Guwahati: The bitter battles that often rage over wages are all set to become a thing of the past if the Centre has its way. For, New Delhi has announced that very soon it will come up with a legislation ensuring a minimum wage for workers in the country.
Speaking to newsmen here on Thursday, Union Minister of State for Labour and Employment (independent charge) Bandaru Dattatreya said the Centre will draft a Bill on National Minimum Wage soon. This is expected to go a long way in resolving the wage issues plaguing different parts of the country, including Assam’s tea gardens.
Stating that there are over 11 lakh plantation workers in Assam, the Minister lamented that their living condition is pathetic. He hoped the new legislation will help ameliorate their standard of living.
He also appreciated the State Government’s initiative to increase the minimum wages for the plantation workers.
Meanwhile, the Union Minister announced that the 50-bedded Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) Hospital located in Khanapara area of Guwahati would be upgraded to a 200-bedded super speciality hospital very soon and all construction workers will be brought under the ESIC facilities.
He further added that all ESIC dispensaries located in various North-eastern States would be upgraded to at least 10-bedded hospitals, provided the concerned State governments give space. He said that States like Mizoram, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Andaman Nicobar that have so far remained uncovered would have ESIC facilities soon.
Earlier, the Union Minister took part in an interactive session on ‘e-governance initiatives’ at the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation, North East Regional Office, Guwahati.
He dwelt at length about various new interventions, including introduction of the Universal Account Number (UAN) to more than 4.5 crore provident fund members in the country, including 3,59,000 contributory members in the region.