Enrolling labourers with welfare board cumbersome process - Mandi Gobindgarh News

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Friday, November 8, 2019

Enrolling labourers with welfare board cumbersome process

Enrolling labourers with welfare board cumbersome process

Karam Prakash

Tribune News Service

Patiala, November 7

The Building and Other Construction Workers (BOCW) Welfare Board is said to have made the registration of labourers a cumbersome process by making verification by sarpanch and municipal councillor mandatory for registration.

To maximise registration, the Supreme Court had said self-declaration by a labourer was sufficient to register any worker. In fact, to get welfare benefits, a worker has to register with the BOCW Board. However, given the vulnerability of the poor worker, the said amendment of registration to the BOCW Act will make worker fall prey to middlemen, say experts.

The number of registered workers thereby would decline by this change, they apprehended.

In effect, sarpanch or municipal councillor will have reservations about verification of labourers because most of them will be migrants. Consequently, the role of the middlemen in the entire process will be inevitable.

Experts said MC/sarpanch would register only those labourers who were native to their area of jurisdiction and would be a potential vote. According to Census 2011, there were around 15.72 lakh labourers in the state, excluding migrant labourers. However, only 7.45 lakh construction workers had been registered till June 2018, including migrant labourers.

That shows a huge gap. However, experts said there were around 25 lakh labourers in the state, including more than 50 per cent migrants. Going by this data, it is evident that migrant labourers, who were already having problems in registering, would not be able to get themselves registered.

Vijay Walia, social worker fighting for construction labourers, said self-declaration as advocated by Supreme Court didn’t require any verification. Therefore, the said amendment was against the Supreme Court orders.

He said, “As pointed in AG report, maximum fake registrations were due to middlemen because the process of registration required the approval of a third person. The amendment should be withdrawn by the labour board.”

Meanwhile, with this move, an employer has been completely shunned out of the entire process of registration. Experts said if employers were given the power of verification of registration, it would have streamlined the entire process and the role of middlemen could have been minimised.

VK Janjua, vice-chairman, BOCW Welfare Board, said, “It has been done so that a local person can verify a labourer. An employer is also the right person to verify labourer registration, but if there will be a problem in registration, we can amend this again.”

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