aipeu puri

aipeu puri

Tuesday 28 February 2012





Sunday 19 February 2012



Working Class Prepares for Historic General Strike
A K Padmanabhan
THE working people of our country have by now in full gear to go on a one-day historic general strike on February 28. All sections of Indian workers, in every corner of the country, have been preparing for this united action for the last three months.
The decision to go on a day’s strike, as is well known, was taken in a national convention of central trade unions and industrial federations in New Delhi on September 7, 2011. On that day, all the central trade unions recognised by the government of India came to a joint platform for the first time in the history of independent India, to announce a day’s general strike. This was to press for an agreed charter of demands which covered policy issues as well as immediate demands of workers, both in the organised and unorganised sectors.
 This call was fully endorsed by independent federations of those working in various sectors, like state and central government employees and teachers, bank and insurance employees, defence production, telecommunication, petroleum and natural gas, electricity employees etc.
 All these organisations began vigorous preparations during December 2011. Joint meetings and campaigns began by the end of that month.
 Central leaders of all trade union organisations went to various state centres and also attended sectorial meetings at the national level in order to prepare for the strike.
 A meeting at Mumbai on December 30 saw the national and also state level leaders of central trade unions planning joint initiatives. When approached, leaders of Bharatiya Kamgar Sena also participated. Various sections of employees and workers joined the meeting.
The series of state level conventions began with a successful and massive convention in Hyderabad on January 5, with more than 2500 representatives from all over the state attending it.
 Dr Sanjeeva Reddy (president, INTUC), B N Rai (general secretary, BMS), Gurudas Dasgupta (general secretary, AITUC), Tapan Sen (general secretary, CITU) and other central leaders along with state leaders addressed the convention. Leaders of the Telugunadu Trade Union Council (TNTUC) also attended.
January 9 saw an open air massive convention of all sections of workers in Kolkata, calling upon the workers of West Bengal to make the proposed strike a big success. National and state leaders of all central trade unions attended the convention.
 In Kerala, a massive convention was organised on January 17, in which 18 organisations, central trade unions and various state level organisations, were represented. Addressing the convention, state leaders of these organisations approved a detailed programme of campaigns all over the state, and also sectoral programmes. These included district conventions, dharnas, vehicle jathas etc.
 A mass meeting at Kochi on February 1 was addressed by central leaders including Gurudas Dasgupta (AITUC), Saji Narayan (BMS), A K Padmanabhan (CITU), Chandrasekhar (INTUC) and others.
State level conventions were also held in Haryana, Maharashtra, Orissa, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Tamilnadu. All these conventions were well attended, with national and state level trade union leaders addressing them.
Reports received from various states showed that district and regional or local level conventions were also being organised in every part of the country, and that workers from various unions are participating therein with much enthusiasm.
One important development is that huge preparations had been going on at sectoral level.

The central trade unions organised a convention of central public sector unions at Bangalore on January 13, and it evoked response from unions all over the country. This was the first time that such a convention was organised by all central trade unions. Among those who addressed were Dr Sanjeeva Reddy, B N Rai, Gurudas Dasgupta, Tapan Sen, R A Mittal (HMS) and M Shanmugan (LPF), apart from leaders of the Joint Action Forum of Bangalore PSUs and Coordination Committee of Hyderabad PSUs. 
The convention adopted a declaration, calling for massive participation of PSU workers in the strike. It was circulated among PSU workers in large numbers.
This successful initiative prompted various unions in PSUs, like coal, petroleum and natural gas, NTPC, powergrid, telecom, etc, to come together and issue joint appeals. These were signed by national leaders of industrial federations or representatives in the national level negotiating bodies.
A national convention of workers of oil and natural gas PSUs was held in Delhi on February 4. It was organised by All India Petroleum Workers Federation, National Federation of Petroleum Workers, and Petroleum and Gas Workers Federation of India. These unions served a joint strike notice on the managements of all oil and gas PSUs. Countrywide campaigns were planned.
 All the five federations in the port and dock sector, including those led by the HMS, CITU, INTUC and AITUC, issued a joint statement. Joint preparations for the success of the February 28 strike followed.
Leaders of national federations in public as well as private road transport sectors met at New Delhi and issued a joint statement. Regional and zonal level preparations are also made.
In the defence production sector, AIDEF, INTUC and BMS affiliated federations were jointly organising campaigns all over the country for the success of the strike.
 In the telecom sector, all the workers’ and employees’ unions including the BSNLEU, NFTE and FNTO came together to plan countrywide campaigns to make the strike complete.

Sectoral conventions and meetings were also held in various states. In Kerala, a massive convention of unions in central and state PSUs was held at Kochi on February 2, where state level campaigns were planned. Similar campaigns were planned in other states also.
 As has been the practice, all unions in the banking and insurance sector will participate in the strike en masse. Countrywide campaign meetings were held in these sectors.
Held at Hissar in December, the national conference of the All India State Government Employees’ Federation, the largest organisation of state government employees in the country, unanimously decided to participate in the strike. Its leadership at all levels has been making all necessary preparations for a successful strike.
The Confederation of Central Government Employees and Workers, representing all sections of central government employees including postal employees, has also called for turning the strike into a massive action of protest. The confederation leadership chalked out a countrywide tour programme for the campaign to ensure that the message and demands of the strike were taken down to the central government employees at all levels.
The recent united struggle of postal employees against the threat of closure of RMS and post offices in the country achieved success when the government was forced to give a written assurance not to close any office for the next three years at least, due to which the proposed indefinite strike was withdrawn. Now the postal employees’ unions are fully involved in preparations for the success of the February 28 all-India general strike. Leaderships of the NFPE, FNPO and GDS unions jointly went on a countrywide campaign among the postal employees to ensure complete strike in the postal department.
A meeting of unions in the Southern Railway, including the DREU (CITU), SRES (INTUC), DRKS (BMS), AISMA, AILRSA, SRLU, SREF and others, conducted a campaign in the divisional headquarters in the zone and also among the passengers to explain the demands. Demonstrations will be held in all the divisional centres on February 28, and all workers will wear badges on the day.

Apart from posters, millions of handbills have already been circulated and more are being brought out. Wall writings are going on in various parts of the country..
Thus, with reports still pouring in from different states about the massive ongoing preparations for the strike, one may be pretty sure that the strike on February 28 will see an unprecedented participation, that men and women workers in the country will make it a historic one in all aspects. Firmly united, the working class is on the move and will be out in the streets to challenge the policies of the ruling classes.

Tuesday 14 February 2012


If India Post were to encourage the private sector to ride piggyback on its network to promote its products, its deficit might prove to be less of a burden.
          The Communications Minister, Mr Kapil Sibal, wants the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to grant a banking license to India Post. The proposal makes eminent sense, especially at a time when financial inclusion has become a pervasive buzzword. With 1.55 lakh post offices in the country, of which 1.39 lakh are in rural areas, India Post's reach is bigger than the 75,000 branches (just 22,000 rural) of all scheduled commercial banks put together. Moreover, it is already in the business of banking in a sense: The various savings schemes operated by post office across India have outstanding balances of some Rs 600,000 crore. There is no reason for not extending this function to the next stage — channelising depositors' money for lending out to others and providing cheque facilities. The best example of why it is not an outlandish idea is provided by Japan's post office, which, as the largest holder of personal savings in the world, offers banking and life insurance services, apart from selling stamps and delivering letters. Allowing India Post to undertake regular banking functions would serve two objectives. First, it would make the institution more viable than it is at present on account of its being restricted to loss-making postal operations. Second, its unique outreach would equip it to serve social objectives.
          India Post has a clear advantage over banks as a vehicle for promoting financial inclusion. The use of mobile banking and banking correspondents, for all their undeniable promise, can hardly bridge the gap in rural outreach. Besides, the usurious excesses of micro-finance have robbed it of some of its sheen. With less than 40 per cent of the rural households covered by institutional lending, the potential of the post office to address the crisis of credit in rural India can hardly be over emphasised. Its financial inclusion potential has already come to the fore in the context of implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, where 46.7 million accounts had been opened and wages amounting to over Rs 18,000 crore had been distributed as on October 31 last year. It is also proving useful as the nodal agency for distribution of UIDAI cards.
          While India Post runs up an annual loss of some Rs 7,000 crore, its long-term deposit bias would, however, give it a cost advantage in the lending business. It can make micro-loans and plug into the self-help group network. India Post is also serious about promoting electronic and phone banking solutions for its customers. If, apart from offering banking services, India Post were to encourage the private sector to ride piggyback on its network to promote its products, its deficit might prove to be less of a burden. In the final analysis, a postman doubling up as banker may well turn out to be the best inclusive banking solution of all.
(This article was published on February 5, 2012, The Hindu Business Line)


Friday 10 February 2012



   The Workshop arranged by Group-C (CHQ) on Disciplinary Proceedings, Departmental Rulings, Right to Information Act 2005 and History of Postal Trade Union Movement has been successfully completed at Hotel Sonali on Puri Sea Beach (Swargadwar) on 4th & 5th February 2012.
    DAY 1
      The program started on 4th at 10:30 AM with hoisting of National Flag and Red Flag of NFPE, followed by lamp lighting and garlanding leaders and guests.  

Com. K.Raghavendran, former Secretary General, NFPE, inaugurated the workshop with the beginning topic --- 'Leadership Qualities & Role of P3 in Building Joint Movement'. The house was mesmerised by his oration reflecting classic Trade Union philosophy, class consciousness and references to real-life incidents of today's world.

  Com. M.R.Meenakshisundaram, retired supervisor, Chennai GPO and prominent Defence Assistant, was the next to deliver his topic --- 'Contributory Negligence & Disciplinary Rulings'. The veteran comrade presented the intricacies of the topic beautifully in easy language. Audience was enlightened.

  Com. M.Chandrasekharan Nair, retired SSPOs, former General Secretary, Officers' Association and Vice-President of IPOs/ASPOs Association, who always remained closely associated with movement of Postal employees, was the first speaker in the post-lunch session on 'Disciplinary Rulings: Challenges Before Trade Unions'. With the advantage of having both the experiences of a union activist and an administrator, Com. Nair spoke very effectively to explain all points and corners of his subject. Com. Nair served a brief spell in West Bengal Circle also.
      At 6:30 in the evening, Com. B.G.Tamhankar spoke on 'Use of RTI Act 2005 as a Tool for Trade Unions'. He himself is an expert user of RTI Act, and very easily transformed his knowledge to the minds of the delegates.

The delegates were clubbed in 12 groups having members from different circles. Each Group was given time for discussion on the delivered subjects. Then, the Interactive Session started. Each Group Leader came to the dais and asked questions and confusions. The leaders and speakers answered the questions. Everybody found this session very useful.
      The session was adjourned at 11:00 PM in night. But we had to spend the night awake in reading the 100-page wonderful compilation of Rulings (also on other topics of discussion) and answering the list of 30 questions supplied by CHQ.
      The day started with Group Discussion on the subject given to each group and finding solution to the questions related to that subject. Leader of each group presented the solutions suggested by his group, the CHQ Team explained and corrected the answers further. The delegates experienced a never-before process of interactive learning.
  Then Com. M.Krishnan, President Gr-C CHQ and Secretary General, NFPE, spoke on 'History of Postal Trade Union Movement'. The life and work of BABU TARAPADA, father of Postal T.U. movement and founder of The Calcutta Postal Club, was relived by him. The visions and sacrifices of Com. Bhupen Ghosh, Com. K.G.Bose, Com. Adinarayana, Com. N.J.Aiyar, movements, failures and successes ---- all were discussed in detail.
     The last speaker was Com. K.V.Sridharan, General Secretary, and he spoke very briefly on 'How to Represent Cases Before Administration Citing Rules and How to Face Them'. He did not require to speak for long because already through earlier sessions and interactions, the subject was thoroughly covered.
    The delegates were given a set of 50 MCQ questions again with 15 minutes to answer. Another magnificent session was experienced while the answers were discussed by Com. K.V.S.
    The program ended with vote of thanks by the host divisional secretary, Com. Rajesh Bohidar, a soft-spoken, diligent and sincere soldier, who made this huge arrangement entirely in Hotel Sonali possible, with the strength of only 90 members in the small division of Puri; and speech by host Circle Secretary, Com. R.C.Mishra, an experienced veteran trade unionist.
     Total 176 comrades participated in the workshop, 14 from West Bengal Circle. After the program ended, our Circle Team met in an assessment meeting in their room which persisted till 2 A.M. in night. As West Bengal Circle Union is going to organise same program on 10th & 11th March at Barrackpore, North Presidency Division in presence of Com. K.V.S., the meeting discussed the participating member's roles and responsibilities.