Hyderabad: Union Minister for Labour and Employment Santosh Kumar Gangwar on Wednesday said around 4,08,755 women are employed in beedi making industry in the Hyderabad region.
In a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha, the Union Minister said that the total number of registered Beedi Workers in the country is 49, 82,294 as of March 2021.
Hyderabad region covers both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Around 14,41,173, the highest number of registered women working in the beedi industry is in the Kolkata region followed by 4,49,849 in Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu. Hyderabad region comes in third place.
However, according to informal data, more than 10 lakh women are involved in beedi making industry in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
The Union minister said that wages paid to Beedi workers come under the jurisdiction of State/Union Territories Governments. Wages paid to beedi workers are in piece rate (per 1000 beedi making/rolling).
In the Hyderabad region, women are paid on average Rs 199.52 per thousand beedis. The highest amount is paid in Kannur, Kerala where beedi makers are paid Rs 333 on average. It is followed by Patna, Bihar where beedi makers are paid on average Rs 283.
Beedi rolling is a popular small-scale industry in Telangana that provides employment to about a million women. Almost half of them are employed in the Nizamabad district alone. Despite the work being labor-intensive and less waged, women continue to do it as there is no other source of livelihood. This task is generally carried out by women and girls at home. Women also roll beedis in factories (designated place for beedi rolling by beedi companies).
The process of making beedi includes collecting tendu leaves and tobacco, rolling into beedis, sorting, baking, labeling, wrapping, and packing. The majority of women are employed in rolling beedis.