Union minister Piyush Goyal told the Rajya Sabha that the railways created 14.14 lakh mandays of jobs under the Centre's Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan in identified districts of six states to quickly restart economic activities following the lockdown.
He said the Ministry has not conducted any such study in response to a question about estimated job loss or work loss post- lockdown, particularly for those who are indirectly dependent on the Railways for their livelihoods.
Railway Minister on Generating Mandays Employment While addressing the Rajya Sabha, Piyush Goyal says –
- "Railways, on the other hand, took a number of steps to expedite the resumption of economic operations following the lifting of the lockdown in order to provide employment opportunities to contract workers hired by contractors... Railways produced 14,14,604 mandays of jobs in 140 projects under the GKRA announced by the government on June 20, 2020 for a period of 125 days."
- He stated that the GKRA created jobs in recognised districts throughout Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, and Odisha.
- Instructions were issued to release wages/payments to contractual staff directly employed by the Railways and outsourced staff employed by contractors who were unable to report for duty during the lockdown period, which ran from May 31 to June 30, 2020.
- According to the minister, steps have been taken to improve contractors' cash flow so that they can complete projects faster, which could lead to an increase in the number of contract workers on job sites.
- These steps included releasing performance guarantees proportionate to work progress in ongoing contracts and releasing a security deposit held by the Railways to contractors against a bank guarantee.
- In response to a supplementary question about the death of railway workers as a result of COVID-19, Goyal stated that there is a provision for compassionate appointment to one eligible member of the employee's family who died in the line of duty.
- He stated that the compensation amount has increased as a result of the government's implementation of the 7th Pay Commission, but that many states, including West Bengal, have yet to do so, resulting in railway workers not receiving the increased amount in the event of a mishap.
- He stated that all Railway Protection Force employees on duty have been vaccinated, and that others will be vaccinated as well.
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