Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Saturday assured trade unions that the government did not intend privatizing either the railways or Coal India. “Government has no intention to privatize either railways or Coal India. The focus of the government is to create more jobs and employment opportunities, besides safeguarding the existing jobs,” Jaitley told representatives of 11 trade unions in a pre-budget meeting, an official statement here said.
“The focus of the government is also to give a better environment for ease of living for the common man,” he added.
The unions asked for an immediate stop to the process of disinvestment in profit-making public sector units, as well as budgetary support for revival sick state-run units that are potentially viable.
“In particular, we opposed the ordinance on the coal sector, insurance sector and Land Acquisition Act. We demand all such ordinances should be withdrawn forthwith,” All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) secretary D.L.Sachdev told reporters after the meeting. They also opposed foreign equity in key sectors like defence production.
A joint statement by the 11 unions said: “Concrete steps must be taken to recover huge accumulated unpaid arrears which has already crossed Rs.5 lakh crore on direct and corporate tax accounts alone.” The unions which met the finance minister included the AITUC, the Centre for Indian Trade Unions (CITU), Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), and the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC). (IANS)