By Staff REPORTER
ITANAGAR, Mar 06: Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Monday assured the state legislative assembly to take up the issue of wage hike for labourers in the cabinet.
Responding to a private member resolution moved by former chief minister Nabam Tuki, Khandu informed that he had already received memorandum from labour unions and earmarked to the finance department to examine it.
“Taking the working class along with us is the priority area of the state government,” the chief minister said adding, despite poor resources, the state government had already implemented the seventh Central Pay Commission’s recommendation with 22 per cent hike in salaries for the government employees.
The chief minister also urged Tuki to withdraw the resolution, which was later withdrawn after assurance from Khandu.
Earlier, moving the resolution Tuki, who is the lone Congress member in the 60-member House, urged the government to revise the minimum wages of casual and contingency workers to Rs 600 per day keeping in view the rise in prices of essential commodities and high inflation.
“The resolution should be passed for the greater interest of the working community who are working tirelessly for development of the state,” the former chief minister said.
As a condition to withdraw the resolution, Tuki desired that the state government should hold talks with labour unions to listen to their pleas.
Participating in the discussion, Lanour & Employment Minister Kumar Waii while terming the resolution as ‘good’ said that the labour laws prescribed wage review in every five years but the state government reviewed it for 3-4 times in the past five years.
“The wages provided to labourers in the state is higher than other North East states. The state government had evolved voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) to reduce the impact of wages,” Waii disclosed and added that the cabinet would examine the issue of wage hike in consultation with experts.
Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Minister Dr Mohesh Chai taking part in the discussion said that it would be wrong to pass the resolution without looking at the cascading effect post implementation. He suggested leaving the matter to the state government being a policy matter.
Health & Family Welfare Minister Jomde Kena informed that the state government has a policy to hike labour wages and their categorization and regularisation and commented that the resolution at this point was not essential.
Power Minister Tamiyo Taga while terming the resolution as ‘incomplete’ as it did not mentioned on the category of labourers, said that the matter should remain with the government instead of referring to any committee.
Taking part in the discussion, senior PPA member Takam Pario termed the resolution as ‘important’ saying that labourers were crucial for development and their grievances should be given top priority keeping in mind the sky rocketing price hike of essential commodities.
Another PPA member Nikh Kamin said that the slogans ‘Team Arunachal’ and Sab Ka Saath Sab Ka Vikas’ should be implemented in reality by enhancing labourer wages.
While senior BJP leader Japu Deru advocated for a policy mechanism with accountability by the state government to ensure output with incentives, Independent MLA Paknga Bage suggested for referring the matter to a cabinet committee.
BJP member Phurpa Tsering participating in the discussion said, “Aache Din (good days) will only be possible when we take all section of people together.” Another senior BJP MLA Tage Taki said that wage hike should not be taken emotionally as it would have cascading effects on every sector. He suggested that before taking any decision all aspects should be carefully examined with justification.
Gabriel D Wangsu of BJP while terming the labourers as the backbone of society said that quantum jump in wage hike would have cascading effect in all sectors. He further suggested looking into labour benefits from other angles instead of only wage.
While Pani Taram of BJP suggested for referring the matter to the cabinet for examination, another senior BJP legislator Gojen Gadi said that wage hike would have direct bearing on sanctioned projects and suggested to constitute a committee headed by a secretary level officer to examine and make necessary recommendation to the cabinet.
Senior PPA leader Tanga Byaling supporting the resolution said that labourers are human beings having equal requirements like others and suggested for constituting an assembly committee to examine it. Another PPA member Tapang Taloh suggested for constituting a select committee to examine the matter and recommend acceptable and reasonable modalities.
While BJP member Techi Kaso suggested for little enhancement of wages to government labourers stated that private labourers were getting higher rates.