New Delhi, 05 Feb. 2022:Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) is hosting a virtual press meet today, 5th Feb. 2022 from 12noon IST on the Union Budget, UP Assembly polls, Oxfam report, recent student agitation, Hijab issue in schools and other current issues. The JIH leaders are speaking on the issues and responding to the queries and questions of media persons.
Here is the full text of the Press Note:
Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) appreciates the boost given to the education sector with a higher allocation of Rs 1 lakh crores compared to Rs 88,000 crores last year. However even with this allocation we are far away from the recommended target of allocating 6% of GDP to the education sector. Another positive feature of the budget is the enhanced outlay for the country’s infrastructure development. However, JIH feels that the Union Budget caters more to the interest of corporates and not the common man. The biggest missed opportunity of the Budget 2022-23 has been a singular lack to boost employment. The Finance Minister’s theory that the “PM Gati-Shakti” and similar push to infrastructure will generate large scale employment is flawed and neglects the Indian realities. In India, employment can be generated only through strong stimulus to the manufacturing sector, SMEs, informal trade, agrarian economy and other demand side stimuli. The government has slashed the budget by almost 25% for rural employment scheme MGNREGA from Rs 98,000 crores to Rs 73,000 crores. The health sector which has an allocation of Rs 86,000 crores was increased by less than a percent compared to last year. If inflation is taken into account, this small increment is actually a reduction in the allocation. Our health expenditure will still be below 2% of GDP that is the lowest among major economies.The budget did not offer any tax relief to the common man. Income tax relief could have helped increase the real income of large section of the economy reeling under unemployment due to pandemic induced slowdown and back-breaking inflation. JIH feels that it was the responsibility of big corporates and high net worth individuals to take on the burden of the poor people; more so because they were the main beneficiaries of the collapse of the informal economy during lockdown. Measures like taxing the super-rich could have been deployed. However, the budget has disappointed by shifting the whole burden of economic slowdown to common people. The Constitution of India has envisaged a welfare state. At the time of such a crisis, the constitutional obligation of the government was to come out with policies that help the poor and revive the economy. It is high time to consider the structural changes in the economy by encouraging equity and discouraging debt. Indian economy needs to move towards equity-based finance and an approach that boosts demand.There are no significant new schemes for the welfare of minorities. Viewing the welfare of a minority community through the narrow prism of triple talaq is extremely unscientific. There is nothing remarkable in this budget regarding minorities’ girls’ education. For the SC/ST communities, the budget also does not address the development gap between the marginalised and discriminated communities and the rest of the population of the country. The allocation for targeted schemes exclusively for SCs and STs is only 37% and 43% respectively.
Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) feels that any election is part of the accountability mechanism built into a democratic system in which the incumbent government is held accountable for its performance and other competing parties present their vision for the future through their election manifestos. Election rallies and speeches are meant to reinforce this performance report (for the incumbent government) and to emphasize the plan for progress and prosperity. Unfortunately, instead of talking about performance and development plans, there is a visible attempt by some to rake up issues that polarize communities along religious lines. There is a growing trend of divisive activities by miscreants and anti-social elements to vitiate the atmosphere. The government’s disregard to various hate-mongering conclaves is quite disturbing and it appears that those in authority have a soft corner for them. JIH feels that the emphasis should be on real issues like development, unemployment, education, healthcare, women empowerment, etc. People should support those who stand for value based politics, uphold constitutional values, respect democratic norms, strive for justice and fraternity, communal harmony and tolerance. We advise the electorate to rise above religious and caste considerations and look at the moral character of the candidate and ensure voting in a manner such that the parties which promote hatred and do not have an inclusive vision for the nation should be defeated in the polls. We urge the Election Commission to keep a close watch on speeches and election rallies and ensure that the model code of conduct is not violated. JIH also feels that the role of money in elections should be strictly monitored and no party should be allowed to manipulate the election process with money power and muscle power.
Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) expresses grave concern over the recent report by Oxfam India. The report says that “when 84 percent of households in the country suffered a decline in their income in a year marked by tremendous loss of life and livelihoods, the number of Indian billionaires grew from 102 to 142”. The report makes some stark analogies for highlighting the great disparity in income distribution in our country such as: (1) Just a 1% wealth tax on 98 richest billionaire families in India can finance the national public health insurance fund of the government for more than seven years. (2) A 1% tax on the wealth of the top 98 Indian billionaires can fund the total annual expenditure of the Department of School Education and Literacy under the Ministry of Education.The report states that the collective wealth of India’s 100 richest people hit a record high of Rs 57.3 lakh crore in 2021. Meanwhile, more than 4.6 crore Indians meanwhile are estimated to have fallen into extreme poverty in 2020 (nearly half of the global new poor according to the United Nations.) Jamaat-e-Islami Hind feels that the path of free market capitalism adopted by successive governments is leading to increasing income disparity in which the rich are getting richer and the poor and getting poorer. Withdrawal of government spending on healthcare, education, poverty alleviation and abandoning the path of welfare economics will lead to injustice and social unrest. We must progress but not at the cost of the poor and marginalized.
Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) expresses great anxiety over the student’s agitation in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh against the Railways over the alleged irregularities in which the Railway Recruitment Board conducted exams for hiring new staff into the Indian Railways. As promised by the Railway Minister, the government must address the grievances of the students and ensure that the alleged irregularity in the examination is removed and students are assessed in a fair manner without any bias and injustice. Media reports suggest that the Ministry of Railways has warned that those who would be found indulging in violence will be debarred from obtaining a job in the Railways. Jamaat-e-Islami Hind opposes this stand by the Railways and it should immediately be rolled back. JIH also feels that trying to shift the blame for the agitation to coaching centres is incorrect. The real reason for the agitation is the high level of unemployment and frustration in the youth due to growing economic inequality and disparity in the level of opportunity and diminishing chances of upward mobility along the economic ladder. An example of checking the level of unemployment is the fact that for around 35,000 posts in the RRBNTPC category the Railways received more than 1.25 crore applications.
Hijab issue in schools
Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) expresses concern over reports that some schools in Karnataka are not allowing Muslim girls from wearing the hijab. Jamaat-e-Islami Hind expresses solidarity with the girl students and their parents who are protesting peacefully against this grave injustice, which goes against the fundamental right to profess and practice ones religion and adhere to the dress code subscribed therein. Jamaat-e-Islami Hind urges the school authorities to immediately allow the girls to join school and not succumb to those who wish to create division and hatred in society. We urge the Women’s commission and NHRC to take note of this issue.