9th Aug 2012 March to Parliament!
Defend the Fundamental Right
to Education and Employment with Dignity!!
Under the UPA, the country is reeling under corruption, commercialization, back-breaking inflation, vanishing public services, growing unemployment and attacks on democratic rights. Look at the scenarios that are unfolding daily:
- Kapil Sibal’s Education Bills in Higher Education: These bills are paving the way for corporate takeover of higher education; for immunity of corporate and foreign educational shops from the existing laws of the land; for massive fee hikes, commercialization, “user” charges, and an official good-bye to social inclusion and social justice, especially SC/ST/OBC/PH reservations.
- Private Education Shops And Private Sector Jobs: Young people who spend lakhs of rupees at coaching and private engineering, medical, and management institutes, end up working for a pittance in private corporations, lacking job security or dignity, and with the constant threat of losing their jobs.
- Increased Fees in Delhi’s Schools: Schools are now education “shops” and businesses! The average expenditure for PRIMARY schooling in Delhi is Rs 3.5 LAKHS annually!
- Nurses on Strike in Faridabad: Poor wages, long working hours, no regulation..
- Maruti Factory In Gurgaon: 70-80% of workers are ‘temporary’, working under inhuman conditions
- UPA Says It Cannot Pay Legally Mandated MINIMUM WAGES Under the NREGA …While Rs 250 crore PER HOUR is given as “TAX REBATES” to super-rich corporations!
- If You Earn Rs 26/per day in Rural Areas and Rs 32/per day in Delhi, Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Manmohan Singh Say “YOU ARE NOT POOR”! The same Montek has, for the last seven years, been spending Rs 2.02 lakhs per DAY of taxpayer’s money on foreign trips…
India Under the Stranglehold of State-Sponsored Corruption and Corporate Loot
From the Commonwealth Games Scam, the 2G spectrum scam, the KG Basin scam in allocating oil and natural gas exploration to Mukesh Ambani’s RIL, to the Devas-Antrix deal of ISRO and the recently exposed coal block allocation scam right under PMO, UPA’s regime of corruption and corporate loot has been exposed time and again. Various NDA governments in the states – Karnataka, Bihar, Uttarakhand and Gujarat – have also presided over massive scams and outright loot of natural resources. In both UPA and NDA regimes, the precious natural resources of the country are being handed over for corporate greed and profiteering. The very notion that resources should be carefully used for “public” good is now being officially rewritten; ‘resources’ are now merely ‘sources’ of generating windfall profits for a select few rich and privileged.
Today, people are angry with rising prices, corruption, unemployment and inhuman working conditions. Last year, we saw a massive movement against corruption and corporate loot, and against the economic policies of privatization. But, the government AS WELL AS the opposition played a cruel joke with the real aspirations of the people, and passed a toothless, ineffective Lokpal Bill. The BJP as well as the Congress DID NOT allow corporations, the army, the judiciary, MPs and Cabinet Ministers to come under the ambit of the Lokpal Bill!
60 Years After Independence, No Basic Right to Employment and Education!
On the one hand, as scams and open loot of our resources are taking place, the government is LEAST interested in ensuring proper education and dignified employment for all. Today, even those who are employed are underpaid, insecure and work in horrible conditions.
Life as a Worker:
“We get a lunch break of exactly 30 minutes and a tea break of 5 minutes. The canteen is 400 meters away from the workplace. In those thirty minutes, we have to remove our safety clothes and goggles, run to the canteen, stand in so many different lines to pick up food, gulp down the food, go to the toilet, run back, put the goggles and safety clothes on again, and resume work. ..If we are even one minute late, Rs 1000-1500 is deducted from our salary. Imagine that in the 5 minute tea break, we are supposed to have tea and snacks and restart work. There is no break allowed for visiting the toilet at any time. If a reliever does not come, a worker is forced to work a 16-hours shifts. Those workers who refuse to do over time are abused and insulted.” (Interview with Worker in Maruti’s Car Factory)
Employment in urban areas is available mostly in call centres, shopping malls, multinational and private companies and factories. Such jobs are on a contractual basis, where wages are only a token fulfillment of formality and the employees are denied even the minimum democratic and basic rights. In rural areas, some employment is available in the field of education and health, but here also it is on a contractual basis and there is an appalling lack of basic rights.
At the same time, fertile farming land and natural resources are being sacrificed to corporate loot. Agricultural subsidies are systematically being lowered, resulting in unemployment and displacement in rural areas as well as large-scale migration to cities. Employment opportunities in government jobs are continually being reduced. Lakhs of posts remain vacant, and government “recruitment” boards and commissions have been sacrificed to irregularities and corruption. This is the true picture of today’s unemployment-ridden India. To top it all, the government is now planning to introduce FDI in the retail sector, which will further lead to massive unemployment and loss of livelihoods.
In India, 50% of the population lacks basic education and 90% of the youth is deprived of higher education. And what do our governments do to address this serious problem?
The farcical “Right to Education” Act was passed, which is nothing but a cruel joke in the name of genuine right to education. This bill allows primary education to pass into the hands of the private sector, and absolves the private sector of any responsibility of ensuring education. Kapil Sibal has several bills for higher education (the Foreign Universities Bill, the Private Universities Bill, the Educational Tribunals Bill etc). All these legislations are also an open invitation for unregulated commercialization, privatization, massive fee hikes and user charges for basic requirements like water and electricity and rewriting of curricula to suit private players. Not just this, these legislations (if passed) will bid an OFFICIAL goodbye to reservations, social justice and inclusion in higher education.
At the same time, weapons like the Lyngdoh Committee recommendations are being used to suppress democratic activities and student unions in campuses.
Today we have a government which gives a tax concession of 5 lakh crore rupees to corporate houses annually in the budget and facilitates the loot of natural resources. This same government does not provide basic education and employment with dignity to the students and youth of this country. How do the powers-that-be manage to implement these bizarre and anti-people policies, and preside over this regime of corporate loot? Clearly, aided by a long stream of draconian laws and measures. AFSPA, the Chhattisgarh State Public Security Act, the UAPA, Operation Green Hunt, Salwa Judum – are all being used to target people’s movements and genuine democratic aspirations.
In this situation students and youth must come out on the streets to strengthen the struggle for their rights to education and employment and for an end to corruption. All India Students’ Association (AISA) and Revolutionary Youth Association (RYA) have drawn up a Charter of Student-Youth Campaign for Employment-Education and Democracy to moblise students and youths for a country-wide struggle.
STUDENT-YOUTH CHARTER OF RIGHTS
RIGHT TO EMPLOYMENT CHARTER
1. Employment with dignity should be given the status of a fundamental right by the Central government. Make an Employment Guarantee Scheme for urban areas.
2. Unemployed youths above the age of 25 should be given respectable unemployment allowances by every State government.
3. All workers under contractual or honorary basis should be immediately regularized as permanent workers. Make Commissions and Boards formed for giving employment regular and transparent. Fill vacant posts immediately.
RIGHT TO EDUCATION CHARTER
1. Scrap the current Right to Education law which denies the principle of right to basic education and encourages the privatization and commercialization of education. Bring a new Right to Education bill based on “common school system”!
2. Immediately repeal the Private Universities Bill, Foreign Universities Bill along with all the bills proposed in Parliament by the MHRD, which clear the way for privatization of education and corporate loot. Repeal the recommendations of the Lyngdoh Commission, which are against the principles of democracy and conduct Students’ Union elections according to democratic procedures on all campuses.
3. Make laws at Centre and State levels to regulate and monitor the exorbitant fees structures, admission processes, evaluation processes and administration of all primary to higher educational private and semi-government institutions. Guarantee the implementation of reservation in educational institutions so that all deprived sections of society are represented, ensure democracy, transparency and removal of all discrimination!
DEMOCRATIC RIGHTS CHARTER AGAINST CORRUPTION AND CORPORATE LOOT
- Scrap the government Lokpal draft. Pass an effective Jan Lokpal Bill which brings the army, judiciary, NGOs, PM, MPs and ministers in its ambit. Make the structure of the Lokpal socially inclusive and democratic. Repeal the privatization and new economic policies basically responsible for corruption!
- Stop giving tax concessions to corporate houses. Scrap the policies which facilitate the privatization and corporate loot of land, minerals, water, coal, seeds, spectrum and other natural resources. Declare all natural resources to be national wealth!
- Repeal repressive laws such as AFSPA, UAPA and the Sedition Act as well as measures like Operation Green Hunt which have been made to suppress democratic movements and protest.