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Not for profit

This refers to the report ‘All PSUs may not be able to hike salaries’ in the Ahmedabad edition of The Indian Express.

Written by The Indian Express |
April 29, 2009 12:59:10 am

• This refers to the report ‘All PSUs may not be able to hike salaries’ in the Ahmedabad edition of The Indian Express. As a former Gujarat cabinet minister for labour and the present general secretary of the Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee,I am concerned.

The Soviet model of industrialisation was accepted as policy by the Congress government after Independence. PSUs necessarily played their part in contributing to our industrialisation. Your correspondents and Arup Roy Chowdhury,the chairman of SCOPE,should understand that profit was never the motive behind setting up PSUs. Even if profitability is accepted as a parameter for wage hike under the revised pay guidelines to Central PSU employees,it should be realised that employees from the ranks of peons and mid-level managers do not contribute to the decision-making process that determines profit. Therefore these employees shouldn’t be unduly punished if their CPSU is a loss-making one. There are many factors contributing to profits that can’t be related directly to employees. Consider,for example,the profitability of ONGC or the like. Activities of such PSUs involve negligible costs of production and whatever is extracted has commercial value. Profits here result from monopoly rights of extraction,and not because of market conditions or contribution of employees. It’s the same for gas distributing PSUs. These were governmental functions; but for administration convenience,PSUs undertake them.

The Supreme Court has often accepted the principle of “equal work and equal pay”. The apex court,in its judgment dated May 3,1990,has accepted that once pay revision has been given to an employee,he is entitled to the benefits of all subsequent pay revisions. An employee from a loss-making PSU is required to pay the same price for necessities as his counterpart from a profit-making PSU. If the government wants to totally eliminate loss-making PSUs,it can sell the PSU or close it down,under the liquidation mode. It has not done so,because the policy of the past Congress governments and the present UPA government has always been pro-labour.

— Girish Parmar

General Secretary

Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee,Ahmedabad

Hard life

• The PM speaks of a growth rate of 8-9 per cent and the price index inching towards zero. Yet,ordinary citizens experience ever-increasing food prices. Senior citizens feel the noose closing in the most,with bank FD rates dropping below 9 per cent. What is the use of raising the income tax limit when earnings are dropping? Where exactly is the finance ministry leading us?

— C.V. Deo Mumbai

Big handicap

• It was shocking to learn of Assam CM Tarun Gogoi’s complaint about the EC’s model code of conduct. It appears that the code of conduct not only prevents welfare work before elections but also the political executive’s interaction with bureaucrats during blasts. Can we afford that in troubled states like Assam?

— Ramesh Tiwari Jaipur

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