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Thursday, April 15, 2021

Beating model code: Mamata hikes wages, TN gives quota

Taking to Twitter ahead of the EC’s announcement of the Assembly election schedule, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said: “I am pleased to announce a HIKE in the wages of daily wage workers under WB Urban Employment Scheme".

By: Express News Service | Chennai, Guwahati, Kolkata, Thiruvananthapuram |
Updated: February 27, 2021 6:32:03 am
Mamata Banerjee, West bengal polls, west bengal daily wage labourers rate hike, Tamil nadu Vanniyar community reservation, Edappadi K Palaniswami, kerala free covid RT-PCR, indian express newsMamata Banerjee and Edappadi K Palaniswami.

Scrambling to beat the Model Code of Conduct that set in the moment the poll schedule was announced Friday, West Bengal hiked the daily wage rate for labourers while the Tamil Nadu Assembly passed a Bill to reserve 10.5% of the special quota for the Vanniyar community in educational institutions and in appointments to state services.

Taking to Twitter ahead of the Election Commission announcement of the Assembly election schedule, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said: “I am pleased to announce a HIKE in the wages of daily wage workers under WB Urban Employment Scheme: To Rs 202 per day from Rs 144 earlier for unskilled labour; To Rs 303 from Rs172 earlier for semi-skilled; 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 FY21 & FY22,” she said.

In Tamil Nadu, the state Assembly passed a Bill to provide 10.5% of the special reservation to the Vanniyar community in educational institutions and in appointments to posts in the state.

This decision — of acceding to the demand of the Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), an ally of AIADMK and NDA, which enjoys the support of the Vanniyar community in northern Tamil Nadu — is seen as a move by the AIADMK to retain the PMK in the alliance though the party has no representation in the state Assembly.

A statement from Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, detailing the “object and reasons” for the decision, said: “There had been consistent representations from the Most Backward Class of Vanniakula Kshatriya for providing separate reservation for them in admission to such educational institutions and in appointment of posts in the services under the state as they could not compete with the other castes and communities included in the list of MBC and denotified communities…”

According to the statement, the chairman of the Backward Classes Commission examined the demand made by various categories and recommended to the government that internal reservation may be given for three categories, namely, MBC(V): 10.5%; MBC and denotified communities: 7%; and MBC: 2.5%. The statement clarified that the special reservation for Vanniyars would be within the existing 20% reservation for MBCs.

Currently, the state has 69% reservation — 18% for Scheduled Castes, 1% for Scheduled Tribes, 20% for MBC, and 30% reservation for OBCs. The OBC quota includes reservation for minority communities including a 3.5% reservation for Muslims.

The government said the reservation will be provided on a temporary basis for six months and that it would be reworked, based on its findings when the caste based census is published.

In Assam, star sprinter Hima Das was into the Assam Police Friday as a Deputy Superintendent of Police in the presence of Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal. She was handed the appointment letter by Sonowal at a ceremony attended by top functionaries of the state government and the police.

The Assam government Friday also transferred Rs 1 lakh each to 1487 landless families of Laika and Dodhia in Dibru Saikhowa National Park through DBT, completing an earlier announcement by Sonowal. Residents of Laika and Dodhia villages in Tinsukia district have been seeking rehabilitation for a long time now.

The Chief Minister distributed appointment letters to 737 candidates for the posts of Assistant Manager, Junior Managers and Assistant Account Officers of APDCL, AEGCL and APGCL at a function in Guwahati. He also inaugurated and laid foundation stones for several power projects in the state.

An ANI report said the Puducherry Lt Governor Friday announced a 2% reduction in VAT (Value Added Tax) on petrol and diesel in the Union Territory. Puducherry has been placed under President’s rule following the collapse of the Congress-led government.

Hours before the assembly election schedule was announced, Kerala government announced that RT PCR test for expatriates would be free of cost. Also, the government said fishermen would get kerosene at a subsidized price of Rs 25 per litre, as against the existing price of Rs 52 per litre, from next month onwards. The fishermen community has been raising the demand for the last five years. The decision was to douse the ire of fishermen who are protesting against a government deal to deploy foreign deep sea trawlers. Also, the DA arrears for 70,000-odd employees and pensioners of Kerala State Transport Corporation, unpaid since 2016, were cleared on Friday. Government also announced the formation of the first tribal revenue block in Attappadi

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