BJP-aligned Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) has pitched for a stimulus package for all sectors to support the sluggish economy hit by the lockdown to contain COVID-19 pandemic.
In a letter shot off to the Prime Minister, the BMS stated that common support in the form of wage subsidy, tax holidays, immediate payment of GST dues, extended loan moratoriums, relaxation in regulatory norms for a certain period, and tax rationalisation should be provided.
“There should be common support encompassing all sectors of the economy. This strategy includes financial stimulus to major sectors so that negative impacts can be reduced to a certain extent,” the letter said.
The BMS also cautioned the government about ill effects of work from home on implementation of labour laws and intermediaries.
Many firms have resorted to work from home during the lockdown.
The union said, “This phenomenon can alter the definition of workspace in the long run. While this provides comfort and flexibility to employees, it can pose another challenge to employment scenario and economic activities as well as labour law enforcement.”
It explained that an office is not just about employees and employers. It is also about those facilitating movement of employees to their workplace and a multitude of activities related to the maintenance and operation of offices.
So, once this practice is promoted on a large scale all these intermediaries shall be affected, it added.
“Now, if work from home becomes a practice, outsourced companies shall simply disappear. Now, even if an American company wishes to hire someone for their work, they can hire them directly without any intermediary. So, outsourcing companies shall vanish once this practice is normalised.”
It further said, “This may affect social welfare and social security of employees themselves. In India, Labour law enforcement is establishment based and has a certain threshold concerning certain labour laws. If there is no employee at the workplace, how can one facilitate the working of these labour laws like ESI and EPF which are meant for welfare and social security of employees?”
About the SMEs, it stated that the sector account for 32 per cent of GDP contribution with potential to provide jobs to about 11.4 crore Indians and next to agriculture.
It suggested a new market guarantee (scheme) for ensuing three years for SMEs where the government can revive practice by continuing its purchases only from SMEs.
About the Garment, Textile, Handloom sectors which account for 20 per cent of GDP and provide jobs to about 4.5 crores, the BMS said that they need extra credentials and granting raw materials on both fronts.
The government shall have to extend guidance and support for procurement, it added.