Delhi News

Delhi govt to provide housing, free bus passes and group life insurance to construction workers


By Pankaj Jain: Delhi 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 instructed the department to provide subsidised housing for construction workers in Delhi. The department has also been directed to provide free bus passes, group life insurance and transit hostels to all the construction workers in the city.

Under this plan, the government will allocate LIG flats to construction workers, by bearing 75 percent of the costs, while the beneficiary will only be liable to pay the remaining 25 percent.

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In addition to this, the Delhi government announced that toolkits and skill training for masons, plumbers, electricians, carpenters, and painters will be provided on a large scale. Kejriwal also announced free coaching for the children of construction workers, and the development of crèche facilities on site.

These measures come as a significant relief for construction workers in Delhi, who have been adversely affected by the pandemic and have been struggling with several challenges. The CM has emphasised the importance of running the department effectively and providing the benefit of welfare schemes to every worker.

CM Kejriwal expressed his displeasure with the Welfare Board’s inability to reach out to every single construction worker in Delhi. He 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.

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“If the department is extending the benefit of these schemes to barely 400-500 peopleâ€æ, 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 the officials to conduct a proper exercise along with the teams of the revenue department to verify its registrations by June this year.

“The department has some very well-meaning schemes but somehow it has not publicised them properly. 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 less than running TV and Radio campaigns and it will be much more effective. When we have all the resources with us, then we should leave no stone unturned in providing the benefit of our schemes to our workers,” he said. The CM further instructed the officials to immediately work on an action plan to implement such an awareness campaign.

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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On the plan to provide subsidised housing to construction workers, Kejriwal 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 told the CM 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.

Arvind Kejriwal also approved a proposal to extend the ESI Scheme cover to all registered workers of Delhi. The members of ESI get various benefits like unemployment allowances, disability benefits, maternity benefits, sickness benefits, medical benefits and pensions.

The Delhi CM has instructed the board to formulate a detailed action plan on how it plans to complete verification of all employees within two months, along with its plans to provide subsidised housing and hostels, group life insurance, free bus passes, ESI cover and educational benefits to all registered workers. The board has been asked to prepare the plan by the first week of May and present it before the CM for another review.

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