Covid-19: Govt directs states to transfer cash to construction workers

In an important first step for the unorganized sector to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic during the foreclosure, the central government on Tuesday ordered states to transfer money into the construction workers’ bank accounts from the unused social protection funds intended for them.

Minister of Labor and Employment Santosh Kumar Gangwar has written a letter to all chief ministers of state and union territories urging them to use a total of 52,000 crore crores vacant in the Termination Fund social assistance for construction and other construction workers. The country has about 35 million construction workers registered under the 1996 Cessation of Welfare of Construction and Other Construction Workers Act (BOCW).

Significantly, the government has invoked section 60 of the law to instruct the state government to frame a system of “transferring adequate funds into the bank accounts of construction workers, through the direct benefit transfer. “

“The amount to be awarded to construction workers can be decided by the respective state governments and union territories. The financial assistance at this stage would help to alleviate to some extent the financial crisis of our construction workers and boost the morale to deal with this epidemic, “said the letter from the Minister of Labor.

A senior labor ministry official said the country had around 50 million construction workers and that states could also launch a campaign to register more workers under the law so that other construction workers could not be counted can also take advantage of the cash transfer.

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Some state governments have already announced aid to workers using money from the cessation fund. Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh said immediate relief of 3,000 rupees for each construction worker registered in the state and Himachal Pradesh will also provide one-time assistance of 1,000 rupees to these workers.

To relieve employers, the government has extended the last filing date for declarations under eight labor laws and 10 central rules for 2019 until April 30, 2020. The central government will not take legal action against the establishments if they have not filed a declaration until the end of February due to the coronavirus pandemic, said a letter from the central labor commissioner dated March 20.

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