Free bus travel, group life insurance and transit hostels -- these are some of the facilities the Delhi government will extend to the 13 lakh registered construction workers in the national capital.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal chaired a high-level meeting with the Labour Department on Monday to review the functioning of the Delhi Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board.
Kejriwal said that even though 13 lakh construction workers are registered with the board, it has not developed any mechanism to verify their existence and reach out to them.
"If the department is extending the benefit of these schemes to barely 400-500 people..., there is no point in running this department itself. If the department has Rs 3,000-4,000 crore lying with it, then it must extend the benefit of its schemes to all 13 lakh workers. There can be no compromise with the welfare of our workforce," he said.
He also directed officials to conduct a proper exercise along with Revenue Department teams to verify the registered workers by June this year.
He also directed them to find out and submit the number of registered workers aged above 60 within one week, so the benefit of pension can be extended to them.
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"Start reaching out to all registered workers on their phones. The cost of sending SMS and IVRS messages to all the workers on their phones would be much lesser than running TV and radio campaigns and it will be much more effective," he said.
The chief minister further instructed the officials to immediately work on an action plan to implement an awareness campaign.
The chief minister directed the Labour Department to provide free bus passes and group life insurance to the registered workers. The government has also announced subsidised housing for construction workers in Delhi and will also provide transit hostels to migrant labourers working in the city.
The meeting was a follow-up on a recent review during which the chief minister had instructed the board officials to formulate an action plan to utilise at least 25 per cent of its funds on workers' welfare this year.
During the review meeting, Kejriwal had instructed the officials to explore the feasibility of providing group life insurance and free bus passes to all the registered workers. The chief minister directed the board officials to meet Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) officials and group life insurance companies to chart out the costs of implementing the schemes at the earliest.
He also focussed on the board's upcoming initiatives that include distribution of toolkit among workers, providing crche facility on site, skill development, subsidised houses and transit hostels to workers, free coaching for wards of construction workers and ESIC cover for registered workers. Each toolkit will consist of five-six significant tools and three essential safety gears.
The Delhi government will provide skill training to masons, plumbers, electricians and carpenters.
The government will allocate LIG flats to construction workers, by bearing 75 per cent of the cost, while the beneficiary will only be liable to pay the remaining 25 per cent.
He directed the board to meet with officials of land owning agencies such as DDA, MCD, DUSIB and DSIIDC to chart out a plan as to how much land the government can get for this purpose.
He asked the officials to explore the possibility of both getting constructed houses from these agencies as well as land on which the government can construct houses and hostels on its own.
During this discussion, the officials apprised the chief minister that land allocated for the government's co-working spaces (CWS) can be used for this purpose after redevelopment.
The chief minister remarked that the proposal was good and directed the department to take it up on a pilot basis first.
The board has been asked to prepare the plan by the first week of May and present it before the chief minister for another review.
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