Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley holds his 2nd Pre-Budget Consultation Meeting

New Delhi: The Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs Shri Arun Jaitley said that the present Government is fully committed to safeguard the interests of the workers especially those working in the MSME and the unorganized sector. The Finance Minister said that the workers are entitled to minimum wages prescribed by law and asked all the concerned industries to strictly comply with the same without fail. The Finance Minister, Shri Arun Jaitley was making his Opening Remarks at his second (2nd) Pre-Budget Consultative Committee Meeting with the representatives of different Trade Union Groups here today.

Along with the Finance Minister Shri Jaitley, the Pre-Budget Consultative Meeting with the representatives of Trade Union Groups was also attended by the Minister of State for Finance, Shri Shiv Patap Shukla, Shri A.N. Jha, Secretary, Expenditure, Shri Subhash Chandra Garg, Secretary (Economic Affairs), Smt. M. Sathiyavathy, Secretary, Labour and Employment, Govt of India, Ms Vanja N Sarna, Chairperson, CBEC, Dr. Arvind Subramanian, Chief Economic Adviser (CEA), Shri Arun Goel, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Labour & Employment, Shri Manish Kumar Gupta, V.V.Giri National Labour Institute and Shri Pritam Singh, Director General, Labour Bureau among others.

The representatives of the different Trade Groups present during the aforesaid meeting included Shri K. Lakshmna Reddy, Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS),Shri K K Nair, National, Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC),Shri Sukumar Damle, All India Trade Union Congress(AITUC), Shri Harbhajan Singh Sidhu, Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS), Dr.K Hemalata, Centre of Indian Trade Unions, Shri Sankar Saha, All India United Trade Union Centre, Shri S P Tiwari, Trade Union Coordination Centre, Ms Jyoti Macwan & Manali Shah, Self Employed Women’s Association, Shri Santosh Roy, All India Central Council of Trade Union, Shri M Shanmugam, Labour Progressive Federation (LPF),Shri Ashok Ghosh, United Trade Union Congress and Shri Depak Jaiswal, National Front of Indian Trade Unions among others.

Many suggestions were received from the representatives of different Trade Union Groups. 9 of the Trade Unions jointly gave a common Memorandum on behalf of the workers they represent. Their Common Memorandum contained 12 point charter of demands. The Major demands include increased Budgetary Allocations for Social Sector including health and education; necessary Financial Resources for the purpose to be raised internally by taxing the rich who have capacity to pay; effective measures against deliberate tax and loan repayment faults; Minimum wages for all workers as an essential part of Social Security and be fixed on the basis of the Recommendations of 15th Indian Labour Conference and linked to Consumer Price Index; Resolve demands of the Government Employees regarding 7th Pay Commission; Measures to check the prices of essential commodities; Ban Speculative Forward Trading; Stop disinvestment and Strategic Sale of PSUs; Massive investment in infrastructure, social sectors and agriculture to generate employment opportunities; Increased import of industrial commodities including capital goods be contained and regulated to prevent dumping; Expenditure on MGNREGA be increased to cover all rural and urban areas; no Contractual/casual workers should be deployed on jobs of perennial nature; Contract and Casual workers doing the same and similar work as permanent workers be paid the same wages and benefits as paid to regular workers following the principle of ‘Same wages for same work’; FDI should not be allowed in crucial sectors like defence production, railways, retail trade and financial sector among others; Privatisation of Defence Sector be stopped; Regularisation of the workers deployed in various Schemes of the Govt of India; the Government should ratify the ILO Convention 189 and enact a Central Law and create support System for domestic workers ; Bring about Labour Law Reforms; Create a National Fund for Un-organised Sector workers to provide Social Security; Minimum pension of Rs.3,000 for all and the New Pension Scheme (NPS) be withdrawn; Adequate allocation of resources to Railways for more effective, accessible and affordable transport for the poor ; and Gratuity be raised to Rs.20 lakhs and 30 day wages per completed year of service among others.

Other demands include the raising of the ceiling for Income Tax purposes for Salaried Class persons and Pensioners up to Rs.5 Lakh per annum; and Rs.8 Lakh in case of Senior citizens. Other suggestions include GDP Growth should be translated in full basket; Income Gap between rich and poor be checked by taxing rich people who can afford to pay; Workers of un-organized Sector be given benefit of EPF; and Agriculture Reforms be undertaken to generate employment etc.

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