When a woman worker sought government financial support for four months in a year, as during this period they would not have work in salt pans, he said the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance had an idea to tackle such an issue. "When we were in government in the UPA we noticed that the wealth distribution in India was becoming very skewed," he said replying to the worker.
While a few people were getting "very very rich," many were poor, he said. "And now since the BJP has come (to power at the Centre) that has become much much stronger," he alleged. The idea the party had to handle the problem of protecting the interests of workers for the period they did not have work was the "concept of a minimum income," the Nyay scheme for every single poor family in the country, he said.
Irrespective of factors like from which state they hailed or their language or religion, beneficiaries would automatically get Rs 72,000 a year in their bank accounts till such time they were out of poverty, he said. When the Congress gets voted to power at the Centre, the Nyay plan would be implemented to address their concern of getting income for non-working period, he said.
Women workers flagged the issue of rampant alcohol addiction among the menfolk who spend their hard earned money on consuming liquor leaving their families in the lurch. They urged Gandhi to work for implementing complete prohibition. Some others sought plots to build houses by utilising unused sites owned by the Centre's salt department in the region.
Better wages, a welfare board, pension and improved living conditions were among the other demands workmen made. When Gandhi posed questions on health issues they faced due to years of hard work in salt pans, they pointed out that they had to endure eye related ailments and wounds in the feet that often led to difficulty in walking.
Gandhi said he empathised with them, adding he learnt quite a lot by having a dialogue with them. Also, he requested the workers to explain to him the process of salt making during his next visit