New Delhi, Nov 13 (UNI) Over 500 ITIs in the country would be upgraded with the World Bank assistance of Rs 1,231 crores and domestic funds to the tune of Rs 160 crores, to create ''Centres of Excellence'' for producing multi-skilled workforce of world standards, Labour Minister Oscar Fernandes announced today.
Answering a specific query at the Economic Editors' Conference, the Minister informed that his department has written to the state governments that the minimum wages have been increased from Rs 66 to Rs 80. He referred to recent action against the erring employee who violated the minimum wages and said there could be no compromise on this issue. ''Whosoever flouts this labour law action will be taken against him.'' Answering a question relating to the fixation of the interest rate on the EPF for 2007-08, the Minister said they had yet to decide on it and it might take some more time. He said they had given 8.5 per cent for 2005-06.
To repeated queries on the possibility of increase in the rate of interest for the current financial year, the Minister quipped, '' Whatever we earn we give.'' He said if the situation improved and there was more earning they could give more.
''But we cannot force the Centre or the state governments to borrow from us and give us more interest. New avenues will have to be found out for better investment to give more rate of interest,'' he added.