New Delhi: The Union Budget for fiscal 2017-18 should create more jobs and employment opportunities, trade unions said in a representation to Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
"The budget should help in creating more jobs and employment opportunities. The minimum wages should be increased to Rs 18,000 per month, and same wages for same work even for contract labour," said the Finance Ministry in a statement here on Saturday.
In a joint memorandum, the unions urged the minister to raise the minimum personal tax exemption to Rs5 lakh and increase pension for all workers to Rs 3,000 from Rs 1,000 per month.
"The budget should focus on social security schemes for the workers, especially those working in the unorganised sector," the statement said.
Other suggestions include credit to the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector at 4 per cent interest rate as it generates more jobs, mobile banking facility in rural areas and revised rates for emergency treatment under the Central Government Health Scheme.
"Ensuring the benefits of the social security schemes to every section of workers, including those in the unorganised sector, is a major priority of the government," said Jaitley on the occasion.
Admitting that making the schemes accessible to the workers in the unorganised sector was a major challenge, he said the government was keen to address the issue as the sector was growing at a faster pace.
Noting that the social security framework was structured for different groups spanning organised, unorganised and unemployed or below poverty line, Jaitley said there was a need to ensure a convergence of benefits for all the groups.
Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs Arjun Ram Meghwal, Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa, Economic Affairs Secretary Shaktikanta Das, Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia, Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian and Labour Bureau Director General Rajan Kumar were present at the meeting.
Among the trade union representatives were Tapan Sen (CITU), Vrijesh Upadhyay (BMS), Ashok Singh (INTUC), D.L. Sachdev and V.S. Giri (AITUC), Harbhajan Singh Sidhu (HMS), Sankar Saha (AIUTUC), S.P. Tiwary (TUCC), Manali Shah (SEWA), Rajiv Dimri (AICCTU) and Deepak Jaiwal (NFITU).