Minister for Excise and Labour P.K. Gurudasan announced in the Assembly on Wednesday that the government proposed to bring legislation for fixing fair wages.

The proposed Fair Wages Bill will cover categories of workers currently getting minimum wages and some additional categories.

Replying to the debate on the demands for grants for Labour and Labour Welfare and Excise, the Minister said the legislation would require Central clearance and would be introduced after getting it.

Mr. Gurudasan said that currently minimum wages had been introduced or revised for 28 categories of workers. The list would be expanded to cover sectors such as coir, cashew and printing press. The government had set up a committee to revise the criteria for calculating the Consumer Price Index at the State level.

He said the government wanted its welfare schemes to reach all categories of workers. Health insurance would shortly be extended to 9.32 lakh families workers in the unorganised sector. About 17.79 lakh poor families were already covered under the Rastriya Swasth Bhima Yojana. The State government would meet the cost for extending the scheme to unorganised workers.

He announced that a self employment scheme would be introduced for widows, divorcees, abandoned women and unwed mothers. About 55,000 persons had been appointed to government service temporarily through employment exchanges.

The government had started 41 new industrial training centres after it came to power. The 33 training centres that were in existence in 2006 had been upgraded to centres of excellence.

He said the government was willing to spend any amount for campaign against drunkenness. The Excise Department had acquired a gas spectometre to detect foreign ingredients in toddy indicative of adulteration. The Department was also getting sniffer dogs.

After the Minister’s reply, the House passed the demands for grants totaling Rs. 310.96 crore.

Keywords: Fair wages Bill