Union Labour Minister Mallikarjun Kharge agreed on Sunday to amend an act for providing social security to unorganised sector workers after a senior Supreme Court judge pointed out lacunae in the legislation.
Justice SB Sinha, the third senior most judge of the apex court, at a seminar in New Delhi criticised the Unorganised Labour Social Security Act, 2008 on many counts.
"The special problems of migrant workers, specially interstate migrants among unorganised workers and the problems of their security have totally been ignored in the law," said Justice Sinha.
The criticism prompted the labour minister to say he would correct the law "at the earliest".
"Even the constitution has been amended so many times. There is no problem in amending this small parliamentary legislation to remove lacunae pointed out by Justice Sinha," Kharge said.
"I promise to initiate steps to amend the law at the earliest," said the minister, who was also present at the seminar organised by the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA).
Justice Sinha said, "Though the law provides for funding of various schemes, notified by the government for a semblance of social security to the unorganised sector workers, it fails to establish any committed fund for financing of the schemes and leaves it on the central government to decide the matter.
"It does not have any separate administrative machinery or a statutory mechanism for implementation of the law," said Sinha.
"The law effectively narrows down the concept of social security to 10 paltry welfare schemes, while most of those schemes like old age pension, maternity benefits or even the Bima Yojna (insurance scheme) for that matter, are already existing and there is nothing new in them," said Justice Sinha.
"Livelihood rights contingencies are not included within the schemes, while unpaid women workers and unpaid family members have not been included within the ambit of the law."
Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan said: "Migrants workers are in dire need to be brought under a social security regime."
Emphasizing the need for a strong social security law in the country, the chief justice said: "Having effective social security law is the only way to rid the country of internal terrorism."