The Labour Department has initiated steps to identify the workers registered with the Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board so that benefits can be reached out to them during the lockdown announced by the State and Central governments to contain coronavirus (COVID-19).
The department, after recent exercise to identify the registered workers, has realized that more than 14.29 lakh workers are registered with the board till November-end last year. It was accordingly decided to collect the account numbers of all the registered workers to ensure that amounts could be credited to their respective accounts as and when the State government announces a relief package for them.
The exercise follows an advisory issued by the Central government on March 24 which asked the governments of States and the Union Territories to transfer funds into the accounts of construction workers through direct benefit transfer mode from the cess collected by the labour welfare boards under the provisions of the Building and Other Construction Workers Cess Act.
According to the provisional figures available, there was corpus of ₹52,000 crore available under the cess fund from the across the country of which Telangana’s share is about ₹1,210 crore till the end of financial year 2018-19. Senior officials said that the Board, formed part of the Schedule VII institutions of the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014 and the funds available would be much higher than those projected by the Centre.
The two States have in principle agreed for bifurcation of assets pending in the PD accounts on population ratio 58:42 but there were deposits in other accounts which were yet to be transferred to Telangana. “An amount of around ₹600 crore is due to be credited to our account by the AP government,” a senior official told The Hindu. The department has in principle decided to credit some amount as relief to the registered workers who were finding it hard to get jobs during the lockdown period.
The department had started collecting the account numbers of all the registered workers as the account numbers of only such workers who opted for online settlement of their claims since the formation of the State were available with the department. Accordingly, Aadhar numbers are verified to get the details of the accounts and simultaneously, requests had been sent to different departments to give the details of workers engaged with them.
The official said it has been tentatively decided to credit ₹1,500 each into the accounts of registered workers. But a decision has not yet been taken on whether the amount should be credited into the individual accounts or whether a family should be taken into consideration. “There can be one registered worker in some families and more than one registered worker in some other families. We are yet to take a final decision,” the official told The Hindu adding the department was, however, prepared to distribute the benefits as and when the government announces a decision in this direction.