Maharashtra: Rickshaw & Taxi Drivers Laud CM Eknath Shinde's Welfare Board Initiative

Maharashtra: Rickshaw & Taxi Drivers Laud CM Eknath Shinde's Welfare Board Initiative

The implementation of this welfare board is poised to bring relief to nearly 10 lakh drivers across the state, providing them with a semblance of security and support.

Kamal MishraUpdated: Sunday, March 17, 2024, 08:33 PM IST
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The rickshaw and taxi drivers of the state are rejoicing and extending their heartfelt gratitude to Chief Minister Eknath Shinde ( Shinde also started his career as a rikshaw drivers in Thane) for his ground-breaking initiative to address their long-standing grievances. With a deep understanding of the common man's struggles, especially those of the taxi and rickshaw drivers, Chief Minister Shinde's decision to establish a welfare board for them resonates profoundly with his own humble beginnings as a rickshaw driver.

Vikas Kamble, a seasoned rickshaw driver based in Thane, emphasized the significance of Chief Minister Shinde's connection to the grassroots, stating, "Shinde knows the basic problems of the common man, especially taxi and rickshaw drivers. The formation of a welfare board for us demonstrates that he has not forgotten his roots."

Rickshaw & taxi drivers praise CM's initiative

Similarly, Dipak Chavan, another rickshaw driver from Thane, echoed this sentiment, affirming, "This is the reason why Shinde is known as the CM of the common man." Ramashray Singh, a veteran taxi driver in Mumbai with over three decades of experience, expressed immense gratitude for the positive decision of Chief Minister Shinde.

He remarked, "Our entire community will be grateful for this proactive step. We have been hearing about a welfare board for over a decade, and finally, our dream has come true. We are truly thankful." Similarly, Ram Charan Yadav, a veteran taxi driver with over two decades of experience, expressed appreciation for the move while also advocating for a more substantial allocation of funds. 

After years of relentless advocacy by rickshaw and taxi drivers for the establishment of a welfare board, the state government has finally responded with a significant allocation of Rs 50 crore on Saturday. This allocation will pave the way for the formation of a welfare board dedicated to addressing various aspects of the drivers' livelihoods, including health, education, pension, medical treatment, financial assistance, and scholarships for their children.

Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, drawing from his own experiences as a rickshaw driver, took the lead in announcing the establishment of this much-needed welfare board. A government resolution issued on Saturday formalized this decision, acknowledging the persistent demand for a separate board to cater to the specific needs of rickshaw and taxi drivers.The issuance of a government resolution (GR) on Saturday underscores the acknowledgment of a long-standing demand for a dedicated board catering to the welfare needs of auto and taxi drivers.

The implementation of this welfare board is poised to bring relief to nearly 10 lakh drivers across the state, providing them with a semblance of security and support.

More discussions underway

The absence of a long-term mechanism to safeguard the livelihoods of drivers has been a persistent concern for unions. Consequently, the formulation process initiated by the state labor department last year marks a significant stride towards establishing a sustainable support framework for drivers in precarious situations.

In line with the welfare board's objectives, provisions are anticipated to be established to extend benefits to drivers falling below the poverty line, with a proposed cap on monthly income set at Rs 10,000. Moreover, discussions are underway to leverage contributions from insurance companies, thereby augmenting the financial resources available for the welfare initiatives.

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