Delhi govt aims to get 1 million construction workers registered under welfare board
Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, chairing his first meeting of the labour department after taking charge of the portfolio, on Thursday said the state government would aim to get one million construction workers in the city registered and verified under the welfare board.
“Every single construction worker in Delhi will be registered in the welfare board, and the government will work towards serving the city-builders of Delhi. The minister has exhorted the officials to remove unnecessary bottlenecks for registration and verification of construction workers,” read a press statement issued by Sisodia’s office.
Sisodia took over the portfolio from Gopal Rai on Wednesday.
Sisodia said, “We aim to get one million construction workers registered and verified in the coming months.”
Government records said that currently 55,000 workers are registered under the state-run welfare board, and 66,000 applicants are pending verification.
In August, Rai had launched a month-long drive to push enrolment of construction workers in the Delhi Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board.
Construction workers — including plumbers and electricians employed in the construction sector, painters, those specialising in laying tiles, security guards at sites and those working on drainage systems, among others — aged between 18 and 60 years are eligible for registration under the scheme. To avail the programme, they need an official photo identity card, a bank account number, residential proof in Delhi and proof that they have worked in the construction sector for at least 90 days over the 12 months prior to registration, said an official in charge of the registration process.
On May 21, the Delhi high court had directed the Board, which comes under the Delhi government’s labour department, to take steps to renew the membership of all workers, so that the associated benefits help them cushion the loss of earnings during the lockdown. The court had observed that over 500,000 construction workers in Delhi, who fell off the safety net under the watch of the city’s welfare board, cannot be deprived of benefits just because they were unable to renew their annual registration formality.
Every state has one such welfare board which runs an array of welfare schemes for them, funded by the cess collected from projects under the Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Cess Act, 1996. In Delhi, the board started disbursing ₹5,000 per month during the lockdown — imposed to arrest the spread of the coronavirus disease and led to mass job loss in the sector — to the accounts of enrolled workers.