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Kerala Sets up First Welfare Board for Workers Under Employment Guarantee Schemes

The welfare board will ensure pension, medical assistance, and family pension for the registered workers and education aid for their children.
 Kerala Sets up First Welfare Board for Workers Under Employment Guarantee Schemes

Representational Image. Image Courtesy: Flickr

Chennai: In the first instance in India, the Kerala government has constituted the ‘Kerala Employment Guarantee Workers' Welfare Fund Board’ for the workers of the employment guarantee scheme. Around 30 lakh workers aged 18-55, who are enrolled in the programme under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Act (MNREGA) and the Ayyankali Urban Employment Guarantee Scheme (AUEGS), are eligible to register with the welfare board.

The board would ensure social welfare measures, including pension, educational aid for children, medical aid, and family pension. The workers will receive a pension on reaching the age of 60.

The announcement of the board's formation was made by the previous Left Democratic Front (LDF) government in the Kerala Assembly, but it was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.


Kerala has 26,72,369 active workers under the MNREGA scheme implemented by the Union government and around 2.5 lakh workers in the AUEGS operated by the state government.

The bill presented in the Assembly for the constitution of the board states that the “Government has considered it necessary to constitute a Welfare Fund to provide welfare benefits to the workers under the MNREGA and AUEGS.”

S Rajendran, leader of the CITU-affiliated MNREGA Workers Union, has been appointed as board chairman.

Speaking to NewsClick, Rajendran said, “As per the promise of the LDF government, the board has been constituted to ensure the extension of welfare measures to the workers of the employment guarantee schemes.”

The board intends to ensure pension for workers on completion of 60 years of age, provide financial assistance in case of the worker's death or severe illness, and provide incentives for the education of children of the enrolled member.

We expect at least 26 lakh workers to enrol themselves, given the benefits ensured by the board,” Rajendran said.

The workers have to pay Rs 50 every month to register with the board till the age of 55 to be eligible for the pension.


Given the higher number of women enrolled in the MNREGA and AUEGS, the women can claim a large percentage of the measures rolled out by the welfare board.

During the financial year 2022-23, of the total 7,00,95,28,800 person days generated in Kerala, 89.1% is contributed by the women registered under the scheme. Further, around 25% of the work days is contributed by the members of the scheduled caste (SC) and scheduled tribe (ST) communities.

The extension of schemes, including maternity benefits, will support women workers and socially oppressed communities. Benefits like pension and education aid will also help all workers in the long run.

Apart from the contribution from the members, the board will receive funds from the concerned department of the government of Kerala. The board will also find ways to generate funds to ensure the extension of the benefits to the registered members,” Rajendran said.

As per the bill, the government will provide funds as contributions or grants, fixed in accordance with the number of workers and work days. The government will nominate five members to the board along with eight non-official members as directors and one of the directors as the chairman of the board.

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