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Daily wage hike for workers under urban job scheme in state

Kolkata: Taking a major step, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday announced a hike in the minimum wages of the daily wage workers under the West Bengal Urban Employment scheme that will benefit at least 56,500 people.

The hike in their wages has been done maintaining parity with the present wage-structure of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) besides introducing a new category called "skilled" workers who will be getting the wage of the highest level.

The move to introduce the urban employment guarantee scheme was taken in the lines of the MGNREGS to provide jobs to the unemployed urban youths and they mainly ensure improvement and maintenance of civic infrastructure in urban areas. The scheme ensures direct engagement of unemployed urban persons without involvement of contractors.

The daily wage of unskilled workers under the scheme has been increased to Rs 202 from Rs 144 per day. Similarly, the semi-skilled workers will be receiving wage of Rs 303 per day instead of Rs 172 per day. A new category of workers — "skilled" — has also been introduced and they will get wage of Rs 404 per day.

In a tweet in this connection, the Chief Minister stated: "I am pleased to announce a HIKE in the wages of daily wage workers under WB Urban Employment Scheme".

Giving a detailed information she stated that the wage will be hiked "to Rs 202 per day from Rs 144 earlier for unskilled labour, to Rs 303 from Rs 172 earlier for semi-skilled and Rs 404 for skilled labour (new category introduced)"

"A total of 56,500 workers (40,500 unskilled, 8000 semi-skilled, 8000 skilled) will benefit from this. These wages are in parity with rural workers' enhanced pay (MNREGA unskilled & semi-skilled). Budget provision for this step has been made available for both Financial Year 21 and Financial Year 22," she maintained in the tweet.

Rs 12,446.22 crore has been sanctioned in the 2021-22 fiscal for the Urban Development and Municipal Affairs department following her proposal while laying the interim budget at the state Assembly on February 5.

According to a senior official of the state government, it will come as an encouragement to the workers under the West Bengal Urban Employment scheme and help them to run their families in a better way when spiraling fuel price is causing skyrocketing of essential commodities.

It will also ensure a better civic service in the state's urban areas.

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