‘4 L for L’ is Loot!

Is snatching the rights of ‘workers-on-penance’, a governmental good deed or sin?

13th May, 2020: In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the country’s people are bearing the brunt of the poorly-made governmental decisions. Last night at 8 pm, the PM once again betrayed the informal sector and migrant workers. While announcing the Rs. 20 lakh crores financial package, he repeatedly and passionately spoke about ‘Atma-nirbharta’ (self-reliance). But he failed to mention that a self-reliant nation can be achieved if we adhere to policies of protecting and nurturing our resources. The current development paradigm is against this. The PM’s ‘Atma-nirbharta’ is actually 4L for Loot.

  • The first L is ‘Labour’. For years, the government has been infringing on hard-won rights of people’s movements. They are sacrificing workers’ rights to maximise corporate profit. This is against the concept of self-reliance.
  • The second L is ‘Land’. Land and the resources attached with it provide maximum livelihoods in our country, which as well the corporates are looting. This too is against the fundamental principles of a self-reliant economy.
  • The third L, ‘Law’, is what should step in to protect the country, its people and its workers. But through the backdoor during this pandemic, the laws are being amended to suit corporates and elite interests. This is a betrayal of the idea of self-reliance.
  • The fourth L is ‘Liquidity’. The Reserve Bank of India has already set aside Rs. 8,000 crores in loans. They have also ‘written-off’ Rs. 68,000 crores of loans. We all have been witnessing how corporate interests are being pandered to, with people like Mallya and Nirav Modi fleecing and fleeing the country! ‘Liquidity’ is only in favour of the rich and elite.

These four Ls clearly point to one L- a government of Loot and corporate greed, not ‘Atma-Nirbharta’.

In this hour of crisis, instead of deceiving people through word-play, this Government must talk of real ‘self-reliance’! This government’s poor foresight and uselessness is impacting the informal sector workers and migrants, many of whom are elderly, women, children, hungry, thirsty, injured, disabled, sick. Despite the grave conditions, they are desperately trying to get back to their hometowns, by any means necessary – on foot, cycles, motor cycles, carts, tempos, trucks etc. The police have been constantly humiliating many of them.

If the PM considers people walking hundreds of miles as doing ‘penance’, should he not be rewarding them with their due rights acquired, based on decades of struggle, instead of violating these rights and bestowing favours on the corporate masters resting in plush AC-bungalows? Is this a ‘good-deed’ or ‘sin’ of the Government? The PM should address the nation with his thoughts on this as well.

National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) has always been articulating the need to safeguard our resources and work towards villages, society and country that is self-reliant and free of all forms of discrimination. To this end, we have always been in solidarity with the struggles of workers for their rights. Even in these unprecedented times, the PM has turned away from the crisis bring faced by crores of workers and instead continues to focus on corporate profits of a select-few.

Exposing the sheer hollowness of his words, we demand that financial relief be geared towards the real people in need, like the farmers and workers. We demand complete healthcare and other facilities through special provisions for them. For true ‘Atma-nirbharta’, it is essential to ensure self-decision, decentralization and people’s participation in development processes. Rs. 20 lakh crores must be used to reduce migration, increase local employment and ensure-livelihood generating development. We demand that the framework for deciding utilization of this amount must happen collectively by involving all stakeholders.

For any further details, contact: Ph: 7337478993, 9869984803 or E-mail: napmindia@gmail.com

NAPM India