Skip to main content

Sitharaman's offer for rural jobs to 'create' just 3 crore rural jobs. Demand: 12 crore jobs

By Amarjeet Kaur*
The final package, the fifth one in a row, announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on May 17 was a fiasco. Sitharaman during her press conference for two hours and six minutes spent more than an hour detailing the policy actions of her government’s last six years’ rule, repeating the already provided proposals during the two budgets after coming to power for the second time, even as reiterating her briefings on the four earlier packages she had announced over the previous four days.
Much hype created around the Rs 20 lakh crore package to fight Covid-19 proved to be hollow as the real input has been only between Rs 3.5 lakh to Rs 4 lakh crore. Different economists have been putting the real input between 1 and 2% of the GDP only.
Sitharaman gave just five minutes for her policy statement on the health sector, as if she was making a passing reference to it, only forgetting, wilfully, that the nation is dealing with a health emergency. She provided breakup for the already announced package of Rs 15,000 crore by the Prime Minister. She also repeated the previous announcement favouring private players in the health sector.
There was no commitment to strengthen the public health system to the meet present and future health emergency. Rather, the only talk was to have district level test labs for infections. We at the All-India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) have been demanding for the immediate infusion in the health sector not less than Rs 1 lakh crore to meet the requirements of of health professionals, upgrading the health system. Increase in health budget, specially the public health, system has been our demand.
Similarly, her schemes for education address a small section of our society, ignoring the needs of the children of vast majority of poor masses and the ground reality situation of the families which comprise almost 100 crore population of our country.
In regard to the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), the announcement of additional Rs 40,000 crore is a very meagre in the face of the real pressure on the rural economy with crores of additional workers who are going back to their native places and would need work.
There is an urgent need for immediate infusion of Rs 1 lakh crore in the health sector in order to meet professionals' requirements
Sitharaman said that 300 crore mandays will be covered, which means that only three crore families will get the benefit of only 100 days per year. It has been reported in Parliament that in 2018-2019, as many as 5.47 crore households availed of MGNREGA. During the current Covid-19 period, the Finance Minister in one of her briefings had said 40-50% more people have enrolled. That means, as per the government’s own admission, it comes to eight crore people.
Now with many more people wanting to have jobs in the countryside, there is need to create not less than 12 crore jobs under this scheme in rural India with increased number of workdays from 100 to 150.
Amarjeet Kaur
It is to be noted that the government has been continuously reducing the funds for MGNREGA. Number of districts was reduced in contradiction to the legal requirement of this scheme being demand based. In the 2020-21 budget, the allocation for MGNREGA is Rs 61,500 crore, which is less than the provision of 2019-20, which was Rs 71,200 crore. This sector needs not less than Rs 1.5 lakh crore of additional infusion in the present circumstances.
Meanwhile, the government has failed to provide Rs 7,500 for each family in the unorganized sector and daily/ casual/ self-employed persons who have suddenly lost their livelihood for their sustenance, a demand which had been raised not only by trade unions but from all sections of society, including political parties.
Neither has the government conceded to the demands of trade unions that the wages of workers of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) be paid by the government April onwards during the lockdown period and further on till SMEs resume work.
Interestingly, Sitharaman spent less than five minutes to quickly mention the figure of allocation to various sectors to add up to show it reaches more than Rs 20 lakh crore, which was more of a jugglery.
In answer to a question she accepted that the money will be mainly from borrowings, wondering, why should one ask from where the money comes, why not talk about where it will go. She was arrogant to the hilt on questions being asked about the miseries of the stranded labourers and the arrangements for them to reach their native places.
---
General Secretary, All-India Trade Union Congress

Comments

Unknown said…
Very good counter. So far the Indian economy prior to COVID was due to consumption alone and not due to manufacturing or service sector contributions. With Corina disturbing the consumption on account of no joba and no income the way to revive economy was by restoring the consumption by providing money or income to people. The artcile has highlighted as to how the package is not stimulus and also how it is hollow for poor and middle class people.
Unknown said…
Amrjeet Kaur analysed finance minister package propaganda in systematic and scentific way.The real picture of Idia could be understood through Amarjeet writtings.This is a right intervention at right time in interest of working people of people of India.
Anand Deepayan
Anonymous said…
The word congress should have printed on top. Wouldn't have taken the burden to read this logic , economics defying article.
Please be like this so that we elect right leader to lead the country

TRENDING

India reaches 8th of 10 stage genocide: US Muslim advocacy group raises 'alert'

By Hena Zuberi* India has reached the 8th stage of genocide with the persecution of the Muslim community. Stating this, Professor Greg Stanton, who heads Genocide Watch, declared a Genocide Emergency Alert for India today at Justice For All online briefing.

Mayawati's 'success' depends on how BSP taps new crop of young Amdekarite leaders

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  Whatever be the election results in Uttar Pradesh on March 10, it is extremely important to understand: that the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and its leader Mayawati have the potential to rise like a Phoenix any time.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Anti-poor? 'Cumbersome' to link aadhaar, voter ID for people sans internet access

By Prashant Kumar Chaudhary, Ajit Kumar Jaiswal*  At present, technology plays an increasingly crucial part in modelling human existence by offering a variety of solutions to many of the challenges individuals confront in the real world. As a result, every branch of research works to provides means to solve these difficulties precisely and efficiently. The Central government works along the same lines as well.

India's actual Covid death rate about 2500 per million, third highest in world: Study

By Rajiv Shah  There is now well-researched proof, if it can be called that, indicating that the Government of India may have fudged data to show lower Covid death rate. A new paper, published in “Science”, has said that while officially the Government of India’s Covid-related death estimates as of January 1, 2022 – 345 per million population – are one-seventh of the US death rate, the actual analysis of crude death rate in India suggests, this may be a gross underestimation. 

Barbaric, inhuman attack on Odisha villagers to implement JSW project: NGO networks

Counterview Desk  A “solidarity statement" issued by three top civil society networks, Friends of the Earth India (FoE India), Delhi Solidarity Group (DSG) and the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), has asked the Odisha chief minister to ensure that the “inhumane barbaric attack on the villagers of Dhinkia, Odisha” in order to implement a corporate project.

Gender insensitive? Model Gujarat's cyclone relief package ignores 40,000 fisherwomen

CSJ volunteers talking to fisherwomen By Rajiv Shah  A Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) note on the Gujarat government’s compensation package to the victims of the devastating Tauktae cyclone, which hit the coastal belt of Saurashtra's Amerli, Rajula, Una, and Gir-Somnath districts in May 2021, has said, the relief offered was so terribly inadequate that many of the fisherfolk were not able to fish for the rest of the year.

'Dargah site was a temple': Claim in Gujarat following post-Babri verdict demands in UP

By Rajiv Shah  Will Gujarat also see demands to replace mosques and dargahs with Hindu temples? It would seem so, if a new fact-finding team conclusion is any indication. Apprehending the “danger” of communal conflagration, it has cited the claim on a 15th century dargah was originally a Hindu temple – allegedly quite on line with what has been happening in UP following the Supreme Court verdict on Babri Mosque.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Haridwar call for genocide direct result of Modi 'tolerating' Islamophobic policies

By Our Representative  A high-level briefing organised in Washington DC, in which as many as 17 human rights and interfaith organizations -- including Amnesty International USA, Genocide Watch and Hindus for Human Rights, apart from several persons in their individual capacity -- participated, has come down heavily on what they called "Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Islamophobic policies and tolerance of open incitement by Hindu extremists for a genocide of Muslims."