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Author:Sanjeev Routray (NA)
My paper will argue that the construction workers must systematically perform that they are genuine (asli) workers by deploying a wide variety of cultural tactics to prove their authenticity and claim their welfare entitlements from the labor boards.
Why would you like to speak in this workshop?:
In 1996, the "Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Services) Act" was enacted. The Act paved the way for the establishment of the Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Boards across India, which intended to provide welfare benefits and regulate the working conditions of the construction workers primarily working in the unorganized or informal sectors of the economy. However, much of the funds collected (as mandatory cess) by the Boards remains unspent for several reasons. Establishing eligibility, registering with the Board, and meeting timelines to receive funds remain critical issues in availing these welfare benefits on the part of the workers. Drawing on ethnographic research at one of the labor welfare board offices—the Pushp Vihar office in South Delhi —this paper will examine the everyday politics of negotiations required to register oneself as a worker and to obtain the eligible entitlements. The paper will provide insight into the complex worlds of entrepreneurial unions (which demand a percentage of commission to support the workers in their pursuits), construction sector contractors and employers, Board office members, and a variety of brokers and intermediaries. Through this insight, the paper will ask the following key questions: how is verification carried out and eligibility established? How are mistakes redressed in the labor cards? How are claims authenticated? I will argue that the workers must systematically perform that they are genuine (asli) workers by deploying a wide variety of cultural tactics to prove their authenticity and claim their entitlements.
Post-Pandemic Mobilisation and Management of Social Welfare Funds: Implications for Equity and Citizenship