LAHORE, June 14: The Punjab Labour and Human Resource Department Monday allocated Rs 650 million for ongoing schemes under the annual budget 2016-17 which is only six percent more than funds of 610 million rupees earmarked for the past fiscal year.
It is pertinent to note however that this is significantly more than the budget allocation of 2014-15 which was only 111 million rupees.
The department presided over by Punjab Labour and Human Resource Minister Raja Ashfaq Sarwar has notably not introduced any new initiatives and will allocate all of the funds to fund ongoing schemes. The ongoing schemes include establishment of labour market information and resource centre in Lahore (45.027 million rupees), capacity development of industry to promote compliance with labour standards (134.16 million rupees), provincial child labour survey (140.187 million rupees), integrated project for promotion of decent work for vulnerable workers (51.59 million rupees), combating worst forms of child labour in districts Chakwal, Jhelum, Jhang, and Layyah (180.832 million rupees), and elimination of bonded labour in Faisalabad, Sargodha, Gujrat, and Bahawalpur (196.987 million rupees). The mega project titled Elimination of Child and Bonded Labour Project (Integrated Project for Promotion of Decent Work for Vulnerable Workers in Punjab) had been initiated with special focus on child labour and bonded labour particularly brick kilns in the past year which is being continued. Since the problem of child and bonded labour is still widespread, the department is solely focusing on this issue instead of initiating new schemes.
The real challenge for the labour and human resource department will however be to ensure implementation of recently-increased minimum wages from Rs 13,000 to Rs14,000 for unskilled workers by the federal government in annual budget 2016-17, enforce labor laws and develop labour market information system. The department in its targets however aims to provide informal education to children of brick-kiln workers, community level child labour monitoring, issue CNICs to brick-kiln workers, improve workplaces under occupational safety and health (OSH) standards in the informal sector, and provide brick-kiln workers with social security cards.
Published by Daily The News on June 14, 2016