The Congress and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) on Friday accused the Modi Government of not just diluting social welfare programmes but also going back on promises made to the electorate during the Lok Sabha election campaign by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
While the Congress flagged dilutions in the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) and Food Ministry’s directive to State Governments to stop paying bonuses to farmers over and above the Minimum Support Price (MSP), the CPI(M) questioned the Shramev Jayate Karyakram launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday.
Pointing out that MNREGA has widely recognised as the largest social welfare programme of the world, Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi said it was deplorable that the Modi government was diluting it with the intent to render it ineffective so that it can be scrapped. Referring to the move to change the labour-material ratio from 60:40 to 51:40 and turning a nation-wide programme into a targeted one, he said these changes would strike at the very core of MNREGA.
The CPI(M), in a statement, argued that the Shramev Jayate Karyakram offered nothing to working people. ``In the name of Shramev Jayate, the Modi Government is acting in the interests of investors and not workers. It is also condemnable that changes in labour laws and others moves, which affect the workers, are being implemented without even discussions with the trade unions.’’
Extending support to the protest actions called by central trade unions to replace mandatory inspection of industries with self-certification, the CPI(M) Polit Bureau said the new norms would encourage further violations by employers. ``It is well known that despite inspections, many labour laws and social security schemes like EPF and ESI were not being implemented for large chunk of workers.’’
As for the launch of the Universal Account Number for Employees Provident Fund (EPF) subscribers to facilitate portability in case of change in employment, the CPI(M) pointed out that it was being worked out for the last few years. ``The present government has just signalled its implementation.’’
In a related development, the Congress flagged Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh’s letter protesting the Central Government’s directive disincentivising payment of bonuses to farmers. Mr. Singh has pointed out that a change in policy like this ``may result in significant reduction of cultivation of paddy, resulting in lower production, which may have far reaching effect of reduced buffer stock and adverse impact on overall food security’’ of the country.
Further, the Chief Minister pointed out that payment of bonus was an important promise to the electorate in the BJP manifesto during the 2013 Assembly elections.