The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has decided to start an insurance cover scheme for labourers in the unorganised sector staying within its limits.
Taking recourse to the Union government’s facility, the PMC has proposed to be a part of the Janshree Bima Yojana for labourers of the unorganised sector living in its jurisdiction. “This is the first time that the PMC will come up with an insurance cover for labourers of unorganised sector,” said civic labour adviser Shivaji Daundkar.
He said the decision was taken since those in the organised sector are provided with insurance and other facilities by the company or organisations concerned while there is none to make it available for those in unorganised sector. As per the scheme, a kin of a labourer would get Rs 30,000 for natural death and Rs 75,000 for accidental death. Labourers would be able to get a cover of Rs 75,000 if they suffer permanent disability due to any accident and Rs 37,500 for partial disability.
“There is no single organisation that has detailed information about labourers in the unorganised sector. Therefore, it was difficult to identify the beneficiaries. PMC had to work a lot to collect relevant information,” Daundkar said, adding, that the PMC will seek help of Bandhkam Majdoor Sabha for implementing the scheme as it has been appointed as the nodal agency by the Union government in the city construction labourers.
“If need be, the PMC would also look for other organisations that have registered labourers of unorganised sector,” Daundkar said. The PMC has identified 122 professional works that fall in the urorganised sector which includes bakery, member of musical band, beautician, cycle and bike repair, construction workers at building or road development site, brick kiln, slaughter house, carpenter, catering, courier service, dairy, housework, floor mill, gardening, barber, head loaders, hotel and restaurant worker, scavenging, boot polish.
Each registered labourer would get a policy certificate from the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) for which the PMC would pay Rs 50 while the state government’s contribution would be Rs 50, with the Centre contributing Rs 100 annually towards the premium.
T G Cholke, additional labour commissioner, said it was a “very good initiative” by PMC to make available the Janshree Vima Yojana for labourers of unorganised sector. “The scheme has been made available for domestic servants and construction workers through their respective boards,” he said, adding, the PMC implementation would cover all other labourers from the unorganised sector.
Nitin Pawar, secretary of Bandhkam Majdoor Sabha, said the PMC can resolve all the issues for making it a successful initiative and even would be able to collect the information of labourers from all sectors. “We have suggested that the PMC issue photo identity cards to the beneficiaries,” he added.
Rescuing child labourers: No help from labour dept, say cops
The city police said they receive almost “no co-operation” from the labour department when it comes to raiding the establishments where children are working. Alleging that the procedural red tape many times gives time for employers to take the children away, the police believe that effective co-ordination would yield better results.
The Indian Express had recently reported that the Labour Commissioner's office for Pune district had rescued 108 children from work sites since 2007 and had registered over 95 FIRs with local police stations in those cases. While the number was far less than the 1,100 complaints that a helpline run by an NGO in Pune had received in the same period.
In 2011, the Social Security Cell of the city police crime branch had rescued 13 child labourers from hotels and eateries. About 30 child labourers have been rescued by individual police stations. Senior inspector Bhanupratap Barge of the cell said, "We raid locations when we get inputs from sources. As per the norms, the labour department officials are expected to assist us. If there is better coordination, the action would be more effective."
Senior inspector Manohar Joshi of Deccan Gymkhana police station said, "After every case is registered with us, we investigate it like any other case." A senior police officer with city police crime branch said, "We hardly get any help from labour department officials. There are many instances when we have reached the location late due to delay by labour officials. As they take a lot of time in completing formalities, some nearby employers get alerted.
A child rights activist, who did not wish to be named, said, "Though it is not one of the priority duties of police, but we have seen that they act as and when they get the information. The real problem is from the labour department due to red tape."