Welfare schemes for unorganised sector if re-elected: Gopal Rai

January 29 2020

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Delhi's Labour Minister Gopal Rai said while the long struggle for the implementation of minimum wage was his regret as minister, he is aiming to bring rules for the welfare of the labourers in the unorganised sector and domestic helps.

Speaking to IANS, Rai, who is the Cabinet Minister for Rural Development, General Administration Department, Irrigation and Flood Control and Labour, said implementation of the Swaminathan report will also be his top priority.

One of the top priorities in his wishlist for the next term, if elected, is working for the unorganised sector and the domestic helps, he said.

"I want a board for the welfare of the labourers of the unorganised sector and also policies for their welfare. A lot of work is to be done in the sector. The domestic helps are also exploited and there are no policies for them. We will work for rules and regulations for their betterment," Rai told IANS.

He said the implementation of the Swaminathan report, which was not done in this term because of the lack of infrastructure for grain storage, will also be his top priority in the next term.

He said in the last five years, his government has "worked more than it promised" to people during the 2015 Assembly polls.

Rai said that the July 4 verdict of the Supreme Court gave a push to government's speed to work.

"Before July 4, the government was not allowed to work. Even for a small decision, we had to go to the L-G. The files used to take days and even months. After July 4, we got powers to take decisions. After that, the files were not going anywhere (for seeking approvals). That has pushed our speed of working," Rai added.

On his achievements in the last five years as a Cabinet Minister, the Aam Aadmi Party leader listed the success of first Odd-Even, increase in the minimum wage and successful employment fairs.

Rai, who also worked as the Transport Minister between 2015 and 2016, called the success of first Odd-Even in January 2016 as his biggest achievement.

"While everywhere in the world, the Odd-Even scheme has failed, it was successful in Delhi because of the people of Delhi. The scheme also raised positive sensitivity and thinking among the people regarding the environment. It also pushed people to think about their contribution in controlling pollution."

The second department which Rai headed was Labour and said the two things he consider as achievements were increase in the minimum wage and employment fairs.

"We raised the minimum wage from Rs 8,500 to Rs 15,000. We helped in increasing the wage of labourers by about Rs 6,000. This is a big amount to help a common man in his everyday life struggle."

He added that although the issues related to 'services' was not with the city government but they experimented by coordinating with private firms to give employment.

"This was the first of its kind in the country that a government joined hands with private companies to organise the job fair. A lot of people were given jobs through this," Rai said.

The minister, also responsible for rural development, said he worked to improve the villages by giving more funds.

"We developed a scheme for smart villages. We gave additional fund of Rs two crore to each village. The fund helped a lot in the rural areas of the city."

While he said he feels there was no failure in his tenure but there was a regret.

"The struggle for implementing the minimum wage was long and painful. I used to fear that if the Supreme Court refused it, how will I implement this? While the struggle was long, but finally the apex court gave nod for its implementation. This could have been done much earlier. Even the wagers were looking at us with so much hope."

While the first committee was formed in April 2016, the Trade and Industry Association moved the court against the minimum wage and the government could only implement it in October, 2019.

The term of the Arvind Kejriwal Cabinet is ending next month and the city will hold the Assembly election on February 8.

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  • Source
  • IANS