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THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Minister for Labour and Excise P.K. Gurudasan told the Assembly on Wednesday that the government was actively considering proposals from various workers’ welfare funds for raising pensions.
Replying to the debate on the demands for grants for Excise and Labour and Labour Welfare, the Minister said the proposals had been received from welfare funds for construction, motor, handicrafts and other categories of skilled workers.
New welfare fund legislation would be brought shortly for categories of workers such as makers of jewellery. The legislation for welfare of Non-Resident Keralites – Non-Resident Keralites Welfare Bill – would be introduced during the current session, if the business advisory committee allocated time for that.
Mr. Gurudasan announced that supplementary demands for grants would be sought for establishment of 22 industrial training institutes this year. The proposed State Institute of Designs would also be set up this year.
He denied any move by the ESI Corporation to close down hospitals or dispensaries in Kerala. Though orders had been issued for closure of 10 administrative units, the government had obtained the promise that the orders would not be carried out. Seven ESI hospitals would be renovated at a cost of Rs.6.5 crore.
The Minister said the government would take steps during the next three years to ensure that only pure toddy was sold through toddy shops. Towards this end, licensing fees would be reduced by 10 per cent along with stricter enforcement against sale of illicit products.
Mr. Gurudasan also announced that 836 vacancies in the Excise Department would be filled up. He denied Opposition contention that the revenues from excise was coming down. Revenues had been increasing during the last three years. The increase was Rs.165 crore last year over the previous year. The House passed demands for grants (Excise – Rs.51.83 crore and Labour and Labour Welfare – Rs.116.50 crore).
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