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Amendment to the Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996 and Building and Other Construction Workers’ Welfare Cess Act, 1996


The Union Cabinet today approved the Amendment to the Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) { BOCW (RECS)} Act, 1996 and Building and Other Construction Workers’ Welfare Cess Act, 1996 and the introduction of the Building and Other Construction Workers Related Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2012 in Parliament in its ensuing session. 

This amendment will streamline the process of the registration of the construction workers. The State Welfare Boards will be able to consolidate their finances and incur expenditure on administrative and other purpose for smooth functioning of the Board. The amendments will facilitate speedy implementation of these Acts by the Central and the State Governments. 

The provisions in the Amendment are given below : 

1. Empower the Central Government to specify the maximum cost of construction by notification, in place of the present limit of Rs.10 lakh, which shall fall within the definition of establishment under the BOCW (RECS) Act. 

2. The prerequisite condition of engagement of ninety days for registration of workers under the BOCW (RECS) Act is proposed to be done away with. Moreover, in order to extend benefits to the workers, who are engaged in building and construction work after attaining the age of sixty years, the criteria of upper age limit of sixty years is proposed to be done away with. 

3. To empower the Central Government to notify such percentage of total expenditure, in place of existing 5 percent during the financial year, for meeting administrative expenses by the State Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board. 

4. To empower Central Government to appoint such number of Director Generals not exceeding 10 to coordinate with the Central Government in carrying out its responsibility of laying down the standard of inspection and to exercise the power of an inspector. 

5. To empower the State Governments to file complaints for contravention of provisions of the Act. 

6. To prescribe a time limit of 30 days for cess collecting authorities to deposit cess to the State Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board. 

7. To constitute a Committee consisting of Secretary (Labour), Secretary (Finance), Secretary (Planning) and Secretary (Social Welfare) of the State for performing the functions of the State Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board till such time a Board is formally constituted by the State Government. 

Background : 

Building and other Construction Workers (Regulation Employment and Conditions of service) Act, 1996 (BOCW (RECS) Act and Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Cess Act, 1996 (BOCW Welfare Cess Act) were enacted with a view to regularizing the wages, working conditions, safety and for their health, welfare measures, etc. The Acts apply to every establishment which employs 10 or more workers. The major source of the fund to the Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board is the collection of cess at the rate of one percent of the const of construction incurred by the employer under the Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Cess Act, 1996. The fund has to be utilized for the welfare of such workers. Central Government is the implementing agency in the central sphere for the purpose of enforcement of various provisions of the Act, while States are the implementing authority under State sphere. The State Governments have to frame and notify rules, constitute Advisory Committees or Expert Committees and appoint various authorities for registration of workers, cess collection, inspection and Appellate Authority. They have to constitute State Welfare Boards as well. 

The matter of slow progress of implementation of these Acts has been raised at various fora. The Tripartite Central Advisory Committee, constituted under the BOCW(RECS) Act, 1996 set up a Task Force to examine various provisions of the Act. The recommendations of the Task Force were considered by the Central Advisory Committee. The Task Force and the Central Advisory Committee recommended that certain provisions of these Acts require amendments. Accordingly the Central Government decided to carry out amendments in these Acts. 

Source : Press Information Bureau

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