affected due to GST; Enhancing EPS pension from Rs1000/ to Rs5000/; Providing special funds to Sick PSUs which can be revived; Hiking Income Tax exemptions to salaried sections up to Rs 5 lakhs; Resolve problems of contract workers; among others.

Apart from this, 44 national level industrial federations of BMS also have raised their demands with the respective ministries. BMS is perturbed with the Inter Ministerial Committee, headed by the Finance Minister, for promising to fulfill their demands which have found no mention in the Union Budget. Demanding an immediate review of the Budget to ensure steps to redress their grievances, BMS has warned the government that if it does not pay heed to its demands, it will rethink about participating in the upcoming labour conference.

When asked what would the BMS do if the government doesn't oblige to their demands, Kumar said that they would hit the streets and ensure that their demands are met. “If need be, we will organise more protests and do everything in our capacity to ensure that rights of the labour force of this country remain protected,” Kumar added.

Earlier on 17 November, the BMS held a massive public rally at Ramlila Maidan in Delhi to protest the “failed promises of the Modi government”. The November rally was organised over the prevailing economic distress in the country. “Though the government claims that there is growth but we believe it is a jobless growth. The Modi government has failed to create any jobs,” Kumar had told Catch.

According to Kumar, the Modi government is working on the principles of its predecessor the UPA government and is promoting the policy of liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation. “We watch our constituency which is labour and by not protesting I am cheating my constituency. They are snatching the rights of the workers and the SJM can't be a silent spectator to all this,” he had said.

First published: 9 February 2018, 19:01 IST