Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has announced a hike from Rs 31,000 to Rs 51,000 in the Shagun amount for the marriage of daughters of construction workers in Punjab from April 1, 2021, while also approving Rs 1500 in financial aid to such workers or their family members who test positive for Covid.
This was decided by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh while chairing the 27th meeting of the Building and Other Construction Workers (BOCW) Welfare Board through Video Conference on Friday evening.
Further, to ease the process of availing the Shagun benefit, the Chief Minister has approved modification in the existing conditions to make valid marriage certificates issued by any religious body – gurdwaras, temples and churches – acceptable for the purpose. While 50% payment can be availed in advance the rest shall be provided on submission of the marriage certificate by the competent authority under the revised rules. Daughters of those registered with the Building and Other Construction Workers (BOCW) Welfare Board are eligible under the scheme.
In another major decision, the Chief Minister also announced compensation worth Rs 2 lakh in case of death of a worker in an accident while working in construction activity even if he/ she was not registered with the Construction Board, provided he/ she is otherwise eligible to be registered as a construction worker.
According to an official spokesperson, Captain Amarinder also announced extension in time-frame from the existing 6 months to one year for submission of application for benefits under various welfare schemes as many workers could not apply in time due to the Covid situation. Further, the construction workers have been allowed to prefer an appeal to the Secretary Board within a period of 120 days instead of 90 days in case their pension application is rejected by the Screening Committee. Under the Balri (Female Child) Birth Gift scheme, the Board has also decided to enhance the time limit for submission of application from six months to one year from the date of the delivery of the girl child of the beneficiary.
In another relaxation to rules for availing benefits under various schemes, construction workers can now submit any 2 of the four Government documents, namely Aadhaar card, Pan card, Voter card and Ration card. Many workers could not avail benefits earlier for lack of a birth certificate, which was the only acceptable proof prior to this amendment.
The Board, at its meeting chaired by the Chief Minister, also announced a hike in the annual stipend, to Rs. 35,000 from Rs. 25,000 for boys and to Rs. 40,000 from Rs. 30,000 for girls pursuing Degree/ Post Graduate degree courses in pharmaceutical/ Para Medical studies. Hostel stipend has also been increased to Rs. 50,000 from Rs. 40,000 per year for boys and Rs. 55,000 from Rs. 45,000 for girls studying in Degree/ Post Graduate degree courses in pharmaceutical/Para Medical studies. For medical and engineering students, the hike in annual stipend for boys is from Rs 40,000 to Rs 50,000 and for girls from Rs 50,000 to Rs 60,000, with hostel stipend increased to Rs. 70,000 and Rs. 80,000, respectively. Also, to encourage meritorious children, the Board has now approved that a claim must be made within one year instead of six months from the declaration of results in case of these meritorious children or from the receipt of the award by sportspersons from district, state or national authority.
Further, the Board has now allowed construction workers to renew their membership within a period of one year to enable them to continue to apply and avail financial benefits under various welfare schemes during the grace period of one year. A series of relaxations have also been announced with respect to insurance and other benefits in the case of death of disability, as well as LTC benefits, reimbursement for medical aids, financial assistance for cremation and last rites, aid for mentally retarded/handicapped children, maternity cover etc.