Parliamentary approval was on Wednesday accorded to a bill that aims to extend social security cover and other benefits to nearly 95 per cent of the country's workforce that is said to be in the unorganised sector.
The Unorganised Workers Social Security Bill, 2008 was passed by the Lok Sabha. The Rajya Sabha had passed the bill in October.
The bill calls for the Government to notify social security schemes in some 10 areas covering general and health insurance, pension, old age protection and maternity insurance, apart from welfare schemes for artisans and weavers.
It also provides for states to notify schemes for unorganised workers covering provident fund, injury benefit, housing, education, skills upgrade, funeral assistance and old age homes.
On the operative side, the bill provides for a 36-member National Social Security Board to be chaired by the labour minister, with representatives from the employees and employers from the unorganised sector, civil society, government and states.
The board will, among other issues, recommend social security schemes, monitor the programmes and review the progress in issuing identity cards to unorganised workers.