‘Gujarat lags in spending on welfare of construction workers’

Gujarat is lagging behind many other large states and has spent a mere Rs 41 lakh,or 0.21 per cent,of the Rs 190.22 crore it has collected from thousands of unorganised construction workers for their welfare,the reply to a question in Rajya Sabha shows.

Written by Express News Service | Ahmedabad | Published: March 22, 2012 4:33:22 am

Gujarat is lagging behind many other large states and has spent a mere Rs 41 lakh,or 0.21 per cent,of the Rs 190.22 crore it has collected from thousands of unorganised construction workers for their welfare,the reply to a question in Rajya Sabha shows.

Last week’s reply from the Labour Ministry was to a question regarding the implementation of twin central legislations — the Building and Other Construction Workers’ Welfare Act,1996 and Cess Act,1996 — for unorganised construction workers under which workers are registered with a welfare board and cess is collected from them. This is then spent on providing healthcare and pension to the workers and education for their children.

In Gujarat,most such workers are from the eastern tribal belt,or inter-state migrant workers,who live and work in the cities for about eight months a year with their children,setting up temporary shelters,mostly near the construction sites.

The Rajya Sabha was told that 48,971 such workers had been registered with the welfare board in Gujarat. Eleven other states — Madhya Pradesh,Andhra Pradesh,Chhattisgarh,Haryana,Karnataka,Kerala,Orissa,Rajasthan,Tamil Nadu,Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal — have registered more workers.

As per the reply,Gujarat’s Welfare Board had collected Rs 190.22 crore as cess,while Haryana,MP,Karnataka,Kerala,WB and Delhi had collected larger amounts.

As for using this money on welfare,Gujarat spent Rs 41 lakh. This was lower than the spending of 13 states,including AP,Bihar,Chhattisgarh,Haryana,Karnataka,Kerala,MP,Punjab,Tamil Nadu,UP,WB,Delhi,Puducherry and even Arunachal Pradesh,which spent more than six times than Gujarat,though it hosts just one-eleventh the number of workers registered in Gujarat.

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