Gandhinagar: The Gujarat Government failed to conduct any survey to identify or register construction workers which led to a situation where they were deprived of welfare schemes, a recent report by the CAG said. The CAG report was tabled before the Gujarat Assembly on Friday.
“The Gujarat state government did not take adequate measures to secure registration of all eligible workers. As against 12 lakh (March 2012) construction workers in Gujarat state, only 69,971 workers (six per cent) were registered during the year 2008-13,” the CAG report said. The state government had constituted the ‘Gujarat Building and Other Construction Workers' Welfare Board' in 2004, ten years after the Supreme Court's direction to all states to form a board to ensure security to construction workers.
However, the board failed in its duty to construction workers, the CAG report said.
“The Board had no information about the number of workers who renewed their registration after completion of one year of registration. Non-identification or non-registration of construction workers resulted in denial of intended benefits to workers,” the CAG report said. The CAG report observed that out of the total cess of Rs 540.88 crore collected during 2006-2013, the Board incurred an expenditure of Rs 9.92 crore, including Rs 4.12 crore spent on welfare schemes.
“Actual benefit received by workers was only 0.76 per cent of the total cess collected. Only 12,193 (17.43 per cent) out of 69,971 eligible workers were extended assistance under various welfare schemes,” the CAG report said. The report criticised the Gujarat government for not providing financial assistance to families of workers who died at their work places.
As against 33 death cases of workers during 2009-12, financial assistance of Rs 2 lakh was provided to only seven workers, the CAG report said.
The CAG report said that the amount under the scheme for educational assistance was paid through cheques instead of directly crediting money to beneficiaries' accounts. It also found delays in processing applications under the education assistance scheme.
Elaborating about the maternity benefit scheme, the CAG report said, “The scheme provides for financial assistance of Rs 3,000 per delivery (maximum two children) to women workers. An audit observed that the Board had no information about the number of women workers registered with the Board and during (2009-2013) only 60 workers benefited”.
Under the medical allowance scheme meant for workers, financial assistance of 75 per cent of expenditure limited to Rs one lakh is given for the treatment of heart and kidney diseases, as well as cancer, AIDS, asthma and tuberculosis by Gujarat state government recognised hospitals. However, a CAG audit revealed that assistance worth Rs 1.17 lakh was paid only to four construction workers in Gujarat during 2008-13.
About the housing assistance scheme, the CAG report said that, “No such case was registered with the Board for the housing assistance scheme which provides financial assistance of Rs 20,000 for purchase of houses from any government recognised housing scheme”.