Board for welfare of unorganized workers yet to hold its first meeting

Y.S.Rana | May 05, 2019 05:44 PM

CHANDIGARH: Though the Chandigarh Administration has constituted welfare Board for unorganized workers in September last yet the Board has to hold its first meeting. While talking to its members, admitted that since its constitution no meeting was held. On other, the official of the Administration said that because of ‘exigencies’ of work its first meeting could not be held.  Even so far modalities have not been worked out and scope of work has yet to assign to implement welfare schemes to the workers. He further said that still survey has to be conducted to identify the beneficiaries in the city.

Mahavir Singh, Member Secretary, SLSA, Chandigarh said that delay in working out modalities it has not only deprived the unorganized workers of availing themselves benefits of government welfare schemes but also Cess collected from construction activities was either not being utilized for their welfare or diverted to some other funds. Notably, Chandigarh has been bracketed lowest in usage of Cess fund across the country.

According to the notification No 14070 dated September 12, 2018 from the Administrator of UT, Chandigarh states that the Board was consisting of 28 members drawn from various segments of the society. These include seven representatives each from the unorganized workers and employees of unorganized workers. Besides, seven members were included in the board from   Labour Department; Social Welfare Department; Estate Office; Food and Supply Department; Department of Industries, Tourism Department and the Education Department.   

Besides, the Board also included five eminent persons of city civil society and two members were taken from the elected members representing Chandigarh. The Labour Commissioner will be its chairman and the Member Secretary, State Legal Services Authority (SLSA), Chandigarh, will be special invitee. Anil Dubey, Councillor,Municipal Corporation, Chandigarh is also a member of Board.

Notably, the domestic workers union and the SLSA have been demanding early meeting of Board so that benefits of government welfare schemes could pass on to the workers. The Central Government had announced ESI benefits for domestic workers last year but Chandigarh has not taken initiative in enrolling the workers under the scheme.

The Act was passed in 2008 and setting up of such board is mandatory but it took 10 years for the Chandigarh Administration to set up the Board. While the neighbouring state Punjab has already set up this board and compensation in case of deaths and health insurance are being given in Punjab through the board under the provisions of the Act. The government had identified 122 occupations in the unorganized sector.

With constitution of the Board, unorganized workers in Chandigarh looked forward access to the benefits of government welfare schemes such as health and maternity benefits, old age protection; provident fund; housing and emp0loyment injury benefits.

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