As a unique feature, West Bengal is having a large number of Beedi establishments employing a large number of Beedi workers who are considered to be one of the most vulnerable sections of workers amongst the informal sector workers. Most of the Beedi workers work from their houses and more than 70% of them are women workers.
The Beedi making industry is an important element of the rural economy of our state. The industry is concentrated in some of the districts while it is scattered in the others. The workers are mostly unorganized.
There are about 90 registered manufacturers of major beedi brands involved in bulk production in West Bengal. The estimated number of beedi workers (Industrial and Home workers) is around 20 lakh.
With a view to ameliorating living condition of the beedi workers in the State, the Government of west Bengal introduced a scheme, viz. West Bengal Beedi Workers’ Welfare Scheme under Labour Department’s Resolution No. 658-LW/2B-02/07 dated 23.08.2007.
A Beedi worker is now entitled to uniform subsidy @ Rs.20000/- per Beedi worker w.e.f 1st April, 2013, in addition to the central grant for construction of houses. The applications received on and after 1st April, 2013 will be considered for the entitlement of Rs.20000/- as State subsidy, vide Labour Department Notification No.296-LW/2B-02/12 dated 12th April, 2013. This said amount of Rs.20000/- will be released in two equal instalments through the concerned Regional Labour Offices under the Labour Directorate, West Bengal.