BY Counterview Desk
One of India’s top trade union organizations, All-India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), in a statement, has taken strong exception to a “meagre” allocation of Rs 15,000 crore to fight the deadly coronavirus, has said that little is being done to help the marginalized sections of society, especially daily wagers, migrants, agriculture workers and self-employed persons like hawkers-vendors, porters, loaders, domestic workers, etc. who are “losing their livelihood in the lockdown.”
Signed by AITUC secretary Amarjeet Kaur, the statement demands a package of Rs 5 lakh crore, pointing out that even a small state like Kerala has announced a package of Rs 20,000 crore.
We at the All-India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) while taking the lockdown as necessary step as a preventive measure to stop the spread of Covid-19 infection, are extremely disappointed at the very meager amount of Rs 15,000 crore allocated by the Prime Minister in his address to the nation on March 24, whereas for a small state like Kerala government announced Rs 20,000 crore package.
The dire need of the country is for testing and provision of all-out medical help to all those infected cases. A warlike preparation is needed for the provision of ventilators, masks, increased bed capacity, availability of medicines, maintenance of hygiene, etc.
The front soldiers in the case of medical help are our doctors, nurses, other para-medical staff and cleaning staff, etc. who need to be taken care of. But it is they who are being neglected and not fully equipped as the requests and complaints from them including from the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Resident Doctors Association are all in open for all to see.
We deplore that the government of India allowed export of all these required equipment in fighting Covid-19 till March 19, 2020, despite World Health Organization’s (WHO) guidelines to stop it at the beginning of February itself.
The harassment of doctors, nurses, etc to vacate residential premises is the most shameful act which must be taken cognizance of by the concerned authorities and the guilty be booked to give a clear signal to the society. The shameful instances of harassment of those working in airlines including air India staff which brought stranded Indians from abroad have also come to light.
Workers and employees of permitted essential services are not being allowed to commute to the workplaces by police in many areas
The workers and employees of the permitted essential services by the government are not being allowed to commute to the workplaces by police in many areas despite they have ID proofs provided by the government departments and public sector offices.
The poor masses, who are daily wagers / casual/ migrant/ agriculture workers or are self-employees as hawkers-vendors, those who are coolies/porters/loaders unloaders, domestic workers, etc. are losing their livelihood in the lockdown/ curfew situation have been left in the lurch for nothing to bank upon. They need immediate financial relief, free ration and free fuel to cook food. In many cases for destitute food should be provided from government-run outlets.
This requires big economic package from the government. The clean drinking water and otherwise water needs for washing hands and bodies, the needs of hygiene and sanitation are very essential and especially in this pandemic situation.
The Finance Minister was only busy in announcing an increase in deadlines for filing Income Tax (IT) returns, Goods and Services Tax (GST), about Tax Deducted as Source (TDS) or the cases under bankruptcy act, etc. but no announcement for the 40 crores out of about 54 crores of working people who are looking towards the incumbent government for help.
We demand from the Modi government to immediately come out with a clear policy and package to deal with all these issues at the earliest otherwise anxieties of no work and no food amongst masses will create problems in dealing with Covid 19 pandemic. The government has to immediately increase the financial package for health to tackle the emergent needs of the medical fraternity and the expansion of health infrastructure.
AITUC demands of Rs 500,000 crore package from the Central government to meet this calamity.