Budget wish-list:Unions want stimulus retained,but with riders

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New Delhi, Jan 12 (PTI) A day after the industry pitchedfor retaining stimulus measures to boost economy in Budget,trade unions today asked Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee tocontinue these only if corporate agree on not laying offemployees.

In his pre-Budget meeting with trade unions, Mukherjeealso emphasised on growth in employment opportunities.

Mukherjee said growth in employment opportunities isvital for ensuring an inclusive development process and soughtsuggestions from trade unions in this regard.

"All stimulus packages funded out of public exchequermust be made conditional to ban retrenchment, VRS, lay-off,closures, wage-cut and to create employment," Tapan Sen of CPI(M)-affiliated CITU told reporters after the meeting.

Sen said in view of huge job losses and mountingunemployment problem, "the ban on recruitment in governmentdepartments, PSUs and autonomous institutions should belifted".

The finance minister said one of the biggest challengesbefore the nation today is to find the correct balance betweenthe need for economic growth, sustainability of resourcesand bringing the disadvantaged and vulnerable section into themainstream of the development process.

He said, "We also have to address the growing aspirationsof young India. We need to have sustained higher economicgrowth with inclusive development."

Mukherjee said while the country has the advantage ofhaving a young population, the realisation of the demographicdividend would depend on employment opportunities andthe required skills.

Mukherjee said on the employment front, the quarterlyreports released by the Labour Bureau for July-September 2010show a continuing upward trend.

At the sectoral level, textile sector, IT/BPO industry,automobile industry and metal industry show an encouraginggrowth in employment, he added.

Mukherjee said that a higher growth in employment hasalso been recorded in the export-oriented units.

Trade union leaders are also for a ban on futures tradingin food items to tame the spiralling inflation.

"All trade unions, in a single voice, have told thatprice rise must be contained. If you (the government) areserious to contain price rise, then put a complete ban onfutures trading in commodities," Sen said.

Futures trading now is banned on rice and pulses, liketur and urad.

While futures trading in onion, whose prices haveskyrocketed, is allowed. However, no commodity exchange hasstarted this product.

Representatives of Left-wing trade unions like AITUC,Congress-affiliated INTUC, RSS-associated Bharatiya MazdoorSangh among others also participated in the pre-Budgetinteractions.

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