At a time when the Punjab government is struggling to fix its fiscal health, the labour department has increased the monetary welfare funds to more than 6 lakh factory workers in the state in the form of Shagun, scholarship and health care schemes.
The decision was taken by labour minister Chunni Lal Bhagat during the meeting of the labour welfare board held in the last week of January.
The minister, who is chairman of the board, decided to increase the Shagun scheme for factory workers from Rs 5,100 to Rs 21,000, scholarship for school students of Classes 9 to 12 from Rs 1,500 to Rs 5,000, ex gratia in case of an accidental death from Rs 40,000 to Rs 1.5 lakh and medical aid and treatment in case of serious ailments from Rs 50,000 to Rs 2 lakh.
Bhagat said the revision of the welfare schemes had been a long-pending demand of the factory workers and these had not been increased for more than a decade despite the manifold increase in inflation.
Asked about the financial burden it might put on the government, Bhagat said the money got deposited in the common corpus of the welfare board jointly by factory owners and workers. The government has asked both to increase their contribution from the ensuing fiscal year. “Therefore, if the corpus earlier had Rs 2.5 crore in the kitty, it would now have more than Rs 8 crore,” he added.
There are 18,137 factories registered in Punjab having around 6.38 lakh workers.
Raise in welfare fund amount
Scholarship for students of Classes 9 to 12 increased from Rs 1,500 to Rs 5,000 per month.
Scholarship for students of graduation and post-graduation classes increased from Rs 1,800 to Rs 15,000.
Shagun scheme increased from Rs 5,100 to Rs 21,000.
Ex-gratia grant in case of accidental death raised from Rs 40,000 to Rs 1.5 lakh.
Medical aid for serious ailments raised from Rs 50,000 to Rs 2 lakh.
Aid for buying computers increased from Rs 15,000 to Rs 30,000.