The Golden Hand-Shake
BY ARDHENDU DAKSHI
Govt. of India is sincerely pursuing the prescription of IMF and World Bank to revive the domestic economy Indian workers and employees have been facing the results of BJP Govt.s action. But what the government is prescribing? - "Downsize" meaning - reduce the manpower. The government the IMF, the World Bank all are chanting only one 'mantra' - reform - restructure - downsize. Ong-Hring-Cling. Don't recruit fresh employees in cases of retirement, throw the casual or contract workers our of job and even if that is not sufficient - lure the employees to leave the job give them some extra money in their hands - Golden Handshake!
Railways, banks, textile industry, P & T, Steel Plants, you name any industry - Thousands of employees are going out of employment everyday. If substitutes are at all taken there - they are temporary workers with wages that can buy only some atta, dal and some vegetables, nothing else, on a starvation wage.
If we ask the govt. the IMF, the World Bank one question - who is going to buy the products, if everybody is thrown out of jobs a vast majority become burden of a employed few? We know nobody will answer it. The facts prove that there are no buyers even after unbelievable gifts are offered with some products. Go through newspaper ads on any day the industry itself is getting a handshake - not so golden. Let us see what happened to the employees who had received "Golden Hand Shake" in 92-93 period. The story is heart breaking. We have several studies before us covering textile workers who have suffered most and also some govt. enterprises. The studies are revealing 75% of the recipients could not save anything after 5-6 years. A good majority of them spent a big amount of money in children's marriages. (Incidentally VRS people had to pay heavy dowry because the grooms party knew that the brides father had received "lakhs of rupees" under VR scheme) Others spent it in house building or repaying debts. First one or two years they had no time to search for jobs. Then they woke up when the money was almost drained out.
But 97% of them did not find any comparable jobs. Who will give them jobs when young qualified trained boys and girls are prepared to work with half the salary. VR people lacked training in other kind of jobs. Training schemes were rather farce.
Some started a business but in most cases ended up in failure. Only exception is perhaps some vegetable vendors who were selling vegetables before joining service and reverted back to old profession and somehow maintained a good income. Others were by the time totally bankrupt.
The result is trauma all around. Spending days in utter frustration jobless seen as a spent force an outcast an object of pity. Those who kept some money in savings schemes discovered in 4/5 years time that the good amount of interest earned in yesteryears is nothing today due to inflation. If things go by the same rate what will be left over is only horror.
There is no government at the centre worth the name. The bourgeoisie is bankrupt of ideas. Is there anybody to review it to retrace the steps? Most unlikely. So "downsizing" will continue. Market will further shrink. Industry will face a fresh bout of crisis. More people will loose their jobs. More youngsters will be stopped at the gate.
And crime rate is rising alarmingly in all the centres where VR schemes have been intensely implemented. Side-by-side suicide cases also rising among those accepting VR.
Penniless, rejected chastised by the family for "foolish" decision kicked by everybody around they finally quit the world driven by despair to commit suicide.
End of "Golden Handshake" at least - for some of them.
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