AISA-RYA Call For
MARCH TO PARLIAMENT
9 August 2012 From Jantar Mantar, 11 am
Break The Barricades Of Corruption
Assert Student-Youth Rights To
Equitable Education And Dignified Employment
It is all too clear that corruption in neoliberal times is no longer a case merely of bribe-taking by babus – it is nothing short of the corporate plunder of the country’s precious resources and the collective future of our country, facilitated by the Government and its economic policies of privatisation. So, the worst instances of corruption are invariably instances of government handing over and privatising natural resources to corporates for a pittance: the 2G scam saw corporate loot spectrum; the mining scams see corporates loot minerals; coal scam facilitated the corporate loot of coal; there are endless cases of plunder of land and water by corporates.
So corruption today is being promoted by government policies, where precious public resources – like land, minerals, oil and gas, forests – are being plundered by corporates for private profit, and the Government exchequer is being subjected to huge losses. Not only is the country being robbed of irreplaceable natural resources, it is being robbed of funds which could have been used to ensure food, education, employment and other necessities.
Young India vs Corporate Corruption and Profit
The UPA Govt claims ‘fund crunch’ for education; and argues for privatised, corporatized education.
But we should recognise some starling facts:
- Education Budget in 9 Years of UPA Rule = Rs 3.52 lakh cr
- UPA’s 2 Mega Scams (2G Scam + Coal Scam) = Rs 3.56 lakh cr
- Revenues Foregone by UPA As Tax Waivers etc for Corporates EVERY YEAR: Rs 5 lakh cr.
Corporate loot in just 2 UPA-sponsored scams equalled what UPA Govt. spent in 9 years on education!
And EVERY YEAR, as ‘Revenues Foregone,’ the UPA gifts corporates more than its total 9-Year Budget for education!
Can students and youth allow this Government-sponsored corporate plunder and corporate appeasement to continue at the cost of their education? NO – and that is why they are marching on 9 August to ‘Break the Barricades’ of corruption and corporate loot!
Young India’s Fate: Ill-paid, Insecure, Undignified Jobs
According Census 2010 data
- More than 50% of India’s population is under 25 years;
- 70% of the population is under 35 years.
- This makes India home to the world’s largest youth population.
When the UPA Government adopts pro-corporate policies (tax waivers to the tune of lakhs of crores, breaking of law relating to environment and labour, huge scams and corporate plunder of land, minerals, etc), it always claims this is necessary for ‘growth’ and for generating employment for India’s youth. Are these claims true?
Let us consider the period of 2005-2010: five years which saw some of the worst scams. This was also the worst offensive of neoliberal policies (privatisation, pro-corporate policies). What was the state of jobs during this period?
- During 2004-05 to 2009-2010, employment elasticity (percentage change in employment with respect to percentage change in GDP) was almost zero (0.02).
- While GDP increasing at a 9% rate, employment grew at a negligible rate of just 0.22%.
- In agriculture, on which almost 60% of the population continues to be dependant, the employment rate was minus 1.60%.
- The youth unemployed in India make up almost half (49%) of the total unemployed despite the fact that, the youth share of the total adult workers is only 21%.
So, the glorious period of ‘9% growth rate’ was a period of JOBLESS GROWTH.
‘Growth’ meant a licence to loot for India’s corporations, while, for India’s young people, it meant desperate unemployment.
What kind of jobs were, in fact, created?
- A dangerous casualisation of the workforce: Between 2004-05 and 2009-10, the number of casual workers grew by 21.9 million, while growth in the number of regular workers nearly halved (compared with the period between 1999-2000 and 2004-05) to 5.8 million
- 50% of the youth workers are ‘self employed’ – i.e in insecure jobs like street vendors etc
- 35% of youth workers are casual labourers
- 26% of youth employed suffer from poverty (around 22 million).
- Around 40% of youth population are categorised as ‘vulnerable’.
Even in the organized, manufacturing sector (covered in ASI): We find shrinking share of wages, rising share of profit
- Rise in labour productivity was 5 fold between 1980s-2010
- However the Wage Bill declined from 30% of net value-added in 1980s, to 11.6% by 2009-10
- Educated youth – such as the Maruti workers – are employed on contract, overworked, underpaid, and threatened with loss of job if they try to organise for better wages and conditions, while corporate employers openly violate labour laws
This is how corporates rule – while the youth are enslaved.
That’s why youth are marching to Parliament on 9 August – to demand the right to dignified employment as a fundamental right!
Robbing the Right to Equitable Education
The recent case in Bangalore where a private school shaved hair of the little kids enrolled under the RTE’s mandatory 25% quota for poor students, and the incident in Chennai where a little girl from a working class family, fell to her death through the floor of a private school bus show that merely reserving seats for the poor in schools dominated by the rich can only mock at the idea of ‘right to education.’ Private schools continue to charge high fees while failing to provide basic quality and safety, and humiliating children from weaker economic and social backgrounds.
The path is being paved for unfettered corporate plunder in higher education. The proposed new bills in the education sector (the Foreign University Bill, Innovation Universities Bill, Private Universities Bill, and the Educational Tribunal Bill for instance) all seek to give private, corporate, and foreign players a licence to exploit the so-called ‘education market’, while enjoying immunity from the laws of the land. These corporate and foreign players
- Will not be bound to provide social justice,
- Will be allowed to charge unregulated fees,
- Will be virtually exempt from quality control
- And will enjoy legal immunity too, since clause 47 of the Education Tribunal Bill debars every student from approaching court against injustices done by private institutions
We have seen how, with the help of a corrupt Government, corporates rob our resources, and corporates are being allowed to rule unfettered in the education sector as well as in the job arena.
For A Democratic Model of the Fight Against Corruption
During the past year, we have also witnessed different models of anti-corruption struggles. We have seen Baba Ramdev, who claims to be fighting against black money, shower praise on the communal killer Narendra Modi and on anti-women and casteist khap panchayats. Can the fight against corruption be undertaken by those with a regressive social vision? We believe not. Also can we forget that BJP-NDA Governments of Karnataka, Gujarat, Bihar, Jharkhand, and Uttarakhand have proven to be no less corrupt and pro-corporate than those ruled by the Congress. AISA-RYA stress the need to be alert against the attempts to take the anti-corruption urge of people in a socially and politically reactionary direction.
Anna Hazare and his supporters have decided to launch a political platform. We have always held that the fight against corruption is a political one, and we had disagreed with Anna’s model when it claimed that the anti-corruption struggle is above or against politics. Anna’s movement was beset from the start by contradictory ideological perspectives, vacillation towards reactionary and right-wing forces, a muted response on corporate corruption and economic policies that promote corruption, and weakness and inconsistency on issues of democracy. Any political platform launched by Anna’s supporters, too, cannot escape facing similar problems and questions.
AISA and RYA has always striven to build a struggle against corruption that has a firm and consistent political perspective – that identifies pro-corporate neoliberal policies as the root of corruption, and that has a consistent democratic vision. In August last year, we barricaded Jantar Mantar for a 100 hours, as part of our campaign against corporate plunder and corruption.
This year, AISA and RYA are carrying forward this campaign, raising the issue of how education and employment is literally being bartered away in the neo-liberal economic regime. Throughout the summer, AISA and RYA have been campaigning in various parts of the country against corruption, and for the right to employment and education.
AISA and RYA have called a March to Parliament on August 9th 2012, demanding
- Wipe Out Corruption and Stop Corporate Plunder
- Guarantee Equitable Education for All
- Make Right to Employment a Fundamental Right
We appeal to the editors/bureau chief of newspapers and channels to send reporters and camerapersons/photographers to cover the AISA-RYA March to Parliament on 9 August, so as to strengthen the ongoing struggle of the students and youth to assert our rights against the corporate loot of our resources and robbery of our right to employment and educatio
Sandeep Singh, President, AISA
Mohd. Salim, President, RYA
Contact no: 9868033425 (Sandeep), 9868661628 (Ravi Rai)