ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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POONA-Industrial Workers Organise Themselves

April 7, 1973 That none of these sacrifices made by labour in organised industry has benefited the poor masses is evident from the state of the economy. The level of investment continues to be at a level much below that which had been reached in 1965-66. It is also clear that the Fifth Plan investment, projections will hardly take the economy forward in terms of investment or employment ("Polishing the Vessel", During the last six years, 1965-66 to 1971-72, employment in organised industry has risen by 10 per cent, ? c, at a compound rate of about 1.5 per cent per annum. Further, organised industry has been able to substitute capital for labour in even traditional industries where the case for such substitution in social cost-benefit terms is weak or non-existent. The increase in the share of ,salaries, in value added by manufacture as against that of 'wages' is evidence of such substitution (see table). The increasing capital intensity has also been induced by the cheap rate at which capital funds are made available to enterpreneurs. There is thus iittle evidence to show that restraints imposed on labour have yielded any increase in the rate of investment or in employment creation. On the contrary, what has been thus squeezed out has been appropriated by industrialists in terms of larger profits, rich farmers in terms of high and assured procurement prices, and professionals and merchants in terms of tax evasion and avoidance. Apparently, the incomes of none of these latter categories of persons are to be curbed for they are all deemed to be vital to the growth process! It passes comprehension how a national wage policy can be based on such a biassed view of economic processes. Should not those who seek to advise restraint on the claims of labour in the name of growth and employment show some recognition of the need for more efficient and honest collection of taxes, for reduction in non-development expenditure, for curbing investment in a whole host of non-essential and luxury industries, for better management of public sector units, for better utilisation of industrial capacity, for larger procurement of foodgrains and greater production of wage goods so as to contain the rise in the prices of the necessities of life, for some effort at taxation of farmers with large holdings and incomes, and, above all, for a push to investment and employment? As things are, the demand for restraints on the earnings of labour appears virtually as a substitute for action in any of these other directions. It is thus no accident that it is after 1965-66, as economic growth has slum- pod and the government's economic management has lost all sense of direction, that the doctrine of wage restraint has been advanced most insistently ONLY 12 years ago, Poona was still a city famous for its educational institutions, its historical monuments, its ammunition factory, and its printing business. Now it has acquired a new face with its modern industrial estates and its complex of industries alongside its old institutions and forts.

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