Govenrment auditor CAG today told the Supreme Court that they were verifying the details of the money collected by states and union territories under the 1996 Building and Other Construction Workers' Welfare Cess Act.
Govenrment auditor CAG today told the Supreme Court that they were verifying the details of the money collected by states and union territories under the 1996 Building and Other Construction Workers’ Welfare Cess Act. A consultant with the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) told a bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta that they would file an affidavit in this regard after verifying the details provided to them. The top court fixed the matter for hearing on October 28 after the official said the process would take some time.
The bench had earlier asked the official to prepare two tabular statements giving details of the amount collected, the amount spent and the balance amount which has not been utilised by the building and other construction workers welfare boards under the Act. It had directed that the chart should indicate the purpose for which the amounts have been spent by the welfare boards and also whether the amount spent was with reference to any rules or schemes of the Act.
The top court had earlier perused an affidavit filed by the CAG and wondered where the whopping amount of Rs 20,000 crore meant for workers’ welfare has gone. The court was hearing a PIL filed by NGO ‘National Campaign Committee for Central Legislation on Construction Labour’ which has alleged that the statutory cess levied from real estate firms for the welfare of construction workers was not being utilised properly as there was no mechanism to identify the beneficiaries and extending the benefits to them.
The court had in 2015 expressed displeasure over the non- utilisation of a whopping Rs 26,000 crore by the Centre and various states, saying it cannot get worse than that. It had also asked Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi governments to “file their submissions on affidavits with regard to collection and utilisation of the amounts and proposals for utilisation within two weeks”.
The order was passed after certain facts were brought the court’s notice, including that Haryana had over the years collected Rs 1314.86 crore under the Act but disbursed only Rs 52 crore, the details of which were also unavailable. An amicus curiae, who was assisting the court, had said that Rajasthan had collected Rs 588.36 crore but disbursed only Rs 59.45 crore, the details of which were also not available.