Against Government’s Water Policy
The 14th conference of CITU, being held from 4th to 8th April, 2013 at Kannur, condemns the Water Policy, 2012 of the Government of India directing the state governments to realize water charges on ‘production cost’, privatization through PPP route and to establish independent regulatory authority and, thereby, withdrawing from government’s responsibility of providing water for drinking, household use and agricultural use particularly by the toiling sections.
The UDF government in Kerala decided enactment to corporatize this vital service sector by establishing Kerala Drinking Water Supply Company Ltd with majority private shareholding and bringing entire state under its coverage. Similar steps are being taken in other states also like Delhi Jal Board is being privatized beginning in four areas under slogan of 24/7 supply; Maharashtra government doing the same beginning at Nagpur; Karnataka government in Hubli and Dharwar etc.
People have their basic right on this natural resource for protection of their lives and livelihood which must not be allowed to be used by corporates for business and profits.
The conference calls upon the working class of the country to rise in defending the people’s right on this vital natural resource water.
Against Attack on Trade Union Movement
This 14th conference of CITU, being held from 4th to 8th April, 2013 at Kannur, notes with grave concern the widely spreading and rapidly increasing attacks on the trade union movement by the corporate-police-administration combine to terrorize and suppress the working class in different parts of the country.
These attacks are manifestation and part of aggressively driven neoliberal policies of the present dispensation abetted by the MNCs and corporate media. Such growing intolerance to opposition and agitation of the working class in pursuance of their trade union and democratic rights is also a danger signal to democratic system and norms of the country.
Consequent to successful 20-21 February, 2013 strike, the police at Noida in Uttar Pradesh launched unprecedented attack by arresting large number of union functionaries of CITU and other central trade union affiliates and sent them to jail who are not yet released despite joint delegation of all central trade unions to Noida administration. This conference demands their immediate release from jail and to stop any further arrest of trade union functionaries.
A trade union leader of road transport workers in Haryana was crushed to death during peaceful picketing on 20th February 2013 on the day of strike.
Large numbers of workers of Maruti Suzuki plant in Manesar in Haryana are in jail combined with mass dismissals of hundreds of permanent workers and 1800 contract workers.
In Tamilnadu simply for forming unions hundreds were victimised by way of dismissals, suspension, keeping idle months together, transfers to far off places etc. Hundreds of criminal cases filed against the leaders and frontline workers. Similar developments are taking place in other states also.
At the instance of employers’ organizations, the general secretary along with the vice president of Maharashtra state committee of CITU were arrested and sent to jail by the police.
The attack on the trade union and democratic movement in West Bengal, where working class and Left movement is strong, is also to be seen as an integral part of this attack.
The united trade union movement against such aggressive neoliberal policies and attacks is a major development in defence of trade union and democratic rights of the working class and the people.
On Tasks of CITU among Working Women
The 14th Conference of CITU, being held on 4-8 April 2013 in Kannur reiterates its commitment to carry forward and strengthen the work among working women that CITU has started nearly 35 years ago.
The conference notes that CITU has made considerable advances in organising working women since 1979 when it organised the first all India convention of working women in Chennai and constituted the All India Coordination Committee of Working Women. The membership of women in CITU which was less than 7% at that time has gone up to 31.96% in 2011. In several states it is more than 50%. Women’s presence in the mobilisation of CITU, in its day to day activities, in the conferences at the state and national level, in the decision making bodies has also increased since then.
While expressing its satisfaction at this progress, this conference also is conscious that many weaknesses that have been repeatedly pointed out by the successive conventions of the All India Coordination Committee of Working Women (CITU) as well as the successive all India conferences of CITU are yet to be overcome.
The general weakness of unions, particularly in industries where both men and women work like plantations, beedi, brick kiln etc, in raising the specific problems of working women like equal wages, maternity benefits and crèches, sexual harassment etc from the union platform and mobilising both men and women on these issues, still continues. In several states, even where women membership is above the national average, resistance to elect women as delegates to conferences and to the decision making bodies continues. This was evident in many of the recently concluded state conferences also.
Our work among working women is not reviewed in the state committees. Proper attention is not paid to identify, train, develop and promote women cadres. No action is taken by the state committees to ensure formation of women’s sub committees in our unions in sectors with considerable women workers and to see that they function effectively. Holding the state conventions and constituting state level coordination committees is observed as a periodic ritual in some states while in some states even this is not done.
This conference reiterates that our work among working women is part of our objective of uniting the entire working class and mobilising it to play its due role in leading the struggle against all exploitation. It firmly believes that overcoming the weaknesses and improving our work among working women will contribute to strengthening the CITU and trade union movement as a whole. The basic weakness lies in the influence of the class divided patriarchal society along with the lack of consciousness on the urgency of organising and activating working women in leading bodies of CITU at all levels. The CITU as a whole has to make conscious and sustained effort to overcome these weaknesses. The convention of All India Coordination Committee of Working Women, which had to be deferred due to unavoidable reasons and will be held shortly, will also discuss these issues in detail and make the necessary recommendations.
This 14th conference of CITU calls upon all the state committees of CITU, its industrial federations and affiliated units to rededicate to the task of strengthening the work among working women by –
Ø Discussing our work among working women as a specific agenda in the first state committee meeting immediately after this national conference
Ø Identifying the affiliated unions in sectors with considerable number of women workers and constitute women’s sub committees, make them functional and take up women’s specific issues from the union platform
Ø Allot a state office bearer of CITU to monitor the effective implementation of the above at all levels of the organisation
Ø Organise separate trade union classes for working women activists and develop them to take up more responsibilities in CITU and its affiliated unions
Ø Pay special attention to recruit women full timers
The Conference resolves to convene a national workshop with the participation of the president/ general secretary of all the state committees of CITU, after the national convention of All India Coordination Committee of Working Women to chalk out further concrete measures to strengthen our work among working women.
Against the Privatisation of ICDS through ICDS Mission
The fourteenth conference of CITU, being held at Kannur, Kerala, condemns the government move to privatise the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme and reiterates the demand of institutionalization and universalisation of ICDS.
Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) is the only government scheme which provides supplementary nutrition, health services and pre school education for holistic development to the children of India. At present, the scheme provides nutrition and health care to nearly seven and a half crore children and 1.8 crore pregnant and lactating mothers through nearly 14 lakh anganwadi centres in more than seven thousand blocks all over the country. Nearly 27 lack workers and helpers, are employed in the ICDS without being recognised as workers, without minimum wages and any social security, subsidising the government on its social sector expenditure.
Despite being in existence since the last more than 37 years, the full potential of ICDS could not be realized as the government was never serious in its effective implementation which is demonstrated by its ad hoc approach towards it and inadequate allocation of financial resources. As a result, malnutrition continues to plague our country which today is home to around half of the malnourished children in the world.
Since the advent of the neoliberal policies, the government has been attempting to privatise ICDS and withdraw from its responsibility from it. It has been incorporating the directions of the World Bank in its implementation, the main thrust of which is privatization and targeting. On the pretext of strengthening ICDS and addressing the serious problem of malnutrition, it has decided to implement it in a ‘mission mode’. However, the measures that are included in its plan will in no way strengthen ICDS but to privatization and will ultimately lead to its dismantling.
A ‘Mission’ itself is a short term programme for a limited target which will be wound up after achieving the ‘Mission’ targets. The services provided by the ICDS are not ones which can be stopped once any goal is achieved. However instead of taking measures for institutionalizing ICDS and ensuring its effective functioning by adequate allocation of funds, the government has made it mandatory to hand over a minimum of 10% of the centres to NGOs. It has provided several incentives to them including ‘flexibility’ to spend the money according to their priority and will. Provisions are made to hand over the supply of supplementary nutrition also to the corporate NGOs like ISKCON, Naandi Foundation etc and to the NGOs floated by the corporate houses. The proposed Right to Food Act contains proposals of fortified and ready to eat food, which will help the corporate entry in he sector.In the name of strengthening the pre- school component and Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE), the government is proposing to involve the private nursery schools to be involved in ICDS. It is directed that the financial allocations be made to the existing private nursery schools with of course ‘flexibility’ in norms of spending. This move to privatise the nutrition and pre- school education and siphon off public money to the corporate account must be fought tooth and nail.
The working hours of the anganwadi workers and helpers have already been increased and the retirement is made mandatory, without any increase in the remuneration or provision for pension and social security.
This conference demands that the government should stop any attempts to privatise ICDS and assume full responsibility to ensure for every child in India its right to food, health and education for a holistic development. It demands the government to allot the necessary financial resources for ICDS.
This conference fully supports the struggles of the anganwadi employees for regularization, minimum wages, social security and against privatization. It calls upon all the state committees of CITU to extend full support to the call of the All India Federation of Anganwadi Workers and Helpers to observe 10th July 2013 as ‘Black Day’ and ensure its total success.
On Com. Samar Mukherjee attaining 101th Year
This 14th conference of the CITU, being held on 4th - 8th April 2013 at Kannur, considers it a proud privilege to felicitate the veteran trade union leader and one of the founders of CITU, Com. Samar Mukherjee on his attaining 101th year of life on 8th November, 2012.
Born on 7th November 1911 in Howrah district of West Bengal, Com. Samar Mukherjee plunged in national independence movement since his early life as a student and became one of the leading personalities in the Congress Party. Being attracted to Marxism – Leninism, he joined the Communist Party in 1940 and rose to its leadership position. He joined CPI(M) from the day of its formation and rose to its leading body, the Polit Bureau as its member.
He was deeply involved in the trade union movement since 1940during British rule. His entire life was dedicated to the cause of the working class and other toiling masses, for which he had to work underground, face trials and undergo prison life.
Com. Samar Mukherjee led CITU for long years as its all India Treasurer, General Secretary and as one of its Vice Presidents; and guided others in the trade union movement. He developed international relation travelling in different countries on behalf of CITU and CPI(M).
As member of West Bengal Legislative Assembly and of both Houses of the Parliament and also in the capacity of the leader of the Parliamentary group of CPI(M), he brilliantly played his role in defending the interests of the working class and other down-trodden sections. He was widely respected by all, despite political divide.
On this occasion, this Conference warmly greets Com. Samar Mukherjee and recalls his noble contribution to the Communist and Working Class movement; and wish him good health and longer life.