Trade unions slam Budget for neglecting labour woes

New Delhi, Feb 1 (PTI) Central trade unions including Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) today criticised the government for not giving attention to commoners in the Budget, saying "it has totally neglected the labour woes".

Disappointed over the Budget, the BMS has decided to hold countrywide demonstrations tomorrow.

"Even though today's budget for the first time has given more thrust to rural development, agriculture, health, infrastructure etc, it has totally neglected the woes of labour," BMS General Secretary Virjesh Upadhyay said in a statement.

He said the Anganwadi workers, ASHA karmis and other scheme workers, who are among the poorest-paid workers appointed under the Central Government, have got no relief in the budget.

He further said the middle class employees are unhappy as there is increase in the tax exemption ceiling, while the cess on income tax has been increased from 3 per cent to 4 per cent and this was done at a time when the budget claims 41 per cent increase in the tax payers' net.

He was of the view that the increase in take-home salary for women will reduce 16 per cent of their future savings in the EPF (Employee Provident Fund) when they leave their establishment within few years.

According to BMS, the workers will also have to bear the burden of merger of state-run insurance companies, and there is no government assurance on their job security, transfer, promotion etc.

He said that the 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 January 8 is pending consultation with trade unions, he added.

The BMS said it is totally unfair on the part of Government to unilaterally announce it in the Budget and this shows the total neglect of the government on labour. It termed it "a labour-unfriendly budget".

The All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) General Secretary Amarjeet Kaur said the NDA government budget has failed to address the concerns of common man, unemployed and vulnerable sections.

She said the budget presented by Finance Minister was more of a jugglery of words, manipulation of statistics and deceitful way of putting things to sell dreams once again without backing of concrete steps and actions needed to implement the statement of 'intent' made.

She also said the Finance Minister ended with quote from Swami Vivekanand but his budget was just opposed to what Vivekanand wanted India to become as he wanted India to become a powerful nation of working people to fulfill their aspirations, and attain a life of dignity.

The budget, she said, once again gives huge concessions to corporates and big businesses including on focus to foreign investments, and continued disinvestments of public sector units to the tune of Rs 80,000 crore in the coming year.

She was of the view that the government wants to be satisfied with certificate from International Monetary Fund for the growth estimates, as it once again appeared to be committed to tag India's economy with international finance capital.

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