Resolution on Working Class Movement: Context, Tasks and Opportunities

1980s to less than 50% by 2009 while profit share increased from 30% in the 1990s to more than 50% after 2004-2005.

6. While real wages stagnated and declined, the top management in virtually every company pampered itself with hefty increases in salary and other accompanying privileges. Wages of managerial staff were roughly twice that of workers’ wages until the 1990s, but increased thereafter at a faster rate to reach 4.3 times that of the workers’ wages by 2008. The CEOs have been drawing obscenely high salaries – some to the tune of more than Rs. 10 lakh per day. In 2011-12, the Naveen Jindal drew a salary of Rs.73.42 Crore. Kalanidhi and Kaveri Kalanidhi of Sun network each drew salaries of Rs.57.1 crore. Pawan Munjal and Brij Mohan Munjal of Hero Motor Corporation drew salaries of Rs. 34.55 crore each and PR Raja of Madras cements got Rs.29.34 crore.

7. The skyrocketing profits have been further bolstered by huge tax concessions and other sops offered by central and state governments. The total quantum of corporate tax exemption in the last five years has been of the order of Rs 25 lakh crore. This
is by far the biggest scam enacted openly and legally, even as more than 70% of Indians have to make do with a daily expenditure of less than Rs. 20. Along with hefty tax exemptions, the rich are also endowed with enough loopholes to enable them to accumulate and hold wealth illegally in foreign banks and launder black money white through multiple routes.

Working Class: Changing Composition

8. With the change in the country’s GDP mix, the composition of the labour force is also undergoing a steady change, though not in the same proportion. Agriculture now contributes less than 15% of GDP, yet close to 60% of the population still depends on agriculture for their economic wherewithal. The service sector is now the dominant part of the Indian economy accounting for about 59 per cent of Gross National Product. Over the last 40 years, employment in this sector has grown at anaverage of about 3.5 per cent per annum, yet its share in total employment has risen from around 15 per cent in 1972-73 to only 26 per cent in 2009-10.

9. Employment in the primary or agricultural sector has been steadily declining, and in the secondary sector comprising mining, manufacturing, electricity, water and gas, and construction, it is only construction which has witnessed a significant growth in employment, while in the tertiary or service sector, employment growth has been concentrated primarily in three segments: financial services, trade and transport.

10. If we compare rural and urban areas, employment growth has been higher in urban areas than in the rural economy. The stagnation in rural employment is caused primarily by the decline in agricultural employment, and continues despite the steady growth in non-agricultural employment in rural areas. According to NSSO estimates rural non-farm activities employed 28.51 million workers in 1972-73, the number went up to 56.11 million by 1987-88 and to 93.53 million in 2004-05. According to the NSSO survey of 2009-10, the number stood at 107.51 million in that year.

11. From the point of view of overall employment generation, economic growth in India should be characterised as jobless growth. And this is especially true of the current phase of economic liberalisation. In the pre-liberalisation phase, when GDP grew at 4.7 per cent per annum during 1972-73 to 1983, employment growth was 2.4 per cent; between 1983-84 and 1993-94 GDP growth increased to 5 per cent, but employment growth declined to 2.0 per cent; over the next ten years GDP growth accelerated to 6.3 per cent, but employment growth further declined to 1.8 per cent, and between 2004-05 and 2009-10, when GDP growth was as high as 9 per cent, employment growth virtually stopped, declining to an all-time low of 0.22 per cent!

12. Within this overall pattern of decelerating rate of employment growth, a few features stand out in bold relief. Firstly, agriculture, despite a sharp decline in its importance in gross domestic product, continues to be the largest employer, as the non-agricultural sectors have not generated enough employment to cause any major shift of workforce away from agriculture. Secondly, most of the employment growth has been contributed by the unorganised, informal sector which is characterised by poor