Nearly half of the Rs 87,478 crore collected by states and union territories for the welfare of building and other construction (BOC) workers remains unutilised. At the same time, such workers complain of pathetic working conditions, lack of benefits of welfare schemes like health, pension, insurance and accident protection.
Till November last year, only Rs 49,269 crore (56 per cent) was spent on the welfare of workers, while Rs 38,209 crore (44 per cent) remained unutilised. Minister of State for Labor and Employment Rameshwar Teli had given this information in Parliament last month.
He also informed the Parliament that around 5.06 crore BOC workers were registered with the Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board (BOCWWB) across the country.
Assam (18.7%), Andhra Pradesh (22.3%), Gujarat (27.1%), Delhi (28.2%), West Bengal (35.7%), Tamil Nadu (38.1%), Maharashtra (41.1%), Himachal Pradesh (41.3%) And the top 22 states and union territories, including Haryana (44.4 percent), have spent less than half of the amount collected.
Devanjan Chakraborty, Vice President, Construction Workers Federation of India (CWFI) said that construction workers across the country are not getting even basic facilities and the boards set up for their welfare rarely do any work on enrollment and registration of workers. take initiative and because of this the distribution of wealth gets reduced. Chakraborty said that often this fund is diverted to other schemes and projects.
Chakraborty said, “Earlier the construction worker had to produce a certificate from the MP or the contractor. Because of this lakhs of workers were not able to register themselves. Also, the earlier rule did not allow brick kiln workers or stone workers to join as they were covered under the Factories Act 1948 and were not registered with the Welfare Board. Because of this, a large number of workers used to get out of this purview.
Now they are allowed to register themselves if they are engaged in construction work for 90 days in 12 months. Registered contractors can also register workers but this needs to be confirmed.