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NEW: ‘I Get More Money as a Construction Worker than from MGNREGS’

Updated: Nov 23, 2022

Q. Are you a resident of this village? If yes, have you ever migrated from here?

Construction Worker: No, I don't belong to this city; my village is 15 kilometres away from here, and I travel here for work.

I did not choose this city, instead the contractor I work under has sent me here. I have worked with this contractor for a long time.

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?

Construction Worker: I have a ration card in my village, and we get ration through the PDS every month. I have an Antyodaya card*, and we avail its benefits regularly. We do not have any problem in this regard.

Q. If your Aadhaar is registered at your home village, have you faced any challenge in availing services at your place of work?

Construction Worker: No, I have not faced any such problem. We live in our village, where our Aadhar is registered, due to which there is no problem. I travel to this city for work, collect my wages and go back to my village.

Q. Are you registered with Building and Other Construction Workers (BOCW) Welfare Board**, and have you received benefits under the same? Have you faced any challenges in receiving the said benefits?

Construction Worker: Yes, I am registered under BOCW, Maharashtra and have received all the benefits under BOCW.

No, there isn’t much of a problem. I think getting the card is a bit difficult and renewing it has been a challenge. For example it is difficult to collect the necessary documents, such as a 90-day work certificate, and to fill the application and submit it to the officer. There is no problem in taking advantage of the benefits though.

Q. Have you received a safety kit or an essential kit from BOCW?

Construction Worker: Yes, I received the kit. After the registration was completed, I received a card and after that a box. There were a lot of items in the box, including a mat, a pair of gloves, helmet, jacket, water bottle, mosquito net, shoes, torch, safety belt, and a tiffin box.

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

Construction Worker: Yes, I did receive money during the lockdown as I was registered with BOCW. I received ₹3,000 in one instance and ₹2,000 in another. I also received ₹1,500 as scholarship for the children and food rations.

Q. Have you ever worked under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS)?

Construction Worker: No, I have not worked under MGNREGS. I don’t even have a MNREGA job card. I get more money from the work I have been doing.

Q. Do your children travel with you? If yes, do they attend school at the destination and are there any problems in seeking school admission?

Construction Worker: No, my children do not come to the work site with me. They live in our village with my mother and wife. I commute every day for work.

My children are enrolled in the school in our village, and they go there regularly. My mother takes care of the children while my wife works on a farm; the family runs on both of our wages.

Q. What documents did the respective authorities ask from you for your children’s admission in school and for availing the benefits of Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), PDS and health related government schemes?

Construction Worker: For the school admission of our children, we had to present our Aadhar card, domicile certificate, bank passbook, and proof of our annual family income.

For availing ICDS benefits, we provided the birth certificate of the child issued by the Panchayat.

The Ration Card was registered under my father’s name; ever since we have been getting the names of our family members added and deducted on the same card. Everyone's Aadhar has been linked with the ration card. We have to visit the tehsil to get new names added to the card.

Since we belong to the village, it is easier to avail health services; we just present our Aadhaar, take case papers, and all is done.

This interview was conducted with a Construction Worker in Maharashtra in Marathi on 15 September 2022, and has been translated.

Image Credits: Image by Bishnu Sarangi from Pixabay

*Antyodaya Anna Yojana was started in December 2000 with an aim to provide subsidised grains to the ‘poorest of poor’ citizens. Under the scheme, the beneficiaries can avail 35 kgs of subsidised grains per family per month.

** 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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