Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-affiliated trade unions and farmer groups have opposed the government’s attempts to amend labour laws at a time when the BJP-led NDA is pushing big-ticket programmes such as skill development and Make in India.
They want the government to focus on job creation, saying its initiatives were not creating employment opportunities and better wages. The message was relayed to the government at a meeting on Tuesday between several Union ministers and representatives of the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, Swadeshi Jagran Manch and the Bharatiya Kisan Sangh.
These organisations are not content with minimum wages and contractual jobs or with the government limiting its intervention to skilling alone. “There is no wage-led growth; people appointed at junior levels continue to earn a meagre salary till their retirement,” a BMS functionary said.
The affiliates have called for reassessing benefits accrued in the past through foreign direct investment (FDI). PM Narendra Modi’s views that FDI reforms will boost employment and benefit the economy has failed to impress the Sangh.
An SJM functionary said: “From what we have seen, the rich have become richer and the gap between the rich and the poor has widened.”
The Sangh’s farmer wing said allowing FDI in the food processing industry would affect local businesses, small operations and start-ups. These Sangh affiliates will deliberate on FDI and other economic policies at a meeting in September. Their opposition may force the government to rethink its strategy.
RSS, the BJP’s ideological mentor and often accused of influencing policy decisions, has become more assertive of late, unlike its blanket endorsement of government policies last September at a coordination meeting in New Delhi. Besides trade, labour and economy, education is where the Sangh wants its imprint to be conspicuous.
It wants its inputs incorporated in a new education policy and a curriculum steeped in Indian culture. Reverting to the traditional teaching forms such as the Gurukul system, popularising Sanskrit and culling out information from Vedas is a priority for the Sangh, which it asserted in meetings with HRD ministers — first Smriti Irani and now Prakash Javadekar.