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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Dec 2014

Welfare board for Maharashtra auto drivers soon

Dharmendra Jore, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, October 08, 2013
First Published: 09:22 IST(8/10/2013) | Last Updated: 09:25 IST(8/10/2013)

Auto and taxi drivers in the state will soon be beneficiaries of welfare schemes designed exclusively for them.

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The state government has decided to establish a board on the lines of the one that Tamil Nadu has to ensure that the 8-10 lakh auto and taxi drivers in Maharashtra get the status of registered workers.

The labour department on Monday issued a resolution for the setting up of a seven-member committee under labour commissioner Madhukar Gaikwad to study the Tamil Nadu model.

The committee comprises a legislator, senior transport officials and auto rickshaw/ taxi union office bearers.

The resolution stated that as the board will not get any government grant, the committee should suggest ways to raise funds.

The panel will also recommend welfare schemes and decide registration charges.

It will also decide whether drivers can be taken out of the ambit of road transport insurance and given better benefits.

The panel has to submit its report in two months.

A senior labour department official said there were 41,000 taxis and 6.4 lakh auto rickshaws in the state.

“Considering that one third of these vehicles are driven in double shifts, the number of drivers could be around 8-10 lakh,” he said, requesting anonymity.

In 2006, the Tamil Nadu government had formed the Auto Rickshaws and Taxi Drivers Welfare Board for drivers offering services to private vehicles such as tempos, lorries and buses.

Gaikwad, who is chairman of the committee, did not elaborate on whether the state panel planned to cover the tempo, bus and truck drivers as well like Tamil Nadu had.


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