In what may be called a major welfare initiative for workers in the unorganised sector, the Jammu and Kashmir government is set to launch a scheme called “Muhafiz (Guardian)” so as to provide them institutionalized socio-economic security.
Pointing out that the scheme will be formally launched by chief minister Mehbooba Mufti and deputy chief minister Dr Nirmal Singh on January 8, an official release in Jammu on Saturday said that around three lakh workers registered with Jammu and Kashmir Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board (JKBOCWWB) will be provided accidental, life and disability insurance, besides educational scholarships to their children under it. The scheme also envisages extending micro credit facility to such workers and facilitating their registration through online and other modes.
According to Minister for Finance, Labour and Employment, Dr Haseeb Drabu, who has conceptualized the scheme, the annual premium of Rs 171 per worker payable for insurance cover will be borne by the Board. The total premium payable for these workers in the first instance would be nearly Rs five crore, he added.
The Board will also be starting micro credit facility for registered workers with a credit limit of Rs 10,000 each and for it, the Board will have to deposit nearly Rs 30 crore with the Jammu and Kashmir Bank as counter guarantee, the minister said, adding that the government was contemplating some more measures to ensure socio-economic security of such workers and facilitate them and their children have adequate financial security.
The Board had come into existence way back in 2007, but it had done nothing substantial for the welfare of workers in the unorganized sector. It was only during the past three years that financial assistance to the tune of nearly Rs 275 crore was provided to such workers under various various components including education assistance, marriage, chronic diseases, maternity benefit, medical assistance, funeral assistance and death assistance covering 3.40 lakh beneficiaries, an official release said.
The resources for the socio-economic welfare of workers are generated through a cess levied under the Building and Other Construction Workers (RE&CS) Cess Act and from a meager amount of Rs 26.8 crore in 2008-09, the Board has around Rs 600 crore in its kitty today, release added.