RSS-affiliated Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh opposes ‘sale of public assets’
The RSS-affiliated Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) on Friday termed the Centre’s National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP) a “sale of public assets” and threatened a movement against the aggressive plan.
BMS general secretary Girishchandra Arya told reporters here on Friday that the trade union would hold demonstrations on October 28 against the NMP through which the government plans to raise Rs 6 lakh crore in the next four years by monetising assets such as highways, passenger trains, airports, railway stations, stadiums and warehousing facilities.
“We want the government to stop this sale of public assets. If this does not stop, we will launch a public movement,” Arya said.
He said the BMS was not against the idea of raising money to boost infrastructure spending but was opposed to divestment as a method of monetisation.
“The government is moving aggressively towards divestment. The government should discuss these issues with stakeholders and find a solution instead of divestment. Otherwise, we will protest. The BMS has created a platform — the public sector coordination committee — to fight against this sale,” he said.
Arya argued that there was some merit in the divestment of loss-making organisations such as Air India, but no logic behind privatising Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL), which gave Rs 3,000 crore dividend to the government every year.
He said the NMP had not been discussed thoroughly. It is an idea mooted by some Harvard economists who have no knowledge about the ground situation, Arya said, adding that privatisation would promote contractualisation and exploitation of workers.
“If the government does not listen to our protest, we will expand our agitation to include people like vendors and transporters and others who benefit from the operations of the public sector undertakings that are being proposed to be privatised,” Arya said.
On whether the BMS found any parallels between its agitation over the NMP and the peasants’ protests, Arya said the farm laws were in the interest of small farmers. “The agitation of the farmers does not have the support of all farmers,” he added.
The BMS criticised the Left trade unions, saying they were driven by political motives.
Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said the ownership of the assets would stay with the government and would come back to it after the end of the lease period.
Ten central trade unions, including the CPM-backed Centre of Indian Trade Unions, the CPI-supported All India Trade Union Congress and the Congress-backed Indian National Trade Union Congress, are separately holding protests against the NMP, fearing price rise and loss of jobs.