Hind Mazdoor Sabha's View on General Budget

GENERAL SECRETARY, HIND MAZDOOR SABHA, SHRI HARBHAJAN SINGH SIDHU ALONG WITH ALL OFFICE BEARERS AND ACTIVISTS OF HIND MAZDOOR SABHA PAYS TRIBUTES TO OUR GREAT LEADER COMRADE UMRAOMAL PUROHIT FORMER CHIEF ADVISOR AND GENERAL SECRETARY OF HIND MAZDOOR, SECRETARY JCM AND PRESIDENT AIRF ON THE 3rd DEATH ANNIVERSARY.

 

ANNUAL GENERAL BUDGET- GREAT DISAPPOINTMENT

TALL PROMISES – NO COMPLIANCE

SUNTE THAI BAHUT SHOR SEENE ME JIGAR KA- KATA TO EK KATRAI KHOON NA NIKLA

 

General Budget along with Railway was presented by the Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitely on 1st February 2017

Citizen of India were expecting some relief in respect of heavy job loss, inflation, women safety, relief in individual tax specially for senior citizen and women, youth were expecting roads for their decent employment but these areas were not even touched by the Hon’ble Finance Minister. The Budget was confusing in many case for example the announcement of maximum plan and non plan together is not workable. We know that in all departments the allocation of Finance is being done on plan and non plan basis with emphasis on plan expenditure. There are strict instructions not to transfer any amount from plan to non plan head. If Finance Minister’s announcement is correct can we infer that from this fiscal year plan and non plan classification will end?

 

Similarly when Hon’ble Finance Minister mentioned enhancement of allocation for MNREGA from Rs 38000 crore to Rs 48000 crore. He did not mention the fact that the revised budgetary allocation for Scheme in 2016-17 was Rs 47,500 crore which too was lower than the amount actually demanded by Ministry of Rural Development thus the enhancement which was projected to be 25 percent actually come to only one percent. If we go through the expenditure on the Schemes the year may end with pending liabilities of Rs.13000 crore for 2016-17. If we add this amount also the allocation becomes less than the actual requirement. 22 States have negative wage payment balance and 54 percent of the wage payment continues to be delayed.

We would like to remind our learned Finance Minister that he has proposed fund for the welfare of senior citizen in his Budget proposal for 2016-17. HMS wants to know the fate of that fund and also the reason for not mentioning the same in the Budget proposal for 17-18 by the Hon’ble Finance Minister. It may be recalled that as a subsequent action the unclaimed money under EPFO was ordered to be diverted towards senior citizen welfare fund which was unanimously opposed by all Central Trade Union. It is learnt that the proposal could not get even cabinet’s nod. There is no mention of this fund in the present Budget Proposal.

In the Budget proposal for 2016-17 Hon’ble Finance Minister promised automation of 3 lakh fair price shops out of total 5.35 lakh by March 2017. Hon’ble Finance Minister failed to mention neither the achievement in the area nor the target for 2017-18.

Finance Minister mentioned that World Bank has shown positive reaction on GDP growth ;of India but did not mention that the country has been de-ranked by IMF because of decline in GDP and the adverse affect of demonetization.

It was for the first time that Railways Budget was also included in General Budget but in his speech Finance Minister devoted very little time (3 minutes only) for Railway. He did not mention anything about the pending projects where huge capital has been invested which will give return only when the projects are operative.

The Finance Minister allocated a sum of Rs. One lakh crore for safety in Railway but the amount is meant for 5 years it means only 20,000 (twenty thousand crore) per year. Railway will arrange Rs 5000 crore for rest of the amount the picture is not yet clear.

Finance Minister did not mention anything on operating Ratio which is a key indicator of financial health of Railways. Railway expects to close this year with 94.9 percent as against 92 percent projected for 2016-17 this figure 94.9 percent is worst in four years. For next year it is expected to be around 94.5 percent. This may be reason of not mentioning it by Finance Minister as he prefer only rosy thing to be presented.

Railway is expected to end the year with Rs 12,000 crore short fall in earnings which is likely to increase, passengers business of Railway is at alarming stage. As per revised estimate for 2016-17 it was 48000 crore and the passengers it is likely to carry next fiscal year just about .2 percent growth over this year’s figure. Total traffic earning next year is projected to be Rs 1.88 lakh crore just about 9.8 percent growth over this year’s Rs 1.72 lakh crore (Indian exp 2 February).

Railway Minister Shri Suresh Prabhu while presenting Railway Budget for 2016-17 assured to provide employment to the tune of 9 crore man days in 2017-18. Finance Minister did not mention anything about this in his proposal.

Hind Mazdoor Sabha opposes proposal of listing of the 3 Railway PSUs Indian Railway Construction Company Ltd. (IRCON), Indian Railway Finance Corporation, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism corporation on stock market. No concrete practical proposal for expansion of Railways have been made. Attempts can be made to pass on the burden of Railway to public at large and also the entry of private players in Railways in name of competitiveness.

The Finance Minister accepted the tax theft by corporate office but did not suggest any step for recovery of accumulated Direct taxes to the tune of 6.59 lakh crore. The finance minister also accepted that there was no dispute what so ever in respect of Rs 81406 crore even then he failed to suggest any measures for its recovery.

Finance minister projected demonetization as an effective measure to eliminate black money, corruption, counterfeit currency and terror funding but did not provide details about the amount of black money recovered. On the contrary the figure shows that more than 98% of old currency has returned back. It means that black money if any has been allowed to be turned in white, Incidence of terrorist activities have increased, huge amount of new currency notes has been recovered none of the objective has been achieved.

 On labour reform Hind Mazdoor Sabha is of the opinion that there was no need of mentioning in the Budget speech. The proposed labour law reforms are not acceptable to workers or Central Trade Unions as these are anti worker/anti people pro employer reforms.

How can a Government claim to be pro workers when it is snatching all the labour rights, Trade union rights and other fundamental rights of Freedom of Association, not respecting UN or ILO Conventions. India is signatory to UN Sustainable Goals 2030, to all core conventions adopted by ILO but not ratifying ILO Conventions 87,98, 138 and 182 and even 189 on Domestic workers. How can such a Government claim that it is pro workers.

Railway got prominence in Budget since 1924 as It’s Budget was prepared and presented separately that has been done away in the name of multi model approach for Transport which is nothing but a clear direction towards privatization. The Prime Minister and Finance Minister both have said “The Government has no business to run the business” and It is also in tune with the present Government philosophy of “Minimum Government, maximum Governance”.

Finance Minister did not mention of any budgetary support for the modernization and expansion of Railway. The promise to remove unmanned level crossing by 2020, was made with no mention of resource generation 3500 km of Railway track will be commissioned.

 

The Railway has opened the door for private player and multinational which can be explained by these two examples BHEL locomotive workshops Jhansi was established to manufacture 200 loco motives. It was manufacturing locomotive, Diesel and electrical, suddenly Ministry of Railway took a decision to stop order to BHEL and the orders were given to G.E of USA and ASTOM of France, Now both multinationals will use our infrastructure, cheap labour, with no or nominal labour law compliance with just put their stamp and the product will become “Make in India by MNC” instead of made in India. Similarly Chittranjan locomotive has capacity to manufacture 800 locomotives but they are advised (confidentially) not to exceed 200 mark.

The Hon’ble Finance Minister for the reasons best known to him did not speak a single word for the Railway workmen, their family welfare who work 24x7x365 against all odds and with extra ordinary work load due to ban on creation of posts and millions of vacancies even in safety head remaining unfilled. He did not mention of Job Security or social security of Railway workmen.

 Appointment of “coach mitra” is another attempt to put persons of their own liking on the job, they will be paid from the resources to be generated by the Railway. It is almost similar to appointment of facilitators under proposed labour code on Industrial relations.

Hind Mazdoor Sabha appeal the public in General and people representatives, MP and MLAs  inparticular to cut across the party line and to come togather during discussion on Budget and get the Budget proposal amended as per wishes of the people of India whom they represent.

 Harbhajan Singh Sidhu

    General Secretary

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