West Bengal Assembly on Tuesday passed a Rs 696-crore budget for the Labour department with labour minister Moloy Ghatak claiming the state government had undertaken various social security and welfare schemes to protect workers, especially those in the unorganised sector.

Replying to the budget discussion, Ghatak said his department was in the process of rationalisation and simplification of labour laws.

The state government was trying to simplify the procedures and make the delivery system easily accessible to the beneficiaries through e-governance and strengthening of the infrastructure.

The minister said the state government took a keen interest in the plight of the unorganised sector workers and has already revised the minimum wages in 46 scheduled employments under the Minimum Wages Act, 1948. He also said a number of steps have been taken to revive the jute and tea industry and ensure safety of workers in those sectors.

Beedi workers’ welfare scheme has also been brought to ensure social security to them in the state, Ghatak said.

The state has received an award of Rs 22 crore for delivering excellent services under the ESI scheme, the minister said.

Responding to allegations by the opposition members, the minister said, "Because of the failures and corruption of the erstwhile Left Front government, there was closure and lock out at a large number of industries in the state, including the CPSUs and state PSUs." PTI AKB DKB