NEW: ‘Did Not Receive Any Kind Of Financial Help During COVID-19 Crisis’

Updated: Nov 23

Q. Have you tried to avail benefits of the Public Distribution System (PDS) at your workplace by using the One Nation One Ration Card (ONORC) scheme*? What was the experience?


Construction Worker: I belong to a different district. I do not have an ONORC under PDS, but I have received a new ration card at my destination of work, by requesting the Gram Panchayat Sarpanch and Secretary for the same. I use this to avail subsidised rations.


For the ration card, I needed to present proofs and documents like an Aadhar card, verification report of the local Gram Panchayat, and verification report received from the police department. I received my Below Poverty Line ration card within 30-45 days of filing a request for the same.


Q. If your Aadhaar is registered at your home or source village, have you faced any challenge in availing services at the migration destination? If yes, which services and difficulty please describe in detail.


Construction Worker: No, I have not faced any difficulty in this regard.


Q. Are you registered with the Building and Other Construction Workers (BOCW) Welfare Board**?


Construction Worker: No, I am not registered under BOCW. I came to know from the rest of my fellow workers that a meeting was held regarding this some time back. People were asked to submit the necessary documents like a copy of Aadhar card, copy of Gram Panchayat verification and along with some amount of money. I didn't know much about it and didn't understand if there were any significant benefits in registering for it. Now, I have also realised that there is not much benefit in joining BOCW.


Q. Have you ever worked under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme MGNREGS? If yes, for when and why did you leave that work?


Construction Worker: Yes, last year I worked under MNREGA for two weeks in my village as a carpenter.


The work under MGNREGS is for a limited number of days and the daily wages I receive from working outside the scheme are higher than the MGNREGS wages.


Did you get any grant or money during the COVID-19 lockdown? If yes, when and for how much?


Construction Worker: No, I did not receive any kind of financial help during the COVID-19 crisis, but the Patwari appointed at the field level in the Revenue Department provided us with 15-20 days of ration. Apart from this, the Gram Panchayat Secretary and Sarpanch had inquired about our ration needs.


Credits: PDPics/Pixabay


This interview was conducted with a Construction Worker in Himachal Pradesh in Hindi on 27 September 2022, and has been translated.


* The ‘One Nation, One Ration Card’ (ONORC) scheme was launched in August 2019, to allow for nationwide portability of National Food Security Act benefits. The scheme provides flexibility to migrant beneficiaries to lift their foodgrains from any Fair Price Shop (FPS) of their choice in most parts of the country, by using their existing ration card with biometric authentication of identity on an e-PoS device.


** Under the Building and Other Construction Workers (BOCW) Act, 1996, building and other construction workers (that include brick kiln workers) are required to be registered with state-level Construction Workers’ Welfare Boards. Minimum safety standards and conditions of employment for construction workers have also been prescribed under the act.

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