The Maharashtra Labour Department plans to start ‘workers facilitation centres’ at the district level to increase the registration of construction workers and extend welfare schemes to them.
Officials from the labour department said they have moved a proposal to set up the facilitation centres, and were awaiting approval. “The proposal has been sent to the High Powered Committee for its approval. The proposal involves appointing an agency to set up district-level facilitation centres across the state. The agency will be given the target of enrolling 6 lakh workers annually and extending welfare schemes for the registered construction workers,” said an official.
The official added that emphasis would be given on renewal of the registration of construction workers.
“Till March 2017, the total registered labourers with the Maharashtra Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board were 5.7 lakh approximately of which only 2.98 lakh were active. From April 2017, the total registered labourers have gone up to 6.88 lakh of which 3.45 lakh are active. So, compared to the total registered labourers, the active labourers who have renewed their registrations are less and so the emphasis will be given on renewal of the registered workers,” said the official.
According to a survey of the National Sample Survey Office, there were a total 27.53 lakh construction workers in Maharashtra in 2015-2016.
“There is a shortage of staff at the district-level offices of the board. The agency will have its own staff that will help in expediting the work of clearing the applications for the registrations and the applications for availing the welfare schemes,” said another official.
The official added that the department might take the help of labour unions in increasing the registrations and extending the welfare schemes.
Meanwhile, the labour department has also given the task of registration of construction workers to the ward officers in the municipal corporation areas, chief officers of municipal councils, block development officer of the zilla parishad and officials from the public works department (PWD), water supply department and water conservation departments.
“This is for the first time that they have been given the responsibility as these officials are aware of the various construction works and other related activities. It is easy for them to track the workers down and enroll them,” said an official.