Minister of State for Railways Rajen Gohain told Lok Sabha that there are 94,165 contract labourers in railways and are engaged by contractors themselves directly depending upon the nature and quantum of outsourced work.
The minister said South Central Railway, spread over six divisions - Hyderabad, Secunderabad, Guntakal, Guntur, Vijayawada, Nanded and spread over the states of Telangana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh - has the highest number of such labourers - 9,043.
This is followed by Southeast Central Railway (9,339) which is headquartered in Bilaspur, South Eastern Railway (8,000) headquartered in Kolkata and Western Railway (7,328) headquartered in Mumbai.
"Railways as principal employer ensures that contract labourers are provided facilities by the contractor as per provisions of labour laws including the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970 and minimum wages as notified by the Central or State governments under the Minimum Wages Act, 1948.
"Suitable instructions have been issued to zonal railways that cases of violation of the above laws, if any, should be dealt with in accordance with the extant provisions", ,Mr Gohain said.
According to data collected by the Seventh Pay Commission, in 2012-13, the central government spent Rs.300.49 crore on contract or temporary workers. Among ministries and departments, Indian Railways spent the highest, about Rs.35 crore a year.