Over 43.3 crore workers in the unorganised sector would soon get life and disability insurance cover, health protection and old age security, a promise made in the National Common Minimum Programme (NCMP) of the UPA government.
Country’s first social security scheme would have a legislative backing, a cabinet note of the Ministry of Labour and Employment states. The Cabinet would soon consider Unorganised Sector Workers’ Social Security Bill, 2007.
The government would set up a national and a state level advisory boards to frame policies to notify welfare schemes for the unorganised sector. "Comprehensive schemes in core areas identified by the Group of Ministers would be the first priority of the boards," a senior government official said.
The boards will also formulate schemes for injury benefit, housing, education for the workers’ children, worker’s skill up-gradation, their children’s marriage and old age homes. The funds to run the schemes will either be shared by the Central or the state government or borne individually by any of the governments.
The full-fledged offices of the boards will function through district panchayats in rural areas and urban local bodies in urban areas, the bill states.
Workers earning less than Rs 6,500 in the agriculture sector, in poultry and fishing and employed in unincorporated firms of less than 10 workers and more than 18 years of age will be eligible for registration for the national social security schemes. To earn benefit from the schemes, the registered person will have to regularly make payment of his or her contribution.
Each registered worker will get a smart card with a unique identification number entitling him to the schemes implemented by the advisory boards.