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The Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), an affiliate of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), has demanded the Centre should reimburse cess collected for welfare of construction and bidi workers, which have been diverted to other heads after the roll out of the goods and services tax (GST).
The BMS said on Tuesday it plans to hold a "massive" rally on Friday to protest the Centre's economic policies. The protest comes on the heels of a three-day sit-in protest by 10 central trade unions on November 9, 10 and 11. The BMS was not part of that protest. "Our protest is to oppose the policies of the government, not a political party. Their motivation was politics, while we are fighting for labour rights," BMS organisaing secretary Pawan Kumar said.
The BMS also issued a 22-point charter of demands, which its leaders said would be submitted to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. The FM chairs the inter-ministerial council on labour issues that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had constituted in 2014.
The BMS also opposes the Centre's decision to disinvest from public sector undertakings. "We oppose disinvestment as we suspect the real reason to sell off PSUs is to offer private sector the prime real estate owned by these undertakings at throwaway prices," Kumar said.
Its other demands include implementation of equal wages for equal work in all sectors, provide contract labour pension and social security benefits. It has also demanded the Centre reimburse all types of cess collected for the welfare of construction and bidi workers, which have been diverted after the roll out of the GST.
It has also demanded equal wages for equal work in all sectors, provide pension and social security benefits to contract workers, provide 200 man days of work under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA), give representation to farmers and trade unions in the NITI Aayog and a stop to "curtailing of labour rights under the guise of labour reforms".
Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said the BMS protest vindicated his party's stand on the "ruinous" economic policies of the Modi government. "The government's policies have hurt workers and farmers. Everyday 35 farmers commit suicide. The GST on farm equipment is steep. Now, the BJP's fraternal organisations are exposing the Modi government's misdeeds," he said.
On October 29, the Swadeshi Jagran Manch, also an RSS affiliate, had protested the Centre's economic policies at New Delhi's Ramlila Ground.