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Accounts opening process in TEs a success: Dattatreya

By Staff Reporter
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GUWAHATI, Jan 5 - The exercise being undertaken to open bank accounts of tea garden workers in the State post demonetisation has been a success so far and all 7.86 lakh registered tea estate workers in Assam will have their individual banks accounts within the next 10 days, said Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Labour and Employment Bandaru Dattatreya today.

�In the tea gardens of Assam, it has been a story of success so far. There are 7.86 lakh registered tea garden workers in the State and out of them 5.5 lakh workers have now opened their bank accounts in the last one month and the remaining workers will be covered in the next 10 days. I congratulate the Chief Minister of Assam,� Dattatreya said during a press conference here.

The Minister added that the Plantation Workers Act will be amended, and among its various provisions, one deals with payment of workers.

As per the suggested amendments, workers will now be paid only in cash and the �kind� component will cease to exist. Besides, all existing schemes of the State government dealing with provisions like housing, education, health care and so on will be linked to the Act.

The government agencies and departments will, following approval of the Amendment Act, be able to execute their social schemes and developmental projects in the tea garden areas, thus ensuring uniform development and also reducing burden on the planters.

Dattatreya, however, admitted that certain gaps exist with regard to implementation of labour laws in Assam and the other Northeastern states and his Ministry has advised the state governments to carry out proper inspections.

�The review of cess collection and expenditure under the Building and Other Construction Workers Act (BOCW) Cess Act by various Northeastern states led to the fact that a unique mechanism in the form of special drives or on-the-spot registration needs to be adopted in order to enhance registration under BOCW,� said the Minister.

He added that of the Rs 1,003 crore collected under the cess in the NE states, only Rs 107 crore has been spent.

�The expenditure of the cess amount is to be monitored for utilisation of cess for the welfare of construction workers. In this regard, more and more welfare schemes need to be formed by the states,� he said, adding that NE states have been asked to ensure that all unspent money is properly utilised, including 10 per cent for skill development.

He added that the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Act will lead to total prohibition in employment of anybody below the age of 14 years.

�We have asked all the Northeastern states to go for fresh survey and registration as far as the issue of child labour is concerned,� said Dattatreya.

The Minister said that as per the Centre�s emphasis on enhancing social security of workers, the ESIC scheme will be expanded from the existing 393 districts across the country to 687 districts across India, thus increasing the number of subscribers from 2.1 crore to 3.5 crore�within two years. In NE, the ESIC will be expanded from 17 districts to cover all the districts.

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Accounts opening process in TEs a success: Dattatreya

GUWAHATI, Jan 5 - The exercise being undertaken to open bank accounts of tea garden workers in the State post demonetisation has been a success so far and all 7.86 lakh registered tea estate workers in Assam will have their individual banks accounts within the next 10 days, said Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Labour and Employment Bandaru Dattatreya today.

�In the tea gardens of Assam, it has been a story of success so far. There are 7.86 lakh registered tea garden workers in the State and out of them 5.5 lakh workers have now opened their bank accounts in the last one month and the remaining workers will be covered in the next 10 days. I congratulate the Chief Minister of Assam,� Dattatreya said during a press conference here.

The Minister added that the Plantation Workers Act will be amended, and among its various provisions, one deals with payment of workers.

As per the suggested amendments, workers will now be paid only in cash and the �kind� component will cease to exist. Besides, all existing schemes of the State government dealing with provisions like housing, education, health care and so on will be linked to the Act.

The government agencies and departments will, following approval of the Amendment Act, be able to execute their social schemes and developmental projects in the tea garden areas, thus ensuring uniform development and also reducing burden on the planters.

Dattatreya, however, admitted that certain gaps exist with regard to implementation of labour laws in Assam and the other Northeastern states and his Ministry has advised the state governments to carry out proper inspections.

�The review of cess collection and expenditure under the Building and Other Construction Workers Act (BOCW) Cess Act by various Northeastern states led to the fact that a unique mechanism in the form of special drives or on-the-spot registration needs to be adopted in order to enhance registration under BOCW,� said the Minister.

He added that of the Rs 1,003 crore collected under the cess in the NE states, only Rs 107 crore has been spent.

�The expenditure of the cess amount is to be monitored for utilisation of cess for the welfare of construction workers. In this regard, more and more welfare schemes need to be formed by the states,� he said, adding that NE states have been asked to ensure that all unspent money is properly utilised, including 10 per cent for skill development.

He added that the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Act will lead to total prohibition in employment of anybody below the age of 14 years.

�We have asked all the Northeastern states to go for fresh survey and registration as far as the issue of child labour is concerned,� said Dattatreya.

The Minister said that as per the Centre�s emphasis on enhancing social security of workers, the ESIC scheme will be expanded from the existing 393 districts across the country to 687 districts across India, thus increasing the number of subscribers from 2.1 crore to 3.5 crore�within two years. In NE, the ESIC will be expanded from 17 districts to cover all the districts.