Team Blitz India
For five years, nearly three lakh farm labourers in Kerala are awaiting their welfare fund. A total amount of Rs 430 crores is pending to be distributed under the welfare fund benefits. Around 2.9 lakh farm labourers who had to give up on their welfare board memberships after turning 60 years old are eagerly awaiting their benefits.
Every outgoing labourer is entitled to a maximum amount of Rs 25,000 once their membership expires. Currently, benefits amounting to Rs 50 crores are being distributed among labourers, as the state Government (Rs 30 crores as a grant) and the Kerala Agricultural Workers Welfare Fund Board (Rs 20 crores) released funds. In this manner, 80,160 labourers have received their benefits. It should be noted that Rs 100 crores was allotted to the welfare board in this year’s budget. The timely distribution of retirement benefits can be ensured with the assistance of Government grants.
Apart from these funds, the board receives money through the contributions of the active members as well. The active members are aged between 18-55. Till 2020, each active member of the welfare board had to make a yearly contribution of only Rs 60. This rose to Rs 240 in the following years.
Meanwhile, the members of the board are eligible for posthumous, marriage, pregnancy, medical, and educational financial assistance. The board is yet to receive Rs 17 crores from the Government, the fund was used for disbursing pregnancy benefits. The funds can be distributed among more beneficiaries as the state Government sanctions more funds.
The Kerala Agricultural Workers Welfare Fund Board came into existence in 1990. Currently, the board has 25 lakh members. Since memberships are relatively lesser in the southern districts of Kerala, the distribution of benefits in those regions has been completed for up to the year 2017.
Meanwhile, benefits have not been distributed among the eligible since 2017 in districts including Thrissur, Palakkad, and Kozhikode.
Till September this year, 8.47 lakh labourers who crossed their 60s had applied for the benefits. However, only 5.58 lakh workers have received the benefits so far.