New Delhi, Mar 26 (PTI) Realtors welcomed the Centre's decision to direct States to use Rs 31,000 crore cess collected under the construction worker welfare fund for welfare of labourers but demanded similar measures for unregistered workers.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday said she will direct state governments to make use of Rs 31,000 crore construction worker welfare funds.
The Centre has given orders to state governments to use 'Building and Construction Workers Welfare Fund' (BOCW) to provide relief to Construction Workers.
There are around 3.5 crore registered workers in the Fund.
'We thank the government for taking cognizance of our recommendation and advising the states to use BOCW cess funds collected by the labour welfare boards in providing the immediate relief to the construction workers,' CREDAI President Satish Magar said.
The government must consider providing similar relief to the unregistered construction workers, he added.
'Nearly 80 per cent of construction workers fall under the unorganised sector. Worker's welfare fund of Rs 31,000 crore to be utilised exclusively for construction workers would benefit 3.5 crore workers directly. It will help to mitigate epidemic loss,' Naredco President Niranjan Hiranandani tweeted.
Dhruv Agarwala, Group CEO, Housing.com, Makaan.com and PropTiger.com said this will bring great relief for people facing the biggest challenge because of the lockdown.
'The step to support the construction workers with Rs 31,000 crore workers' welfare fund is most thoughtful. This is laudable as it will provide the much- needed relief to 3.5 crore construction workers country wide, who are mostly dependent on daily wages,' said J C Sharma, Vice Chairman and managing director, Sobha Ltd.
Pradeep Aggarwala, founder and chairman, Signature Global hailed the decision and said the workers are one of the most vital elements in the construction industry.
Ekta World Chairman Ashok Mohanani said the release of 'Buildings and other Construction Workers' Fund will assist workers in survival.
Ajnara Chairman and Managing Director Ashok Gupta said lives of construction workers will be impacted due to lockdown. 'It is important that the corpus of building and construction welfare funds is effectively utilised at this crucial juncture.' Vikas Bhasin, managing director of Saya Homes, termed it as the right step to provide relief to workers.
Recently, Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar had also asked all state chief ministers to provide financial aid to over 3.5 crore construction workers from Rs 52,000-crore construction cess available with them amid the Covid-19 outbreak.
The cess has been levied and is being collected at 1 per cent of the cost of construction as notified by the central government in its official gazette.
The BOCW Welfare Cess, 1996, provides for levy and collection of cess at such rate not exceeding 2 per cent, but not less than 1 per cent of the cost of construction as the central government may notify. PTI MJH SHW SHW