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Tuesday, 11 May 2021 17:00

Homage to Comrade Ranjana Nirula

Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) expresses heartfelt grief at the demise of comrade Ranjana Nirula, working committee member and former Treasurer of CITU. She was the Convenor of All India Coordination Committee of ASHA workers (CITU). She passed away yesterday, 10 May 2021 at 11pm. She has been unwell for few months with Crohn’s disease and was under treatment. She was infected with Covid 19 and was hospitalized on 27 April 2021. She was 75 years.

Ranjana Nirula was born in 1945 in Delhi in an aristocratic Punjabi family. Her father was a doctor in the UN. She went for her studies in USA where she came close to the left movement during the Vietnam War and was active in Anti Vietnam War Movement. She came back to India in early seventies and joined the left movement here.  She became CITU whole timer in 1978 and was Treasurer of Delhi State CITU. She stayed in working class colonies and worked among the factory workers in South Delhi and also in Faridabad.

She was one of the founders of the coordination committee of working women (CITU) in Delhi in 1979. She was also one of the founders of All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) in Delhi and was a member of the Central Executive Committee of AIDWA. She was also a member of Delhi State Committee of CPI (M).

A great humanist, she had specialization in teaching of children with special needs and served as a teacher for them for a short period.

Ranjana joined the CITU headquarters in 1998. She became the Working Editor of “The Voice of the Working Woman”, the journal of CITU for women workers which have been published since 1980. From 1979, she was a part of Co ordination Committee of Working Women and was also associated with Beedi Workers. When the CITU formed the All India Coordination Committee of ASHA worker (CITU), in 2009, she became its Convenor, and was continuing till date. Ranjana became the first ever woman treasurer of CITU, in 2010 in the 13th Conference of CITU, a position which she held till 2017. At present she was a member of the Working Committee of CITU.

A staunch advocate of women’ equal rights, a fearless critique of communal fascistic forces, com Ranjana was a very affectionate and caring leader who was particular in cadre development. Her departure is a great loss to the trade union movement in India in general and the CITU centre in particular.

CITU pays its respectful homage, dips its flag in memory of the departed leader and conveys heartfelt condolences to her bereaved family.

 

Issued by
Tapan Sen
General Secretary

The online meeting of Joint Platform of Central Trade Unions and Independent Sectoral Federations held on 28th April 2021 expressed grave concern at the cruel insensitivity of the Government at the centre in addressing and combating the second wave of the Covid Pandemic. The alarming country wide surge of this second wave of Covid has thrown the lives of the people, working people in particulars in total jeopardy. The daily infection count has already crossed 3 lakhs and is estimated to grow further in the coming days. Number of daily deaths too has surged. A substantial part of deaths are preventable, being caused due to non-availability of basic infrastructure, oxygen, hospital beds and essential medicines. The CTUs and Sectoral Federations/Associations have written to the Prime Minister(The letter attached)

 In the midst of such grave humanitarian crisis, the Central government ridiculously draws satisfaction over overcoming the crisis under the leadership of Narendra Modi! The Union Finance Minister has made mindless self congratulatory statement that their programme of privatisation/disinvestment is on track and in progress!

Caught unprepared, despite the warning about a second country wide wave,  the Central government is now trying to blame the people, the state governments and everybody except itself for the surge of casualty with much more intensity and speed. The reprimand of EC by some High Courts has Vindicated the stand of Trade Unions having taken time to time. Now only the order has come not to organise any rally, celebration from 2nd to 15th may in the election bound states.  

There is serious shortage of vaccines, testing facilities, hospital beds, ventilators, oxygen, medicines and above all trained personnel – doctors, nurses and other medical staff. The front line workers and employees are overworked and lack adequate protection. Instead of addressing these serious issues, BJP leaders including union ministers are engaged in shifting the responsibility to the state governments and indulging in blame games.

In the midst of this, the vaccine policy announced by the government puts corporate profits above the precious lives of people. Today, it is crucial to strictly regulate, under direct government supervision, the entire vaccination process to ensure that the entire population is vaccinated within a definite time frame. Vaccine production must be urgently scaled up; it must be imported as necessary. But the government is shamelessly succumbing to the profit hungry international drug mafia and liberalised vaccine sales. The new vaccine policy liberalises the vaccine sale by deregulating the prices through a discriminatory process that too without taking any concrete measures for augmenting availability.

States are not given the promised doses of vaccines. This has severely affected the first phase of vaccination itself. The new vaccine policy of Modi government stipulates that the state governments have to procure the vaccines from the open market with higher price of Rs 400/Rs 600 per dose as announced by the two vaccine companies in India. They will be thrown into unhealthy competition with each other and also with the private sector hospitals which are also free to procure the vaccines at Rs 600/ Rs 1200. More such notorious announcements are expected to pour in the days to come with the Govt-corporate nexus. It is atrocious that the Serum Institute which has announced Rs 400 per dose of vaccine for the state governments and Rs 600 for private hospitals in India.

Covisheild is priced at 1.78 Euro (Rs 160) in Europe and at $4 (Rs 300) in the US and Bangladesh, at Rs.237 in Brazil, at Rs. 226 in UK.

This  pro-corporate deregulation on vaccine and other essential ingredients of pandemic management will further facilitate hoarding and black marketing which is already going on in case of essential medicines like Remdesivir and oxygen. Overwhelming majority of our people who cannot afford the huge price of the vaccine would be excluded. Policies of exclusion have now become the hallmark of the Central government.    

The local and regional lockdowns and curfews being imposed in several states are creating uncertainties about the work and income among the working people, the migrant workers and workers in the unorganised sector in particular. Reminiscent of the migrant workers’ march around one year back, migrant workers are again heading to their native places. None of the orders under Disaster Management Act issued so far by various authorities on curfew or scaling down of operation by industry etc had cared to concretely direct the employers to protect employment/livelihood of workers, their incomes and residences. It is again an attempt by the governments, as last year, to sacrifice the lives and livelihood of the workers and the toiling people to safeguard the interests of the employers’ class.  

 The Joint Platform of Central Trade Unions and Federations demands the government to withdraw the new pro-corporate as well as discriminatory vaccine policy and take immediate measures to ensure 100% procurement of the vaccine, adequate supply of vaccines to the states, free of cost, utilising the PM care fund. The government, sufficiently empowered by Disaster Management Act must not abdicate its responsibility of prioritising protection of the lives of the people during this grave pandemic, over profiteering by vaccine-pharmaceutical barons.

 The joint platform of Central trade unions and Federations point out that it is the public sector companies that are, as ever, coming to the rescue of the nation in this critical situation. It is the public sector steel companies that are producing and supplying oxygen; it is the Indian Railways that is transporting Oxygen to the needy states. We also remind the government that it was the public sector financial institutions in our country that have protected the country against the 2008 world crisis. The joint platform of trade unions demand that the government must immediately stop its mindless privatisation drive. We demand that immediate measures be taken to strengthen the existing public sector medicine and oxygen production units which are already playing a frontline role in producing/supplying oxygen and other necessities and establish new ones to ensure universal and comprehensive public health care.

The Joint Platform also demands that the Govt must ensure that any order issued by any authorities under Disaster Management Act imposing restrictions in movement, curfew etc must accompany strict enforceable orders to all employers and all concerned banning retrenchment, wage-cut and eviction from residences etc. It cannot be just an advisory but a stringently enforceable direction and the Disaster Management Act adequately empowers the Govt to issue such orders and enforce.

The Joint Platform calls upon the workers and toiling people to observe the forthcoming May Day, the international working class solidarity day through jointly organizing agitation in as many locations throughout the country to press for the following demands, while expressing solidarity with the working class movement going on throughout the world:

Ramp up vaccine production and ensure universal free vaccination within a definite time frame. Ensure free supply of oxygen in the crises as in present situation.

  1. Ensure adequate hospital beds, oxygen and other medical facilities to meet the Covid surge
  2. Scrap anti-people discriminatory pro-corporate Vaccine Policy
  3. Strengthen public health infrastructure including recruiting the necessary health personnel
  4. Any order under Disaster Management Act issued by any authority imposing restrictions in movement, curfew etc must accompany strict order on all employers and all concerned banning retrenchment, wage-cut and eviction from residences etc and same must be strictly enforced.
  5. Scrap anti-worker Labour Codes and anti-people Farm Laws and Electricity Bill
  6. Stop privatization and Disinvestment
  7. Cash transfer of Rs 7500 per month for all non income tax paying families
  8. 10 kg free food grains per person per month for the next six months
  9. Ensure non Covid patients get effective treatment in government hospitals
  10. Ensure availability of protective gear, equipments etc for all health and frontline workers and those engaged in pandemic-management work including ASHAs and anganwadi employees along with comprehensive insurance coverage for them all

Covid protocols – wearing masks, maintaining physical distance etc should be strictly followed by all our leaders, cadres, activists and members to safeguard their own health and the health of their comrades, colleagues and family members.

            INTUC                               AITUC                             HMS                              CITU                                 AIUTUC

               TUCC                        SEWA                                AICCTU                               LPF                             UTUC

And Sectoral Federations/Associations 

CITU DEMANDS:

THE POLICY MUST BE SCRAPPED

UNIVERSAL FREE VACCINATION TO COVER THE ENTIRE POPULATION WITHIN A DEFINITE TIME FRAME MUST BE ENSURED BY THE GOVT

BAN ON PROFITEERING ON VACCINE, OXYGEN AND ESSENTIAL MEDICINES AND THEIR ADEQUATE AVAILABILITY MUST BE ENFORCED STRINGENTLY…

The Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) strongly denounces the Vaccine policy of the Government of India, putting profit over the precious lives of people in the wake of the severe health emergency following  the second wave of Covid -19 pandemic. The inefficiency, negligence and cruel insensitivity of the Modi led BJP government towards peoples’ miseries, which wasted one precious year only with sound-bites to media instead of making adequate preparations by strengthening/expanding the public health system and vaccine-production has created this alarming situation, throwing the lives of the people in total jeopardy.

When it is utmost important to more regulate the vaccination process, scale up the vaccine production and import and go for universal free vaccination drive on war footing for the 138 crore population,  the government is shamelessly succumbing to international drug mafia for their profiteering. The new vaccine policy is an effort to liberalise the vaccine sale by deregulating the prices through a discriminatory process that too without taking any concrete measures for augmenting supply and availability.

In our country, so far the vaccinations were free and universal. At a time when the states are not given the promised doses of vaccines which has severely affected the first phases of vaccinations itself, through the new policy Modi Government has ordered that the state governments have to procure the vaccines from the open market with higher price of Rs 400. They will be thrown into unhealthy competition with each other and also with the private sector hospitals which are also free to procure the vaccines at Rs 600 (as of now). The vaccine company head has already made a statement that Rs.1000 per dose will be justifiable! In European Union nations the price of one doss of Covishield vaccine is 1.78 Euro (Rs. 160) only. In US the price is 4 Dollar (Rs.300). In our country, the Govt always puts the profit over people.

This deregulation along with the permission to import various vaccines will facilitate  hoarding and black marketing which is alreadu going on in case of essential medicines like Remdesivir and oxygen. This policy will exclude an overwhelming majority of the people who cannot afford the huge price. This move is a naked example of profiteering at the cost of the lives of the people.   

CITU demands the government to withdraw the new pro-corporate as well as discriminatory vaccine policy and take immediate measures to ensure 100% procurement of the vaccine, adequate supply of vaccines to the states, free of cost, utilizing the PM care fund. The Govt, sufficiently empowered by Disaster Management Act must not abdicate its responsibility of prioritizing protection of the lives of the people during this grave pandemic, over profiteering by vaccine-pharmaceutical barons. The government must take a break from its mindless privatization drives and instead strengthen the existing public sector medicine and oxygen production units and establish new ones to ensure universal and comprehensive public health care.

The LDF Government of Kerala has set an example with efficient management of the covid cases and by declaring free vaccine to all the people. 

CITU calls upon the working class and its affiliated unions and various committees in particular to unitedly protest against the anti people vaccine policy of the Modi government demanding universal free vaccination for all within a definite time frame.

Issued by
Tapan Sen
General Secretary 

Thursday, 22 April 2021 09:09

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