Modi Government –Did You Not Say You Would Get Rid Of the Virus in 21 Days
You are now using the Virus to Get Rid of Us
When the Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the country on 24 March 2020 announcing the lockdown in order to contain the pandemic he said that everyone would have to make a 21 day sacrifice to fight the pandemic. Now into the fifth month of that statement we are still effectively under the ill-planned and ill-timed lockdown. The pandemic has today formed the basis for employers to turn on the working class and for the government to deregulate and privatise the economy, putting in place policies that advantage the ruling class at the expense of the working class.
More people have lost jobs than can be counted. And now that the summer has ended millions of young women and men who have just graduated from college have joined the ranks of the unemployed with no hope of finding a job. Many more, than those who have been rendered unemployed, have not received their wages for four months and more. Even workers who have been at the frontline of fighting the pandemic have not been paid – ward staff, nurses, safaikarmacharis, anganwadi and ASHA workers etc. Government, in the first instance, ordered employers to pay workers and not remove them from their jobs through its 29 March order. It never, however, enforced the order and finally withdrew it on 17 May as if the pandemic was over and the impact of the lockdown had ended. What was worse, government didn’t even defend the order before the Supreme Court.
The union government while suspending parliament has been aggressively pushing state governments to amend labour laws including increasing working hours, making closure of establishments simpler and allowing for increased unregulated employment of contract labour. Government has also moved fast on its ‘reform’ agenda –further increasing the limits of foreign direct investment in key sectors and handing over the economy to private capital through a rapid and speedy process of privatisation. We have already seen the opening up of mining and the extensive sale of coal blocks to the private sector. On similar lines the privatisation of the railways, defence, petroleum and of course banking and insurance is being pushed through speedily. The amendments to the Environment Impact Assessment legislation will also make it easier for private enterprises to take over mining in forest areas, endangering forest communities and their livelihood and the ecological balance.
While the government is undertaking an aggressive deregulation and privatisation programme, it is also increasing its attack on democratic rights and the right to democratic dissent. It is increasing the attack on trade unions, the peoples’ movement and the democratic rights movement.
The working class, government recognises, is the bulwark that has the capacity to form the resistance. Hence the attack is sharpest on the working class. The working class must advance its resistance.
We have fought and won our rights and we shall continue to fight.
We stand in solidarity with the strike of Honorarium Workers on 7 and 8 August
We join the 9 August Action We support the 18 August coal mine workers strike
|S. Venkateshwara Rao|
SWCC , West Bengal