ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Social Security for Workers: Problems in Access

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The BOCW (Building and Other Construction Worker’s Welfare Board) plays a pivotal role in providing legal safeguard and social security measures to construction workers. The construction labour market is stratified into formal and informal workers. The formal workers are registered with BOCW and therefore are eligible for various entitlements. In Pune city, the construction industry is booming, and a massive migrant unskilled and semi-skilled workforce is engaged as informal workers. These informal migrant workers have not been registered with BOCW and hence remain in-eligible for any en­titlement. Their non-registered identity makes them invisible, thereby being denied and excluded by various stakeholders. Their invisibility on paper renders them as one of the most vulnerable labour forces.

During the first nationwide lockdown, the Maharashtra cabinet approved financial assistance of `2,000 to be given to each registered construction worker. Around 12 lakh construction workers in Maharashtra benefited from this financial assistance. Furthermore, they were entitled to subsidised food under the scheme “One Nation, One Ration Card.” In April, the Government of Maharashtra has imposed strict restrictions in the state similar to previous year’s lockdown and has provided financial assistance of `1,500 to construction workers. However, during this widespread distress of the COVID-19 pandemic, a large section of informal construction workers is excluded from such entitlements. Shutting down of worksites, lack of employment, fear of infection, and acute food scarcity has caused extreme panic and forced them to leave the city. The root cause for their exclusion is their non-registration status and lack of proper implementation of labour laws in the Pune Municipal Corporation area. As there is no database for these construction workers in the city development plan, it makes them invisible, further adding to their woes.

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Updated On : 24th Apr, 2021
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