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Home Top News of the Day news SC grants time to CAG to verify cess collected by states

SC grants time to CAG to verify cess collected by states

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SC grants time to CAG to verify cess collected by states

Above: Women labourers work at a road construction site near Vapi in Maharashtra. Photo: UNI 

The petitioner NGO National Campaign Committee for Central Legislation on Construction Labour claims cess not being used for the benefits of construction workers

~By Ashima Chadha

The Division Bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta of the Supreme Court, on Tuesday (September 19), gave one week’s time to the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) to file an affidavit regarding verification of details of monies collected by states under Building and Other Construction Workers’ Welfare Cess Act, 1996.

The court was hearing National Campaign Committee for Central Legislation on Construction Labour Versus Union of India wherein a PIL was filed by the petitioner-NGO which alleged that the cess imposed on realtors for the welfare of these construction workers was not being utilised as required. The PIL has also sought for a systematic mechanism to identify the benefits provided to these workers under the Act.

The main issue pertains to the implementation of the Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Services) Act, 1996 as well as the Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Cess Act, 1996.

Earlier, the court had directed the Secretary in the Ministry of Labour, Government of India to convene a meeting of all the Secretaries in the Ministry of Labour or the corresponding Ministry of all the States and Union Territories on or before 16th January, 2015 to discuss the modalities for the effective implementation of both the statutes and arrive at a consensus, particularly, since they involve the living conditions of the construction workers and collection of huge amounts for their benefit.

The Court had expressed concern over the missing amount of Rs 20,000 crore which was meant for the worker’s welfare board and ordered CAG to give details of the money accumulated, expenditure incurred and amount left unused by the welfare board.

The Court had also directed states of Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan and UP to file affidavits including their submissions pertaining to monies collected and utilised.