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The workers at BSNL, NREGA and Statue of Unity have not been paid their wages in Modi’s India

Sabrangindia 14 Mar 2019

For the first time in its history, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) failed to pay the February salaries to around 1.76 lakh employees. Labourers who worked on the Sardar Patel Statue of Unity project have not received their wages for the last three months and have gone on a strike. Thousands of MGNREGA workers across the country attempted to lodge FIRs against Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 28 for ‘making false promises’ and ‘cheating’ workers by not paying wages on time.



 
State-owned telecom firm Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has failed to pay the February salaries to around 1.76 lakh employees due to its financial crisis. This is the first time the company has defaulted in payment of its monthly salaries. The fully government-owned corporation is undergoing a major cash crunch due to the price war with private companies.
 
The salary for the month of February has been delayed by 10 days.
 
“The company usually pays its employees on the last working day of the month or the first working day of the next. While BSNL continues its enviable market share, such a crisis has befallen the operator for the first time. While telecom prices have been reduced drastically, mostly after the entry of Reliance Jio, BSNL continues to operate with its large staff as compared to lean numbers employed by rivals,” Business Today reported.
 
According to a report in Times of India, salary due for a circle the size of Maharashtra runs up to more than Rs 60 crore. With at least 20 circles in the country, BSNL's salary bill per month is estimated to be around Rs 1,200 crore. According to reports around 55% of BSNL's revenues go in footing the monthly wages. The wage bill continues to increase annually by 8% but the revenues are stagnant.
 
State-owned telecom firm BSNL, which has been in the red for more than five years.
 
The employees’ union has written to telecom minister Manoj Sinha urging that the government release funds to the company to pay the salaries as well as revive the ailing firm. The employees have also been holding demonstrations.
 
“Around 55% of BSNL’s revenues goes towards payment of wages, and while the company’s wage bill increases annually by 8%, its revenues are stagnant. The associations and unions of BSNL have also said that the financial health of the telecom industry has suffered because of the predatory pricing of Reliance Jio. “Financial crisis is being faced by other operators also but they are managing the situation by infusing huge amounts,” a letter by All Unions and Associations of BSNL (AUAB) to Sinha said, a report by Financial Express said.
 
A BSNL official told Financial Express that the company has started paying February salaries now to staff in Kerala, J&K, Odisha and the corporate office. “As and when the income is generated, salaries will be paid to the staff. As the government has not given any financial support, the salaries are being delayed,” the official said.
 
The source further said even March salaries will be delayed by a few days despite the fact that cash flows in the month are usually higher because of billing from the enterprise business. Another source told FE that the BSNL board has approved a proposal to avail bank loan but the department of telecommunications has not given the go-ahead yet.
 
The losses of BSNL has been increasing every year. It reported a loss of around 8,000 crore for FY18, compared to 4,786 crore in FY17. For FY19 also, the loss is expected to be higher than 8,000 crore.
 
Under the Modi government, wages have not been given for various government projects.
 
No payment for Sardar Patel Statue of Unity workers
“Sardar Patel was one of the tallest leaders of the freedom struggle leading peasants to fight for fair remuneration and taxation by the British governments. It is ironic that the workers guarding his statue, the world’s tallest, have to resort to strike in order to get their wage dues from the Indian government,” The Wire reported.
 
Labourers who worked on the Sardar Patel Statue of Unity project have not received their wages for the last three months.
 
News reports suggest that over 100 workers of one of the contractors, entrusted with maintaining and operating the services at the Statue of Unity complex, have gone on strike demanding wage dues for the past three months. This has prompted the worker to go on strike and protest by forming a human chain.
 
NREGA workers file FIRs against Modi over non-payment of wages
Thousands of MGNREGA workers across the country attempted to lodge FIRs against Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 28 for ‘making false promises’ and ‘cheating’ workers by not paying wages on time. The coordinated attempt was made in 150 police stations in nine states across the country.
 
The workers argue that by not providing adequate work and delaying wages, the government of India had violated the law. And Modi, as the head of the government, is the ‘principal violator’. Thus, the workers demanded, that Modi be booked under Sections 116 (Abetment of offence) and 420 (Cheating and dishonesty) of the Indian Penal code.
 
According to the NREGA Sangharsh Morcha, in the last five years, the employment guarantee scheme has been ‘deliberately undermined’. The organisation has argued that the government has allocated insufficient funds, not met the demand for additional funds on time, delayed wage payments and suppressed work demand.
 
In February, after the Union Budget was announced, The Wire highlighted that the allocation for MGNREGA for 2019-20 was, in fact, lower than that for 2018-19. In January, The Wire reported that 99% of the funds allocated for MGNREGA were exhausted with three months to go for the end of the financial year. Subsequently, the Centre allocated an additional Rs 6,084 crore that took the total allocation to Rs 61,084 crore. In the 2018 Budget, the government had allocated Rs 55,000 crore to the rural employment scheme. By announcing an allocation of Rs 60,000 crore for the financial year 2019-20, the government, in fact, reduced the funds set for MGNREGA.
 
Modi governments ad expenditure
In four years, Modi government spend more than Rs.4300 crores on publicity according to an RTI query
 
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its supporters accounted for a lion's share of political advertising worth over Rs. 4 crore on Facebook, according to data compiled by the social media giant.
 
The advertisements run for the ruling dispensation range from promotion of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government policies to those of its leaders, including BJP President Amit Shah — all of which were not necessarily paid by the party but by its supporters.
 
From February till March 2, 2019, the social media giant showed 16,556 ads related to politics and issues of national importance with ad spends crossing more than Rs 4.13 crore, according to Facebook's Ad Archive Report.
 
The specific date on which Facebook started collecting data was not disclosed. However, on February 7, it had said the enforcement of the new features and the political advertisements policy, that includes having disclaimers, would start from February 21.


According to the data accessed by India Today TV, 'Bharat Ke Mann Ki Baat' -- an unverified page on Facebook that asks users to give feedback to the prime minister -- is the top spender on political ads. The page had spent more than Rs 1.2 crore on its 1,556 ads averaging to roughly Rs 7,700 per ad. The pro-Narendra Modi page has 3,00,000 followers on the social media platform and was founded on January 27 this year. 'Nation with NaMo', another Modi fan page that has over 1.1 million followers on Facebook, stood second on the list. The page had spent more than Rs 64 lakh on its 1,074 ads averaging to around Rs 6,000 per ad.

Is this where the labourer's money went?


 

 

The workers at BSNL, NREGA and Statue of Unity have not been paid their wages in Modi’s India

For the first time in its history, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) failed to pay the February salaries to around 1.76 lakh employees. Labourers who worked on the Sardar Patel Statue of Unity project have not received their wages for the last three months and have gone on a strike. Thousands of MGNREGA workers across the country attempted to lodge FIRs against Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 28 for ‘making false promises’ and ‘cheating’ workers by not paying wages on time.



 
State-owned telecom firm Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has failed to pay the February salaries to around 1.76 lakh employees due to its financial crisis. This is the first time the company has defaulted in payment of its monthly salaries. The fully government-owned corporation is undergoing a major cash crunch due to the price war with private companies.
 
The salary for the month of February has been delayed by 10 days.
 
“The company usually pays its employees on the last working day of the month or the first working day of the next. While BSNL continues its enviable market share, such a crisis has befallen the operator for the first time. While telecom prices have been reduced drastically, mostly after the entry of Reliance Jio, BSNL continues to operate with its large staff as compared to lean numbers employed by rivals,” Business Today reported.
 
According to a report in Times of India, salary due for a circle the size of Maharashtra runs up to more than Rs 60 crore. With at least 20 circles in the country, BSNL's salary bill per month is estimated to be around Rs 1,200 crore. According to reports around 55% of BSNL's revenues go in footing the monthly wages. The wage bill continues to increase annually by 8% but the revenues are stagnant.
 
State-owned telecom firm BSNL, which has been in the red for more than five years.
 
The employees’ union has written to telecom minister Manoj Sinha urging that the government release funds to the company to pay the salaries as well as revive the ailing firm. The employees have also been holding demonstrations.
 
“Around 55% of BSNL’s revenues goes towards payment of wages, and while the company’s wage bill increases annually by 8%, its revenues are stagnant. The associations and unions of BSNL have also said that the financial health of the telecom industry has suffered because of the predatory pricing of Reliance Jio. “Financial crisis is being faced by other operators also but they are managing the situation by infusing huge amounts,” a letter by All Unions and Associations of BSNL (AUAB) to Sinha said, a report by Financial Express said.
 
A BSNL official told Financial Express that the company has started paying February salaries now to staff in Kerala, J&K, Odisha and the corporate office. “As and when the income is generated, salaries will be paid to the staff. As the government has not given any financial support, the salaries are being delayed,” the official said.
 
The source further said even March salaries will be delayed by a few days despite the fact that cash flows in the month are usually higher because of billing from the enterprise business. Another source told FE that the BSNL board has approved a proposal to avail bank loan but the department of telecommunications has not given the go-ahead yet.
 
The losses of BSNL has been increasing every year. It reported a loss of around 8,000 crore for FY18, compared to 4,786 crore in FY17. For FY19 also, the loss is expected to be higher than 8,000 crore.
 
Under the Modi government, wages have not been given for various government projects.
 
No payment for Sardar Patel Statue of Unity workers
“Sardar Patel was one of the tallest leaders of the freedom struggle leading peasants to fight for fair remuneration and taxation by the British governments. It is ironic that the workers guarding his statue, the world’s tallest, have to resort to strike in order to get their wage dues from the Indian government,” The Wire reported.
 
Labourers who worked on the Sardar Patel Statue of Unity project have not received their wages for the last three months.
 
News reports suggest that over 100 workers of one of the contractors, entrusted with maintaining and operating the services at the Statue of Unity complex, have gone on strike demanding wage dues for the past three months. This has prompted the worker to go on strike and protest by forming a human chain.
 
NREGA workers file FIRs against Modi over non-payment of wages
Thousands of MGNREGA workers across the country attempted to lodge FIRs against Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 28 for ‘making false promises’ and ‘cheating’ workers by not paying wages on time. The coordinated attempt was made in 150 police stations in nine states across the country.
 
The workers argue that by not providing adequate work and delaying wages, the government of India had violated the law. And Modi, as the head of the government, is the ‘principal violator’. Thus, the workers demanded, that Modi be booked under Sections 116 (Abetment of offence) and 420 (Cheating and dishonesty) of the Indian Penal code.
 
According to the NREGA Sangharsh Morcha, in the last five years, the employment guarantee scheme has been ‘deliberately undermined’. The organisation has argued that the government has allocated insufficient funds, not met the demand for additional funds on time, delayed wage payments and suppressed work demand.
 
In February, after the Union Budget was announced, The Wire highlighted that the allocation for MGNREGA for 2019-20 was, in fact, lower than that for 2018-19. In January, The Wire reported that 99% of the funds allocated for MGNREGA were exhausted with three months to go for the end of the financial year. Subsequently, the Centre allocated an additional Rs 6,084 crore that took the total allocation to Rs 61,084 crore. In the 2018 Budget, the government had allocated Rs 55,000 crore to the rural employment scheme. By announcing an allocation of Rs 60,000 crore for the financial year 2019-20, the government, in fact, reduced the funds set for MGNREGA.
 
Modi governments ad expenditure
In four years, Modi government spend more than Rs.4300 crores on publicity according to an RTI query
 
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its supporters accounted for a lion's share of political advertising worth over Rs. 4 crore on Facebook, according to data compiled by the social media giant.
 
The advertisements run for the ruling dispensation range from promotion of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government policies to those of its leaders, including BJP President Amit Shah — all of which were not necessarily paid by the party but by its supporters.
 
From February till March 2, 2019, the social media giant showed 16,556 ads related to politics and issues of national importance with ad spends crossing more than Rs 4.13 crore, according to Facebook's Ad Archive Report.
 
The specific date on which Facebook started collecting data was not disclosed. However, on February 7, it had said the enforcement of the new features and the political advertisements policy, that includes having disclaimers, would start from February 21.


According to the data accessed by India Today TV, 'Bharat Ke Mann Ki Baat' -- an unverified page on Facebook that asks users to give feedback to the prime minister -- is the top spender on political ads. The page had spent more than Rs 1.2 crore on its 1,556 ads averaging to roughly Rs 7,700 per ad. The pro-Narendra Modi page has 3,00,000 followers on the social media platform and was founded on January 27 this year. 'Nation with NaMo', another Modi fan page that has over 1.1 million followers on Facebook, stood second on the list. The page had spent more than Rs 64 lakh on its 1,074 ads averaging to around Rs 6,000 per ad.

Is this where the labourer's money went?


 

 

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