Special Correspondent

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A committee appointed by the government to study the functioning of workers’ welfare fund boards has recommended merger of 10 welfare fund boards and schemes with the Kerala Workers Welfare Fund Board.

The committee suggested that the Kerala Artisans and Skilled Workers Welfare Scheme, Kerala Barber and Beauticians Welfare Scheme, Kerala Laundry Workers Welfare Scheme, Kerala Small Plantation Workers Welfare Fund Board and Kerala Etta, Kattuvally and Pandanus Leaf Workers Welfare Fund Board be merged with the Kerala Workers Welfare Fund Board. Similarly, the welfare schemes for autorickshaw and automobile workshop workers should be brought under the Kerala Motor Transport Workers Welfare Fund Board, it said.

It also suggested that the Kerala Beedi and Cigar Workers Welfare Fund Board be merged with the Kerala Handloom Workers Welfare Fund Board. The Kerala Jewellery Workers Welfare Fund Board and the Kerala Headload Workers (Attached) Welfare Fund should be brought under the Kerala Shops and Commercial Establishment Workers’ Welfare Fund. The Kerala Headload Workers Welfare Fund Board should have an independent existence, it said.

Former Labour Commissioner S. Sreenivasan, who chaired the committee, told the media here on Wednesday that the committee had not recommended discontinuation of any of the welfare fund boards. It had recommended that the minimum contribution of employers and workers to the welfare funds should be Rs.10 a month. In case of beedi workers, it could be Rs.5 against the current rate of Rs.3 a month. The contribution of government too should be revised.

The committee had also called for revision of minimum benefits under the welfare fund schemes. The maternity benefit should be a minimum of Rs.2,500 for workers not covered under the ESI Scheme.

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