After bicycles, labourers from the unorganised sector in Jharkhand can hope for pension, thanks to a decision of the Jharkhand Building and Other Construction Workers’ Welfare Board.
According to the National Pension Scheme (NPS), once they turn 60, labourers will start getting pension like regular workers, provided they register themselves with the welfare board.
“From this year, we have decided to help labourers avail the benefits of the National Pension Scheme. The board will pay an annual instalment of Rs 1,000 for each labourer, against which the Centre will give its share of Rs 1,000 per annum, paving the way for pension once the worker turns 60,” said state labour commissioner Aradhana Patnaik, on the sidelines of a meet organised by the board in Ranchi to discuss labour welfare.
NPS, launched by the government of India on January 1, 2004, is a contributory pension scheme open for every citizen of the country. The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) is the prudential regulator for NPS.
While the state labour welfare board has introduced different welfare schemes, it is the bicycle distribution plan that has found maximum favour among unorganised workers. So far, the board has distributed 15,000 bicycles, while 55,000 labourers are registered with it. Nearly 18,000 others have been given items like sewing machines, construction tools, carpentry equipment etc.
On Wednesday, Jharkhand Building and Other Construction Workers’ Welfare Board held a review meeting in the state capital to discuss the progress of different welfare schemes in the state. The meet was attended by district level labour officials, apart from the deputy labour commissioners and state labour commissioner.
The welfare board in Jharkhand had been set up in 2008. It has a corpus fund of its own, for which builders have to regularly contribute. Under the Building and Other Construction Workers’ (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996, any government or private agency carrying out construction work worth Rs 10 lakh and above has to deposit 1 per cent of its estimate with the welfare board’s bank account. This makes up the workers’ fund, which now stands at Rs 50 crore, from its November 2011 figures of Rs 33 crore. This fund is used for doling out goodies to the labourers.
The labour commissioner also said from this year, the board will try to focus on skill development by holding different training programmes. Labourers who are engaged in the construction sector would be given training to make them skilled while those interested also would be trained in skills like electrical, electronics and motor vehicle repairs.