Pre budget consultations with Trade Union leaders - Finance Minister cleared some of the apprehensions and also assured on some specific issues.
Trade unions on Monday asked the government to increase the income tax exemption limit to Rs 5 lakh and the minimum wage from Rs 18,000 besides raising the minimum monthly pension to Rs 3,000 for all.
They also sought a special package for victims of the recent Tamil Nadu floods.
These demands were raised under a 15-point charter submitted by 11 central trade unions to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley during pre-Budget consultations held here. The Union Budget for the next financial year, 2016-17, is slated to be presented in Parliament in February end. It will take effect from April 1.
The 7th Pay Commission has recommended Rs 18,000 as minimum monthly wage for central government workers and it should be the benchmark, for other sectors also. Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh said.
All Indian Trade Union Congress Secretary DL Sachdev said: “We have also demanded Rs 3,000 minimum monthly pension for all and asked for a special package for flood ravaged Tamil Nadu to provide relief to workers as well as industry in the next Budget.”
Sachdev said that in view of price rise “we have also demanded from the government to increase the income tax exemption limit to Rs 5 lakh per annum”.
The union have also asked that fringe benefits like housing, medical and educational facilities and running allowances in railways should be exempted from Income Tax.
Unions also demanded that PSUs should be strengthened and expanded and the disinvestment of government shares in profit making PSUs should be stopped.
Besides, they said that the budgetary support should be provided for revival of potentially viable sick PSUs.
On the price rise, the charter said: “Take effective measures to arrest the spiralling price rise especially of food and essential items of daily use. Ban speculative forward trading in essential commodities, check on hoarding and universalise and strengthen Public Distribution System.”
Expressing concerns over steel and aluminium sectors, the unions said: “Relentless and increasing flow of import of industrial commodities including capital goods must be contained and regulated to prevent dumping and also to protect and promote domestic industries and prevent loss of employment.”
It also said that “FDI should not be allowed in crucial sectors like defence production, Railways, financial sector, retail trade and other strategic sectors. In other areas, terms and conditions for FDI should be made public.
The Finance Minister also assured the delegation that, neither Railways nor Coal India will be privatised and their identity will be protected. Responding, the apprehension made by BMS, CITU, AITUC, and AICCTU on FDI issue, he promised that, his government will maintain the Government character while implementing FDI policy and will not raise FDI cap more than 49% as the Government needs huge amount of money to create new infrastructure in Railways etc.
He informed the Trade Union leaders that, his government does not want any strikes in banking sector and initiates bipartite settlement soon. Replying the doubts raised by LPF and BMS on Nokia issue of Chennai , he said that ,the Government will take a serious note on this issue and try to save the Industry as the govt wants to protect jobs of thousands of people.
The Meeting was chaired by Finance Minister Sri Arun Jaitely. The Minister of State for Finance ,Sri Jayanth Sinha,; Chief Economic Advisor Sri Aravind Subramanyam ; Secretaries of Revenue , Expenditure ,Financial Services , Labour along with Senior officials participated in this meeting . From, Trade Union side representatives’ of all the 12 Central Trade Unions participated. Ms Panuda Boonpala, Director I/c of ILO Delhi was the Special Invitee for these consultations.