A pan-India workers' group affiliated to the BJP's ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has criticised the government's policy announcements on eight key sectors on Saturday as heavy on privatisation, which could lead to job cuts. The group said the "public sector played a crucial role" amid the coronavirus pandemic when the "private players and market were paralysed".
"The fourth day of announcements of FM (Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman) is a sad day for the nation and its people, who were on a euphoria hearing the first three days' announcements," Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) general secretary Virjesh Upadhyay said in a statement.
Ms Sitharaman announced major policy changes on Saturday for the eight key sectors to boost growth amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has brought businesses to a standstill. The sectors are coal, minerals, defence manufacturing, airspace management, airports, power distribution, space and atomic energy.
"Government becoming shy of consultation and dialogue with trade unions, social representatives and stakeholders shows lack of confidence in their own ideas and is highly condemnable. In most of these sectors, our unions were already in agitation on corporatisation and privatisation," said Mr Upadhyay.
"For our policymakers structural reforms and competition means privatisation. But we have recently experienced, in time of crisis private players and market were paralysed and public sector played the crucial role," he said.
"The impact of every change first falls adversely on employees. For employees, privatisation means massive job loss, below quality jobs will be generated, profitisation and exploitation will be the rule in the sector. Without any social dialogue, the government is bringing gross changes and is going in the wrong direction. Social dialogue is fundamental to democracy," the RSS-affiliated workers' group said in the statement.
It said raising the foreign direct investment (FDI) under the automatic route for defence manufacturing, which does not need to go through the government, from 49 per cent to 74 per cent and corporatisation of the Ordinance Factory Board are "objectionable".