The kisan rally that ended in Mumbai yesterday, is unique in many ways. It was a grand success. The Maharashtra government agreed in writing, to settle their important demands, like giving lands pattas to the adivasis. But, the most important feature is that the kisans won over the hearts of Mumbaikars. On Sunday evening, the kisans reached the outskirts of Mumbai, after walking 180 Kms for 6 days in scorching Sun. They were completely exhausted. Still, they walked 20 Kms in the same night, and reached the Azad Maidan. This was to avoid any problem to the students on Monday, the day on which school public exam started. The kisans behaved in a very disciplined manner, which surprised the Mumbaikars. As a result, the people of Mumbai came out in support of the kisans. They offered food, water, medical treatment, and even chappals to those who were wearing torn chappals. This is a new experience. We, the working class, have to learn how the kisans won over the hearts of Mumbaikars and to follow it.
A rally of 50,000 farmers of Maharashtra, has reached Mumbai. NDTV described that it looked as if a red sea has entered Mumbai. Their rally started from Nashik, and the farmers walked all the way for six days in blazing sun and reached the outskirts of Mumbai yesterday. They were to March to the state assembly today. But, considering the school public exam that is going on now, and not to cause any inconvenience to the students, the farmers continued their March last night itself and reached Azad Maidan. The rally was absolutely peaceful, without causing any disturbance to the general public. It is appreciated by all. They demand farm loan waiver, remunerative price to their products, land to the Adivasis, etc. Many political parties have expressed their support to these farmers. BSNLEU heartily congratulates the farmers and urges upon the Maharashtra government to settle their reasonable demands.
At Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh, the conductor of a school bus lost his leg in an accident. His leg got cut-off in the accident. He was taken to the Jhansi Medical College Hospital. There, he was made to lie down on a stretcher. His severed leg was used as pillow for him. Subsequently, the doctors found that the severed leg could not be stitched back, since the tissue was already dead. The patient’s family got him discharged and took him to a private hospital. Who is the culprit? It is the government and it’s neo-liberal policies. Year after year, the Central Government, as well as the State Governments, have cut down the fund allotments for health care, as per the dictates of the World Bank. As a result, government hospitals are being run with acute shortage of doctors, medicines, equipments, materials, etc. Whether Congress Party rules or the BJP rules, situation is the same.
[Source Times of India dated 11.03.2018]
As per the report submitted in the Lok Sabha, by the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, the number of people employed in the Khadi sector has come down from 11.6 lakh in 2015–16 to 4.6 lakh in 2016–17. Interestingly, between 2015–16 and 2016–17 the production of Khadi has increased by 31.6% and sales have grown by 33%. Still 7 lakh jobs are gone.
[Source Times of India dated 11.03.2018]
As per the reply given by the Hon'ble Minister of State for Communications in the Rajya Sabha yesterday, the consultant appointed by MTNL, for it's financial revival, has recommended the reduction of retirement age from 60 to 58. This recommendation is presently under the consideration of the DoT. At the same time, the Hon'ble Minister of State for Communications has told the All Unions and Associations of BSNL, in the meeting held on 24-02-2018, that there is no proposal to reduce the retirement age of BSNL employees from 60 to 58. It may be noted that only because of the severe protest of the All Unions and Associations of BSNL, combined with massive struggles, has pushed back the government's proposal to reduce the retirement age of BSNL employees.
In reply to a question raised in the Rajya Sabha yesterday, with regards to the revival of BSNL, the Minister of State for Communications has replied that BSNL has been provided with government projects worth Rs.25,000 crores. This news is widely covered by the media also. It gives an impression to the general public that the government is spending Rs.25,000 crores for the revival of BSNL. Whereas, most of these projects give BSNL, the job of laying optic fibre cable, for which BSNL will be getting only a marginal amount as gain. These projects are really not going to help for the revival of BSNL. What the government needs to do for the revival of BSNL is, the immediate allotment of 4G spectrum to BSNL, as per the proposal already submitted by BSNL to the DoT. It may be noted that, in the meeting held with the All Unions and Associations of BSNL on 24-02-2018, the Hon'ble Mos (C) has assured that BSNL will be allotted with 4G spectrum soon.
The Joint Committee on PLI was scheduled to meet tomorrow the 09-03-2018. However, the same has been postponed, since Shri Saurabh Tyagi, GM (Estt.), who is the chairman of the Joint Committee, has gone on leave.
Manik Sarkar, who has been the chief minister of Tripura for 20 years, is homeless, and has shifted to CPM's state party headquarters in Agartala, after vacating his official accommodation. Sarkar has refused the official perks for an outgoing chief minister, which include government accommodation, personal staff, multi-purpose worker and a house guard besides Y-category security, The Hindu reported. "Mr. Sarkar is unlikely to avail himself of such facilities and will continue to live in the party office’s one-room guest house," a party member told the paper. “He moved in with his personal belongings and a few books. Only a TV set was added to the room for him to be updated with events across the world,” he added.
(Source: The Times of India & The Hindu)
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has imposed fine on three private airline companies for forming a cartel and raising freight charges. The CCI has alleged that these three airline companies have raised the ‘Fuel Surcharge’ in a concerted manner, and raised the freight charges. The CCI has fined Rs.39.8 crores on Jet Airways, Rs.9.5 crores on IndiGo and Rs.5.1 crores on Spice Jet, based on the complaint lodged by the Express Industry Council of India. It is not new that private companies form cartels among themselves, and raise prices and tariffs and thereby loot the public. This is the reason, why we are fighting for a strong and vibrant BSNL, so as to stop the looting by private telecom companies.
(Source : Times of India - 08-03-2018 )
BSNLEU conveys it’s Best Wishes and Warm Greetings to all women comrades, on the occasion of International Women’s Day, which falls tomorrow. Women constitute 50% of the population. However, the same is not reflected, so far as their role in the society is concerned. Gender discrimination and atrocities against women are increasing day by day. BSNLEU calls upon it’s leaders and cadres to fight against all forms of injustices against women. The CHQ has already called upon the circle and district unions to observe the International Women’s Day in a befitting manner tomorrow.
BSNL Corporate Office initiated action in August, 2017, to outsource BSNL’s Customer Service Centres. This was strongly opposed by BSNLEU. Based on this, one round of discussion was held between BSNLEU and the Management, represented by Shri N.K. Mehta, Director (EB) and Shri A.K. Jain, CGM NC NGN. In continuation of that, a meeting was held between the two Recognised Unions and the Management today. Com. P. Abhimanyu, GS and Com. Swapan Chakraborty, Dy.GS, represented BSNLEU. Management Side was represented by Shri A.K. Jain, CGM NC NGN. In his presentation, the CGM NC NGN told that there was an urgent necessity to upgrade BSNL’s 3,000 CSCs, through outsourcing, in view of the fact that only 5% of BSNL’s products are sold through the CSCs. The Staff Side as a whole, opposed the Management’s proposal to outsource the CSCs. At the same time, the representatives of BSNLEU pointed out that, the Management has so far not provided inputs related to the number of staff presently deployed in the CSCs and their age profile, as has been agreed in the last meeting. They also told that further discussion could be held only on the basis of these inputs. Management Side agreed to provide the information at the earliest. Finally, it was agreed that next round of discussion would be held on 26.03.2018.
Com. P. Abhimanyu, GS and Com. Swapan Chakraborty, Dy.GS, met Shri A.M. Gupta, GM(SR), yesterday, and handed over the Union’s letters regarding the non-implementation of the Corporate Office letters on deduction of enhanced monthly Union subscription, as well as remittance of CHQ quota. The representatives expressed their serious concern that still some of the circle administrations are not implementing the Corporate Office letters on the above mentioned subjects. The GM (SR) assured that the Corporate Office would take care of those issues. The representatives also insisted that the SR Branch should immediately finalise the date for the 36th meeting of the National Council. The GM (SR) assured that the date of the NC meeting would be finalised soon after the Director (HR)’s return from abroad.
Com.P.Abhimanyu,GS and Com.Swapan Chakraborty, Dy.GS met Shri Anupam Shrivastava, CMD BSNL today and discussed the following issues.
A) Hearty thanks to BSNL Board of Directors for their positive role in Wage Revision issue.
The representatives heartily thanked the CMD BSNL and other Members of the BSNL Board, for playing a very positive role in the Wage Revision issue, as a result of which the All Unions and Associations of BSNL was able to successfully clinch the issue with the Hon'ble Minister, in the meeting held on 24-02-2018.
B) Strong opposition to curtailment of Medical facilities of serving and retired employees.
The representatives handed over the letter of the Union, opposing curtailment of medical facilities of the serving and retired employees. They told the CMD BSNL that, the employees are agitated over the decision of the Management to reduce the ceiling from 25 days to 12 days ( ceiling for outdoor treatment), as well as the decision to withdraw the facility of "payment without voucher" for retired employees, in cities covered by CGHS scheme. The representatives briefly pointed out how substantial savings could be made, by reducing wasteful expenditure, and demanded to convene an all union/association meeting, to take concrete decisions on reducing wasteful expenditure. The CMD BSNL assured to look into the issue.
C) Opposition to taking over of BSNL's office space by TERM CELL.
The representatives requested the CMD BSNL to stop the handing over of BSNL's office space to TERM CELL at Jammu, so that the CGM office, Jammu, could be shifted to that place, from the rented place in which it is functioning presently. The CMD BSNL assured to do the needful.
Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley, has said that the decision to tax Vodafone Group retrospectively, taken by the UPA 2 government, was not correct. He has also stated that the present government will not follow that policy. Jaitley said this, while talking to a packed house at the Economic Times Global Business Summit 2018, on 24-02-2018. It may be recollected that the UPA government raised a tax demand of Rs.11,000 crore on Vodafone, in connection with it’s acquisition of Hutchison Telecom. The UPA government took the stand that the Hutchison-Vodafone deal was liable for tax deduction at source (TDS) under the Income Tax (IT) Act. But, Vodafone had not deducted the tax at source, and hence, the government directed Vodafone to pay the tax. Together with interest and penalties, this amount has increased to Rs.20,000 crore. The Supreme Court subsequently quashed the demand on January 20, 2012. However, the government amended its IT Act retrospectively, putting the liability back on Vodafone Group. Tax cheating is being done by the corporates in a big way. Vodafone and Hutchison jointly cheated Indian government to the tune of Rs.11,000 crores. Now, Arun Jaitley has openly stated that the decision of the UPA government to collect the amount from Vodafone is not correct. When the Modi government is taking action to collect every single paisa tax from the common man, they want to be very ‘kind and sympathetic’ to the tax - cheating corporates.
Recently, the TRAI has laid down new norms regarding Predatory Pricing. It has given the definition as to who is a Significant Market Player (SMP). According to these norms, only an operator having 30% or more market share, or revenue, will be considered as an SMP. As per the new norms, Reliance Jio is not an SMP, since it's market share is only 13-14%. Hence, Reliance Jio can never be held guilty for Predatory Pricing. It may be recollected that Reliance Jio was providing services at zero or near-zero tariffs, since September, 2016. Older operators like Airtel, Vodafone and Idea have already criticised that the TRAI's new norms are laid down, only to help Reliance Jio. Now, Rahul Khullar, who was the TRAI Chairman from 2012 to 2015, has also stated that the new norms are designed only to help Reliance Jio. He has stated that the new rules are one sided and not fare. According to Khullar, the norms for Predatory Pricing should be laid down only by the Competition Commission of India, and not by the TRAI.
BSNL plans to roll out 4G services across India by the end of this year, with an investment of about Rs.25,000 crore. Shri Anupam Shrivastava, CMD BSNL has told the PTI that BSNL is awaiting spectrum allocation from the government in 2100 MHz band to launch 4G VOLTE service. By the end of this year, BSNL will roll out 4G services across country where it operates. BSNL has awarded telecom network contract to Nokia Networks in 10 circles and to ZTE for the rest of 10 circles where it operates. The CMD BSNL further stated that the value of spectrum that the government will allocate is around Rs.12,000 crore, in which the government, as per proposal, will bear the cost of Rs.9,000 crore. Total cost of spectrum will come around Rs.19,000 crore. Balance will be paid by BSNL in 10 annual instalment, he has stated.