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Unorganised Workers in the Country

The Minister of State for Mines, Steel, Labour and Employment, Shri Vishnu Deo Sai has said that as per the survey carried out by the National Sample Survey Organization in the year 2009-2010, the total employment in unorganized sector is 43.7 crore. State-wise data of unorganized workers is not maintained.

In a written reply in the Rajya Sabha today, Shri Vishnu Deo Sai said, Government has already taken various initiatives to strengthen social sector security for the unorganized sector. Some of these initiatives are listed as under:

The details of the schemes in as under:

1.<span “times=”” new=”” roman”`=””>Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme.(Ministry of Rural Development)

2.<span “times=”” new=”” roman”`=””>National Family Benefit Scheme.(Ministry of Rural Development)

3.<span “times=”” new=”” roman”`=””>Janani Suraksha Yojana.(Ministry of Health and Family Welfare)

4.<span “times=”” new=”” roman”`=””>Handloom Weavers’ Comprehensive Welfare Scheme.(Ministry of Textiles)

5.<span “times=”” new=”” roman”`=””>Handicraft Artisans’ Comprehensive Welfare Scheme.(Ministry of Textiles)

6.<span “times=”” new=”” roman”`=””>Pension to Master Craft Persons.(Ministry of Textiles)

7.<span “times=”” new=”” roman”`=””>National Scheme for Welfare of Fishermen and Training and Extension.(Department of Animal Husbandry, Dairying & Fisheries)

8.<span “times=”” new=”” roman”`=””>Janshree Bima Yojana and Aam Admi Bima Yojana.(Department of Financial Services).

9.<span “times=”” new=”” roman”`=””>Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana.(Ministry of Labour and Employment)

The Minister said, as a social security measure for workers in the unorganised sector,  ‘Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana’ was launched on 1st October, 2007 to provide smart card based cashless health insurance cover of Rs. 30,000/- per annum to BPL families (a unit of five) in the unorganized sector.  The scheme became operational from 01.04.2008.   The premium is shared between Centre and State Government in the ratio of 75:25.  In case of States of North East Region and Jammu & Kashmir, the premium is shared in the ratio of 90:10. The definition of BPL is the one prescribed by the Planning Commission. The Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) is currently active in 26 States and Union Territories covering 3, 85, 15,411 families.

He said that, it is the endeavour of the Government to extend Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) to all unorganised workers in a phased manner. During the course of implementation, apart from BPL families, RSBY coverage has been extended to various other categories of unorganised workers viz. Building & Other Construction Workers, licensed Railway porters, Street Vendors, MGNREGA Workers (who have worked for more than fifteen days during preceding financial year), Beedi Workers, Domestic Workers, Sanitation Workers, Mine Workers, Rickshaw Pullers, Rag Pickers and Auto/Taxi drivers.

He said that at present there is no scheme to register all workers in the unorganised sector.

The Minister informed that International Labour Organization is the specialized agency of UN mandated to formulate international labour standards. These labour standards are prescribed in the form of binding and non-binding instruments known as Conventions and Recommendations. ILO Conventions are international labour instruments or treaties, which on ratification create legally binding obligations upon the States to ensure that the national legal framework is in conformity with the provisions of the convention.

He said that ratification of an ILO Convention is a voluntary process. In India, we follow an elaborate process of ratification. We ratify an ILO Convention only when the national laws and practices are brought fully into conformity with the provisions of the Convention in question. After adoption of an ILO instrument in International Labour Conference, the member country has to place it before the competent authority for information as required under Article 19 of ILO Constitution.  Thereafter, a detailed examination of the possibility and feasibility of ratifying an ILO convention in the context of our existing legal framework is undertaken through consultation with concerned ministries and other stakeholders. Once Concurrence is obtained on the ratification issue, a Cabinet Note on the Convention in question is prepared by MOLE. On approval of the cabinet note, a statement is placed before the parliament and the same is communicated to ILO for information. Once an ILO Convention is ratified, we are obliged to provide periodic report regarding the application of the conventions under Article 22 of ILO Constitution.

The Minister said that India has so far ratified 43 conventions of ILO includes four core or fundamental human rights Conventions like Forced Labour Convention (C-29), Equal Remuneration Convention (C-100), Abolition of Forced Labour Convention (C-105) and Discrimination (Employment & Occupation) Convention (C-111).Ministry of Labour & Employment conducts regular meeting of Committee on Convention (CoC), a tripartite working body to explore the possibility of ratification of ILO Conventions. We are alsoinregular consultation with other social partners & stake holders to obtain a consensus for enacting new laws or bringing about changes in the existing laws to bring it in conformity with ILO convention.

He said that India has also actively supported  the adoption of Social Protection Floors Recommendation (R-202) in 101stSession of the International Labour Conference held in Geneva in June, 2012 adopted  to protect the rights and welfare of all workers including unorganised sector.

He said that EPFO is in the process of initiating allotment of Universal Account Number to the contributing members covered under Employees’ Provident Funds & Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952.