New Delhi: CPI(M) on Friday accused the Narendra Modi government of seeking to dilute or do away with social security issues, saying the dreams of "good days" have been converted into "bitter pills" after BJP assumed office.
"The dreams of `achhe din` (good days) promised in the election campaign by BJP and Narendra Modi have been converted into `kadvi dawai` (bitter pills) after BJP came to power... This is the height of hypocrisy," Politburo member Brinda Karat told a press conference here.
Karat, who shot off a letter to Rural Development Minister Nitin Gadkari accusing the government of trying to "dilute or do away" with the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), said, "A party which promised job creation is now suggesting the elimination of the only legal guarantee for creation of jobs -- the MGNREGA."
Accusing the government of taking "every step" to suit the interests of the corporates, Karat and senior CPI(M) leader Hannan Mollah said that "while the stock exchanges are happy, the rural poor and MGNREGA workers are not."
Mollah said Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje has already proposed to "extinguish the legal guarantee under the Act and convert it into a scheme. She has clearly shown her anti-labour bias as she has changed labour laws to suit the interests of the business houses than the workers."
Both leaders also accused the UPA-II government of taking MGNREGA as "a hostage to fiscal considerations and severely cutting allocation and disbursal of funds under the law."
In her letter, Karat said it was "shocking" that in 2013-14, 60 per cent of the wages or "an estimated Rs 60,000 crore, were not paid within 15 days as legally stipulated.
On top of it, the compensation of delayed wage payment was also not paid."
"In social terms, this means huge suffering for workers and their families dependent for survival on a daily wage," she said.
Maintaining that the issue of unemployment allowance was also neglected, Karat said "not a single rupee" of about Rs 2,924 crore payable as allowance, was paid. Under the MGNREGA, if work on demand is not provided within 15 days, workers are entitled to this allowance.
Mollah said, "A continuous conspiracy has been unleashed against MGNREGA in particular, with corporates and landlords spreading falsehoods and saying such `subsidies` were unnecessary, why donate it to the poor. But MGNREGA is a hard -earned legal right of the workers."