West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee addressed a press conference on Wednesday at Nabanna in which she announced a host of steps taken by the State Government for the benefit of the people – State Government employees, including all teachers, and journalists. Considering the uncertainty of jobs of the casual and contractual labourers in various offices of the state government, she announced that their services will not be terminated till they attend 60 years of age.
The decision has been taken in the Cabinet meeting. Besides securing their job up to the age of 60 years, the state government has also decided to give them certain “financial benefits” and bring them and their family members under a health insurance scheme. The annual expenditure of the state government will of Rs 500 crore for the benefits of the “contractual, daily rated and casual workers”.
Banerjee on Wednesday said that there are hundreds of casual workers who had been working in different offices of the state government and many are working for more than 15 to 20 years. They remain uncertain as the contract of their job used to stand only for one year and it had to get renewed every year. Thus on humanitarian grounds, the state government has decided that their services will not be terminated till they turn 60. Moreover, they will be getting retirement benefits of Rs 2 lakh instead of Rs 1 lakh. At the same time, the consolidated remuneration of contractual group D and group C workers who are working for less than 5 years will go up to Rs 10,000 from Rs 7,000 and Rs 11,500 from Rs 8,500 respectively. Remuneration of Group C workers, whose service is of between 5 to 10 years, will go up to Rs 12,000 while Group D employees will be getting Rs 13,500. Similarly salary of workers of both the groups will go up based on the number of years they had been working. Monthly remuneration of workers those working for more than 20 years will go up by Rs 11,500. More importantly, their remuneration will increase by 3 per cent every year. Earlier it used to increase by 5 per cent after every 3 years. All contractual and causal labourers will also be entitled to get medical benefits that include health insurance coverage of Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 5 lakh. Their family members will also be under the coverage of the health scheme. Moreover, the women workers will be getting 180 days maternity leave in addition to the 30 days off and 10 days of medical leave, which is applicable for all workers. Banerjee said that a committee headed by the chief secretary has also been formed to suggest whether more facilities can be given to the labourers and the committee will submit its report by 30 August. It has also been decided in the cabinet meeting to provide health insurance to civic police volunteers, disaster management workers, ASHA workers, self help groups, home guards, ICDS workers and other contractual workers. The state government will be providing Rs 1000 crore to bring around 80 lakh such workers and their family members under the health insurance scheme called Swasthya Sathi. Around 4 crore people will get the benefit of the project from April 1. Under this scheme, the beneficiaries will get a basic health coverage of Rs 1.5 lakh per year and in case a person suffers from diseases like cancer, liver diseases, blood disorders or need to undergo neuro surgery, cardio thoracic surgeries then the coverage will go up to Rs 5 lakh. Banerjee said that the state finance department had made savings from the income in a bid to help people by bringing them under the schemes. “So the state government has managed to help the people despite the Centre takes away money for the huge debt of the erstwhile left Front government,” she said. Moreover, the state government will continue improving the infrastructure to cater to the people, she said. The government has decided to set up a Sanskrit research Centre in Nabadwip, which will again be a centre of excellence. A new police station will come up in Rabindra Sarabor under the jurisdiction of the Kolkata Police. It has also been decided to include Nepali a medium for Public Service Commission examinations after Alchiki.