Digitisation of Processes in Construction Workers Welfare Board
According to the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) 2019-20, there are approximately 11 lakh construction workers working within the National Capital Territory of Delhi. However, when the first wave of COVID-19 infections hit Delhi in May 2020, the Delhi Government was able to provide welfare benefits to only 39,000 construction workers registered with Delhi Construction Board. Meanwhile, a corpus fund of Rs. 3,200 crores under the Delhi Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board (DBOCWWB) lay idle and unutilised.
The Delhi Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board was formed in 2002 under the Building and Other Construction Workers Act, 1996, to undertake welfare and social security measures for registered construction workers in the National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi. However, the department was marred by issues such as exclusively offline mode of registrations, high levels of corruption and delays in routine processes, resulting in only one or two workers receiving any welfare claim benefits per month across Delhi.
Thus, on the direction of the Hon'ble Labour Minister, DDC undertook the urgent need to revitalise the Delhi Construction Board and thereby, ensure maximum eligible beneficiaries can avail of their legitimate benefits through the available corpus fund.
Through extensive field visits and in-depth interviews with direct stakeholders such as on-site labourers, and construction, DDC was able to identify the following key challenges:
- Although the registrations were available online, construction workers were forced to remain in line for hours to get their respective labour cards renewed. These lines were long and slow-moving.
- There existed huge pendency in the application approvals at all times. Thus, registrations were as few as 40,000 construction workers for the entire National Capital Territory of Delhi.
- The application process was long drawn and complicated for any individual that required unnecessary documentation from the beneficiary for approval.
- Due to the excessive file work and documentations, offline application forms were often misplaced and inaccessible.
- Claim disbursement was complex, and that further required unnecessary documentation. Very few claims were disbursed and only a few construction workers were able to receive the benefits of the allocated corpus fund.
On identifying the challenges plaguing the Delhi Construction Board, DDC recommended reforms to aid the workings of the Board. The reforms and welfare schemes accepted and implemented are as follows:
- Faceless Transaction ensured the shift of all offline application form formalities to 24X7 online registration anywhere at any time.
- The application process has been simplified to ensure maximum registration. Large-scale registration camps were also organised throughout the state to cover maximum beneficiaries.
- The entire application web portal has been assigned keeping in view the requirements and needs of the beneficiaries.
- Labour Department now ensures the doorstep delivery of all services directly to the beneficiary.
- All previous application forms consisting of 50 Lakh pages have been digitised for easy access.
The impact of the implemented reforms has been overwhelming with the total registered construction workers amounting to ~12.5 Lakh and the total registration of workers in the e-Shram Portal amounting to ~32.5 Lakh as on September 2022.
The process of availing welfare benefits under various schemes of the Board has also been made easier. The Board has 14 running welfare schemes related to education, health, pension, maternity leave, accidents, death and the like. The process for applying for these schemes was reformed and the number of documents required for registration has been significantly reduced.
The major welfare claims and ex-gratia benefits disbursed by the Board in the period 2020-22 are as follows: