20 mn construction workers get Rs 5,000 cr as relief during pandemic: Govt

Topics workers | Santosh Gangwar | EPFO

Retirement fund body EPFO's offices across the country have settled 47.58 lakh Covid-19 advance claims

Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar on Wednesday said Rs 5,000 crore has been deposited into bank accounts of two crore construction workers who were badly hit due to the coronavirus pandemic.

He was speaking at a felicitation function organised here by the labour ministry on Wednesday to acknowledge the efforts put in by 'Corona Warriors' of Chief Labour Commissioner (Central) Office, Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) and Employees' State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) to redress the problems of workers.

He awarded certificates of appreciation to acknowledge the dedication of officials and regional offices of these organisations.

In a statement, Gangwar said, "The labour ministry undertook historic steps for the betterment of workers and the industry, and Rs 5,000 crore has been deposited in the bank accounts of two crore construction workers."

The minister said CLC (Central) had deputed 80 officers to ensure smooth implementation of the same.

Nodal officers of ESIC and EPFO, along with their regional offices, were working day and night to redress the problems faced by the workers.

The minister also said that through 20 control rooms, about 16,000 complaints were received. Of these, 96 per cent were resolved in a time-bound manner by CLC (Central) , EPFO and ESIC, he added.

He expressed gratitude towards all officials and regional offices of these three organisations for their collective dedication.

Retirement fund body EPFO's offices across the country have settled 47.58 lakh COVID-19 advance claims, disbursing an amount of Rs 12,220.26 crore to claimants.

Under the COVID-19 non-refundable advance facility, the members can withdraw three months' basic wages (basic pay plus dearness allowance) or half of the total accumulation in his or her employees' provident fund (EPF) account, whichever is less.

This advance is provided to members to meet exigencies due to the COVID-19 situation in the country. This facility was provided after amending the Employees' Provident Fund Scheme through issuance of a notification from March 27.

During the pandemic period from April to September 2020, a total of 19.20 lakh claims (with EPFO) were filed online through UMANG (Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance) app.

This was a mammoth 274 per cent increase as compared to the pre-COVID-19 period from October 2019 to March 2020.

Last month, the recognition programme under Santushti was started by the labour minister while making a visit to the EPFO Delhi West office, which has been processing 100 per cent COVID-19 claims within 24 hours for non-stop 178 days (till October 18, 2020).

Now, the EPFO Delhi West office is on its 200th non-stop days (from April 24 to November 11). Till now, it has assisted some 97,000 workers and their families by disbursing about Rs 218 crore between April 24 and November 11.

Keeping in view the lockdown, 20 control rooms were established in 20 regional offices of the CLC (Central) organisation to function on a 24X7 basis.

The intervention of control rooms, the government was not only able to facilitate disbursal of Rs 295.33 crore as wages to 1,86,365 workers of Central Sphere but also facilitated disbursement of Rs 2.63 crore as wages to 3,863 workers working in the state Sphere.

The control rooms also coordinated with state authorities in case distress calls were received from migrant workers regarding food, shelter or ration, among others.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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