With much fanfare more than three months ago, an insurance scheme for drivers of private commercial vehicles was launched in the State. However, since its official launch in the district on June 13, only 2,000 people have submitted forms, and none have received cards.
D.G. Nagesh, Labour Commissioner, Dakshina Kannada, blamed Nemmadi kendras, which distribute and collect forms from applicants and then send them to the Labour Department which is a nodal agency, for the delay in distribution of cards.
“The forms are stuck in these kendras and there is a delay in uploading them with other documents. Apart from this scheme, there are many schemes which these kendras cater to. Most kendras have one computer and one person. And so, while the operator can handle 60 applications, thousands are given daily,” he said.
However, he expressed confidence that the first card would be distributed by September-end.
Touted as the first of its kind in the country, the scheme aimed at covering over 5 lakh drivers in the State in 2012-13.
Drivers of autorickshaws, taxis, maxi cabs, and other passenger vehicles, aged between 20 and 70, have to pay Rs. 25 (as registration fee to the State Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Board) to make use of the benefits of the scheme.
In case of death, the kin of beneficiaries are assured of up to Rs. 2 lakh; Rs. 1 lakh for permanent total disability and Rs. 50,000 for partial disability, according to Mr. Nagesh.
While the Labour Department claims to have conducted extensive drives, wherein around 5,000 drivers from the district had registered in-principle for the scheme, many drivers in the city said they weren’t aware of its nitty-gritty.
Manoj, a private bus driver, said it was only a few days ago that his friend told him about the scheme. “But I don’t know the details or where we can get the forms. Many drivers working along with me in the company do not really know about this scheme,” he said.
With the department conducting awareness programmes with drivers’ unions, those not in the union find themselves left out of the loop. Purushottam Alva, who has been an autorickshaw driver for over 23 years and not a part of a union, said he was unaware of the scheme. “Which driver would not be enticed to pay Rs. 25 to get insurance? There should be more awareness about these things,” he said.
However, Girish, autorickshaw driver, didn’t seem too keen on the scheme, fearing that the scrutiny may land him in trouble. “Not all my documents are in order. My licence has to be renewed, while vehicle insurance lapsed long ago,” he said.