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4L names out of unorganised workers boards

The drive has been carried out by authorities after obtaining data from an unorganised pensioners’ data analysis report from the Tamil Nadu e-Governance Agency.

4L names out of unorganised workers boards
Representative image

CHENNAI: Nearly four lakh unorganised workers have been removed from various welfare boards under the guise of weeding out ineligible candidates while carrying out data purity.

The drive has been carried out by authorities after obtaining data from an unorganised pensioners’ data analysis report from the Tamil Nadu e-Governance Agency.

The officials have scrutinised 9.87 lakh from the registered members, citing 11 reasons. This includes wrong entry or multiple entries of Aadhaar card, death of workers, beneficiaries of old age pension scheme, government employee/pensioner, members of Prime Minister Farmers Scheme (PM Kisan) and persons not linked ration card with Aadhaar card. Following this exercise, the authorities have removed nearly 4 lakh members from the beneficiaries list.

“The exercise of weeding out the ineligible beneficiaries from the list has been taken up following direction from the Centre. The list of the names have been shared with the district level officials as per the direction of the senior official of the department in mid of December last year,” said a source in the Labour Department

The drive not only affected the pensioners, but also had an adverse effect on non-pensioners as they were taken for a ride. The unorganised workers federation and labour activists red-flagged the issue to draw the attention of the government and the authorities concerned. “We have given a representation to the Commissioner of Labour not to remove the beneficiaries on grounds of wrong or multiple entry of Aadhaar card. In most cases, the entire family obtains Aadhaar cards using a single phone number. In some cases, the father (worker) gave the phone number of his son or daughter, who are students. Without looking into these, the officials should not carry out such a drive, leaving the construction labourers in a lurch,” said R Geetha of Unorganised Workers Federation.

Office-bearers of the Unorganised Workers Federation and trade unions said that nearly 40,000 to 50,000 registered members of various welfare boards were unable to avail benefits as the officials froze their account, citing duplication. It would trigger a chain of unpleasant events, leaving the workers in tough situations.

T Karunanidhi of Tiruchy district and S Rangaraj of Madurai, both members of Nirman Mazdoor Panchayat Sangam, said they have been flagging the issue in the district level officials and also called on Chairman of the Unorganised Welfare Board Pon Kumar to act swiftly and address the issue.

“In our district, nearly 10,000 members have stopped getting monthly pension of Rs 1,000 for the last two months,” Rangaraj said and noted that Tamil Nadu Urban Habitat Development Board is building houses worth Rs 13 lakh for the labourers whereas the Union government is insisting the government to remove those who have houses worth Rs 10 lakh. What an irony, he wondered.

‘State taking efforts to correct it’

Chairman of the Welfare Board Pon Kumar said they have taken irrational yardstick fixed by the Union government to remove the beneficiaries from the board. The TN government is taking efforts to correct it to ensure all eligible beneficiaries continue to avail the benefits.

Minister for Labour Welfare and Skill Development CV Ganesan told DT Next that the department has taken up the drive following a list given by the finance department to check on eligibility of the welfare board members. In the first round of verification, the finance department gave a list of 86,448 members. Of them, 69,027 have been identified as eligible beneficiaries and the remaining were removed from the list. In the second phase of the drive, the department verified 8.49 lakh members and found 3.32 lakh were ineligible. Of them, 1.94 lakh are retired government employees, while others benefit through other welfare schemes of the government.

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Shanmughasundaram J
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