Coronavirus lockdown | Yechury writes to President on compensation to employers

Sitaram Yechury. Photo: File

Sitaram Yechury. Photo: File   | Photo Credit: The Hindu

Govt. must compensate employers to halt pay cuts and lay-offs, says CPI(M) general secretary

To halt the ongoing pay cuts and lay-offs in the private sector, the government must compensate employers and help them tide over the economic recession that has been exacerbated by the lockdown, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury wrote in a letter to President of India Ramnath Kovind.

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Mr. Yechury wrote to Mr. Kovind after his earlier letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman did not draw any response.

“The economic consequences of this lockdown have further exacerbated the recession that had set in before the outbreak of the pandemic,” Mr. Yechury said. He said that the government has ordered that salaries should be maintained but in practice this is not happening since employers are saying that since their business has come to a standstill they cannot pay salaries.

‘Many have undertaken’

“The governments of many countries have undertaken to compensate employers, some to the tune of 80% of their wage bill. ‘Your government’ [the President’s government] should likewise announce such a measure,” Mr. Yechury said.

Also read | Affected districts increased from 62 to 257 in a span of 15 days

He added that a severe crisis of mass hunger and shortage of food is looming large with crores of people losing their livelihood. “In the central FCI (Food Corporation of India) godowns in the country, there is a stock of nearly 7.5 crore tonnes of foodgrains. Rather than this stock becoming rotten or feeding rodents, it should be immediately lifted and dispatched to the States for distribution among people who have lost their earnings,” Mr. Yechury added.

Asking the State governments to take the responsibility for the migrant worker crisis is very unfair, he said, considering they were not consulted before the lockdown was imposed. He also requested President Kovind to give suitable directions that the deferment of EMIs (equated monthly installment) on loans is interest free. The current announcement by the Reserve Bank of India for deferring EMIs comes with accruement of interest.

Also read | Cabinet approves ordinance to reduce salaries of PM, Ministers, MPs by 30% for a year

‘Community targeted’

“It is a matter of serious concern that attempts are being made to blame a particular community for the spread of the virus. The organisers of the Tablighi Jamaat [event in New Delhi] were very irresponsible. This, however, cannot be the excuse to target the Muslim community as a whole,” he added..

Also read | Govt. may have to present second Budget to deal with COVID-19 aftermath, says Jairam Ramesh

Mr. Yechury implored President Kovind as the “custodian of the Constitution” to not allow communal polarisation to grow in these trying times when the country needs to be united in its fight against an enemy that does not distinguish on the basis of identities of religion, caste, class, etc.

“Please impress upon your government that what is needed is human empathy not criminalisation,” he wrote.

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Printable version | Jun 2, 2020 6:46:24 AM |

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