As expected, workers have once again struck work at the Manesar plant of Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL) located in Gurgaon (Haryana) on 29th August. This flows directly from the farcical deal that was negotiated by the central trade union leaders like the AITUC with the management, which had rejected the primary demand of the workers to set up their own union as opposed to the management run union. Instead of fighting to the finish, undue pressure was then brought upon the workers by the central unions, who wanted to press a deal with the management, for the fear of the protest spreading throughout the region with over 2 million workers employed in various industries including automotive.
By accepting in principle, the terms and conditions set by Anna Hazare and the anti-corruption campaign for a strong Lopal Bill (Ombudsman Bill) by a voice vote in parliament on 27th August, marks a incalculable defeat and a climb down for the government. The ruling political classes have in a way signed their own death warrants. The fact that the ruling party bungled so badly in handling the protests and witch doctors of the Congress could do nothing about it speaks volumes on the sort of instability rocking the whole Indian political establishment.
On 10th Aug., in less than half a minute, Maharashtra State Assembly passed ‘Maharashtra Self-Financed Universities (Establishment and Regulation) Act’ and this has now formally opened the doors for Education barons and businessmen. Now in the free market, where educations is traded as commodity, they can run their ‘Education Malls’ and reap huge profits out of it, estimated to be worth USD $68 bn by 2012.
If Aadhar, currently in the process of registering every citizen of the country by providing each citizen with a Unique Identification Number (UID), comes into force then it would probably put Hitler, Mussolini or even the Rajapakse regime in Sri Lanka to shame. By gaining unprecedented access to each individual personnel and financial records, it would be a potential orwellian state in the making.
Nearly 2 years after the floods in Northern Karnataka that devastated the lives of many thousands of people there, the newly constructed houses ‘asare’ for those who lost their houses has acquired a caste dimension to it. The prospects of houses being distributed randomely among people irrespective of their caste had terrified many upper caste households, who could not imagine living with lower caste households as neighbors. Instead many of the upper caste members got together and occupied houses even before it was even alloted to them. While among the lower caste members the houses were distributed at random, many among the lower caste household feel that this outrage by the upper caste households will only lead to their further ostracization in an already caste ridden society.