The State government will form a special task force to rescue children from child labour, Minister for Labour Santosh Lad said in Belagavi on Wednesday.
“The task force will have members from various departments and wings of the Labour Department and it will work in coordination to detect and rescue child workers in various industries. The plan is in its final stages and will be implemented soon,” he said.
He was addressing a meeting of Labour Department officials from various North Karnataka districts. He spoke in detail about the ills of social evils such as child labour. “It is not only detrimental to the future of such children but even to the future of the nation. We should not let it continue,” he said.
He asked officials to develop a no-tolerance attitude towards such practices and asked them to take strict action against those who employ child labour.
He instructed senior officers of the department to ensure that each taluk has a labour welfare office and that officers are posted at such places.
Mr. Lad said that the department provides health care, maternity benefits, marriage support and other benefits to workers. Officials should not delay grant of benefits to deserving beneficiaries such as construction workers and others.
He, however, observed that in some cases, ineligible beneficiaries have obtained benefits of the Labour Department, by creating fake labour cards. He asked officials to detect such cards and stop benefits to ineligible beneficiaries.
The Minister observed that officials should adopt a proactive approach and tell the general public about the various benefits provided by the department. “You should also set up offices in taluk and hobli levels so that people can easily approach you,’‘ he said.
The Minister told officials to take action against outsourcing agencies that fail to pay ESI and PF to workers.
He asked officials to ensure that all private agencies paid their cess dues to the government. Even building construction agencies should register themselves and pay cess and fees. Several small traders, hotels, commercial complexes and shops remain unregistered. Steps should be taken to ensure their registration, he said.
Officials said that over 30 cases have been filed in Belagavi division under Minimum Wages Act. Hearing is in the final stages and it will be resolved soon, they said.
He asked officials to see that offenders are punished and victims are compensated. Officials said that registration of establishments has been made available online. If employers refuse this, then officials will hold a meeting of employees and employers and ensure registration, a senior officer said.
Officials said that 25 child workers have been rescued from Bagalkot district. The Minister asked officials to submit a monthly report about such efforts.
Secretary Mohammad Mohsin, Commissioner Gopal Krishna, Joint Commissioner G. Manjunath, senior officials D.G. Nagesh, Bharati, Srinivas and others were present.
The Minister also held a meeting with Belagavi district officials.
Deputy Commissioner Nitesh Patil said that the government is planning to construct an Employee State Insurance Scheme Hospital in the Machche Industrial Area on a two-acre site.
The Deputy Commissioner said that the government will inform all private agencies and factories to pay ESI and PF amounts to all individual workers regularly.
“We have information that some factories are deducting money in the name of ESI and PF from the salaries of workers but are not depositing them with the government and not paying them to workers. We have issued instructions to the owners to act as per rules. If they are found to violate them, we will initiate action as per law,” he said.
Legislators Mahantesh Koujalagi and Mahendra Tammannanavar, Zilla Panchayat Chief Executive Officer Harshal Boyer, Superintendent of Police Bhimashankar Guled and others were present.
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