Union Ministry of Labour and Employment is celebrating ICONIC week March 7-13, 2022, which is no more than an exercise just before rolling out the four labour codes to be implemented this year for which preparation are at very advanced stage. However, it betrays the hollowness of Modi government’s programmes for the workforce in the country.
As part of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav (AKAM), an initiative of the Modi government to celebrated and commemorate 75 years of progressive India and the glorious history of it’s people, culture, and achievement, the Union Minister Bhupender Yadav for Labour and Employment used social media yesterday to announce that his ministry had planned several initiatives, programmes, and events for the iconic week. Taking to twitter he said that it would help build a movement that will further accelerate Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of India 2.0, an Atmanirbhar Bharat.
The hollowness of his claim regarding accelerating India’s growth is ridiculous not only in respect of his ministry, because India has already become the fastest growing country in the world in terms of GDP but with fastest jobless growth rate by default, apart from the general deceptiveness of the ‘fastest growing tag’ that mesmerizes people and leading them away from frightful reality on the ground level. Apart from general joblessness and rising unemployment which has grown over 8.1 per cent in February 2022 from 6.57 in January compared to 6.1 per cent in 2018 which was 45 year high, India is likely to miss at least 17 key targets that Modi government had assured the country to achieve by 2022, as per the CSE’s India’s environment report that our Honourable Minister for Labour and Employment has himself released last week. The promises and targets given by Modi in which his government is likely to fail included making India $4 trillion economy, 2.5 crore jobs every year, housing for all, doubling farmers’ income, safe piped drinking water to all, and so on. There is a long list of failure, and terming them accelerated growth is ridiculous.
Let it be so, but Bhupender Yadav, the Union Ministry for Labour and Employment stated the purpose of the ICONIC week celebrations as “to celebrate the story of India’s growth to a leading economic powerhouse”, and to “further accelerate” Modi’s vision of India 2.0. It is also worth recalling that Modi has promised “New India by 2022” on completion of 75 years of independence which has been extended to 100 years during the Union Budget 2022-23 which has been claimed to lay foundation for it. It is clear that the government is just trying to sell a dream to the people even when its failure in almost all the fronts.
Workforce in India presently need jobs, and if not possible, they need complete social security coverage, now, not after 25 or 30 years later. Presently India needs at least 20 crore additional jobs to accommodate all eligible people for employment. Among around 40 crore people participating in the labour force has become subject of great fluctuation, millions of them getting jobs a month and losing in the next, lack of quality regular jobs, above 90 per cent engaged in informal sector, and only 24 per cent gets coverage under at least one social security programme while the majority are out of any social security coverage.
The extent of hollowness of the Modi government’s labour related programmes can only be estimated in this back drop which cannot be put under cover of the ICONIC week celebrations of the Centre that is in reality aimed at softening the bitterness among the workforce of the country on account of joblessness and lack of social security coverage, apart from preparing for rolling out the four controversial labour code that the Central Trade Unions have termed anti-labour and pro-corporate. The week long celebrations will include celebrating 25 crore registrations under e-SHRAM, launching of e-SHRAM on UMANG app, the launch of Donate-a-Pension scheme, Job fair by National Career Service centers, placement drives, and placement-oriented camps with special focus on SC/STs and differently-abled at 65 places across India, awareness generation and sensitization of workers & employers about their rights and compliances respectively under various Labour Laws in the entire iconic week by CLC(C) through its 20 regional offices across India.
On the very first day of the ICONIC week, ie on March 7, the ‘Donate-a-Pension’ programme under Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maan-Dhan (PM-SYM) has been launched for people to contribute to the pension fund of their support staff, such as domestic workers, drivers, helpers etc. Under PM-SYM, Workers working in the unorganised sector in the age group of 18-40 years can register themselves and deposit a minimum of Rs 660 to 2400 every year depending on their age. After attaining the age of 60 years they will receive the minimum assured pension of Rs 3,000 per month. It means such people will get pension after 20-30 years and that too only Rs3,000. What will be the value Rs3,000 by that time? Why the Modi government is quitting its responsibility for providing social security to workforce and shifting it on people?
What would be more ridiculous for Modi government that had promised women participation is workforce to be increased at least to 30 per cent by 2022-23 which was just 17.3 per cent just at the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, that has further exacerbated their condition, but has planned celebrations on March 8, the second day of the ICONIC week and International Women’s Day, as if they are champion of the women’s cause? Women workforce need more concrete action not only superficial celebrations and distribution of some sweets and supplement and Ayush kits et al.
Informal sector workforce which also included the gig and platform workers also needed formalization so that they can be able to take benefit from the social welfare or security schemes. Modi government needs to move fast in providing either job or complete social security to our workforce, not only the awareness programmes and celebrations, seminars and workshops, etc as has been planned for this week. Workforce are under heavy yoke of hardship and another yoke of the labour reforms via the four controversial labour code, for which the celebrations seem to be a preparation, may erode their working with dignity with security of livelihoods leading to modern day slavery. (IPA Service)
The post ICONIC Week Betrays The Hollowness Of Labour Programmes first appeared on IPA Newspack.