Wait, What? Madhya Pradesh State Report Finds 25% Residents Are Labourers

In Madhya Pradesh, 1.85 crore labourers, nearly one-fourth of the state's population, have registered themselves as labourers in the unorganised sector

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Wait, What? Madhya Pradesh State Report Finds 25% Residents Are Labourers

The number of labourers in Madhya Pradesh is approximately two crore


Bhopal:  The number of labourers in Madhya Pradesh is approximately two crore, or one-fourth of the state's population of 7.27 crore as per the 2011 census. This startling figure came out in a review meeting on how best to implement labour welfare schemes.

The state is largely dependent on agriculture. At least 1.85 crore labourers, nearly one-fourth of the state's population, have registered themselves as labourers in the unorganised sector.

Madhya Pradesh labour minister Balkrishna Patidar said the government will update the list. "Farmers who had less than 2.50 acre of land were treated as labourers. Those who are paying income tax, pensioners... we will sort the list. In the coming days, the number of such labourers might decline," Mr Patidar said.

The Congress has alleged that the Madhya Pradesh government is preparing the groundwork to net more funds. "On May 1, Labour Day, they will see if they can gather two crore labourers. It's a scam to get funds and benefits in the name of labourers," Congress spokesman KK Mishra said.

The state government runs a programme to provide houses, subsidies for battery-operated carts and rickshaws, education for children of labourers and financial aid to pregnant women, among other benefits. However, many labourers say they are not aware of the programme or how to take the benefits.

Pankaj, a daily wage labourer in Bhopal, has to feed a family of six. He makes Rs 300 a day. Another labourer, Inder, is feeding a family of four with a daily earning of Rs 300. Both of them are not even aware of the scheme.

"We don't know," Pankaj said when asked whether he had registered himself as labourer with the government. Inder said he does not even have a ration card.

"I don't even have a ration card, though I am working as a labourer for the past 10 years," Inder said.


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