“The truth is that the State is a conspiracy designed …… to exploit, ……. its citizens”
– Leo Tolstoy
It was the NDA government which during the period of Mr. Sahib Singh Verma as the Minister for Labour from 2002 to 2004, started setting up numerous Sub-Regional Offices around the nation, including the bizarre one for Benares with less than 1000 insured persons.
It is the same NDA government now which is closing down the Sub-Regional Offices.
It was the NDA government with the same Mr. Sahib Singh Verma, as the Labour Miniser, which caused creating more and more posts of SMCs and SSMCs everywhere. It is the same NDA government which abolishes those posts now, in spite of the facts that many SMCs are doing commendable job.
But, this time, the operation-closure of SROs and the Offices of the SMCs is part of the grand design to dismantle the structure of social security organisations under public control, to facilitate the greedy ultra-rich of India to find new business avenues to make crores and crores for themselves at the cost of the poor working class.
It is strange that the Indian politicians so willingly allow themselves to be used by these business-interests to work against the 99% people of the nation. The Oxfam in its report titled ‘An economy for the 99 per cent’, suggested that “it is time to build a human economy that benefits everyone, not just the privileged few”. But, the politicians in power would not listen. Because, all round development of the nation does not benefit the politicians who happen to be in power. Nor would a public sector organisation that caters to the social security needs of the people pay hefty donation to the political party in power, while private organisations reward them in numerous ways.
1% wants to corner 80% of the wealth
As of 2015, 1% of the population of India owned 53% of the country’s wealth, as per the report of Credit Suisse (Times of India 14.10.2015).
As of 2017, the richest 1% owned 58% total wealth in India (The Hindu 16.01.2017), as per the report of the Oxfam.
Now, by dismantling the public-sector social security organisations, the abovesaid 1% could corner another 25% of the nation’s resources. All, in democracy and in the name of democracy.
While the UPA government saw the resources of the ESIC being frittered away by setting up medical education institutions in a reckless manner, the NDA had, not only joined hands in further exploitation of the ESIC by setting up more medical institutions, but had chosen from 28.02.2015 onwards to further please the ever-greedy ultra-rich by winding up the social security system of the nation, through the Labour Code on Social Security and Welfare.
Democracy means Rule by Debate. But, the manner in which the Indian politicians willingly allow themselves to be manipulated by and for the ultra-rich and bring up a Labour Code by bypassing so many time-tested methods of law-making, will land the nation in misery forever.
ILO is aware of pitfalls but hesitates to call a spade a spade
As for the role of the ILO in the preparation of the said Labour Code on Social Security and Welfare, the less said the better. The authorities of the ILO had not endorsed any of the proposal of the Labour Code. They just gave their guidelines and left the matter at that. The same was the case with the ISSA too. But, the central bureaucrats project it as a completion of the required formality to consult the ILO and ISSA. But, the same ILO, which has, now, lost its opportunity to protect the Indian Labour, from the ill-effects of the proposed Labour Code on Social Security and Welfare, did not hesitate to criticise India in in November 2010, for its notorious informal labour practices. “India has performed poorly in providing social security protection to its people until recently with ‘very high vulnerability’ to poverty and informal labour practices in the world, according to a report released by the International Labour Office (ILO) today” (Times of India – 16.11.2010). In its first comprehensive ‘World Social Security Report’, the ILO has suggested that India has not done enough in the arena of social security protection, which is reckoned as the “human face of globalisation, in line with its fiscal status”. But, when there is opportunity at hand for the ILO to prevent the calamity in the arena of social security in India, the ILO is wishy-washy in its stand. Pity the ILO !
In regard to the importance of the ILO, the Course material PGDLL of Vardhman University, says, “If the ILO Conventions are seen in the general spectrum of labour conditions, one can imagine the great value and influence they have in moulding the course of social and economic philosophy of the world. The world without their influence and continuance may be a world of perpetual competition, exploitation, inequality and injustice resulting in wars and confrontations. Judged in this perspective, it would be highly relevant to assess the impact of the ILO standards on Indian Labour legislation. This impact can be seen in three phase, namely, labour, legislation in India before the ILO. Labour legislation in India from 1919 to 1947 and labour legislation in India after 1947.” But, the ILO has betrayed the trust of the labour in it, 70 years later in 2017, by its choice to play an ineffective role in the preparation of Labour Code on Social Security and Welfare.
The coterie of the rich and powerful
It is, ultimately, the cleverness of the persons that carries the day. The greedy rich, the servile politicians, the sheepish ILO and the unfaithful bureaucrats joined hands together to work against the poor. What else would explain the daring manner in which the existing time-tested benefits given to the working population are attempted to be reduced by the ruling class even for the organised labour?
The poor of the nation are protected neither by the bureaucrats who willingly carry out the dishonest orders of their political superiors nor by the employees’ representatives who occupy the seats in the supreme body of the ESI Corporation as Members. As for the role of these members of the ESIC, no one other than Mr. Kali Ghose understood the issues and defended the labour right from the beginning till his end. He was the only member in the supreme body of the organisation, who spoke for the poor sincerely.
It is now left to the commoners to prevent this Labour-Code from being made law. It is the duty of the thinkers among them to stand up and expose the misdeeds of the rulers and stop the nation from being looted by the ugly ultra-rich more and more, through the proposed Labour Code on Social Security! Let them speak up!!
Perform your role and avoid double-penalty !
A citation from Quoran is worth-quoting in the context:
There was a Mullah in a village. He was a very honest and pious man just doing his work in the mosque. The villagers had been indulging in various sinful activities, like theft, adulteration, cheating, adultery, etc., But, the Mullah who was aware of the entire on goings did not come forward to inform the villagers of their folly. He did not make any efforts to reform them. He thought that none would listen to him. He, however, guarded himself not to commit any such sinful activity.
Soon, there was flood. It washed away the entire village. It took away the Mullah too. All of them appeared before God. God punished everybody according to the nature of his or her crime. When Mullah presented himself last, he was imposed with double-penalty. Mullah pleaded that he had not committed any sin and that he had been doing only the work for God in the mosque. God did not agree. It was the duty of the Mullah to inform the villagers of their wrongs. The villagers were not aware of the extent and consequence of their sin. To some extent they were ignorant too. But the Mullah was an informed man. He was, therefore, duty-bound to inform the others. Whether the others would listen to him or not was a different issue. Mullah had to perform his duty of informing the people but he had not done so. He had, in fact, not made any efforts in that direction. God said that the Mullah, therefore, deserved double penalty. “When a sin is committed before an individual or a group and they do not prevent it, in spite of having the capability, then Allah inflicts a severe punishment on them…” (Virtues of Tabligh — Chapter II – Sayings of the Prophet).
Thus, Islam shows that even a priest cannot go to heaven unless he discharges his inherent duty when on earth. Generally, no one would observe the religious formalities more punctually and more systematically than the priest. Yet, the doors to heaven do not open to those who observe only those formalities and do not perform their duties towards humanity.
The thinkers who know the ill-effects of the ill-intentioned Labour Code on Social Security & Welfare should come out of their slumber and discharge their duty to inform the people about the impending danger posed to the nation by the said Code. That is the only way they can avoid double-penalty later.
“I am only one; I cannot do everything.
Still, I am one; I can do something.
Because I cannot do everything,
I will not desist from doing something that I can do”,