Sindh Education and Labour Minister Saeed Ghani has announced that the provincial government is going to start issuing the Benazir Mazdoor Card (BMC) in the current month, saying the card is the first of its kind initiative by any province in the country for the welfare of the labourers.
Addressing a reception hosted for him by the North Karachi Association of Trade and Industry here on Saturday, he said the BMC was as much a groundbreaking project for the welfare of deprived sections of the society as the initiative to launch the Banazir Income Support Programme some years back.
He claimed that after Sindh, the other provinces had to follow suit to issue the Benazir Mazdoor Card as the mechanism in question provided like the ultimate solution in order to serve the labourers in the country.
He said that the BMC would serve as an ATM, education, and health card for the labourers, and it would be beneficial for the education of their children.
Ghani said the BMC would initially be issued to some 360,000 labourers in the province duly registered with the Sindh Employees Social Security Institution whose dues were paid by their employers. In the second and third phases, the BMC would be issued to every labourer in the province, including those who were self-employed or the workers associated with the informal economy, he said, adding that these workers would be registered before they were issued with the BMC.
Ghani said the BMC would serve as a pilot project to serve the labourers and provide them with all the basic necessities of life as per the election manifesto of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party.
He said that a law would soon be passed in the province to establish an umbrella institution for the all the pro-worker agencies, including SESSI, Employees Old-Age Benefit Institution (EOBI) and Workersâ Welfare Fund (WWF).
He said the labour had become purely a provincial subject following the passage of the 18th Constitutional Amendment, and the control of the labour-related institutions like the EOBI and the WWF should immediately be transferred to the province.
He said the Sindh government had constituted committees having representation of labourers and industrialists and employers to resolve issues related to the welfare of the workers.
He was of the view that the labourers, employers and the government were all part of the same system to ensure economic growth, prosperity and progress of the province and that of the country.
He claimed that some of the laws adopted by the Sindh Labour Department were of a pioneering nature as they had not even been introduced by the labour agencies of many countries.
This development is expected to provide some relief for the workers, who have been facing numerous problems with getting their minimum wages and other rights.
Last month, speakers at a moot in Karachi had stressed the need for a strong labour movement for the implementation of the labour laws at the time when a deepening recession and the Covid-19 outbreak had created huge problems for workers.
The moot, titled âDialogue program â Minimum wages and its implementationâ, was hosted by the National Trade Union Federation (NTUF) and attended by representatives of workers, trade unions and the provincial labour department.