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

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".

Examples of support to Hindu temples, scriptures, saints by 'Muslim' rulers galore

Siya Ram coin issued by Akbar By Bharat Dogra* At a time when the country as well as the world are passing through very difficult times leading to more urgent need for strengthening national unity for meeting several big challenges ahead, unfortunately disputes relating to religious places have been allowed to raise their ugly head once again. It is well-realized by now by many people that it is not historical facts but narrow considerations of political gain and spreading of fanatic ideas of intolerance which are behind such mischief, but due to the increasing threat of mob violence and patronage available at higher levels to groups spreading intolerance many people are reluctant to openly and fearlessly express their views. Hence there is urgent need for broad-based peace committees with wider social support to spread the message of communal harmony and to appeal against the dangers of spreading false messages regarding places of worship which can ultimate

Gyanvapi case: Use of 'illegal' lawfare to keep the communal pot simmering

By Venkatesh Narayanan, Bobby Ramakant, Manoj Sarang* With a steady drumbeat of bad news for the lives of ordinary citizens --  inflation at a multi-year high , rupee at an all-time low , negative job creation and when all forward indicators as seen by industry leaders point to recessionary clouds on the horizon , what’s a serially-incompetent government to do?  Dust out their time-tested-citizen-distraction playbook. The Gyanvapi-Masjid case is all of this -- as a weapon of mass distraction. This zeitgeist of our times is best captured by a recent opinion piece : "The idea is to keep the pot on a perpetual boil, simmering at the top, whirling feverishly beneath. A restless society forever living precariously on the precipice arouses distrst, uneasiness, fear and discomfort, That is a toxic panoply for manufacturing rage, which can then be effortlessly mobilized at short notice. BJP is creating an eco-system of real-time instant delivery of hate-mongers. That is how we are sudde

Targeting mosques, churches: 'Roadmap' for 2025, RSS' centenary year?

416 years old Our Lady of Health Church, Sancoale, Goa  By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  Fascists use manipulative strategies aimed at whipping up sympathy and support from the majority community, to which they normally ‘belong’. They do so in a variety of insidious and subtle ways. In the past few months, they have gone overboard in their efforts to denigrate and demonize minorities in India, particularly Muslims and Christians. They have spewed hate and divisiveness through their venomous speeches; incited people to violence and have effectively used officialdom to further their vested interests. The results are there for all to see: greater polarisation of the majority community in a country which prided itself for its pluralism and diversity. Their meticulously planned agenda is in order to gain absolute power of the country in the 2024 national elections. More so it is also a roadmap towards 2025 when the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) will complete one hundred years of its existence.

Upholding labour rights, Nehruvian scientific temper, Rajni Patel opposed Emergency

By Harsh Thakor*  Rajni Patel, who died 40 years ago, whatever his flaws, had one great quality: his human touch to offer selfless service and ability to galvanise or influence human beings from all walks of life. Few people would ever go out of the way to help someone or serve as selflessly without aim of personal gain. Rajni championed Nehruvian secular ideas and scientific temper. As a master in public relations he revealed utmost humility. As a barrister, he never appeared against the trade unions or workers. A Fabien Socialist he opposed liberal capitalism and radical socialism. Unlike most lawyers, he did not succumb to the lure of amassing wealth. Rajni was born in Sirsa, in Gujarat, on the very day Gandhi set foot on Indian soil, on 9th January, 1915. He gained his baptism through one of Gandhi's speeches calling for the boycott of foreign goods, which was the virtual turning point of his life. Rajni toed Gandhi to organise boycott of foreign goods. Rajni was able to cros

This varsity succumbed to extra-academic mobocracy, 'ignored' Hindutva archives

By Shamsul Islam* Open letter to Sharda University vice-chancellor Sub: Discarding a Question on Linkages of Hindutva with Nazism/Fascism is blatant Academic Dishonesty! Dear Professor Sibaram Khara Saheb, Namaskaar! According to your esteemed University’s portal: “The name of University, 'Sharda' is synonymous to 'Goddess of knowledge and learning-Saraswati'. She is identified with 'veena', an Indian musical instrument and the ‘lotus’, where she resides. The lotus in our logo symbolizes the seat of learning that the University is created for.  "Variety of colours signify the variety of disciplines the university offers and the overlap between petals creating new colours demonstrate the ethos of collaboration between students and teachers of different programme, nationality, creed and colour working towards creating new knowledge…the University's cherished mission to provide education beyond boundaries and to facilitate the students and faculty to achie

Whither climate goal? Increasing reliance on coal 'likely to worsen' India's power crisis

By Shankar Sharma*  Recent news articles, How to shock-proof India’s power sector and Power minister points finger at states for worsening electricity crisis , have highlighted a few current problems for the ongoing power sector issues as in April 2022. However, there is a lot more to it than a few temporary solutions as indicated in the articles. It should also be emphasised that it is techno-economically impossible to completely shock-proof a highly complex and geographically wide-spread vast power network, such as the one in India, which is only getting more and more complex with the passage of each year due to some irrational policies/ practices in the sector. A business-as-usual (BAU) scenario, wherein more and more of conventional technology power plants, including coal power plants, will be added in the near future, will also necessitate the increased complexity in the integrated national grid, and as a result the instances of power shortage/ disruptions can only escalate for

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.

A former Modi ally, Prashant Kishor wanted to enter Congress 'on contract, as trader'

By Anand Sahay*  The Congress Party and the election campaigns specialist Prashant Kishor, whose company has done strategic communications for a host of political parties across ideology, should both count themselves lucky that they could not reach an agreement for Kishor to join the party. News reports suggest that the Congress rejected Kishor’s terms. This is not wholly unexpected. People join a party because they are attracted to it, and wish to serve it in any capacity that the party may see fit. But that isn’t Kishor at all. He gave the impression of entering into a contract, as a trader might. If news reports are to be believed, he sought freedom to report directly to party chief Sonia Gandhi, and sought untrammeled control over party communications. When such ideas did not find favour, the consultant withdrew. It is clear he has no particular love for the Congress, and its ideas, ideology and politics. In contrast, look at the key personae in G-23. They

Haven't done a good deed, inner soul is cursing me as sinner: Aurangzeb's last 'will'

Counterview Desk The Tomb of Aurangzeb, the last of the strong Mughal emperors, located in Khuldabad, Aurangabad district, Maharashtra, has this epitaph inscribed on it: "Az tila o nuqreh gar saazand gumbad aghniyaa! Bar mazaar e maa ghareebaan gumbad e gardun bas ast" (the rich may well construct domes of gold and silver on their graves. For the poor folks like me, the sky is enough to shelter my grave).