Livelihoods: The Bharatiya Janata Party-led government in Assam has approved a proposal to hike the daily wage of tea garden workers in the state by INR 50. Consequently, the daily wage of tea garden workers has increased from INR 167 to INR 217.
Assam’s Transport Minister, Chandra Mohan Patowary, said that the cabinet approved the sub-committee’s recommendations, after discussions with tea garden owners and workers’ unions. Chandra Mohan Patowary further said that the government had earlier hiked the daily wage of the tea garden workers by INR 30.
“We have so far increased the daily wage of the tea garden workers by INR 80,” he said.
The cabinet also approved a proposal to constitute a one-member committee to fix an equal wage of small tea garden workers.
Assam produces roughly 55 percent of India’s tea and has over 10 lakh tea workers in the organised sector. The tea tribe community hold determining votes in 30 to 35 assembly seats.
The state is likely to go into assembly elections in April 2021 and wage revision of tea workers is an election issue. At a public meeting in Sivasagar on February 4th, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said that his party will pay tea garden workers in Assam a daily wage of INR 365 if they come to power.
On February 6th, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman distributed financial assistance of INR 3,000 each to around 8 lakh tea garden workers.
Read this article to understand how labour rights have worsened post-lockdown.