The Telegraph
Wednesday , April 30 , 2014
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HC wants lax labour secy fired

Ranchi, April 29: Jharkhand High Court today directed chief secretary R. S. Sharma to immediately replace labour department secretary Rahul Sharma and his subordinates for their lackadaisical approach in implementing welfare schemes of the Centre.

A division bench of Justice D. N. Patel and Justice Amitav Kumar Gupta, which was hearing a PIL on implementation of Union government welfare schemes, observed that the department of labour, employment and training had become “insensitive and lethargic”.

The court ordered Sharma to file an affidavit detailing funds received by the state from the Union government since 2008 and how much of it had been used for implementing welfare schemes.

The PIL was filed by National Domestic Workers’ Welfare Association alleging improper implementation of welfare schemes like Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme, National Family Benefit Scheme, Aam Admi Bima Yojna, Rashtriya Swastha Bima Yojna, Handloom Weavers Comprehensive Scheme, Handloom Artisans Comprehensive Scheme, Janani Suraksha Yojna, National Scheme for Welfare of Fishermen and Training and Extension and Janshri Bima Yojna.

The court, which has been monitoring the issue since August last year, also hauled up the state government for not providing draft copies of the schemes even after several orders.

The bench also equally scathing on the state government, pointing out that it had not formulated any schemes of its own for the welfare of the people.

“Even the money of the Union government, meant for welfare activities, is not being utilised. It lapses without being used,” the court lamented.

The court criticised the functioning of the labour department and observed that the principal secretary and other officials were inefficient. Deputy secretary Ratan Kumar Gupta also drew flak when he erred while elaborating the criteria for determining BPL families.

The government categorises a person as BPL if his income is Rs 5,000 or less a year.

But, Gupta told the court the yardstick was monthly earnings as opposed to annual. This angered the judges who commented that when officers of the department were unaware of the facts, then how could they expect the public to be aware of the schemes.

Earlier, the court had offered the services of Jharkhand Legal Services Authority volunteers to spread awareness about the Centre’s welfare schemes.

The judges had also ordered the department to publish details of the scheme in local languages. However, the labour department was yet to comply.

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