New Delhi: In light of a proposal that the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna (RSBY) be brought under Health Ministry, a parliamentary committee has recommended that the scheme should remain with the Labour Ministry as any move to shift it would not be in the "best interest of workers".
The recommendations were made by the Standing Committee on Labour for the Labour and Employment Ministry which, while tabling its report on Demand for Grants (2014-15) on Monday in Parliament, also noted that there has been "under spending" in the 12th Five-Year Plan by the Labour Ministry.
"Despite the Ministry (Labour) handling, implementing and running RSBY so well, this scheme is reportedly proposed to be transfered to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
"The committee is unaware of any plausible logic over this decision and feels it may not be in the best interest of the poor workers as the welfare of this class could be better safeguarded by Ministry of Labour than by Ministry of Health," it said.
"The committee strongly feels that RSBY must stay with the Ministry of Labour and Employment," it added.
RSBY provides for smart card-based cashless health insurance cover of Rs 30,000 per annum on a family floater scheme for workers in the unorganised sector.
Meanwhile, with the government proposing amendments to the Factories Act, 1948, the committee observed that existing vacancies of the Directorate General, Factory Advice Service and Labour Institutes (DGFASLI) be filled without further delay.
In its observation on "under spending", the committee said that Labour Ministry has failed to fully utilise funds in consecutive years during the 12th Five Year Plan.
It noted that from the allocation made by the Planning Commission each year, Labour Ministry has not been able to utilise even 50 per cent, as a result of which the Planning Commission had to revise it downward at the RE stage to the level of last year's spending.
"Taking note of the spending for the year 2013-14, which was decreased to Rs 1,597.51 crore, the committee desires that the implementation machinery be strengthened so as to utilise the allocated funds to the maximum extent possible," it said.
The committee noted that against the total allocation
amounting to Rs 2,688.56 crore for 2012-13, the first year of the 12th Five-Year Plan -- which was decreased to Rs 2,118.56 crore at the Revised Estimate (RE) stage -- the Labour Ministry could "surprisingly" spend only Rs 1,702.89 crore.
The committee further said that during 2013-14, an allocation of Rs 2,524 crore was made, which was again reduced to Rs 1,700 crore at the RE stage, but actual expenditure was still only Rs 1,597.51 crore.
In the observation on DGFASLI, the committee said it had nearly 118 vacancies of which some vacancies date back to 1992. The committee further noted that DGFASLI's existing manpower was far from adequate to carry forward "effectively and efficiently" the core activities of the organisation.
It said that activities in disciplines like Industrial Physiology, Egronomics and Industrial Psychology have come to a standstill and pointed out that an evaluation study of DGFASLI made by IIT-Roorkee in 2012 had recommended an increase in the number of posts to 735 from 358.
"The committee feels that DGFASLI has a crucial role, especially when the government has proposed so many amendments in the Factories Act. However, with the existing strength, DGFASLI cannot do justice either to the work at hand or to impending work in the light of the amendments to the Factories Act.
"The committee, therefore, desire that not only the existing vacancies be filled without further delay but also immediate follow-up action be taken on the study conducted by IIT-Roorkee.
"The committee desire that pending the filling of vacancies by UPSC, some via media be explored for filling these vacancies as a temporary measure so that the work of the organisation is not hampered," it said.