Higher Transport Allowance cities (A, AI)
9 and above
7200 + DA
3600 + DA
3 to 8
3600 + DA
1800 + DA
1 and 2
1350 + DA
900 + DA
Higher Transport Allowance cities (A, AI)
9 and above
7200 + DA
3600 + DA
3 to 8
3600 + DA
1800 + DA
1 and 2
1350 + DA
900 + DA
On August 1, a first time MP from Delhi, Maheish Girri, petitioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi to change the name of Aurangzeb Road in Lutyens’ Delhi to Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Road. Within weeks, the job is done, notwithstanding official rules against such renaming—the surest sign of decisive leadership we have seen so far!
What was wrong with Aurangzeb Road? Aurangzeb was—in Girri’s authoritative historical view—oppressive and cruel and had inflicted so many atrocities that commemorating him would send a wrong message to posterity. Changing the name of the road to honour the memory of the benign Kalam would right a “wrong” of history. Just as was done on December 6, 1992 in Ayodhya, presumably.
As a professional historian of medieval India—having spent nearly six decades unraveling and understanding our complex history—I am unfamiliar with Girri’s authority to pronounce judgments on my discipline.
But then, history is everyone’s discipline. Everyone is a born historian with equal entitlement to speak with full confidence. Especially if you have learnt the subject at an RSS shakha. So unlike any other discipline like physics or chemistry or even economics and sociology—where one has to devote to a lifetime to master it.
James Mill was the first great colonial historian who taught us to study Indian history in terms of the religious identity of its rulers in any epoch prior to British rule; hence his division of this land’s past into Hindu, Muslim and British periods in his influential work, The History of British Rule in India, published in 1817-18.
Mill had contempt for both Hinduism and Islam – a little more for the former – which had apparently kept India in the age of darkness vis-à-vis the march of progress that modern colonial rule had brought. This was indeed the predominant view of India, with some important variations, among front-ranking European thinkers—from Montesquieu to Hegel and Marx during the 18th and 19th centuries.
This image of India’s past was substantially modified post-Independence by leading Indian historians who began to look at history in terms of several variables, of which which religious identity was only one. This was a marked departure from the colonialist historiographical legacy. In this departure, the notion of class—and conflicts arising in society on account of it—played a significant role. From the 1980s onwards, even more facets of the past have come to the fore, facets that the category of class had ignored: culture, family, gender, ecology, visions of time and space and habitat, the gender identity of polities, the history of the constructions of the past, history as it was imagined through the ages, and so forth. The world of history writing has changed in the past five or six decades like never before—in India, as elsewhere.
In the midst of this phenomenal metamorphosis, the popular image of history has remained unaltered—the product of of a great and organised effort to keep it tied to the singular pole of religion. History at this level is simplicity itself, the kind mouthed by Girri or by TV experts who are otherwise surgeons or dentists by profession. Or by the Hon’ble Prime Minister, who publicly declared that Alexander was defeated in Bihar and that the great Taxila University was located in Bihar, probably as he was unable to distinguish between Taxila and Nalanda.
At this level of simplicity, history evolves as something shaped by rulers or great men (rarely women)—a notion not even considered by professional historians any more—and that the religion of the ruler is the single determinant of his political actions, a notion historians discarded decades ago. An equally strong assumption underlying this simplistic understanding is that a ruler’s “policies” remain the same from the beginning of his rule to the end, something demonstrated as untenable many times over. Let us take two examples for illustration: Akbar and Aurangzeb.
The popular image of the two rulers is of Akbar being liberal and Aurangzeb being dogmatic in their “religious policy” (itself a very dubious term). That’s about all that is known about them. As long ago as the 1960s, two “Marxist”, i.e. non-BJP, historians Iqtidar Alam Khan and M Athar Ali, demonstrated that the religious stance of each was guided by—and fluctuated with—the changing demands of political events during their 50-year-long reigns, and that there were “phases” in which each became “liberal” or “orthodox” depending on which crisis they were confronting. This means the religious stance of a ruler was not an independent and unchanging variable but a political resource to be drawn upon as and when required. His personal religious predilections played a role, but were greatly circumscribed by the demands of the situation.
It is thus that Aurangzeb, both as an aspirant to the throne and as Emperor, abandoned any dreams he had of making puritanical Islam the centrepiece of his rule—even as his heart lay in it. In his 1966 book, Mughal Nobility Under Aurangzeb, Athar Ali had tabulated the number of nobles from different groups who sided with the “liberal” Dara Shukoh and the “dogmatic” Aurangzeb (and the two other brothers) during the War of Succession in 1658-59. It turns out 24 Hindus were on Dara’s side and 21 on Aurangzeb’s, including the two highest-ranked Rajputs, Mirza Raja Jai Singh Kachhwaha of Amber and Raja Jaswant Singh Rathore of Jodhpur, who stayed with him till their end. It was Raja Jai Singh who defeated Shivaji and brought him to Aurangzeb’s court seeking peace. It was in 1679, 21 years after his accession to the throne, that Aurangzeb reimposed the jaziya tax on Hindus that Akbar had abolished in 1562—and he did this after the death of Jaswant Singh, when tension began with the Rathores.
Aurangzeb demolished some 15-odd temples—including ones at Mathura and Kashi, where he built mosques. Paradoxically, at the same time he also gave land and cash grants to Hindu temples and maths, including at Kashi, and these are all well documented.
What explains the paradox?
The same paradox that led a democratically elected leader in late 20th century India, Rajiv Gandhi, to mobilise religious support as a political resource when he had the gates of the disputed Ayodhya structure opened even as he succumbed to the outrageous demands of the Muslim clergy to upturn the Supreme Court judgment on Shah Bano. Rajiv Gandhi imagined he would be able to please both; in fact, he lost out on both fronts. Just like Aurangzeb, who spent the second half of his reign fighting on numerous fronts, both Hindu and Muslim.
James Mill had taught us to treat the rulers of the “Hindu” and the “Muslim” periods not as rulers whose actions are guided by complex considerations but simply by their religious affiliation. It is this colonial lesson that we propagate today when we view Akbar and Aurangzeb (and everyone else) as merely a “good” Muslim or a “bad” Muslim. Of course, all Hindu rulers are invariably “good”, no questions asked. One wonders whether Kalam, the great scientist and even greater human being and nationalist, would have felt honoured to be evaluated through this colonial prism and treated as a “good” Muslim whose claim to a road—that too from some Muslim ‘quota’—comes only as a counterpoint to the “bad” Aurangzeb and not as a product of his enormous accomplishments.
The author is National Fellow, Indian Council of Historical Research
"All the major theatres of Islamic fundamentalism today are places which were once in the forefront of progressive struggles in the third world, and every one of such struggles was destroyed by imperialism.
Mosadegh’s secular democratic regime supported by the Tudeh Party in Iran was overthrown, with the help of Ayatollah Kashani, because it dared to nationalise oil.
Saddam Husain’s Baath Party was helped by imperialism to overthrow the progressive regime of General Kassem in Iraq, which had been supported by the Communists; and later Saddam Husain’s own regime which at least professed secularism was overthrown, again by imperialism, which deliberately promoted the Shia-Sunni divide to bolster its position.
President Soekarno’s regime in Indonesia, which had the support of the Communists, was overthrown by imperialism in a bloody military coup by Suharto, which was followed by a pogrom that left half a million Communists dead; and today fundamentalism is making its presence felt in Indonesia.
Sudan, another place where fundamentalist forces are rearing their head, had the largest Communist Party in Africa, but an imperialist-backed coup by Nimieri seized power and the Communist leader, Comrade Mahjoub, was executed.
And of course in Afghanistan, it was the imperialism-promoted jihad against the Communist regime supported by the Soviet Union that spawned the Taliban and the Al qaeda.
In short, imperialism which appears as the benign defender of “human values” against the fundamentalist bigots everywhere, is itself the progenitor of the bigots; it systematically destroyed all progressive, secular nationalist regimes in the third world, while directly promoting, or leaving the stage empty for, the fundamentalist bigots.
This is not to say that the secular nationalist regimes of the third world did not have their own failings, weaknesses and contradictions.
We know in India the compromise with landlordism that the post-independence government entered into which sapped the viability of the dirigiste economic regime; similar stories can be repeated from other contexts.
But the basic point is this: it was never left to the third world countries to work out their own class contradictions and class antagonisms. Imperialism, inevitably, entered everywhere; it intervened everywhere, and the result of its intervention was a strengthening everywhere of the forces of reaction."....Prabhat Patnaik
Hence delinking from imperialist globalisation is required to strengthen nationalism and progress. But the pseudo nationalist BJP is surrendering to imperialism while raising some noise as if they are the only real nationalists!
8. Universal social security cover for all workers
Only 4% of the workers in India are in organized sector and 96% of the workers are in unorganized sector. Establishments with less than 10 workers are in unorganized sector. Also, self-employed workers, home based workers, workers in Government schemes like anganwadi, mid-day meals etc. are unorganized sector workers. The unorganized sector workers who comprise 96% of the work force have no social security schemes like medical, accident compensation, PF, pension etc. Due to the continuous struggles of the working class, the UPA=1 Government enacted “The Unorganized Sector Workers Social Security act, 2008”. But there is nothing new in it except bringing the 10 earlier existing schemes like Indira Gandhi national old age pension scheme, Aam aadmi bima yojana, raashtriya svaasthya bima yojana etc. under its purview. Even these schemes are not applicable to the vast majority of the unorganized sector and applicable to only those below poverty line. Out of the 43 crore unorganized sector workers, only 6 crore are covered under this Act. Even for these 6 crores, adequate funds are not allotted for implementing the social security benefits. The UPA Government has allotted Rs 1000 crore only to implement the benefits under this Act. But not a single paisa in it is expended so far. Modi Government also is doing nothing except giving new names to the old schemes under this Act and campaigning as if they are doing great service to the unorganized sector workers by such change of names. Moreover, the Modi Government has imposed drastic cuts in budgetary allocations to the welfare schemes like ICDS (anganwadi), mid-day meals etc. which are beneficial to the unorganized workers and their families.
The trade unions are demanding that all the unorganized workers and government scheme workers should be brought under the purview of the Unorganized sector workers social security act, whether they are below or above poverty line, and sufficient funds should be allocated for implementing social security benefits like medical facilities, accident relief, maternity benefits, provident fund, pension etc. to all unorganized workers.
9. Compulsory registration of trade unions within a period of 45 days from the date of submitting applications; and immediate ratification of ILO Convention C 87 and C 98.
After the advent of the neo-liberal economic policies, managements in most of the private sector establishments and even in some PSUs are becoming increasingly intolerant towards the existence of trade unions. Workers are removed and leaders are harassed and removed for forming trade unions. The registration of trade unions has become difficult and thousands of applications for registration of trade unions are kept pending since a long time. The trade unions are demanding that the registration of trade unions should be done within 45 days of application.
As per the convention 87 approved by the ILO (International Labor Organization), all the workers should be allowed unconditional right to form trade unions without intervention from managements and without any discrimination. But the Government of India is rejecting to ratify this convention. The Government is not willing to grant trade union right to government employees and they are allowed to form associations only. The Trade Union Act lays down the c condition that to form a trade union, at least 10% of the workers or 100, whichever is less, should come together, instead of the earlier prescribed 7. There are several such restrictions and conditions on the formation of trade unions. The trade unions are demanding that the Government should ratify the convention 87 of the ILO and thus agree for the right of the workers to form their trade unions without any conditions imposed by the Government or management.
As per the convention 98 approved by the ILO, the workers should have the right of collective bargaining. Recognizing the majority union/unions based on secret ballot and negotiating with the union/unions thus recognized to come to agreement on the demands of the workers is the essence of collective bargaining. But the Government of India did not ratify this convention 98. In India, there is no Act at central level and in many states for recognizing trade unions. In PSUs and in some private companies the unions are recognized through secret ballot/check off system as per the Code of Conduct, which was only a gentleman agreement between the managements and trade unions in 1961. But in most of the private sector, the trade unions are not recognized on the basis of secret ballot and no collective agreements are reached with the recognized unions. Instead, the managements are making agreements with individual workers or with their pocket unions having no support of the workers. Hence all the trade unions are demanding that the Government of India should ratify the ILO convention 98 and ensure collective bargaining.
10. Containing unemployment through concrete measures for employment generation.
In our country every year 1.2 crore people join in the labour market searching for work. As per the statistics of the Labour Bureau, only 4.19 lakh jobs were created in 2013 in the 8 sectors-garments, leather, metals, automobiles, gems and jewelry, transport, IT/BPO and handlooms and power looms. When the jobs required is 1.2 crores, how it can be satisfied with this meagre creation of 4.19 lakhs?
Modi came to power campaigning that Manmohan Singh failed to solve unemployment and he would solve it. After becoming PM, he announced “Make in India” policy in the name of creating crores of jobs. Foreign investors coming in large scale and establishing factories in India either by themselves or jointly with Indian investors to produce in India for selling in other countries is the sum and substance of this policy. For this, Modi has been touring several foreign countries inviting the foreign big corporates. He announced several concessions to foreign investors and Indian investors. He issued land ordinance thrice to grab land from the farmers without their consent, in the name of industrialization.
In spite of this, investment has not come in a big way. A major portion (54%) of whatever has come, has come for investing in stock market, which will neither produce goods/services nor create jobs. In spite of all this, in 2014, only 4 lakhs jobs were created under Modi Raj whereas 4.19 lakh jobs were created in 2013 under Man Mohan Singh in 2013 in the 8 sectors mentioned above.
Moreover, the strategy to produce in India for selling in other countries is a flawed strategy. Due to the recession prevailing in the USA and European countries and worldwide, our exports are falling down. This is the reply given by the Commerce Minister Mrs Nirmala Sitaraman in Rajyasabha on 22.7.2015.
Even in our country the market is not growing due to lack of sufficient purchasing power in the hands of the people. As per the reply given by the Finance Minister in the Parliament on 21.7.2015, as on 31.3.2015 the number of companies closed was 45603 and it increased to 61449 by 16.7.2015. As per the latest statistics, 1.40 lakh companies in the country are at the brink of closure.
Under these circumstances, when there is no market either in other countries or in India, how foreign investors will come to produce in India? They will come only to the unproductive sectors like stock market, finance, real estate and to loot our natural resources, to get some quick profit with the concessions given by the Government. This is what is now happening.
It is also proved that the “development” said to be achieved by the foreign and Indian Corporates is helping the Corporates to increase their profits, but not helping in creating more jobs. During 2004-05 to 2009-10, the average GDFP growth was spectacular 8%, whereas the growth in jobs was only 0.8% whereas the population growth is 1.5%. It is thus proved that the concessions given to foreign and Indian capitalists are not helping in job creation.
Therefore the private sector cannot be depended upon for job creation. It should be the responsibility of the Government. But Government is shirking this responsibility. As a result the jobs in organized sector have decreased from 2.82 crores in 1998 to 2.75 crores in 2008-09. While only 20% among the workers were contract workers in 1999-2000, it increased to 32% in 2008-09 and 50% at present. Thus, due to increase in unemployment problem, the number of contract workers is growing rapidly.
The largest employer in organized sector in our country is the Government. But the Government itself has imposed ban on recruitment. It is abolishing vacant posts and outsourcing works. The number of posts unfilled in various central government departments is around 10 lakhs. The number of Railway employees has decreased from 16 lakhs to 13 lakhs during the last 10 years. The number of emp0loyees in BSNL was 3.5 lakhs as on 1.10.2000 and it came down to 2.25 lakhs as on 31.3.2015. Due to this drastic reduction of jobs in Government Department and Public Sector, the possibility of social justice for SC/ST/OBC is drastically reduced.
The Modi Government is shirking its responsibility of job creation and moreover it is attacking even the existing job creating schemes like MNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) by drastic reduction in allocation of funds to it. This is reducing the work opportunities available to SC/ST/OBC sections of the people.
While thus adding to the increase in unemployment and thus creating the unrest, the ruling classes are utilizing this unrest to create communal conflicts and sectarian trends.
This increasing unemployment is resulting in more and more number of casual/contract workers forced to work for a pittance, thus weakening the power of the trade union movement, thereby negatively effecting the future of the workers and employees.
Therefore in the interest of the society and in the interest of the future of the working class, it is necessary to solve this dangerous problem of unemployment. The trade unions are demanding the Government to take the following steps to curtail unemployment:
a) Lift the ban on recruitment in Central/State Government Departments and PSUs.
b) Fill up all the vacant posts without abolishing them.
c) Stop outsourcing the work in Government departments and PSUs.
d) Improver the Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme so that all the unemployed in rural areas will get work. For urban areas also, an urban employment guarantee scheme with ensured minimum wage be implemented.
e) Extend the required financial support to self-employment/self-help schemes and small industries.
f) Unemployment Allowance for unemployed and modernization of employment exchanges.
11. Urgent measures for containing price-rise through universalisation of public distribution system and banning speculative trade in commodity market.
Sometimes it may be fast, sometimes it may be slow, but certainly the prices of essential commodities are increasing continuously. This can be understood from the fact that the IDA of BSNL employees which was 0 as on 1.1.2007 has become 102.6% as on 1.7.2015. Thus within 9.5 years, the prices increased more than 100%, i.e. more than 10% increase per year. But the price index and DA formula are such that the actual price rise will not be fully compensated. Although the Central Trade Unions in their meeting with the Finance Minister on 17.1.2015 have demanded merger of 100% DA for Central Government/PSU employees, there was no response. The price rise will more seriously impact the workers who are not getting any DA for price rise. The privatization of education and health has added more burden on the low paid workers and common people. Added to this, the Modi Government has lifted the price control on drugs required in the case of critical diseases like heart, cancer, diabetes and their prices increased considerably.
Internationally, the prices of petroleum were reduced by 50%. If prices of petroleum and diesel in our country are reduced accordingly, it would have resulted in reduction in the prices of all commodities due to reduction in power/transport charges. Due to such reduction in diesel prices, the losses to BSNL would have reduced accordingly. But in our country there is no such reduction in the prices of petroleum products since the Modi Government has increased the taxes on petroleum products and deprived this benefit to the people.
The main reason for price rise is black market and speculation. The speculation on essential commodities is allowed in the name of forward/future trading. Besides this, the Government is destroying the food security act by resorting to cash payment for food subsidy. This is nothing but a conspiracy to kill public distribution system.
Therefore the trade unions are demanding the following measures to control price rise:
a) Don’t allow black market in essential
b) Ban speculation in essential commodities
c) Universalize Public Distribution System and provide essential commodities through it.
12. No FDI in Railway, Insurance, Pension and Defense
Modi Government has enacted increase in FDI ceiling limit in insurance sector from 26% to 49%, with the help of the Congress. This increase is automatically applicable to pension sector. The Modi Government decided to allow 100% FDI in railway infrastructure and to increase FDI ceiling from 26 to 49% in defense production sector. Allowing FDI in large scale in pension and insurance is dangerous to the pension security and medical schemes available to employees. The Pension Fund Companies with more and more FDI will increase the pressure on the Government to handover the pension fund of the Government employees also to them, thereby threatening the security of government pension. Similarly the increase in FDI in insurance sector will lead to increasing pressure on the Government to cancel the medical facilities available under EPS, CGHS, and various medical schemes in PSUs like BSNL MRS and to divert all employees and workers to health insurance, which is less beneficial compared to the existing medical schemes. This increased FDI will thus lead to a serious threat to EPF, EPS, Pension and medical benefits. The increased FDI in defense production will endanger our self-reliance in defense production. Allowing FDI in Railways will lead to its privatization. The Bibek Deb Roy Committee appointed by Modi Government has already recommended for allowing private companies in installing and maintaining railway tracks and in running trains.
Hence trade unions are demanding not to allow FDI in insurance, pension, defense and railways.
The Alternative path of development proposed by the trade unions
The theory that the foreign and Indian big corporates must be satisfied by abolishing the rights of the workers, employees and peasants and by abolishing the welfare measures available to the people and then only they will invest and develop the country is a bankrupt theory. It is not development, but enslaving the people for the benefits of the Indian and foreign corporates.
The trade unions are opposing such a bankrupt, anti-worker, anti-people theory of development. All the Central Trade Unions have unitedly presented an alternative proposal for developing the country, in the pre-budget consultation held by the Finance Minister Sri Arun Jaitley on 17.1.2015. The proposal of the trade unions is as below:
a) To improve employment, Government has to invest in large scale for developing infrastructure.
b) The funds for such investment can be gathered by cancelling the unjustified concessions given to Corporates( more than Rs 5 lakh crore every year), by collecting the NPAs of Banks (Debts not paid) due from the Corporates and by collecting the more than Rs 5 lakh taxes evaded by the Corporates.
c) The black money in foreign countries diverted from India illegally is double the amount of foreign debt of India. It should be brought back.
d) The resources thus pooled can be used for developing the country by investing for improving infrastructure and agriculture and for implementing social security to all workers and the people and for implementing welfare of the people.
Thus there are enough resources for developing the country and for solving unemployment and for providing social security and welfare.
This is the alternative proposed by the working class for developing the country.
The real problem in our country is not the lack of adequate resources for development and for satisfying the demands of the workers and for welfare measures for the people.
The real problem is the lack of political will with the Government, be it of UPA or NDA variety, to gather resources by abolishing unjustified concessions to the Corporates, by bringing back the black money and by collecting taxes evaded by corporates etc. The reason for this is the previous UPA and the present NDA are representing the interests of the Corporates and not of the people. The Modi Government has now resorted to an all-round and severe attack on the rights and facilities of the working class and the people and it is hell bent on selling the PSU stocks quickly, in large scale and implement large scale privatization.
Therefore the issue before each and every worker and employee, be it in any sector, is to decide whether to accept slavery by agreeing to all these attacks by Modi Government and State Governments or to come forward to fight unitedly against this attack.
It is the task and responsibility of all workers and employees in all sectors to participate in the nation wide general strike of the working class against the anti-worker and anti-people policies of the Central and State Governments to protect the future. This strike is a patriotic strike for saving the future of the working class and the people of India from the barbarous attacks of the foreign and Indian Corporates. This struggle is nothing but a struggle for saving our independence. Hence it is necessary for each and every worker and employee to participate in such a great and sacred general strike.