A) Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996.
Preamble: [Act 27 of 1996] [19th August 1996]
An Act to REGULATE THE EMPLOYMENT AND CONDITIONS OF SERVICE of building and other construction workers and to provide for their safety, health and welfare measures and for other matters connected therewith or incidental thereto be it enacted by Parliament in the Forty-seventh Year of the Republic of India.
There are about 8.5 million building and other construction workers in India as per the estimates of National Sample Survey (1987-88). These workers are one of the most numerous and vulnerable segments of the unorganized sector in India. The building and other construction works are characterized by their inherent risk to the life and limb of the workers. The work is also characterized by its casual nature, temporary relationship between employer and employee, uncertain working hours, lack of basic amenities and inadequacy of welfare facilities. Although the provisions of various Labor Laws i.e., Minimum Wages Act 1948, Contract Labor (Regulation & Abolition) Act1970 and Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment & Conditions of Services) Act 1979 etc., are applicable to the building and other construction workers, a need was felt for a comprehensive Central Legislation for this category of workers. Towards the above goal the following two enactments have come on the Statute Book w.e.f. 20.8.96 initially brought in as ordinances on 3.11.95.
- The Building & Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996; and
- The Building & Other Construction Workers Welfare Cess Act, 1996.
Aims And Objectives
The above law aims to provide for regulation of employment & conditions of service of the building and other construction workers as also their safety, health and welfare measures in every establishment, which employs or employed during the preceding year ten or more workers. The exception made is only in respect of residential houses for own purpose constructed with a cost not exceeding Rs. 10 lakh and such other activities to which the provisions of Factories Act, 1948 and Mines Act, 1952 apply. Some of the other main provisions of the Main Act are given below:
1. 1. Provision for an Advisory Committee at the Central and the State levels with the function to advise the Governments concerned on such matters arising out of the administration of the Act as may be referred to it.
2. 2. Provision for registration of each establishment within a period of sixty days from the commencement of work to ensure that there are no malpractices and to discourage non-compliance of law by circumventing.
3. 3. Provision for registration of building workers as beneficiaries under this Act.
4. 4. Provision for constitution a Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board by every State Government to exercise the powers conferred on, and perform the functions assigned to it, under the Act.
5. 5. Provision for immediate assistance in case of accidents, old age pension, loans for construction of house, premier for group insurance, financial assistance for education, to meet medical expenses, maternity benefits etc.
6. 6. Provision for health and safety measures for the construction workers in conformity with ILO convention No.167 concerning safety and health in construction revising the Safety Provisions (Building) Convention, 1937. For this purpose comprehensive Central Rules i.e. Building and other Construction Workers (Regulation of Service and Conditions of Service) Central Rules, 1998 have been notified by the Central Government.
7. 7. Provision for constitution of safety committees in every establishment employing 500 or more workers with equal representation from workers and employers in addition to appointment of safety officers qualified in the field.
8. 8. Provision for Penalties of fine and imprisonment for violation and contravention of the Act.
To raise the Funds for provision of various welfare measures, the Main Act provides for constitution of Welfare Boards. The major source of the Funds shall be collection of cess at rates not exceeding 2% of the cost of construction incurred by an employer. The collection of funds and administration of the Welfare Boards would be the responsibility of concerned State Governments.
Government`s policy is to ensure that the intended benefits and advantages reach the construction workers at the earliest and in full measure. The difficulties experienced in implementation of these Act(s) will become more evident once the implementation of various provisions of the Act(s) and Rules by the Central as well as State Governments pick up momentum. Based on the experience gained by way of implementation of the Act(s) and Rules, corrective steps, if any, will be taken to make them more responsive to the welfare needs of the construction workers.
The responsibility for enforcement of the provisions of the above Act, in establishments where the central government is appropriate government, lies with the office Chief Labour Commissioner (Central) who is the head of the Central Industrial Relations Machinery (CIRM). Similarly where the appropriate government is the State Government, the responsibility for enforcement of the relevant provisions lies with them. The appropriate government would have inspectorates at appropriate level with given jurisdiction, with DG of Inspection at the Central level and Chief Inspector at the state level heading such inspectorates. The functionaries will have powers under S. 175 and 176 of IPC and S. 94 of Cr. P.C.
Now after understanding, what this act is all about, lets us understand what it comprises of.