A day after Jammu and Kashmir government launched a major welfare initiative for workers in the unorganised sector, CITU has termed the move as an "eyewash". Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), Jammu and Kashmir, while deliberating upon the contours of 'Muhafiz Scheme' noted that fanfare regarding launching of the scheme seems to be an eyewash, as "the major components for benefits of the registered workers are almost already in vogue under the Act". "This is not upto the mark of what the workers were expecting from the government. "But on the contrary, there is some announcement only to increase the dwindling image of the labour department. "This is simply politicking," General Secretary State CITU Om Prakash said in a statement here. The scheme, named "Muhafiz" (Guardian), was launched by Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. Under the scheme, around three lakh workers registered with the Jammu and Kashmir Building and Other Construction Workers' Welfare Board (JKBOCWWB) would be covered under accidental, life and disability insurance. Prakash said a meeting of the advisory board should have been convened where the union representatives would have given major suggestions for the welfare of the workers. "But till date no such meeting has been held to debate the problems and issues of the workers. "The workers unions and associations are virtually ignored for the simple reason to avoid making itself accountable before the workers," he said. It said that the board has not implemented Section 22 of BOCW Act in totality, which provides for pensionary benefits for workers attaining 60 years of age and housing loan for the workers. "No mention for enhancement of the maternity benefits, provision of health insurance and enhancement in the immediate assistance in case of accidents have been made in the new scheme," he said. He said marriage assistance for the beneficiaries, mandatory under the Act has been stopped for last two years for reasons best known to the board. Registration process has been made tedious whereby the genuine workers have to visit the ALC offices frequently, thus depriving them of daily earnings, as only two days have been fixed for registration in a week which delays the process.
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