States keep cess for benefit of construction workers unused

All state governments excepting Kerala have collected hundreds of crores as cess from builders to provide benefits to construction workers but spent almost nothing for them. This shocking information has come from the union ministry of labour and employment.

Labour and employment minister Oscar Fernandes told Millennium Post that various state governments have collected hundreds of crores as a one percent cess from various builders.

Government of India implemented acts in 1996 to help two crore building and other construction workers - Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996 and The Building & Other Construction Workers’ Welfare Cess Act, 1996. Besides providing for good working condition, these acts also have provision to collect cess of one per cent on every construction activity costing more than ten lakhs.

Amount of cess collected forms the corpus of the fund, out of which various welfare schemes like – group insurance, medical and healthcare, scholarship and pension are incremented for construction workers. According to Fernandes, all state governments have collected hundreds of crores but little money has been spent so far. It is only Kerala government which has spent 80 per cent of the money which was collected for construction workers. Other states like Andhra Pradesh has collected nineteen hundred crores but not spent even five per cent of it. States like Maharashtra, Karnataka, Harayana and Orissa, where enormous construction activity is going on and state governments have collected huge amounts of money but have actually spent minimal amounts on poor construction workers.

Union labour and employment ministry has taken up the task for utilisation of these funds and is currently closely monitoring it.
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