The Mamata Banerjee government has given nearly 100 times more benefits to workers in the unorganised sectors – just in the last five years – compared to what was given in the last 11 years of erstwhile Left Front regime.
It was found, in a recent data, that the state Labour department has provided benefits worth Rs 880 crore under different welfare schemes to workers in unorganised sector between 2011 and 2016.
A comparative study revealed that the same department, in the last eleven years of the Communist regime, had managed to provide benefits worth only Rs 9 crore to workers in the unorganised sectors.
Soon after coming to power, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee directed the state Labour department to introduce the Shramik Mukti Card, using which the workers could easily reap benefits of all welfare schemes.
Following these directions, the Labour department initiated the programme and covered nearly 90 lakh workers under different schemes in the last five years.
By investing Rs 880 crore, workers in the unorganised sectors – including building and construction workers, daily wage labourers and drivers – were immensely benefitted and their family members have also got both social and financial security.
Moloy Ghatak, the state Labour minister, said: "We are taking steps to bring in more workers under the coverage of different schemes and now 29 more sectors have been included in the list of the sectors where workers are entitled to get minimum wages. As a result, the number of such sectors has gone up to 91."
The Left Front, which claimed to be a pro-workers' government, had not increased the minimum wages of workers during the last 22 years of its regime.
It had remained stagnant despite repeated pleas by workers from different sectors.
However, ahead of the 2016 Assembly election, the Left Front gave assurances in its election manifesto that it would take steps to raise minimum wages to Rs 15,000 per month if elected to power.
In the end, after the change of guard in the state in 2011, the Trinamool Congress government increased the minimum wages to Rs 6,600 per month, which – as per calculations made that time – was an increase was of around 34 per cent.
By the end of 2016, the minimum wages in the state has risen to Rs 7300 per month.
The minimum wages was revised by the TMC government after coming to power, following studies to fix the calorie quotient requirement.