February 7, 2009

More benefits for unorganised workforce: West Bengal Govt.

KOLKATA: The West Bengal government will ensure benefits to the unorganised sector of the workforce through incentives and schemes, said Trilochan Singh, principal secretary, labour department, government of West Bengal at an interactive session, 'Industrial relations in West Bengal' organised by the Bengal National Chamber of Commerce and Industry(BNCCI).

Singh stated that around 94 per cent of the workforce comprises the unorganised sector and some sectors like the tea and bidi workers were living under pitiable conditions.

"Tea workers in many areas are dwelling under very poor conditions and are deprived of even basic amenities apart from healthcare facilites which very few can avail of."

All these factors put together invariably lead to low production output, added Singh.

Various steps are being initiated by the state government for the unorganised sector like provision of Rs 2,500 for electrification of houses of the bidi workers in rural areas and the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana(RSBY), phase one of which has already been rolled out in the districts of Burdwan, Malda, North 24 Parganas and East Midnapur.

"Biometric smart cards have already been issued in Burdwan and Malda while cards will be issued in the other two districts within March," added Singh.

The scheme would meet the expenses of hospitalisation and surgical procedures costing up to Rs 30,000.

Italy aims to increase bilateral goods exchange

KOLKATA: Besides helping the 538-odd tanneries in West Bengal shift to the newly formed Calcutta Leather Complex(CLC) to upgrade their products and technological processes and meet the EU regulations, Italy is also looking to increase bilateral exchange of goods and services in this sector.

Vittorio Mecozzi, Italian Trade commissioner, said “that export import of leather goods had been on a high growth path between India and Italy which can be further increased because many Italian companies are looking at joint ventures with India companies in leather sector. Last year in 2007-08 Italian imports of leather goods from India was close to 32 million Euro and India exported closed to 10.5 million pairs of shoes which is equivalent to 122 million euro and finished leather good export from India to Italy was close to 133.5 million euro. Infact India is the fifth largest supplier to Italy after China and Vietnam.

Italy a leading player in the world leather market, it does $18.66 billion worth annual exports in leather goods is also the largest exporter of tannery machinery to India. Italy exported close to 25 million euro last fiscal of which 10 million euro is tannery machinery. Italian consulate and trade office is investing close to 1.5 million Euro in the TTSC facility in supplying the high end machinery which can help address the environmental concerns, one of the chief hurdle of CLC Bantala complex. The facility will be spread over an area of 2700 square meter, for which construction is on, land was procured by West bengal government, informed, S S Kumar, chairman, Government College of Engineering and Leather Technology.