Govt rushes officials to textile hubs to ease demonetisation pain of workers

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New Delhi | Published: December 9, 2016 6:31:17 AM

The government has sent officials to various textile and garment clusters across the country to facilitate the opening of bank accounts for workers, including the casual ones.

Amid complaints that many workers are deprived of wages following demonetisation announced a month ago, the government has sent officials to various textile and garment clusters across the country to facilitate the opening of bank accounts for workers, including the casual ones, and help them adopt digital transactions, official sources told FE.

The officials are expected to soon submit inputs from the ground on how the cash crunch has impacted people in general and the textile and garment sector labourers in particular. Apart from the textile ministry, the cabinet secretariat is learnt to be monitoring the development regularly, the sources said.

The move is important, as the textile and garment sector is the largest job provider in the country after agriculture, having employed almost 32 million people, many of whom are casual workers who are paid either daily or weekly. Demonetisation is said to have hurt this segment of labourers the most, also because most of them don’t have bank accounts in the cities of work. For instance, most of such temporary workers in the garment hub of Tirupur in Tamil Nadu are from the northern and north-eastern parts of the country.

Apart from setting up workshops to open bank accounts, these officials will also promote the use of the unified payment interface (UPI) app for those who have bank accounts to effect digital transaction using cell phones. The UPI transfers the fund immediately, without constraints of holidays or late hours or even bank strikes. Even the recipient’s bank account details and IFSC code are also not required. All the sender needs to transfer money is a unique ID of the recipient — called the Virtual Payment Address — that the latter’s bank has allotted him/her. The cost of transferring money, again, is much less than some other modes of electronic transfer.

Late last month, FE had reported that in a letter to all deputy chief labour commissioners (central), chief labour commissioner (central) AK Nayak said employers must be “advised” to pay wages or salary to even contract and casual workers “only through bank accounts”.

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