Centre accuses West Bengal of spending low on women workers

Last Updated: Thursday, May 6, 2010 - 15:06

New Delhi: Taking a dig at the Left on the "low" level of spending on women workers, a minister on Thursday said in the Lok Sabha that the democratic forces of West Bengal would give a reply to them.

"The democratic forces of the state will give a reply
to you," Minister of State for Labour Harish Rawat said
replying to a call attention on the deplorable condition of
working women, especially in the unorganised sector, raised by
Gurudas Dasgupta (CPI).

Maintaining that Rs 118 crore was collected by West Bengal
government as construction cess since 1996, Rawat said, "The
amount spent was only 0.61 percent" while in Bihar, 0.04 percent was spent out of a similar fund of Rs 51 crore.

Earlier, when several Congress members including Dipa
Dasmunsi claimed that anganwadi workers were being paid Rs
4,000-Rs 5,000 in states but not in West Bengal, the CPI
leader said, "If there is any dereliction of duty by any state
government, including West Bengal, it should be corrected. Let
there be no political acrimony on this issue."

Replying to the call attention, the Minister said
government had created a National Social Security Board with a
corpus of Rs 1,000 crore to meet the needs of various sectors,
including working women.

"We are identifying the areas (where help is required),"
Rawat said, adding that the Centre was committed to empowering
women in every field and had enacted 22 laws to deal with the
problems of working women.

The CPI leader said it is a matter of shame that
Parliament, all these years, has never discussed problems of
working women who face wage discrimination, harassment at
workplace, alarming job insecurity and denial of maternity

In this context, Dasgupta alleged that women stringers of
All India Radio and Doordarshan were denied maternity
benefits. He also said that anganwadi and ASHA workers were
"lowly paid" for the socially-important jobs they do.

"The Cabinet Secretary gets Rs 80,000 and these workers
get between Rs 1,500 and Rs 2,000. Is this social justice? Is
this gender equity? Is it not a case of discrimination," he

His speech was marred by heated exchanges between Left
members on one side and those of Congress and Trinamool
Congress on the other.


First Published: Thursday, May 6, 2010 - 15:06

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