Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Tuesday said that the state government would bring a Bill in the next Assembly session to amend the labour laws, while noting that labourers should be paid through cheques rather than cash to prevent embezzlement of money.
Speaking at the concluding day of the two-day winter session of the Assembly here on Tuesday, Khattar opined that wages of every labourer should be paid either through cheque or deposited directly into their bank accounts.
With this view, the government plans to get the Payment of Wages Act 1936 amended, he informed.
Under the existing provision of the Act, those labourers whose monthly wages are less than Rs 18,000, payment has to be made in cash which leaves scope for embezzlement, he pointed out.
The Chief Minister reminded the members of the House that his party had made a promise in the party election manifesto that minimum wages of labourers would be raised to Rs 300 per day.
Treading the path of "Antodaya" as shown by Pt Deendayal Upadhyaya, it was decided to announce a hefty increase in the minimum wages of labourers on his birth anniversary on September 25.
"From November 1, 2015, we have increased the monthly minimum wages of the unskilled labourers to Rs 7,600 which amounts to Rs 300 per day," he said.
Similarly, the minimum monthly wages of the highly skilled labourers have been increased from Rs 6,537 to Rs 9,700 with an increase of 45 per cent.
Khattar said that there was also a proposal to bring an amendment in the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947. Under this Act, a unit employing 100 or more workers must take permission from the government before resorting to any lay-off, retrenchment or closure.
The government has a proposal to raise the limit from 100 workers to 300 workers, he added.
Meanwhile, the Haryana Chief Minister also said that meetings of Gram Sabhas would be held at least four times in a year to ensure maximum participation of villagers in rural development. These meetings would be held on pre-determined written agenda.
The state government wants each Gram Sabha to hold detailed discussion with the villagers and send two or three major problems to the state government which should be redressed so that these could be taken up on a priority basis, he said.
In order to ensure quality in the development works, maintain transparency and eradicate corruption, the state government is also going to adopt the concept of Social Audit.
Khattar informed that ‘Social Audit’ teams would be set up at village level and these would have 5 to 11 members each, including former village sarpanch, ex-serviceman of the rank of Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) or above, retired employee (graduate), retired teacher, nambardar etc.
"The Social Audit teams bearing the stamp of the Gram Sabha would check the estimate of every development work besides monitoring their effective implementation and ensuring quality. The final payment for the development works would be made after the approval by this committee," he said.
Meanwhile, Khattar said the Opposition should not use the Vidhan Sabha as a political platform and instead take up developmental issues and speak on the redressal of various problems faced by the people.
He also said that ever since Haryana was carved out as a separate state in 1966, the State has seen many Chief Ministers.
"About former Chief Minister Chaudhary Bansi Lal, it is said that during his time, he made power available in all villages, about Chaudhary Devi Lal, it is said that he started old age pension, about Ch Bhajan Lal it is known that he strived to make power available to the Scheduled Caste Bastis," Khattar said.
Likewise, he said the present BJP Government is committed to the task of setting things right that include providing corruption-free administration.
Slamming the opposition for their unruly behaviour in the House on Tuesday, Khattar said, "We will not allow my way or the highway approach".
Pandemonium prevailed in the Assembly on Tuesday as opposition MLAs staged protest on issues of alleged irregularities in paddy procurement and the spat between state minister Anil Vij and police officer Sangeeta Kalia, forcing the Speaker to adjourn the House twice.
Asked to comment on the paddy scandal raised by the Opposition, the Chief Minister clarified that not a single incident or irregularity had happened during the paddy procurement in the state.
"In case any irregularity or scam is found during physical verification of the paddy stock to be conducted under the supervision of officer of the level of FCR (Financial Commissioner-Revenue), it would be dealt strictly," he said.
"There are hundreds of rice mills functioning in the state. We will not hesitate to take action..," he added.
On opposition INLD’s demand on rollback of increased power tariff, Khattar said that the hike was made by the Haryana Electricity Regulatory Commission.
"After the last hike, the state government had made an appeal to the HERC as a result of which about 6.5 per cent power tariff was slashed down in the state," he said.
In reply to another question, he said that the Central Government had launched UDAY (Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojna) Scheme to rescue the debt-ridden power utilities in the states.
The scheme would help in reducing the accumulated losses of power utilities, he added.