New Delhi: The much-delayed legislation to provide social security to unorganised sector workers might take some more time as the Group of Ministers (GoM) is still examining various aspects of the proposed measures.
The GoM, which was reconvened by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, has held one round of meeting and another round was on the cards in the next few days, Labour Minister Oscar Fernandes told reporters on 6 August.
However, he sounded confident that the bill would be introduced in the forthcoming Monsoon Session of Parliament beginning on 10 August. “We are committed to introduce this bill in this session of Parliament.”
The Centre took the GoM route after Leftist unions raised a hue and cry over the move to set up a board to suggest ways to provide security to the workers.
“But now we have decided to weave the recommendations of the GoM into the draft bill rather than constitute a board so that in the first go we can do whatever we can for the workers,” he said.
The Cabinet in May had approved a legislation to provide social security to workers in the unorganised sector and had decided to set up a National Advisory Board to design welfare schemes for these workers who constitute over 90% of the 40 crore workforce.
Though the Government had announced that the bill would be tabled on the first day of the Monsoon Session, Ministry sources said it might take some time to incorporate the recommendations of the GoM.
Asked about the financial burden of the measure, Fernandes said it would all depend on the recommendations of the GoM.
The schemes are likely to include provisions for life and disability cover, health benefits, old age protection and pension to beedi workers, weavers, mine workers, cine workers, rickshaw pullers, domestic help, construction workers and vendors.
The bill would enable the Centre to notify welfare schemes from time to time, the minister said, adding that all unorganised sector workers would be registered and provided with social security numbers.
As per the 1999-2000 survey by the National Sample Survey Organisation, the total employment in both organised and unorganised sectors was 39.7 crore, of which 36.9 crore workers were in the unorganised sector.
Of this, 23.7 crore were involved in the agricultural sector and 1.7 crore in the construction sector, it had estimated. The remaining were engaged in mining, manufacturing and service sectors.
On account of their unorganised nature, these workers have not been get adequate social security and welfare.
Some state governments were also carrying out welfare schemes for certain categories of unorganised workers, Ministry sources added.