Latest News

Labour Ministry revives National Policy to increase domestic helps' wages    |     Social Security Code provides for linking fine with inflation    |     Government to push for labour bills that pay ahead of polls    |     May Day: Justice denied as less than 2% of workers get assured pension    |     Parliamentary panel finalises report on Wage Code Bill, says Gangwar

Out of 38,514 crore of construction workers welfare cess funds, only 9,756 crore utilized: Who is responsible for dismal fund utilization?

person access_time19:07:2018 chat_bubble_outline(0) comments

In this superfast life, when we all are so engrossed with our work, family hassles which put us into immense pressure that we become ignorant of many things in our surroundings.  We all must have encountered at various construction sites in our cities, nearby our places, there is a workforce , working incessantly under the scorching heat of furious sun, some with whole body drenched with sweat, sounds of shrieking children with boredom, hurt and playfulness, playing relentlessly amidst the dust, stand and floor of mud.

A great number of workers hail from the remotest villages of the country with a hope for a better livelihood and fair employment opportunities and with dreams of a quality of life, majority of construction workers ends up at construction sites. To arrange two square meals, women of the family, besides managing household and taking care of children have to succumb to construction work with no choice left.

The Construction Industry is very vital in creating the infrastructure and set up, necessary for the development and growth of India, on account of high demand specifically in cities, a large number of workforce including all kind- skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled are employed into Construction work which has also been called one of the hazardous profession. According to statistics demonstrated by WIEGO (Women in Informal Employment; Global and Organizing), Women account for half (51%) of the total construction labour force who are almost exclusively unskilled, casual, manual labourers and are rarely found in male dominated skilled trades including electrical wiring, carpentry etc.

Working at these sites and temporary staying at construction sites, these women are prone to myriad of problems related to health, safety, harassment, wage discrimination, working conditions etc.

Recognizing the need of framing a legislation for the welfare of construction workers, a huge uproar at civil society was observed and through various social rallies, the needs of social protection including pension, a good education for the children, an environment of festivities and joy was observed post the government declaration of law promising the social security benefits to construction workers. 

The two major powerful legislations; The Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996 and The Building and Other Construction Workers Cess Act, 1996 were introduced. In the ambit of which construction worker welfare board was established which aims to guard the interest and monitor the various  entitlements including scholarship for children of construction workers, marriage allowance, maternity benefit etc that are covered under social security provision provided to construction workers.  The acts came into being in 1996; however the implementation of the same on the ground took several years. It was in 2002 after a period of seven years the construction worker welfare board was established.

As per government data, as on December 31, 2017, Rs 38,514 crore has been collected as construction workers welfare cess. Out of this, Rs 9,756 crore has been spent which clearly depict the thousands of crores rupees lying unspent which is meant for the welfare of these workers. Despite of strong legislative protection, to an extent the implementation of the same has been an utter failure. Until the policies at the implementation level wouldn’t strengthen there would be no relief delivered to the construction workers including women who face double jeopardy of managing various tasks of family and workplace at a time. Besides that, there is dire need for a movement of awareness dissemination among workers pertaining to the social security provisions entitled to them in the law. The irony is, after 22 years of formation of special laws for construction workers, 16 years the formation of constrcution worker welfare board, in actual very little are reached to the benefits.

Author: Shalu Saharan (She did her post graduation in Social Work from Delhi School of Social Work, University of Delhi & working in development sector since 2014 on various positions. She is specialized in Counselling, Micro-Planning, Gender Analysis. Please write to her saharan.shalu70@gmail.com)  

 

Share

(0) Comments

Join The Discussion


 

Unique visitors