No plan to privatise Railways or Coal India,Jaitley assures unions

Trade union representative demanded that disinvestment in profit-making public sector units be stopped forthwith and budgetary support should be given for revival of potentially viable sick CPSUs.

New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Saturday assured trade unions that government has no intention to privatise either the Railways or Coal India.

Representatives of 11 trade unions met the Finance Minister with their budget wish-list that included an increase in income tax exemption limit for salaried class to Rs 5 lakh and immediate stop to plans of disinvestment in profit-making in public sector units.

"Jaitley assured representatives of various trade unions that government has no intention to privatise either the Railways or Coal India," an official release quoted him as saying.

The focus of the government is to create more jobs and employment opportunities beside safeguarding the existing jobs and give better environment for ease of living for the common man, he added.

Jaitley said the government wants to create better social security system for the labour force working both in organised and unorganised sector.

He said the growth rate of employment decelerated to 0.5 percent during 2004-05 to 2011-12 as compared to the 2.8 percent growth during 1999-2000 to 2004-05.

He also highlighted major initiatives of his government in the labour sector. The Apprentice Act 1961 was amended on to make it more responsive to industry and youth, he said.

A unified labour portal scheme called 'Shram Suvidha Portal' has been launched for timely redressal of grievances and to create a conducive environment for industrial development, he said.

Trade union representative demanded that disinvestment in profit-making public sector units be stopped forthwith and budgetary support should be given for revival of potentially viable sick CPSUs.

"In particular, we opposed the ordinance on the coal sector, insurance sector and Land Acquisition Act...We demand all such ordinances should be withdrawn forthwith," All-India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) Secretary D L Sachdev told reporters after the meeting.

They also opposed FDI in crucial sectors like defence production.

Their other suggestions included more allocation for social security schemes for workers, same wages for contract labour as being paid to regular workers for the same job on the principle of 'same pay for same work'.

A joint statement by the 11 unions said: "Concrete steps must be taken to recover huge accumulated unpaid arrears which has already crossed Rs 5 lakh crore on direct and corporate tax accounts alone."

The trade unions also suggested that the scope of the MGNREGA be expanded to agriculture operations and urban areas.

They also suggested that the scope of the MGNREGA be expanded to agriculture operations and urban areas.

The SIT constituted for unearthing black money must deliver visible result which is yet to be seen, they said.

Representatives from Centre for Indian Trade Union (CITU), Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) besides All-India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) attended the meeting among others.

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