Covid-19: RSS affiliates want govt to boost social welfare outreachUpdated: Mar 22, 2020, 11:56 IST
The affiliates of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) want the government to increase the outreach of its social welfare schemes to workers in the unorganised sector, revamp its trade policies to become less reliant on China and announce measures for the micro, medium and small enterprises (MSMEs) to mitigate the impact of the global economic downturn in the wake of the novel cornonavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
On Saturday, the president of the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, CK Saji Narayanan, said immediate steps should be taken to ensure that the 43 crore unorganised sector workers are provided health care and a financial package to help them tide over crisis triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Schemes such as Ayushman Bharat will be of great help to the workers in the organised sector; but we are equally concerned about the welfare of those who are daily wagers,” he said.
Narnayana said the government must ensure that if factories and other units are shut down in the wake of the pandemic, employees should be paid their wages.
“Holiday wages and leave with wages must be provided and workers should not have to suffer if their units are shut,” he said.
The BMS chief said state government should empower local bodies and panchayats to help people in need and earmark funds for meeting daily needs of people in rural and semi-urban areas.
Another Sangh affiliate, the Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM), wants the government to come up with a strategic plan to build its economy and become less reliant on China.
“It’s a mistake all countries made, of becoming dependent of China and not investing in their own economies. Pharmaceuticals, automobile, telecom, electronics and many other sectors are in danger,” Ashwani Mahajan, the national co- convener of the SJM said.
He said while the government will need to come up with a short-term compensation package for workers, in the long term it will need to assess its trade and economic policies and how to “bypass China”.
“The total number of people infected with the Covid-19 virus in the Italy is 47,021 and the number of deaths is 4,032. Italy alone has the highest number of deaths even surpassing China and the third-highest number of deaths was in Iran after China. According to a report, China’s ‘One Belt One Road’ [OBOR)], that is, Belt Road Project, is a major contributor to the spread of this infection in Italy and Iran. Despite being so far away from China, the cause of the outbreak of the coronavirus in these two countries can be easily explained by OBOR linkages,” he said.
The Laghu Ugyog Bharati (LUB), an affiliate that works with the MSMEs, has made suggestions such as leniency in credit lending, tax returns and removal of late delivery penalty.
Govind Lele, the general secretary LUB, said, “We have requested the government that extending the ad-hoc additional credit of 25% for working capital by all financial institutes and public sector banks until the situation is normalised should be considered and the date of payment of government taxes should also be extended till the situation improves.”
The LUB has also submitted a representation to the Central government pointing out that there has been a substantial reduction in demand of goods due to closure of malls shops and weekly bazaars, which have disturbed the micro economic cycle impacting trade and industry.
“It will be very supportive to the MSMEs to extend the nil interest on all loans and cash credit limits until the end of the situation, and those companies that are not cash rich should be allowed to pay only 50% of the wages to their employees if they need to shut down manufacturing till condition ease,” Lele said.