Builders body flays govt for doing little on skill enhancement
Mumbai, Feb 3 (PTI) Emphasising the urgent need for skilled manpower to increase productivity in realty sector, Builders Association of India (BAI) has asked Centre to release a portion of Rs 7,000 core collected as labour cess.
"We have been communicating to the government that there is a dire need for employing skilled labour to ensure higher productivity and trim wastages. But we have hardly seen any action from the government for skill enhancement and labour welfare," BAI Secretary Anand Gupta told PTI here.
Under the Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Cess Act of 1996, the government collects 1 per cent of the construction cost as the cess fund, which has to be utilised for imparting technical and vocational skills to employees and their family, Gupta said.
"The government has so far collected nearly Rs 7,000 crore under this scheme since the legislation, but has spent only a few crores on labour welfare," he said, adding, "we are not asking the government to provide fresh funds for skill development, but only seeking release of the money it has already collected in the name of labour benefit."
Currently, construction industry employs about 4.83 crore people and the number is likely to go up to at around 8.32 crore by 2022, he said.
According to BAI, Maharashtra has collected nearly Rs 1,000 crore but has barely spent Rs 10 lakh for the cause.
"We feel the state should amend the law to include increasing construction worker skills and forward it for legislation in the Budget session of Parliament," Gupta said.
The association has demanded that 20 per cent of certified skilled workers must be included under contract conditions in the irrigation, PWD, housing board, local self-government and zilla parishad tenders.
"The government needs to brief the Housing Regulatory Authority that real estate developers require a skilled workforce. Again, all contractors and developers must obtain certification from Labour Commissioner or any other designated government agency," he added.
Labour departments have collected about Rs 1,290 crore from builders as ''labour cess'' in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana during last two fiscals, but spent only Rs 19 crore on welfare of labours, realtors'' industry body CREDAI-NCR said last month.