Worried over the changing perception about the BJP-led government, the RSS has advised the government to address some of the concerns raised by its affiliates, especially on the issues of land bill and labour laws. At the same time, the RSS has also directed its affiliates to refrain from harsh criticism, and asked them to be more muted in their response to the government’s policy initiatives.
As a result, the NDA government is not likely to push the land bill in its current form which excludes the consent and social impact assessment clauses. The government has also taken initiatives to address the concerns of the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), the Sangh’s trade union wing, on the labour issue.
Sources said the government, which had constituted an inter-ministerial panel to discuss issues raised by them in their 10-point charter, has also agreed to conduct the Indian Labour Conference soon — as demanded by the trade unions. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has conveyed to Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya that he would chair the meeting which is likely to be held in the third week of July. Sources said Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who heads the inter-ministerial panel on labour issues, is expected to hold his first meeting with trade unions later this month.
The change in the government’s approach reflected in the reactions of the leaders of the affiliated groups. While BMS general secretary Vrijesh Upadhyay expressed optimism over Jaitley’s proposed meeting, Ashwani Mahajan, co-convenor of the Swadeshi Jagaran Manch (SJM), said the government was “more receptive” in its approach. The SJM had recently written to Modi expressing disapproval over the government’s decision to retain the UPA’s FDI policy in multi-brand retail. “The government has started showing initiatives to address the concerns expressed by us on labour issues,” said Upadhyay.
Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Power Minister Piyush Goyal, Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office Jitendra Singh and Dattatreya are the other members of the inter-ministerial panel on labour issues. Upadhyay said the government has agreed to take their concerns about the proposed labour laws seriously.
Mahajan said his organisation has told the government that it should “make the government machinery more effective” in expediting the social impact assessment. He also emphasised the need to obtain consent of “majority” of farmers affected by the land acquisition. “In order to address concerns on food security, the government can make a rule that fertile or multi-crop land will not be acquired but provisions for exceptions can be made,” he said. Mahajan said the government had shown “utmost flexibility” in addressing their concerns on GM crops and the BJP governments have started taking measures against the misuse of FDI norms in e-commerce firms.