By Naresh Gaur
The Government will be presenting the Budget-2019-20 in the Parliament on 5th July, 2019. From AIBEA, we have addressed a letter to the Finance Minister Mrs.Nirmala Sitharaman giving our views and suggestions. While congratulating her for being appointed the Finance Minister of India, we hope that adequate financial allocations will be made by the Finance Ministry under your stewardship, to meet the long pending demands of the working classs.
Stop disinvestment and strategic sale of public sector units: The reported pronouncements about disinvestment, closure and sale of the public sector units, by those in governance are a matter of grave concern. The public sector has to be strengthened and expanded. Budgetary support should be provided for the revival of potentially viable sick public sector units. Strategic sale of the profit making PSUs, which is being resorted to at present should be stopped. The amendments to the Motor Vehicle Act, which pave the way for privatisation of the state - owned public transport system should be withdrawn. So also the proposed amendments to Electricity Act 2003 should be shelved.
Prevent dumping: The increasing import of industrial commodities including capital goods should be contained and regulated to prevent dumping. Protect and promote domestic industries. This will also help in preventing job losses.
Employment generation: Employment generation has nosedived in the recent period. Massive public investment in infrastructure, social sectors and agriculture would generate employment. The union budget should give priority and allocate the necessary funds for this. Emphasis should be on raising the internal demand rather than exports. All vacant sanctioned posts in the different government departments including in the health, education departments and institutions, in the Railways, PSUs and autonomous institutions should be filled up through fresh recruitment. The ban on creation of new posts and mandatory reduction of government posts should be lifted. Denial of level playing field to many PSUs (BSNL, MTNL, ITI etc.) is putting thousands of jobs in jeopardy. The provision of “fixed term employment” also should be done away with and concerned notification should be rescinded forthwith.
Increase budgetary allocations for social sector: The government should increase allocations on social sector and basic essential services like health, education, food security etc in the Union Budget, particularly in terms of improving infrastructure, filling up of all vacancies and creating new jobs to meet the increasing needs of the population. The necessary financial resources should be raised by increasing direct income tax and corporate tax, wealth tax, while reducing the GST, thus reducing the increasing income gap.
Price rise: Speculative forward trading and hoarding are major factors contributing to the price rise of essential commodities, particularly of food items. It has become impossible for the workers and other toiling people to meet their basic daily needs. One of the major contributing factors for this is the speculative forward trading and hoarding. The government should ban speculative forward trading in essential commodities, take strong measures to curtail hoarding and strengthen Public Distribution System, making it universal. Stop the system of cash transfer to beneficiaries’ accounts in lieu of PDS
Labour law reforms: Stop labour law amendments that curtail the basic and trade union rights of workers and provide unhindered ‘hire and fire’ facilities to the employers. The Code on Wages Bill, at present before the Standing Committee on Labour and on the draft Code on Industrial Relations Bill should be finalised on the basis of the opinions of the central trade unions expressed unanimously. No labour law amendment should be undertaken without the consent of the trade unions and workers who are the main stakeholders and the most affected.
We reiterate our strong opposition to the anti worker measures being undertaken by the government on the pretext of improving the ‘ease of doing business’, to benefit the employers, particularly the big corporates, domestic and foreign.
We once again urge upon the government to take concrete measures to resolve the issues of the working people, being repeatedly raised. We hope that the points raised by us will be given positive consideration while framing budget 2018-19.
(Naresh Gaur is Secretary, Punjab Bank Employees Federation)
By Naresh Gaur