BMS for change in fixing minimum wage formula

Shri V. Bhagaiah, Shri CK Sajinarayanan and Shri Virjesh Upadhyaya
at the National Executive Committee of BMS in Delhi 


144th National Executive Committee of Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh says that instead of three units, six units should be considered in a family while deciding the minimum wage

Dr Pramod Kumar

New Delhi: The 144th National Executive Committee (NEC) of Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) that met here from August 16 to 18 demanded a change in the formula of fixing minimum wage saying instead of three units, six units should be considered in a family while deciding the minimum wage.
In a resolution, the BMS said while deciding the minimum wage, the decision of the Supreme Court in the matter of Raptakos Brett case should also be kept in mind. “All types of Scheme Workers (Anganwadi, Asha, Mid-Day Meal, MGNREGA, etc.) should also be brought under minimum wage law,” the resolution said. The BMS decided to carry out awareness campaign on labour issues all over the country from September 25 to October 2, 2019.
“The BMS is of the opinion that before discussing the minimum wage at the tripartite committee, the government should take a decision on a very significant aspect of the minimum wage. Dr Satpathy Committee on minimum wage has recommended increasing the units from 3 to 3.6. The BMS is of the opinion that such unpractical recommendations on minimum wage should be put in cold storage and that the government should fix the minimum wage formula keeping in mind the ground realities. There is a huge difference in the social conditions of 1957 (when the minimum wage formula was first fixed) and 2019. The Constitutional conditions have also changed in these years. In 1957, the voting right was granted at the age of 21, while now it is granted at the age of 18. With the increase in education level, the duration of the children staying in the family has increased. Therefore, considering two units of children and two units of husband and wife, these should be counted as four units. Apart from it, there is another social condition today. In the year 2010, the Govt. of India formulated a law for senior citizens. Under that law if any person does not take care of his aging parents, they can move the court. If any matter goes to the court, the court automatically directs the person to pay the amount equal to two units to the aging parents. Since, the present formula of minimum wage does not ensure sufficient amount to the employee, the BMS demands that the minimum wage should be fixed considering six units in a family. Also, while counting six units in the family, other aspects of 15th ILC decision and the Raptakos Brett case decision of the Supreme Court should be followed,” the resolution said.
In another resolution the BMS urged the Government to change the direction of Economic and Labour Reforms. “The time has come, for the Government to look back, to re think about the paradigm in which it is working. India needs to start seriously discussing an India-centric developmental plan rather than that dictated by Western rating agencies and institutions like WTO, WB and IMF,” the BMS said in another resolution.
The 144th NEC demanded urgent steps to revive India’s automobile sector by initiating steps like easing loan norms, reducing GST rates, removing uncertainty over Electric Vehicles, providing stimulus package, etc. The Government should also stop privatisation and disinvestment of PSUs and revive sick PSUs. It should ensure that the labour law reforms are labour-friendly and not inhuman. All employment generation programmes should focus on job intensive sectors. The BMS also stressed on restructuring the NITI Aayog so as to remove its apathy towards leading social organisations and trade unions. It demanded to create a mechanism under each Ministry should consult social sector organisations like trade unions, farmer organisations, small scale organisations, etc before any reform is undertaken. The BMS NEC sought change in the anti-worker attitude of the bureaucrats and instil concerns about the social sectors. It demanded the formation of a Technological Commission to look into the role of technologies imported from outside which are job displacing like Artificial Intelligence, etc. Publication of a white paper on the impact of 28 years of LPG reforms, WTO, FTAs, FDI, etc on Indian economy was also sought. It stressed that the social organisations including Trade Unions should be consulted to find alternative India-centric programmes to save the Indian economy.
“The failure of LPG reforms was first identified after 10 years when the growth it created was termed as “Jobless Growth”. The economic survey presented in 2014 at the end of the 10 year tenure of UPA Government made two shocking revelations. It said the manufacturing growth was the lowest since Independence. Secondly, the external trade deficit was the highest since 1950. Thus it became clear that the LPG reforms had damaged India’s economy. But the Government had no mechanism to assess the impact of reforms. Our economists, experts and bureaucrats advising the Government could not understand this. Hence, the Govts has to bring out a white paper not only on the impact of globalisation and LPG reforms, but also the impact of WTO, FTAs, FDI, etc. upon India’s economy. It appears that the Govt has somewhat realised the negative impact of the FTAs while negotiating the RCEP. Successive govts. have been pursuing a failed Capitalist paradigm, which lacks human element. India needs to discover an India Centric paradigm which can cater the needs of our present conditions,” the resolution said.
“Government’s policy of vigorously privatising or disinvesting public sector units has created panic in the minds of the employees. Government’s romance with private industry has exceeded all limits. Mad rush for privatisation is against national interest and will only kill our manufacturing sector. Industries and sectors that play important role in sustaining India’s economy and serving the common man like Railway, Defence, Telecom, Aviation, Coal, PSU units, Energy, Bank, Insurance, Postal etc. are under the threat of privatisation and corporatisation. Privatising even profit making public sector units and nationalising loss making private sector units is a senseless policy. Privatisation cannot be a remedy for the economy as the private sector in India is mostly in a crisis. Rising contractualisation is a sign of failing and distressed private sector. Government and its advisors are utterly confused on the role of Public Sector as well as Private sector in India’s developmental trajectory, the resolution added.
The NEC supported the agitation by Bharatiya Railway Mazdoor Sangh in Rail sector and the agitation declared by Bharatiya Pratiraksha Mazdoor Mahasangh in defence sector. It demanded the Govt to initiate steps to resolve the serious concerns of workers in the light of Corporatisation and Privatisation in both the sectors.