Over 2 lakh unorganised workers across Tamil Nadu have not received assistance provided under welfare schemes.
Officials from the Tamil Nadu Manual Workers Social Security Welfare Board and 15 other boards said that they are yet to receive funds from the State.
“We were supposed to receive the funds in May. Once we do, we will disburse them according to seniority,” said an official from the Board.
As many as 2,73,080 unorganised workers in the State are yet to receive assistance.
They include manual workers, washermen, palm tree workers, goldsmiths, hairdressers, domestic worker, tailors and those working in footwear and leather manufacturing companies.
They had applied for assistance for the education of their children, maternity aid, pension and marriage assistance.
In 2017-18, the State allocated a budget of around Rs. 87.80 crores to the Board to implement the schemes and the year before Rs. 70 crore was allocated. “We usually disburse the amount as and when we get the funds, but only this time there is a delay,” the official said.
The unorganised workers have staged protests and demonstrations across districts demanding pending claims.
The draft Labour Code states that 15 Central labour enactments, including the Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Act, 2008, Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948, Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 and the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 will be amalgamated as one.
The existing welfare boards for the unorganised workers will be shut down and the workers will have to re-register themselves with a newly proposed Board.
“I have been waiting for six months now and the new process might take more time. What if we don’t get it even after its implementation,” asked R. Malarvizhi who had applied for an educational loan for her daughter.
“The fact that no money was allocated to this sector only shows that labour is their last priority,” said R. Geetha, an adviser to the Unorganised Workers Federation, condemning the delay in allocating funds.
Source: The Hindu