Beedi-Success story -Notification 248 withdrawn due to BMS efforts
Joint efforts of BMS & AIBIF lead to the withdrawal of pictorial warning notification on Tobacco Products and saved millions of Beedi workers livelihood -BMS.
The Health Ministry has withdrawn its notification GSR No. 248 dated 13.04.2020 which made a mandatory 4 colour printing of pictorial warning on all types of packaging materials including wholesale packages which a consumer can not see. Opposing this unilateral notification, the All India Beedi Industries Federation (AIBIF) has decided to stop production from 1.09.2020. Around 2.5 crores people depends upon Beedi Industry and Tendu leaf plucking works.
The Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) has strongly opposed this notification saying it will hamper the livelihoods of millions of Beedi Industry dependents and requested Hon. Union Health Minister Dr Harshvardhan to withdraw the Notification immediately. Due to Covid-19, already the majority of Beedi workers have lost their jobs. This notification will add some more difficulties to these Beedi workers. In the COVID19 atmosphere and also due to continuous lockdown this notification went unnoticed till 07th June 2020 by all.
When it came to notice of BMS, on 08 June 2020, BMS all India General Secretary Sri Virjesh Upadhyay had issued a press statement, demanding the withdrawal of this notification. There was wide coverage in English dailies.
On 12.06.2020 BMS sent a letter to Hon. Health Minister and Hon. Labour Minister requesting to relook into the matter. BMS supported the pictorial warnings on the products which a consumer uses but opposed printing on all types of packages which will be another burden on both consumers and manufacturers also it becomes a tool of harassment.
On 22nd June 2020, a delegation of BMS, comprising Sri Virjesh Upadhyay and Sri B. Surendran, had met Sri J.P Nadda, President, BJP and also former Union Health Minister and requested him to intervene in this matter and to do justice for millions of Beedi workers. Sri Nadda promised to do so.
The Akhil Bharatiya Beedi Mazdoor Mahasangh President Sri Kalal Srinivas, General Secretary Sri Umesh Viswad and BMS all India Organising Secretary Sri B.Surendran contacted different Beedi manufactures and impressed upon them for the need of joint efforts to save the Beedi Industry for which the AIBIF too agreed. Pressure has mounted on the Government by both Employees and Employers. In the all India meeting (virtual meeting) of Beedi Federation, it has decided to one day Strike on 29th July 2020 against GSR NO:248 and other demands throughout the Country. Notices have served regarding this to all companies. On 6th July, a virtual meeting of BMS and AIBIF was held and it was decided to approach the authorities jointly.
On 13th July a Joint delegation of BMS & AIBIF comprising Sri Pawan Kumar, Zonal Organising Secretary, Sri Anish Mishra, General Secretary, Delhi BMS and Sri Arjun Khanna, National Vice-President, All India Beedi Industries Federation (AIBIF) have met Hon. Union Labour Minister Sri Santosh Gangwar and briefed him about the pathetic situations of Beedi Industry, the difficulties faced by both workers and manufacturers. The Minister promised to take needed action.
Again a delegation of BMS comprising Sri B.Surendran, All India Organising Secretary, BMS and Sri Pawan Kumar, Zonal Organising Secretary BMS met Sri Santosh Gangwar, Union Labour Minister and also met Joint Secretary, Labour Ministry and requested them to convince Health Ministry officials to withdraw such notifications. The Labour Ministry immediately plunged into action and talked with Director General Labour Welfare and also with concerned officials of the Health Ministry on the ill effects of such notification.
As a result of continuous and relentless efforts of BMS, the Health Ministry has withdrawn the GSR 248 dated 13.04.2020 and brought a new GSR No: 454&458 dated 21-07-2020. As per the amendments of new notifications, the pictorial warning on wholesale packaging has cancelled and the other restrictions will effect from 1.12.2020. This is one the success of joint efforts of workers representative (BMS) and Industry representative (AIBIF) to save Beedi Industry as well as beedi workers. Now, Beedi Industry had withdrawn its decision of closing the industry from 01-01-2020.
BMS expresses its’ sincere thanks to both Health Ministry and Labour Ministry for their timely action and understanding the problems of Beedi workers who consists mostly Rural poor & Urban slums also belongs to SC/ST/OBC and Muslim women. At the same time, BMS also expresses its gratitude to Sri J.P. Nadda, President BJP for his timely intervention which made things very smooth
Now, BMS requests the Government of India, to separate Beedi from other tobacco products and also to provide at least 20days of job per month per person throughout the country. BMS also demands the Government of India to call an Inter-ministerial meeting to comprehensively think on the measures needed to protect Beedi Industry.
Sri Jayanti Lal,Al India Vice President & Prabhari, Un Organised Sector, BMS