New Delhi [India], June 23 (ANI): In a major relief to construction workers, state governments have disbursed a total amount of Rs 4,957 crores cash assistance to these workers across the country during the coronavirus-induced lockdown, an official statement said on Tuesday.
It said that the Ministry of Labour and Employment has left no stone unturned in ensuring timely cash transfers to the construction workers at this time when they needed it the most.
"About 1.75 crore transactions were done directly into the bank accounts of the workers through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT). Apart from cash benefits ranging from Rs 1000 to Rs 6000 per worker during the lockdown, some of the States have also provided food and ration to their workers," Ministry of Labour and Employment said in a statement.
The ministry said that the building and other construction workers (BOCW) are the most vulnerable segment of the unorganized sector workers in India.
It said that the construction workers work under aggravating conditions with an uncertain future and a large chunk of them are migrant labourers working in different states far away from their native places.
They play a significant role in nation-building yet find themselves on the margins of the society, the ministry said in the statement.
"A timely advisory was sent to all the Chief Ministers on March 24, 2020 by the Union Minister of Labour and Employment, advising the States to frame a scheme under section 22 (1) (h) of the Act, for transfer of adequate funds in the bank accounts of construction workers through direct benefit transfer (DBT) mode," the statement said.
"The amount to be granted to the construction workers was to be decided by the respective State Governments necessary for their subsistence. The advisory was issued to help mitigate the financial crisis faced by construction workers," it added.
The Building and Other Construction Workers 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 at 1 percent of construction costs which is levied and collected by the State governments and remitted to the Welfare Fund.
"There are some Building and Other Construction Workers, who are still out of the range due to reasons such as their migratory nature, changing work-sites, low levels of literacy and awareness," the statement said. (ANI)