India Current Affairs 2018

Cabinet’s nod for amendments to benefit 88 lakh construction workers

The Union Cabinet approved amendments made to the Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996 and Building and Other Construction Workers’ Welfare Cess Act, 1996.

These amendments would be legitimized by tabling a Bill in this regard in the winter session of Parliament.These changes would benefit over 88.10 lakh construction workers.

The main features of the amendments include:

  • Removing the clause that construction workers should have worked a minimum of 90 days to register with the labour welfare boards set up in various States
  • Eliminating the upper age limit of 60 years for availing benefits under the scheme.

According to National Sample Survey (2009-10), there are about 4.46 crore building and other construction workers but only less than 25% of them have registered themselves with the Welfare Boards to avail benefits.

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Cabinet backs off RTI amendments

The Cabinet submitted to protests and withdrew a set of amendments it had proposed to the RTI Act.

What were those withdrawn amendments?

There were three amendments which were proposed to be made to the RTI Act:

  • Restrict the disclosure of file notes to social and development issues.
  • Exemption of examination papers and selections to the Union Public Service Commission
  • Disallowing information on ongoing executive decisions.

The RTI Act already exempts ongoing Cabinet decisions from its ambit and extending the exemption to executive decisions would have provided the government virtually immunity to RTI queries.

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