Special Correspondent

Agriculture graduates to get project subsidy

  • Separate department for Sports and Youth Affairs
  • 6,880 workers working on contract basis in 222 factories in Pondicherry

    Pondicherry: Agriculture and Industries Minister V. Vaithilingam told R. Rajaraman (Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) during question hour in the Assembly on Wednesday that although every year 40 graduates were passing out of the Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru College of Agriculture and Research Institute at Karaikal, the Government could offer jobs to a very minimal number. There was practical difficulty to absorb all the graduates. However, the Government had now come forward to extend subsidy to the extent of fifty per cent of the total project cost, if the graduates would launch projects under self-employment schemes. This subsidy could be up to Rs 25 lakh for each project such as "Green House".

    Mr. Vaithilingam said this subsidy would enable the graduates to establish infrastructure for their projects.

    Chief Minister N. Rangasamy told M.A.S. Subramanian (Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) that the Government would soon start a separate department for Sports and Youth Affairs to take care of proficient sportspersons. Mr. Subramanian wanted the Government to earmark one per cent of the posts in Government departments for proficient sportspersons. This should be adopted in all categories of employment. K. Lakshminarayanan (Puduchery Munnetra Congress) suggested posting sportspersons in Government run corporations and public sector undertakings. Mr. Rangasamy said that the grievances of the members would be settled once a separate department was formed.

    Members cutting across party lines made out a strong case that the Government should hold frequent inspection of the private industries in the Union Territory to ascertain whether the labourers were exploited mercilessly through contract labour system.

    Ohm Sakthi Segar (All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) earlier pointed out that most of the workers under contract labour system were facing hardships as they were denied welfare benefits under labour laws.

    He appealed to the Government to ban the contract labour system. R. Viswanathan (Communist Party of India) said exploitation of workers engaged on contract basis was quite rampant in Pondicherry. He said a committee comprising legislators should be formed for monitoring the industries.

    Regulation

    Replying to the complaints of the members, the Health and Labour Minister E. Valsaraj said Estimates Committee or an official-level committee could visit the industries to ascertain the plight of the workers.

    He said that there were 266 licensed agencies through which contract labourers were engaged. Around 6,880 workers were working on contract basis in 222 factories, he noted.

    Mr. Valsaraj said the relevant legislations for regulation and abolition of contract labour system were being enforced in letter and spirit.