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Home / Delhi News / Govt website for welfare funds logs out daily wagers

Govt website for welfare funds logs out daily wagers

For the last three days, Sunil Kumar (31), a daily wager, has been visiting one of the special labour camps organised by the Delhi government to help construction workers register for a state-run welfare fund in east Delhi’s Kalyanpuri.

delhi Updated: Sep 05, 2020, 07:26 IST
Vatsala Shrangi
Vatsala Shrangi
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
A labourer working in a construction site prepares to carry sand along a street in New Delhi on August 31, 2020.
A labourer working in a construction site prepares to carry sand along a street in New Delhi on August 31, 2020.(AFP photo)

For the last three days, Sunil Kumar (31), a daily wager, has been visiting one of the special labour camps organised by the Delhi government to help construction workers register for a state-run welfare fund in east Delhi’s Kalyanpuri.

For three days, Kumar has missed out on his daily wage, as he waits patiently in a queue for his turn to apply. Everyday, he is turned away at the end of the queue after being told by an official that the website server — where applications and relevant documents need to be uploaded — has been slow and was delaying the process.

And he is not alone.

Kumar is likely one of the many daily wagers who have not been able to take advantage of the government scheme which was started on August 24 via 70 special camps set up in assembly constituencies across the city.

The camps, all set up in Delhi government schools, will continue till September 11 and promises benefits like ₹51,000 for wedding of daughters, old age pension and accidental cover of ₹ 2 lakh, among others, for all construction workers who register themselves.

The process of registration, so far, has been marred by technical glitches and poor internet connectivity. At some of the camps HT visited, besides server issues, the staff had been provided only a single laptop to fill up forms as well as to carry out verification of documents.

As per estimates, since August 24, at least 17,000 workers have appeared and been attended to across the 70 camps, of which only around 6,000 have been verified, renewed or registered.

The special registration drive follows a Delhi High Court May 2 order that directed the Delhi Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board, which is under the aegis of the Delhi government’s labour department, to take steps to renew the membership of all workers and register those in the unorganised sector .

Employees of the labour department and para legal volunteers have been deployed at the camps to assist in the registration process.

At a government school in Zeenat Mahal, Ajmeri Gate, a para legal volunteer was spotted filling up the registration form of a daily wager for the fourth time in an hour, as the website — Edistrict Delhi — had crashed thrice previously while his form was being submitted. It was 1pm, and the volunteer said work was progressing at an extremely slow pace and this was only the second applicant he was attending to that day. The camp starts at 10am and winds up by 4.30pm.

“For a new registration it takes about 45 minutes to fill up the application form with all the documents. If the site crashes at the time of submission, the entire process has to be repeated again from scratch . This is the fourth time, I am trying to submit this form. There are days when just two or three forms are submitted in the entire day and applicants have to be told to return the next day. The Wi-Fi is too slow and at times I have to use my own internet connection to do the work,” said Avinash Kumar, the para legal volunteer.

According to officials in the labour department, the issue of the server has already been flagged to the National Informatics Centre (NIC), which has developed the website. While laptops, scanners and printers are provided by the department, the para legal volunteers are required to get their own laptops.

Contacted, NIC officials said that they were working on the issue and that it will be resolved soon.

Delhi government did not respond to the queries sent by HT.

Thaneshwar Adigaur, secretary of the Delhi Asangathit Nirman Mazdoor Union and also member of the advisory committee of the board, said that issues are being faced by workers because little awareness has been spread about the camps and the staff has not been trained well. “Only 10-15% of the workers have been verified or registered by now,” said Adigaur.

Sunil Kumar Aledia, who runs Centre for Holistic Development, an NGO that works for the homeless has written to the Delhi labour minister raising concerns about workers missing on their earnings in order to get registered.

“We prepared a report from all 70 camps where it was found that workers had to wait for days to get registered. Also, at many places the staff and equipment is inadequate,” said Aledia.

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