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Growth of a country is usually driven by the infrastructure it possesses. It is altogether a huge sector employing a vast number of people in the country. The government of India, working for the people hence, also has a responsibility to protect the interest of these infrastructure workers. The Building and Other Construction Workers (BOCW) Act, rules and regulations, enacted by the central government, aim to be vigilant about the working conditions of the workers and result in a social welfare scheme to benefit the workers for building and construction throughout the country.

The preamble of the BOCW Act explains the following:

“An act to regulate the employment and conditions of service of building and other construction workers and to provide for their safety, health and welfare measures and other matters connected in addition to that or incidental thereto.”

Governing Acts:

The following Acts / Rules have been issued by the Central and State Government to regulate the employment and services of the building and other construction workers and for their safety, health and welfare:

  • The building and other construction workers’ (Regulation of employment and conditions of service) act, 1996
  • The building and other construction workers’ welfare cess act, 1996
  • The building and other construction workers’ welfare cess rules, 1998
  • The building and other construction workers’ (Regulation of employment and conditions of service) central rules, 1998

Furthermore, the Government of India has made it mandatory for every State government to constitute their own Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Boards.

In Maharashtra, BOCW Welfare Board is known as MAHA BOCW, which is regulated by The Maharashtra building and other construction workers’ (Regulation of employment and conditions of service) central rules, 2007. This act was created using the power provided by section 62 and section 40 of the Building and Other Construction Workers (Employment Regulation and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996 (27 of 1996).

Need and function: 

The basic functions of BOCW among others, include provision of timely help to the workers in case of any mishap or accident, providing pensions, issuing loans, making payments related to premium for Group Insurance Scheme, facilitating financial aid for children’s education, supporting workers by bearing the medical expenses in case of major ailment, etc.

Applicability:

The act applies to both Establishment and Workers separately:

  • Every employer/establishment who hires 10 or more than 10 workers in any building or other construction work must obtain BOCW Registration Certificate.

When an establishment enters the purview of this act, it must apply with the Registering officer within 60 days of the commencement of the work.

  • Every worker who fulfils the following eligibility criteria may apply for the Worker’s registration:
    • They should be between 18 to 60 years of age.
    • They must be working for more than 90 days in the last 12 months.

Exclusion: Those engaged in administrative roles or purely supervisory roles without manual labour may be excluded from the definition of construction workers.

Registration Procedure:

A Brief procedure for registration in the state of Maharashtra (online procedure) is as follows:

  • The employer must register first on the official website of Maharashtra BOCW http://mahakamgar.gov.in by creating a new login id using an email id.
  • They must fill in the Basic Information Proforma in which all information regarding the Establishment, such as the address of the Establishment, details of workers or labourers, details of employer or occupier, construction details and Declaration are required.
  • All the Documents in the prescribed format & size are to be attached to the application form.
  • The payment of applicable fees may be made online or offline as per convenience.
  • The certificate is issued provided the application form and all the Documents are as per the norms & guidelines.

Payment of Cess:

As per Section 3 (1) of the Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Cess Act 1996, and the Labor Ministry issued by the Union Government, the cess may be levied at such rate not exceeding two percent but not less than one percent of the cost of construction incurred by the employer. Accordingly, a notification dated September 26, 1996 is issued wherein, the cess is to be levied at 1% of the cost of construction except the cost of the land.

  • For the state of Maharashtra, such Cess amount is to be deposited to the Board’s account in Central Bank of India, B. K. C. Branch, Plot No. C-6, ‘B’ Block, Bandra (East), Mumbai-400 051, Current Account No. 3671178591, IFSC Code – CBIN0282611.
  • Cess amount should be deposited in the Bank through Demand Draft / RTGS / NEFT in the name of “Maharashtra Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board, Mumbai.” Payment of cess will not be accepted by cheque.

Penalties:

If the cess payable as mentioned under Section 3 above is not paid, a penalty of 2% per month on the amount of recovery or recovery of cess amount is payable.

Conclusion:

Compliance with the BOCW Act is hence beneficial for the workers of the country, empowering them with safety, social security benefits, health, living conditions and reduction to exploitation whereas the establishment is benefited by ensuring a happier morale among its workers, leading to a satisfactory contribution to their work performed. Abiding by the law and timely compliance for the establishments also enhances their corporate image and value among the stakeholders.

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