Labor welfare refers to all the facilities provided to labor in order to improve their working conditions, provide social security and raise their standard of living. Majority of labor force in India is working in unorganized sector. In order to provide social security to such workers, Government has introduced Labor Welfare Fund to ensure assistance to unorganized labors. Five different welfare funds, which are governed by different legislations, are administered by Ministry of Labor. The purpose of these welfare funds is to provide housing, medical care, educational and recreational facilities to workers employed in beedi industry and non-coal mines and cine workers.
The five legislations governing welfare funds are as follows:
- The Mica Mines Labor Welfare Fund Act, 1946
- The Limestone and Dolomite Mines Labor Welfare Fund Act, 1972
- The Iron Ore, Manganese Ore and Chrome Ore Mines Labor Welfare Fund Act, 1976
- The Cine Workers’ Welfare Fund Act, 1981
Schemes under welfare funds provide assistance with respective to the following:
- Public health and sanitation
- Recreational (including standard of living)
- Social security
- Educational facilities
- Water supply
- Medical facilities (prevention of diseases)
- Social security
- Group Insurance Schemes for Beedi and Cine workers
- Social Security under Mine Workers Welfare Fund
- Family welfare
The welfare funds are raised by government by imposing cess on manufactured beedis, feature films, export of mica, consumption of limestone & dolomite and consumption and export of iron ore, manganese ore & chrome ore. An explanation of the cess levied under different legislations is given below:
- Beedi Workers Welfare Cess Act, 1976 provides for levy of cess by way of excise duty on manufactured beedis from Re.1/- to Rs.5/- per thousand manufactured beedis. This is presently Rs 2 per 1000 beedis with effect from 28th June 2000.
- The Cine Workers Welfare Cess Act, 1981 provides for duty of cess, at such rate not being less than one thousand rupees and not exceeding twenty thousand rupees, on every feature film submitted to the Chairman, Central Board of Film Certification. This is Rs 20000 per feature film of Hindi and English and for regional films it is Rs 10000 per film with effect from 20th April 2000.
- The Iron Ore, Manganese Ore & Chrome Ore Mines Labor Welfare Cess Act, 1976 provides for levy and collection of cess on Iron Ore, Manganese Ore & Chrome Ore between 50p to Re.1/-, Re.1/- to Rs.6/- and Rs.3/- to Rs.6/- respectively.
- The Limestone and Mines Labor Welfare Fund Act, 1972 provides for the levy and collection of cess on Limestone and Dolomite as a duty of excise at such rate not exceeding one rupee per metric tone of limestone & dolomite. The rate of cess on Limestone and Dolomite is Re.1/- with effect from 27th December 2000.
- Mica Mines Labor Welfare Fund Act, 1946, provides for levy and collection of cess on all mica exported as duty of Customs not exceeding 6.25% ad valorem. This is 4.5% ad valorem on export with effect from 1st November 1990.