The Labour Ministry has proposed free insurance cover, monthly pension of Rs 1,000 after 60 years of age, scholarships for children, and reimbursement of medical expenses under a draft model scheme for the welfare of building and other construction (BOC) workers. The ministry has sought public comments on the scheme, formulated on the direction of the Supreme Court, till May 21, 2018. The draft model scheme has been uploaded on the ministry’s portal. The Supreme Court in its judgment on March 19, 2018, and May 7, 2018, in a writ petition, had asked the government to draft a model scheme for welfare of BOC workers.
According to the recent ministry estimates, around Rs 42,000 crore has been collected as construction workers welfare cess by states and Union Territories. Of this, around Rs 12,000 crore has been spent. The Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Cess Act, 1996, provides for levy and collection of cess. The cess is being collected at 1 per cent of the cost of construction. The cess is collected by states and UTs and utilised for the welfare of building and other construction workers by the State Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Boards.
Taking note of lower spending of funds for welfare of building and other construction workers and inadequate welfare initiatives by states, the apex court had directed the central government to frame model scheme for welfare of these workers. The scheme proposes equal sharing of Rs 171 per worker premium by centre and states to provide life and disability cover under the Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana and Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana. The converged scheme would provide Rs 2 lakh on natural death and Rs 4 lakh incase of an accidental death. Besides it would also provide disability benefits.
The model scheme proposes payment of medical expenses of up Rs 5 lakh per family by the welfare boards. It could be done through insurance companies also. The scheme also provides for Rs 3,000 scholarship per year for two children from Class 9 to 12 and Rs 12,000 per year for higher education courses like IIT, graduation and professional courses. The scheme also proposes to give other benefits to workers like housing, skill development and pension. It says that the worker should be registered for welfare boards for five years to get a Rs 1,000 monthly pension after 60 years of age.