New Delhi: RSS labour wing, Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) has called the lockdown “an emergency like situation where 10 per cent of the unorganized and migrant workforce is being driven towards starvation.
Coming under the RSS umbrella, BMS raising the plight of stranded workers and seeking a package from Prime Minister Narendra Modi assumes significance.
The letter to the PM by BMS General Secretary Virjesh Upadhyay flags the issue of lakhs of workers who are hungry, out of work and many are now starving.
It also brings to light that while some packages for relief have been announced by central and state governments, lakhs of these workers in the unorganized sector are not registered in official records and therefore ineligible for cash or food aid.
The labour union said that lakhs of workers have run out of work because of the lockdown. A vast number of them are daily wage earners, contractual workers, migrants, construction workers, all kinds of scheme workers, handloom workers, agricultural workers and others.
“Chances are that lakhs of them are not even registered with the government/welfare boards. The workers of the unorganised sector, which constitutes around 93 per cent of the country’s workforce, are the worst hit. The government must come up with additional steps to identify those in need,” BMS said.
It pointed out that while state governments have announced relief packages but barring a few like Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Kerala and Tripura most of the states have not yet transferred any amount. In Tamil Nadu the situation is worse.
BMS said that almost 10 per cent of the population is being pushed towards starvation. “It is an emergency like situation and the Centre must intervene”, it added.
Migrant workers who are stuck in different parts of the country must be provided relief packages. They are one of the worst-hit groups.
“Once the lockdown is over and industries restart, they will face labour shortage. Keeping this in view, lockdown should be lifted in phased manner and migration back to the workplace must be facilitated”, the union demanded.
The pandemic has had worse effects on the world economy including India, BMS said. “Once the pandemic ends we will rush to revive the economy. It can’t be ruled out that investors will try to run out, be fearful of investing, migration will be slow and labour may not be available immediately after the lockdown is lifted”, BMS said while expressing concern.
“Therefore lockdown must be lifted in a phase wise manner, giving enough time and confidence for industries and workers to return to work. A tripartite/tripartite plus committee should be formed to monitor and direct the economic revival and re-growth”, it added.