In a major move to support the construction workers of Delhi, the Kejriwal Government has identified a series of measures aimed at improving the lives and welfare of these workers. Chief Minister Shri Arvind Kejriwal, has directed the labour department to explore the possibility of providing all registered labourers of Delhi with free bus travel passes, in addition to those who are already availing it. The CM has also directed the department to assess the possibility of group life insurance for construction workers, similar to that provided for lawyers. Speaking on the occasion, CM Arvind Kejriwal emphasised that the labour department should make positive and effective use of the funds so that all the registered workers can get full benefit of their policies.
As part of the efforts to extend maximum support to the labour force, CM Shri Arvind Kejriwal has urged the department to speed up the registration of workers under various schemes. The registrations of 13.4 lakh workers under Delhi Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board will be renewed this month onwards.
CM Shri Arvind Kejriwal chaired a high-level meeting to review the ongoing projects of the Labour department. The meeting was also attended by Labour Minister Shri Raaj Kumar Anand and other senior officials of concerned departments. The CM discussed various schemes and their current situation in the meeting with the officers.
While assessing tax collection initiatives and the utilisation of resources, the CM directed the officials to address some major issues he had identified. First, that the money collected by the department doesn’t sit there passively and is utilised effectively. Then, he directed the officials to formulate a plan to ensure effective utilisation of department funds within one week.
The officials then explained the working of the Delhi Building And Other Construction Workers Act, 1996 and its corresponding Rules. 13.4 lakh workers are registered with the Delhi Building And Other Construction Workers Welfare Board. These workers will be up for renewal in April. Out of this around 5.36 lakh are present at work in the state at any given point of time.
To this the CM said that the definition of a Construction Worker is very vast and plumbers, carpenters and electricians and the like are also covered under the head. He said that if the schemes are publicised properly then almost 25-30 lakh workers will be registered with the board.
The CM further noted that about 23.5 lakh workers registered with the Centre’s e-shram portal, but they get no benefits there. “We have made so many schemes for our workers, but many don’t come forward. We should try to get the workers to register under our schemes to provide them with maximum benefits. Another issue is that when workers do register, they sometimes don’t get benefits as there’s no verification,” Shri Arvind Kejriwal said.
Adding on, the CM said that timely & quick verification is very essential. Talking about the need to create more awareness he said that application based schemes are dependent on the prerogative of those who apply. “Can we take out some ‘carpet bombing’ scheme where everyone is benefited? For example, during COVID, all the workers were benefited regardless of whether they applied or not. Such measures will help extend maximum benefit of our schemes,” the CM said.
Further while reviewing labour pension schemes, the CM asked the department to take out data for pensioners above the age of 60 years. He recommended the department to identify those who are 60 years and above, and those who have been engaged in construction work. “Such beneficiaries should be identified and given the benefit of the better schemes available. He asked the department to work on certain modalities to ensure that the extent of the pension scheme covers as many beneficiaries as possible and also ensure that no duplicacy takes place therein.
The CM further directed officers to explore the possibility of providing subsidised housing to the workers registered with the board.
He also directed the department to make disability related schemes more accessible and practical. He also suggested the department to increase the end-user benefits to some extent to provide more help.
Further, while discussing travel benefits extended by the labour department, the CM directed the officers to explore the possibility of providing each worker with a free bus pass, in addition to those who are already availing it. He asked the officials to discuss with the DTC whether the government can pay a standard charge for these passes on behalf of the workers and they can get to use buses for free. “DTC will earn revenue as well and workers will also get a free bus pass. We can actively persuade these workers to come and collect their bus pass. A lot of people do not even know of the schemes available to them,” he said.
The CM also directed the officials to assess whether a group life insurance can be implemented for construction workers by the government like it does for lawyers.
The Discussion then moved to Educational Schemes of the department. The Delhi Government provides scholarship, aid & assistance to children of construction workers through various schemes. This included 500/- per month (Class 1 to 8) 700/- per month (Class 9 to 10) 1,000/- per month.(Class 11 to 12) 3,000/- per month (Graduation level), 4,000/- per month (5 Years LLB. Course) 3,000/- per month (3 Years LLB. Course) 5,000/- per month (Polytechnic Diploma) and 10,000/- per month (Technical Course such Engineering, Medical, MBA)
The CM directed the department to work on this scheme on the lines of the Jai Bhim Mukhyamantri Pratibha Vikas Yojana, where children of construction workers can avail free coaching. He also asked the department to remove the maximum limit on the course based scholarship. He said that instead of this fixed support, the department should pay as per actuals to extend relief to the students.
The officials also apprised the CM of the department’s new initiatives that include, Doctors On Wheels (free medical checkup on construction sites), Large Scale Skill Development Initiatives, Toolkit Distribution after skill training, and Facilities Of Creeches on construction sites.
Concluding, the CM appreciated the department for their work, but directed them to run campaigns to spread awareness regarding the same. He said that lack of awareness is a major concern regarding the labour department’s work and the officers must find a solution for it immediately.