Announcing package of incentives including enhancement of minimum wages, ex-gratia relief and pension for work force with effect from January 2013, Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah Sunday formally launched the path breaking initiative of providing financial assistance to the registered labour classes associated with building and other constructions.
Some months earlier the Chief Minister had set the Labour Department in motion directing the Building and Other Construction Workers Board (BOCWB) to move forward in a time bound manner for registering workers and collecting cess for distribution among them. This resulted in registration of 142000 workers and collection of Rs. 185 crore worth cess for distribution among them as a welfare measure.
Kick-starting the massive programme of cess distribution among workers at a function at SKICC here this morning, the Chief Minister said that dignity and satisfaction of work force was key to faster development and healthy economic growth. He said workers are hub of growth and development and translating development projects into reality on ground depends upon the work force.
The Chief Minister said that the decision of launching projects and formulating schemes for infrastructure development will remain on paper unless work force convert these into reality by their hard labour. “You are the real architect of growth and development and your hands turn the decisions into reality”, he told workers giving complements to them.
Omar Abdullah said that the congenial environment is imperative for providing opportunity of work to working class besides carrying forward growth and development in a targeted time frame. “Whenever there is law and order problem the first brunt has to be borne by workers whose bread earning opportunity gets marred by this. You have witnessed the hardships in the disturbances during 2008, 2009 and 2010. You know its pinch better than anyone else as you and your family are most sufferers in such situation”, he told workers underlining the importance of peace for ensuring livelihood of work force and moving forward on development path.
The Chief Minister said that in a meeting he held at Srinagar to review the functioning of BOCWB, he found that the important aspect of delivering welfare measures to the labour classes needed considerable push. “As such, I gave instructions of catapulting the registration process and collection of cess for the distribution amongst the workers”, he said adding that he is happy that much headway has been achieved in this direction since then. He expressed the hope that the Labour Department and the Board would keep up the pace.
Omar Abdullah asked the Labour Minister to move a proposal of bringing registration of workers and delivery of assistance to them under PSGA so that work force gets benefited holistically. He said that the time bound delivery of welfare measures including financial assistance to work force would be a far reaching measure to make them and their families happier.
By today’s announcement the ex-gratia relief has been increased from Rs. one lakh to Rs. 2 lakhs, minimum wages of unskilled worker from Rs. 110 to Rs. 150, semi-skilled labour from Rs. 150 to Rs. 175 and skilled from Rs. 200 to Rs. 225. The pension initiative announced by the Chief Minister will be Rs. 2250 for the deceased worker on ‘death in harness’ basis applicable to employees.
Emphasizing the need of creating awareness among the workers for registration, the Chief Minister said that entire work force should be registered to ensure their coverage under various welfare schemes. He appreciated the efforts of Labour Department in enforcing labour laws and implementing welfare measures aimed at betterment of the labour classes. He asked the department to include private companies in the cess collection scheme so that they would also contribute equally with government agencies in the welfare and betterment of labour class.
Omar Abdullah distributed financial assistance of Rs. 1.31 crore to about 1000 beneficiaries of Srinagar, Islamabad, Kulgam, Kupwara, Pulwama, Bandipora, Budgam, Baramulla, Shopian and Ganderbal districts.