Vol. XLIII No. 24 June 16, 2019
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Fight against Privatisation of CPSUs and Changes in Labour Law

On June 1, the CITU has issued the following statement:

NITI Ayog has announced ‘big bang’ reform through anti-worker changes in labour laws and fast tracking privatisation or closure of 46 PSUs. Rajiv Kumar, vice chairman of NITI Ayog has categorically told that “They (the foreign investors) will have reasons to be happy” and the government will “build an inventory of government land that can be offered to foreign investors”. We must read this statement along with the statement by the US private corporates asking the new Indian government to have ‘bold reforms’ including change in land and labour laws and e-commerce.

There is a clear indication to the working class and the toiling people of India that the Modi-2 government is going to vigorously follow the same policies which were opposed by the working class and the peasantry of the country.

Changes in labour laws are meticulously designed to impose conditions of slavery on the working people. Similarly, privatisation of CPSUs shall lead to looting of national assets by the government’s most favoured corporates and destruction of indigenous manufacturing capability of the national economy and setting the pace of de-industrialisation.

Modi government's big bang reform will put the lives and livelihoods of the mass of the people in disaster-the same people who gave the Modi government a decisive mandate. The mission of NDA-02 government is pay back to the "donors" both in country and abroad while forcibly looting the "voters"-the people at large.

The disastrous anti-people and anti-national move of the government must be opposed with full might of the united struggle of the mass of the workers led by the united platform of central trade unions and national federations.

CITU calls upon its affiliated unions and the working class of the country to be prepared for bigger struggles to defend the hard earned rights and the sovereignty of the country.


Crisis Looms Large over Banking Sector with Big Bang Economic Reforms,

Warns Bankers Union

 

THE Bank Employees Federation of India (BEFI), on June 2, warned the country that the banking sector is headed for the big crash soon in the Modi-2 government. Citing the statement of Rajiv Kumar, vice-chairman of Niti Aayog, on May 30, the union said that in the first 100 days of Narendra Modi’s second term as the prime minister, a slew of big-bang economic reforms which should please foreign investors, are likely to be pursued.

Debasish Basu Chaudhury, general secretary of BEFI, noted that the chairman of Niti Aayog is none other than the prime minister himself and recalled that Niti Aayog, which now acts as the main centre for policy-making, was founded four years ago, after dismantling the 65-year-old Planning Commission.

BEFI said that the economic reforms, as reported, will include conversion of 44 central labour laws into four labour codes, thereby opening the door for naked exploitation of workers. Privatisation or closure of 42 central public sector companies, and auctioning the State-owned industrial edifice built by public money are also in the pipeline, if the reforms were to be implemented. Creation of land banks from the public sector undertakings (PSUs) would be done to offer foreign investors for new industrial development.

Rajiv Kumar, earlier, stated that the government will place the new labour law bill before the Lok Sabha in the monsoon session in July and added that the government is even mulling over lifting the foreign direct investment (FDI) cap in order to sell Air India, the State-owned flagship carrier to foreign companies. He added that the government may create an autonomous holding company that would control all State-owned firms. BEFI said that this step would speed up the decision making for the sale of State-owned assets by bypassing the government machinery.

While blaming the stressed balance sheet of banks and a crisis in the shadow lending industry for the recent drop in growth, Rajiv Kumar suggested that the government should start with reforming the State-owned banking sector. The BEFI said that in so far as the banking industry is concerned, enough damage has already been done by the last Modi-1 government. The public and private sector banks, cooperative banks, regional rural banks, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) were all adversely affected by the pro-corporate policies of the previous regime. The country also witnessed an unprecedented intervention in the affairs of the Reserve Bank of India, BEFI noted.

The BEFI said that the catastrophic fallout of the private, corporate-driven bad debts reached alarming heights and lakhs of crores of public funds in the banks have been written off, officially doled through the much vaunted IBC Code 2016, in the name of ‘Haircut’.  All such steps have been taken to provide windfall benefits to a handful of private corporates, some of whom have also been allowed to flee the country.

The BEFI highlighted that due to huge amount of provisioning for bad debts, the PSBs as a whole, suffered net losses in the last four consecutive years despite healthy operating profits. The bad debts, lion’s share of which is due from the big borrowers, piled up due to government’s patronage to these corporates during the last five years.

 

The earlier Modi-1 government had contemplated to implement labour law reforms, including privatisation of the PSUs and other such measures, but could not do so due to stiff resistance offered by the working class, peasantry, middle class employees, students, youth and common masses through massive movements against such anti-national decisions, the BEFI said in its statement.

It recalled that the country observed four days’ general strikes on September 2, 2015, September 2, 2016, and, January 8 and 9, 2019, during the last five years. Now, trampling over all overwhelming opposition, the corporate, both foreign and national, is setting the agenda for the Modi-2 government, the union warned and called upon all sections of people to stand against such big bang economic reforms announced by the Niti Aayog.