In the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak, the Centre on March advised states to adequately transfer money from the funds directly into the accounts of an estimated 3.5 crore registered construction workers.
Government Huge Relief Fund to BOCW
In a relief to millions of construction workers during the Covid-19 induced lockdown, states have disbursed Rs 4957 crore to two crore building and construction workers till date following an advisory from the labor ministry on 24th March 2020. About Twenty million building and other construction workers (BOCW) received this cash assistance.
About 17.5 million transactions were done directly into the bank accounts of the workers through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT). Apart from cash benefits ranging from Rs 1,000 to Rs 6,000 per worker during the lockdown, some of the states have also provided food and ration to workers.
Special Measure to Rescue Construction Workers
The labor ministry has launched a mission mode project to fast track the registration of the left-out construction workers and portability of benefits. As the building and other construction workers (BOCW) are the most vulnerable segment of the unorganized sector workers in India. A large chunk of them are migrant laborers working in different states far away from their native places.
The BOCW Act, 1996 was enacted to regulate the employment and conditions of service of these workers and to provide for their safety, health, and welfare measures. The Act along-with the Cess Act has played a significant role in coming to the rescue of construction workers by providing them subsistence during the tough times of pandemic. Under the Act, the state governments through their state welfare boards are mandated to frame and implement welfare schemes for construction workers. The fund comprises the cess @1% of construction costs which is levied and collected by the state governments and remitted to the welfare fund.
By: Shailaja K