Finally, welfare scheme to get going - Mandi Gobindgarh News

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Monday, September 16, 2019

Finally, welfare scheme to get going

Finally, welfare scheme to get going

Karam Prakash

Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 15

After dillydallying for nearly a year, the Punjab Government has finally decided to implement the Model Welfare scheme – an updated version of earlier plans — for the registered construction workers in the state.

Despite clear directions from the Supreme Court and the Union Ministry of Labour and Employment, the state government was found, deliberately, delaying the implementation of the said scheme. On September 8, The Tribune had highlighted the non-implementation of the new scheme in the state.

Notably, in October last year, the Centre had directed all state governments to strictly comply with the Model Welfare Scheme and file a status report by December 2018. However, the Punjab Government did not comply with the orders till recently. But now Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh — who is the ex-officio chairman of the Punjab Labour Welfare Board — has given a go ahead to the Labour Department to implement the scheme. On April 15 this year, the state government had ordered to implement the scheme but, ironically, Capt Amarinder vetoed its implementation on the ground that he was not taken into the loop while making the decision. Consequently on April 24, the government withdrew its orders of implementation. Since then the file pertaining to the implementation of the scheme had been lying with the chairman of the board. As a result, the registered construction workers in the state did not get any benefits of the welfare schemes since last year.

Updated version

The Model Welfare Scheme comprises seven plans for the benefit of the construction workers — as compared to the existing 17. On March 19, after the misuse and poor implementation of various welfare schemes under the Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996 — the SC asked the Labour Ministry for a composite scheme for the benefit of the construction workers.

Need for a new plan

In Punjab, the labour board had collected Rs 168 crore as cess in 2017-18, however, Rs 173 crore were spent for 17 welfare schemes. However, of 3.5 lakh live registered workers in the state, it benefitted only 97,516. The new scheme will have only seven plans, which are most likely to benefit more construction workers. Principal Secretary, Labour Department, VK Janjua, said the department had got orders from the CM. He said, “We have already received the nod from him (CM) and are studying the matter now. The department will be issuing a notification in a day or two.”

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