New Delhi: Trade unions today asked the government to increase the income tax exemption limit to Rs 5 lakh and the minimum wage to Rs 18,000 besides raising the minimum monthly pension to Rs 3,000 for all.
They also sought a special package for victims of the recent Tamil Nadu floods.
These demands were raised under a 15-point charter submitted by 11 central trade unions to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley during pre-Budget consultations held here. The Union Budget for the next financial year, 2016-17, is slated to be presented in Parliament in February end. It will take effect from April 1.
“We have demanded a minimum wage of Rs 18,000 per month which is higher than our earlier demand of Rs 15,000,” Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh Zonal Organisation Secretary Pawan Kumar said after the meeting.
The Seventh Pay Commission has recommended Rs 18,000 as minimum monthly wage for central government employees and it should be the benchmark, he said.
All Indian Trade Union Congress Secretary D L Sachdev said: “We have also demanded Rs 3,000 minimum monthly pension for all and asked for a special package for flood ravaged Tamil Nadu to provide relief to workers as well as industry in the next Budget.”
Sachdev said that in view of price rise “we have also demanded from the government to increase the income tax exemption limit to Rs 5 lakh per annum”.
The union have also asked that fringe benefits like housing, medical and educational facilities and running allowances in railways should be exempted from Income Tax.
Unions also demanded that PSUs should be strengthened and expanded and the disinvestment of government shares in profit making PSUs should be stopped.
Besides, they said that the budgetary support should be provided for revival of potentially viable sick PSUs.
On the price rise, the charter said: “Take effective measures to arrest the spiralling price rise especially of food and essential items of daily use. Ban speculative forward trading in essential commodities, check on hoarding and universalise and strengthen Public Distribution System.”
Expressing concerns over steel and aluminium sectors, the unions said: “Relentless and increasing flow of import of industrial commodities including capital goods must be contained and regulated to prevent dumping and also to protect and promote domestic industries and prevent loss of employment.”
It also said that “FDI should not be allowed in crucial sectors like defence production, Railways, financial sector, retail trade and other strategic sectors. In other areas, terms and conditions for FDI should be made public.”