Corpus of Rs. 7,057 cr. collected but only Rs.1,000 cr. spent on welfare of workers: Union Labour Minister

Union Labour Minister Mallikarjun Kharge has bemoaned poor spending of the corpus created out of collections from builders for the welfare of construction workers. At one per cent of the cost of construction which was recovered as cess from builders, the State-level boards that were constituted under a special legislation collected a corpus of Rs. 7,057 crore but spent only Rs.1,000 crore on the welfare of workers.

Only 88.10 lakh out of 4.46 crore construction workers in the country were registered with the welfare boards in different States, Mr. Kharge said inaugurating a national workshop on construction workers here on Friday. The workshop was organised by the Ministry of Labour to sensitise senior labour officials of State governments on the need to step up collection of cess from builders and spend the money on the welfare of construction labour.

Wondering where the unspent money was going, Mr. Kharge urged the officials to do something for the workers’ children without waiting for consent from government on spending. The boards were also mandated to perform functions such as providing immediate assistance to accident victims and paying pension to workers who completed 60 years of age. He read out figures of cess collected and spent in all the States.

He said the national policy on domestic workers would be made into legislation by introducing it in Parliament. The policy aimed to set up a legislative mechanism to address problems faced by domestic workers and provide them a social security cover.

State Labour Minister D. Nagender requested the Centre to relax norms to enable the State government develop a comprehensive health insurance scheme for workers by supplementing it with Rajiv Arogyasri, 108 and 104 services. Director General of Labour Welfare in the Ministry of Labour Anil Swarup asked State governments to mandate municipal bodies to collect the one per cent cess from builders while granting building permissions. The Principal Secretary of Labour here J.C. Sharma was also present.