Udupi, Dec 20, 2016: K.K. Shylaja, Health and Social Welfare Minister of Kerala, said on Monday that demonetisation of currency in the Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 denomination has hit the farm workers hard.
She was here to inaugurate the three-day State conference of the All-India Agricultural Workers Union.
Ms. Shylaja said that the farm workers had lost even the limited and scanty work they used to get due to the Union government’s decision. The present season was important for agriculture sector. In some areas, harvesting was taking place, while in others, it was the beginning of cultivation.
But instead of being in fields, the farm workers were standing in queues before banks and ATMs for getting their petty deposits encashed or to exchange their soiled notes. The Centre had gone for demonetisation without making adequate and alternative arrangements to ensure financial liquidity, she said.
Having failed in the currency ban exercise, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was now speaking of cashless economy. In a country where transactions were primarily cash based, it was impossible to implement cashless transactions in rural areas.
Cashless transactions required high rates of literacy, internet connectivity, wide banking network and other infrastructure facilities, which were lacking in villages.
She said that she was worried about the spread of the divisive ideologies of religious fundamentalists, who were organising workers on the basis of religion, caste, creed, etc, and thereby disrupting the unity among them. This tendency had become prominent in the country and it was having a serious impact on its social fabric.
“Hence, the contemporary responsibilities of the working class are two pronged. One, fight for economic emancipation and, two, defeat the communal and caste divisiveness in society. These responsibilities are inseparable, one cannot be achieved without fulfilling the other,” she said. The society was passing through a difficult period. Socially backward castes, especially Dalits, were subjected to even physical attacks for the jobs they were doing and the food they were eating, Ms. Shylaja said.
S. Thirunavakkarasu, A. Vijayraghavan, G.N. Nagaraj, Nithyananda Swami, Chandrappa Hoskera, Venkatesh Koni, union leaders, and G.V. Sriram Reddy, K. Shankar, and Balakrishna Shetty, CPI(M) leaders, were present.