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Punjab has decided to use welfare funds to inoculate construction workers for free. (Representational)Chandigarh: Months after asking states to use direct benefit transfers (DBT) to provide financial assistance to building and other construction workers, the Union Labour Ministry today backed the Punjab government’s decision to use welfare funds to inoculate the construction workers for free.Speaking to NDTV, a senior official of the Ministry of Labour and Employment said, “There is no welfare more important than medical welfare and health of workers and Punjab government can use these funds for free vaccination of the construction workers.”Earlier in March this year, the ministry had directed the states against distribution of household items to the workers. It instead askedfor monetary assistance through direct benefit transfers in the bank accounts of the workers.The Punjab government had already included the construction workers across the state to the ongoing third phase of the Covid vaccination drive, which started on May 10. The state’s Labour Department had paid around 7.5 crore from its welfare fund to the health department for vaccination of around 2.19 of the 2.94 lakh registered construction workers in 18-44 age group.VK Janjua, principal secretary, Department of Labor, Punjab said, so far, more than one lakh registered construction workers have been inoculated with the first dose of the vaccination in the state.”Separate camps are being held for the vaccination of construction workers and we have paid around 7.5 crore to the health department for procuring the vaccine,” Mr Januja said.



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