In a bid to help construction workers across the country, the central government has reportedly advised states use funds from the Construction Cess to give benefits to workers. The Construction Cess is a Rs 52,000 crore fund collected by the Labour Welfare Boards under the Building and other construction workers (regulation of employment and condition of Services) Act. This was conveyed to chief ministers of states through a letter from Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar.
This comes as the nationwide lockdown is set to hit the construction industry, which is estimated to employ over 5 crore workers. The government has asked states to offer financial and other benefits to workers through direct benefit transfer (DBT). The amount that will be disbursed to construction workers, the minister has said, can be decided by the state.
A day before, the labour secretary too wrote to state chief secretaries to ensure protection of jobs and wages of workers in private and government companies.
“It is imperative that we devise probable mechanism to support out unorganized workers, who sustain their livelihood on daily wages… The states and UTs have collected sufficient funds… the financial assistance at this point of time would help to mitigate the financial crisis of our construction workers to some extent and boost their morale to deal with the epidemic,” Minister Santosh wrote in a letter, as quoted by Livemint.
This also come close on the heels of Satish Magar, President of Confederation of Real Estate Developers' Association of India (CREDAI) appealing to the industry to help site workers who need support at a time like this.
“It's time for us to stand by our customers, vendors, staff and particularly our site workers who need us the most. Real estate is going through the worst times in the past few years. We all are aware that little or no help is coming our way. What we need to do on these times is to help ourselves and help all those who are dependent on us,” he wrote.
He urged real estate developers to take responsibility of site workers by providing food and medical aid. He also urged them to support employees by allowing to work from home with minimum wage loss.
He also asked developers to spread awareness in all the housing colonies they have built, sanitising those areas and providing all the support required.