Vol. XL No. 52 December 25, 2016

CITU Calls for Protests on Jan 3 against the Attack on Livelihood through Demonetisation

THE secretariat of CITU, which met in New Delhi on December 19-20 has called upon the working people to voice their protest through holding country wide massive demonstrations on January 3, 2017 against the so-called demonetisation drive of the BJP led government at the centre, which has imposed serious hardships upon the workers, particularly those in the unorganised sector, on the farmers, on the small business people, small traders and street vendors etc. CITU demands the government to mitigate the sufferings of the people by ensuring availability of cash in adequate amounts and immediate payment of wages to all the workers.

In a statement issued on December 21, the CITU secretariat noted that all over the country thousands of small and medium sized units and businesses have closed. The services of lakhs of contract and casual workers, fixed term employees, trainees, apprentices etc have been terminated without payment of any compensation. Migrant workers employed in construction, brick kilns and plantations are forced to go back to their villages as no work was available. Transport, automobile ancillary production, power looms etc have been seriously affected. Workers have not been paid their wages. In several places the employers are forcing the workers to share the cost of exchanging old notes.

The government which initially said that the measure was intended to curb black money is now talking of evolving a 'cashless economy'. Many eminent economists have made it clear that demonetisation cannot be an effective measure for curtailing black money as cash forms only a small proportion of around 3-5 percent of the black economy. The super rich and big-business who evade taxes and generate black money invest in real estate, speculation, gold and jewellery or stash it in foreign countries have not been touched, rather are being allowed to continue their loot and plunder on the exchequer and the people. Talking of converting India into a 'cashless economy' at this point of time, when around 35 percent of our villages do not have banking facilities and optic fibres for internet coverage have been laid in only 9000 out of the total 6 lakhs villages, is nothing but ridiculous. Overwhelming majority of the unorganised sector workers and daily-wagers are not having live bank accounts; in that situation, making payment of wages through banks compulsory will empower the employers to harass the workers on wage-payment. This idea can be conceived only after ensuring bank accounts for all workers and bank branches in the vicinity of all habitations in towns and villages, that too with the consent of the workers.

Simultaneously, every other day the government has been imposing restriction in withdrawal or exchange of demonetised notes, the latest one being one-time dispensation of Rs 5000 in respect of exchange/deposit although it is still ten days left for the last date for exchanging demonetised currency notes, till December 2016.

This measure is only intended to help finance capital by sucking in people's money into the banks for their recapitalisation so that they can provide cheap credit to the big corporate and business houses. CITU calls upon the workers to participate in the demonstrations in large numbers on January 3, 2017 throughout the country demanding immediate payment of their wages and making available cash in adequate amount.