A first of its kind health and accident insurance cover for lakhs of construction workers in India is on the cards. The Promoters and Builders Association of India, a representative body of developers in Pune, Maharashtra, has taken the lead in working out this cover in collaboration with insurerBajaj Allianz. Confirming that the product is ready, a Bajaj Allianz official who wished to remain anonymous, said the company is expected to register it with the insurance regulatory body for approval shortly. If things go according to plan, it could be launched a month from now.
While the official concerned declined to give any further details of the product, the move could significantly change the living and working conditions of the city’s 25-30,000-strong construction work force.
Under existing regulations, construction workers frequently have to do the rounds of the labour court and evoke the law that governs workmen’s compensation in case of an accident or permanent disability at work. “It is a lengthy process and the worker often does not have the time to pursue the matter in court because he has to get back to earning a livelihood,” Sanjay Runwal, chairman of the association’s labour welfare committee said.
Under the scheme being worked out, builders and contractors will pay the premium to offer cover against accidents that could affect the health of the worker for up to Rs25,000. Runwal said the association is working actively with its members to ensure 100% compliance for providing this benefit to the city’s huge work force.
Pune’s construction industry has been growing at the rate of 60% over the last couple of years, according to Lalikumar Jain, president of the association.
With millions of square feet of malls, offices and residential and commercial properties under construction, there has been an influx of workers into the city over the last few years. And if the Pune pilot project gets off the ground, the Bajaj Allianz product will eventually cover lakhs of construction workers across the country.
The association, meanwhile, is simultaneously working on another first-of-its-kind experiment: a college aimed at creating a skilled work force for the real estate industry. The organization is setting up Real Estate Academy for Developers — READ — which will train, assist and empower the developer community to bring in greater professionalism into the industry.
“India’s real estate industry is growing rapidly but we do not have trained professionals to cater to the demands of this industry and handle important aspects such as land assembly, financial management and project management, among other things,” Jain said.
The first batch of the new academy will begin this August and will offer an 18-month fulltime post-graduate diploma in real estate business management, a 12-month part-time advanced diploma for working executives in the industry and another for family business members. The association has drawn up a sponsorship programme under which prospective students will be sponsored by individual builders with the student working for the builder as part of the contract.
The association has roped in a former director of the National Institute of Construction Management and Research (Nicmar) to steer the academy which will have visiting faculty from IIM, Bangalore, among others. The syllabus for the courses will be a combination of the best being offered in similar courses abroad and content that will train students about Indian land laws and other significant aspects of the business.
“With infrastructure and construction now at an all-time high, the academy will meet the demand for trained manpower for projects all over the country,” Jain said.