Labour Minister seeks more mobile ATMs for workforce

New Delhi, Nov 18 (IANS) Union Minister of State for Labour and Employment Bandaru Dattatreya on Friday urged the Finance Ministry to deploy more mobile ATMs in labour areas to help the cash-strapped workforce.

“We have requested the Finance Ministry to deploy more mobile ATMs in areas like construction sites where the workforce is in large numbers,” Dattatreya said at a trade organisation’s event here.

With no let-up in the cash chaos due to currency shortage after the central government’s demonetisation move on November 8, millions of working class people, especially labourers, have been facing untold hardship for want of Rs 100 and Rs 50 notes across the country.

“We have urged the Finance Minister (Arun Jaitley) to rush mobile ATMs to the areas where labourers are working in large numbers and directed the state governments to assist banks in easing the situation,” Dattatreya said at a conference on “India’s Social Security Agreements”, organised by Assocham.

The ministry is also identifying the areas where large workforce is present, so that mobile ATMs can be deployed there.

The Labour Minister, who met Jaitley on Thursday, has sought priority treatment for the workforce, especially in the unorganised sector, in the Union Budget for the next fiscal (2017-18) to ensure social security for them.

“As the five crore construction workers do not have social security, we have made them a part of the organised workforce to avail benefits from the ESIC (Employee’s State Insurance Corporation) and EPFO (Employees Provident Fund Organisation),” said Dattatreya.

India already has social security agreements with 19 countries the world over.

“As social security is essential for migrant workers, we are working for similar agreements with more countries, including those in BRICS and SAARC groups,” said Dattatreya.

Central Provident Fund Commissioner V.P. Joy said on the occasion that the EPFO was negotiating with Sri Lanka for a social security agreement between the two countries.

Highlighting the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi of extending social security guarantee to the poor, the minister said auto-rickshaw and cycle-rickshaw pullers should also have the same benefits.