SC questions the whopping wages of FCI loaders
Supreme Court said that there was something "seriously wrong" with Food Corporation of India (FCI) where departmental labourers were paid Rs.4.5 lakh a month, more than President of India's salary. SC said there were a lot of "malpractices" in FCI and its system was "wholly unsatisfactory". The court was hearing an appeal filed by FCI Workers Union against the order of Bombay HC.
Salaries of FCI labourers
As per a Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) report, the peak wage of permanent working loaders at state-run Food Corporation of India (FCI) was Rs.2,25,000 a month. While the average remuneration of a departmental labourer was Rs.75,000 per month, a labourer under direct payment system earned Rs.30,000 per month. A contractual labourer on the other hand, earned Rs.7,000 per month.
FCI expenses towards labourers' salaries: 2010-11, 2011-12
FCI's expenses towards salaries in 2010-11, went up 40% from a year earlier to Rs.2,345.97 crore. In 2011-12, the expenses had been reported at Rs.2,750 crore. Food ministry officials attributed such huge salaries to the labour ministry's norm against hiring contract labour.
High level committee to restructure FCI
Government set up a committee to recommend ways to restructure FCI, which it said was plagued by functional and cost inefficiencies. The eight-member committee will be chaired by Shanta Kumar, BJP MP from Himachal Pradesh, and will have the chief secretaries of Punjab and Chhattisgarh as members. Among other things, the committee will also look into and make recommendations on labour related issues
FCI workers earn more than Rs.4 lakh/month
As per a TOI report dated 15 Nov 2014, in August 2014, 370 workers received more than Rs.4 lakh in wages, incentives, arrears and overtime allowance. Another 386 workers received between Rs.2 lakh and Rs.2.50 lakh in the same month.
Bombay HC takes suo-motu cognizance of media report
Bombay High Court took cognizance of media report on salaries of FCI labourers and asked its registry to treat it as a suo motu petition. Media report said that registered labourers 'employed' labour gangs to complete their work and earned huge salaries in the form of overtime and allowances. Highly paid loaders hire sub-workers ('proxy labour') for Rs.7000-8000 per month to do their work.
High Level Committee recommendations on labour issues
The high level committee to revamp FCI submitted its report. On labour issues, the panel said that huge earnings by departmental workers was possible because of incentive system in notified depots, and proxy labour. The panel recommended that such depots be put on priority for mechanization. It further suggested that 'departmental labour' be offered suitable VRS and the cadre be gradually phased out.
High Level Committee observations on labourer salaries
The high level committee headed by Shanta Kumar noted that at FCI, a departmental worker costs FCI Rs.79,500 per month, compared with Rs.26,000 per month for a direct payment system worker, and Rs.10,000 for contract labour.