The Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) said the annual Budget is disappointing for the labour community and that it would hold countrywide demonstrations on February 2.
According to a statement issued by Virjesh Upadhyay, general secretary, BMS, even though this year’s Budget for the first time has given more thrust to rural development, agriculture, health and infrastructure, it has totally neglected the woes of labour. Anganwadi workers, ASHA karmis and other scheme workers who belong to the poorest paid workers appointed under the Central government have nothing as relief in the Budget. Middle class employees are unhappy with no increase in their ceiling for tax exemption; at the same time the cess on income tax is increased from 3 to 4 per cent. This was done at a time when the Budget claims 41 per cent increase in the tax payers’ net. Moreover, the government treasury has been hugely benefited by the new GST regime, demonetization and digitalized bank transactions. Now there is a system by which last paise to be paid as direct or indirect tax will reach the government treasury. The unorganized sector workers’ social security fund is also not given any support in the Budget, he added.
In a scathing attack, the labour leader said as per the Budget, women employees need to pay only 8 per cent contribution to EPF in startups. The increase in take home salary for women will reduce 16 per cent of their future savings in the EPF when they leave their establishment within few years. The burden of merger of Insurance Companies also will be on the workers, and there is no government’s assurance on their job security, transfer, promotion, etc. There is also no provision for revival of viable sick CPSUs, instead the government is focusing its attention on Strategic sale of 24 PSUs; increase in EPF pension from the current Rs.1000 and Budget allocation for cess withdraw from 9 labour welfare funds. He also said the Budget also omitted to increase allocation for MGNREGA so that it can increase the wage and number of working days. Budget unilaterally announces fixed term employment to be extended to all employment. All labour related changes in law has to be discussed in the tripartite forum and then finalized. Now the draft notification on fixed term employment issued on 8th January is pending consultation with trade unions. “In the meanwhile it is totally unfair on the part of Government to unilaterally announce it in Budget. All these shows the total neglect of government on labour. It is a labour unfriendly Budget. Hence, BMS decided to protest against Budget,” he added.