Chandigarh admin constitutes Social Security Board for unorganised workers

Y.S.Rana | July 10, 2019 05:48 PM

CHANDIGARH: Unorganized workers of Chandigarh were in for a windfall with the constitution of Social Security Board for unorganized workers by the Chandigarh Administration in finally in August last.  Though the board has been constituted almost a year ago yet it is still non-functional and the Board’s provisions do not translate into tangible benefits for workers.

Chandigarh has been bracketed in the category of lowest usage of cess funds for the benefits of unorganized workers by the Standing Committee on Labour Report-2018. Chandigarh has spent only 4.7 per cent of its cess collections.

While talking to member secretary, SLSA, Chandigarh, Mr Mahavir Singh who is also the member of the board said that the SSB was formed under the ‘Unorganized Sector Social Security Act’ after a delay of 10 years, has only 17 sections and it was the Chandigarh Administration which has to provide teeth to it by constituting enforcement rules. But, the city currently lacks in comprehensive rules and the SSB would hold little meaning if these rules were not framed. But despite its constitution no meeting was held, adds Mr Singh.

Another member Mr Bikram Rana also admitted that no meeting of board has been held so far. Attempts made to contact the Assistant Labour Commissioner, Mr Varun Beniwal for his comment on the matter visited his office but he was not available there. He was also reached out on mobile but he did not response. Still modalities have to be completed arrangements proper space with supporting staff yet to be arrange.

For unorganized workers subject to wretched employment conditions sans minimum wage or job security, the SSB has to provide provident fund, employment injury benefit, housing, educational schemes for children, skill up-gradation, funeral assistance and old age benefits but these workers had no option but to wait for a ‘daily wage.’

There is no exact data of such workers in Chandigarh. They stand under the sun all day looking for work at Labour Chowk. There is no sanitation, no drinking water. Most of the workers told Daily Post that they had never received any welfare benefits. None of them were registered as construction workers under the Act. Even they had no inkling that such board has been set up for their welfare.

According to official data up to 2015, Chandigarh had collected cess of Rs 64.49 lakh while Haryana collected Rs 18.59 crore; Punjab Rs 7.14 crore compared to Himachal Pradesh Rs 2.76 crore. The Centre has already earmarked a whopping Rs. 25,000 crore for the board’s functioning in all States/UTs years ago.

The board can avail of Central funds for implementing 10 social security and insurance schemes to benefit the agricultural labourers, rag pickers, contract labourers, head load workers and hawkers, among others.

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