JAMMU: Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti asserted on Monday that her government is committed to the welfare and upliftment of marginalised sections of society, particularly of labourers, the landless and those working in the unorganised sector.
Addressing a huge gathering on the launch of Muhafiz, a major welfare initiative providing a social security net for around three lakh workers in the state’s unorganised sector, the Chief Minister said there is an urgent need to improve the quality of life of people of this sector whom she described as the building blocks of the development and progress of society.
The Chief Minister underscored the need for concentrating on the education and quality upbringing of the wards of these workers besides extending other social security benefits to them. “Compensation in case of deaths, accidents or injuries has to be there. But efforts should be made to make their day-to-day life better, besides focusing on the education and upbringing of their wards,” she said while complimenting the Department of Labour for coming up with such an initiative for the welfare of this segment of society.
Mehbooba Mufti said her government is committed to the welfare of marginalised sections of society, particularly the labouring class that has seen exploitation enough in the past. She said that her government recently took the historic decision of regularising the services of sixty thousand casual workers who had had to run from pillar to post only to get remuneration sums released occasionally on some annual festival.
The Chief Minister advised the department to ensure that more and more workers, particularly female workers, are covered under the scheme’s ambit. She assured the workers that the government would take all steps for improving the quality of life of the working class in the state.
The Chief Minister announced an on-the-spot enhancement of the monthly scholarship amount to workers’ children from Rs 1,200 to Rs. 1,500.
On the occasion, Mehbooba Mufti unveiled the JK Bank’s microcredit-linked debit card for these workers, while also launching an insurance scheme for them and the website of the Workers’ Welfare Board.
The scheme, it may be mentioned, has been launched to commemorate the second death anniversary of the late Mufti Muhammad Sayeed, who fought relentlessly for the welfare of the marginalised all through his life.
Earlier, Deputy Chief Minister Dr. Nirmal Singh said, in his address, that during a brief time of less than three years, the present government had taken many landmark decisions aimed at the welfare of all sections of society. He said the daily wages of the labour class have been guaranteed with a major hike, the first in the last many years. He said the regularisation of sixty thousand casual workers would go down as one of the biggest welfare initiatives by any government in recent times.
Minister for Finance, Labour and Employment Dr. Haseeb Drabu in his address outlined the broad features of the Muhafiz scheme. He said that under the scheme, Rs 4 lakh would be paid to the family of a worker registered with the Welfare Board in case of accidental death, Rs 2 lakh in case of normal death, Rs 2 lakh in case of permanent disability and Rs 1 lakh in case of partial disability. He said, in addition, that a credit facility of Rs. 10, 000 would be paid to workers in case of minor exigencies. He said in coming times, safety equipment, including helmets, slippers, uniforms and other safety gear, would be provided to workers.
Drabu also said that Jammu and Kashmir will soon perhaps be the only state in the country to have uniform labour laws. “We are doing away with around 260 archaic laws and have a comprehensive and uniform labour law in the state to deal with the issues facing the labourers,” the Minister said.
Earlier, the Chief Executive Officer of the J&K Building & Other Workers’ Welfare Board, Bashir Ahmad Khan, gave a detailed resume of the activities and functions of the board.
Chairman JK Bank Parvez Ahmad; Labour Commissioner Dr Abdul Rashid; Life Insurance Corporation of India Executive Director T R Mendiratta and other senior officers besides a large number of workers were present at the launch ceremony.