India Uncut

This blog has moved to its own domain. Please visit for the all-new India Uncut and bookmark it. The new site has much more content and some new sections, and you can read about them here and here. You can subscribe to full RSS feeds of all the sections from here. This blogspot site will no longer be updated, except in case of emergencies, if the main site suffers a prolonged outage. Thanks - Amit.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Behind the rhetoric

Ila Patnaik reveals:
The Left may celebrate the ratification of the Employee Provident Fund rate hike to 9.5 per cent. What it does not mention is the fact that it benefits only 4 percent of India’s working population, the bulk of whom belong to the top 25 percent of earners of the country. What the Left also will not mention that it’s stalling pension reforms which would benefit the huge majority of low-income workers who are now out of the EPF net. And have no trade union affiliation.

The recently released ORG-AC Nielsen National Survey of Earning, Saving and Retirement, of 41,000 earners from across the country, has thrown up startling new evidence that the Left will find hard-pressed to explain.

After neatly summarising the findings of the survey, Patnaik adds:
The survey also shows that only 2.7 per cent of workers belong to trade unions. Of these, over half fall in the top income class. Trade union members who are below median earners (i.e. those who earn less than Rs 35,000 per year) make up less than half of one percent (0.47%) of India’s earners. This highlights the extent to which India’s trade union movement is alienated from the interests of the very poor.

This also helps explain why Left parties have fought so hard for the 9.5% decision on EPF, which patently only benefits the top income categories, while they remain unconcerned about the need for the poor to have pensions.

For the left, of course, what matters is how good their rhetoric sounds and not how well their policies work. And if asked to react to this news, I am certain that they will respond in one (or both) of two ways: one, they will engage in ad hominem attacks against the Indian Express and this journalist; two, they will drown out the possibility of reasoned discussion in jargon designed to obfuscate. And then, holier than thou and brimming with sanctimony, they will imply that by questioning them we are doing a disservice to the poor of India. Indeed.
amit varma, 11:09 AM| write to me | permalink | homepage

I recommend: