Thursday, April 10, 2014

Calling it BJP money-festo, top activist alleges it ignores issues of workers' living wages, health, safety

By Our Representative
Senior environmentalist Rohit Prajapati has said that the BJP Modi-Festo accepts the ‘Price-Rise’ as crucial issue and tom-toms about it, but “its Money-Festo does not discuss or seeks to raise the wages of workers and is silent about demands of workers for ‘Living Wage’ (Real Wage) and social security for all workers.” He says, on Page 4, BJP Money-Festo declares it will “strategically develop high impact domains like Labour-Intensive manufacturing (viz. textile, footwear, electronics assembly etc.) and Tourism.”
Prajapati, who heads Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti, Vadodara adds, “We know very well that industries are not in position to control the prices of raw material. To remain competitive in a ruthless worldwide market they generally reduce either work force (and this way, increase the work load by such means), or go in for hiring contract workers who are denied all kinds of benefits -- leaves, bonus, medical insurance, Provident Fund and so on.”
Then, on page 19, while discussing the issue of child labour, Prajapati says, the “BJP Money-Festo” states, “Review, amend and strengthen the Child and Adolescent Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 2012 and Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS).” He comments, “It means they still want to study and review the law and scheme and till now they have no idea what to do about this. What a great demand for the Child Labour! They have no vision or dream of Child labour free India. The dream they have is only about Congress-free India (and if we hear the subtle murmurs, a Muslim free India).”
Then, on page 19 & 20, for Senior Citizens Money-Festo states “Harness their experience in the National Interest. Devise Schemes and programs to engage the senior citizens as volunteers/part time workers in various development programmes of the government, in urban and rural areas. This will not only help in utilizing their time, but also it would be an effective utilization of their experience and may add an additional source of income for them.”

Prajapti comments, “The time when elders should enjoy life fully, after having toiled all their adult life, they will be asked to work again, instead. On the other hand, is this the way you deal with unemployment among youth?”
He adds, “This clearly means that after retirement the benefits most workers get are not enough for their survival and secondly government always wants workers without rights and underpaid workers and that is what BJP’s Money-Festo is looking for. Nowadays Gujarat Government which is role model for BJP is recruiting large number of employees in the name of Sahayak who are de-facto underpaid and do not have any social security.”
Further, on page 28 the “Money-Festo” states “Put in place welfare measures for farmers above 60 years in age, small and marginal farmers and farm labours.” Wonders Prajapati, “Why welfare measures and not the right to these farmers and agricultural labours? Why there is no concrete demand to have policy to make farming viable for the small and marginal farmers? Why there is no policy to promote organic farming? Why there is no demand about the “Living Wage” (Real Wage) and social security to the agricultural labours? The BJP is not worried about the working condition of the agricultural labours because of the use (misuse) of pesticides in the agriculture. The BJP has no policy to reduce or to eliminate the use of pesticides in agriculture as contamination of food is also a very frightening issue.”
Prajapati concludes, “The Modi-Festo also ignores the issue of speedy justice to the workers in Labour and Industrial Courts. It also ignores the facts that labour laws are not implemented in letter and spirit. What is the plan of BJP to implement the labour laws? BJP’s Modi-Festo is not just vague about rights of the workers and ignores the rights of workers but openly advocates the policy and philosophy which is bluntly anti-working class.”

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