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Politics Overpowering Welfare

An analysis of the Unorganised Workers' Social Security Act 2008 shows its distance from the original National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector proposal. Passed as a measure of political expediency ahead of the 2009 general elections, the legislation creates few timelines or compulsions for central and state governments to provide for unorganised workers. Current schemes included in the Act's ambit focus only on below poverty line workers, threatening to leave out a large swathe of this vulnerable workforce.

COMMENTARY

Politics Overpowering Welfare

Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Act 2008

Tina Dutta, Parthapratim Pal

for particular types of work, employment relationships, sizes and establishments. Only a handful are applicable universally or cover a broader swathe of the workforce. Thus, there is grave need for laws to ensure “comprehensive protection” to informal workers. Besides the dearth of legal machinery exclusively for unorganised workers, the implementation of

An analysis of the Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Act 2008 shows its distance from the original National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector proposal. Passed as a measure of political expediency ahead of the 2009 general elections, the legislation creates few timelines or compulsions for central and state governments to provide for unorganised workers. Current schemes included in the Act’s ambit focus only on below poverty line workers, threatening to leave out a large swathe of this vulnerable workforce.

Tina Dutta (tinad09@iimcal.ac.in) and Parthapratim Pal (parthapal@iimcal.ac.in) are at the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta.

T
he Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Act (UWSSA) 2008 was publicised as a grand initiative by the incumbent government to bring the hitherto neglected unorganised workers into the mainstream of Indian economy through provision of social security benefits almost at par with organised sector workers. But a deeper analysis of the UWSSA unmasks a game of politics rather than a move towards welfare. The UWSSA is too loose to serve any benefits of the target population, and too weak to not be manipulated by central and state governments trying to avoid their responsibilities. In fact, unlike other important welfare acts such as the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (mgnREGA), the UWSSA in effect makes none of the promises to the beneficiaries that it has claimed.

This analysis broadly reviews the Social Security Bill 2006 submitted by the National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector (NCEUS), critically details the UWSSA as it took shape, and notes reactions to the legislation and the present status.

Proposal to Act

A report on Social Security for Unorganised Workers (NCEUS 2006) and Conditions of Work and Promotion of Livelihood in the Unorganised Sector (NCEUS 2007) were presented by the NCEUS in 2006-07. These documents recognised the livelihood problems of nearly 92% of India’s total workforce as a national problem. The focus was on the existing disparity between the organised and unorganised sector workers with respect to minimum wages, social security benefits and decent working conditions.

The NCEUS report on conditions of work for unorganised sector workers argues that most labour laws in India are applicable

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existing piecemeal laws such as the Minimum Wages Act 1948, Equal Remuneration Act 1976 and so on has been utterly disappointing.

Owing to the long-standing need for strong legislation to support unorganised workers, the NCEUS recommended several measures to ensure “minimum conditions of work”, including “national minimum s ocial security benefits” to hitherto deprived and marginalised unorganised workers.1 A five-year timeline and a federal organisational model were proposed, with the State Social Security and Welfare Board handling the responsibilities of implement ation with the a ssistance of the Worker’s Facilitation Centre, and supervision of National Social Security and Welfare Board. A 13-point action plan to cover both agricultural sector (the marginal and small farmers) and non-agricultural sector and its workers was also envisaged.

While there was consensus on the need for concerted effort regarding social security for unorganised workers, some commentators recommended extension of the various ongoing social security schemes instead of legislation (Jose 2006). Others raised grave doubts about India’s capability to go on to such an ambitious path (O’Keefe and Palacios 2006: 3483), given its present levels of “income, urbanisation and institutional capacity”. Rao et al also emphasised the absence of “viable enterprises”, “poverty alleviation programmes” and “congenial macro policies” and claimed that social security is a matter of “putting the cart before non-existent horse” (2006: 3488).

The logic behind differentiating unorganised workers between below poverty line (BPL) and above poverty line (APL) was to exploit the beneficiaries’ potential to contribute for their social security benefits to the fullest extent. For example, the proposal suggested a user-contributory social security scheme for APL unorganised

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workers. The proposal was criticised for not giving due attention to India’s unpaid women workers’ social security needs (Neetha 2006). However, given that identification and quantification of women’s work in India is very difficult, a nascent social security bill may not have been well equipped to deal with these complex issues immediately.

However, an overall analysis of the proposal made it clear that the proposal’s objectives were relevant, needed and much awaited, though limited institutional capacity was the major hurdle in the path of universal social security.

Based on the proposal, the UWSSA 2008 was unveiled on 30 December. However, the journey from bill to UWSSA was not straightforward. The whole idea of the bill – facilitating a right-based system of social security for unorganised workers – seemed to be lost in the new legislation.

While the social security proposal attracted considerable scholarly attention, the UWSSA received little scholarly attention after it came into effect in May 2009, with the exception of a commentary (Goswami 2009) in the Economic & Political Weekly and one on the official website of the Communist Party of India (CPI) (Shankar 2009).

The UWSSA promises little and leaves the majority of the provisions to the whims of the central and state governments, putregistration of unorganised workers and issuance of identity cards and so on. However, they are envisaged only as advisory boards with no binding authority on the central and state governments. The boards may be well equipped and well staffed but have no power to compel the government to undertake suggested programmes.

The proposal bestowed substantial responsibility upon the Workers Facilitation Centres (WFCs). However, there are no concrete plans, guidelines or a timeline for setting up of WFCs in the UWSSA (GOI 2008: 6). The UWSSA allows the registration of all the workers aged 14 and above who will give a self-declaration of their unorganised working status. However, it is not clear how the registering authorities will avoid moral hazard.

The Sum of Its Parts

The UWSSA lists all the 10 ongoing social security schemes and six related supporting Acts under its ambit. These schemes are the Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS), National Family Benefit Scheme (NFBS), Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY), Handloom Weavers’ Comprehensive Welfare Scheme (HWCWS), Handicraft Artisans Comprehensive Welfare Scheme (HACWS), Pension to Master Craft Persons (PMCP), National Scheme for Welfare of Fishermen and Training and Extension (NSWFTE), Janashree Bima Yojana (JBY), Aam Aadmi Bima Yojana (AABY) and the Rashtriya Swas thya Bima Yojana (RSBY).

However, many scholars have debated the necessity of the UWSSA when it just pulls together a bunch of existing social security schemes. At the Indian Labour Conference 2009 the trade union representatives criticised the UWSSA for being just an amalgamation of all existing social security schemes with no new benefits.2

A close look at the listed social security schemes shows that some are targeted at specific groups only (such as HWCWS,

Table 1: State-wise Coverage of RSBY Scheme till 29 March 2011

State Number of Districts In Districts with Enrolment
Selected (1) Enrolment Enrolment in Total BPL BPL Families % Coverage
Complete (2) Progress (3) Families (4) Enrolled Till Date (5) (5)/(4)
Andhra Pradesh - - - - - -
Arunachal Pradesh 6 - 6 54,870 15,482 28.21
Assam 5 4 1 4,94,929 2,04,465 41.31
Bihar 37 23 10 92,12,275 50,54,337 54.87
Chandigarh 1 - 1 9,668 4,913 50.82
Chhattisgarh 18 8 8 15,08,002 12,17,829 80.76
Delhi 10 1 - 8,94,650 1,06,979 11.96

ting little compulsion to formulate suitable Goa 2 2 -6,953 -

policies within some definite time limit Gujarat 27 21 5 29,53,347 19,19,086 64.98

(GOI 2008: 2-3). The UWSSA is even weaker when it comes to defining the responsibilities of state government (ibid: 3).

The only strong requirement is the constitution of a National Social Security Board (NSSB) and State Social Security Board (SSSB). However, the timeline for forming these boards is missing. There are fine details given about the composition

Haryana 21 14 7 12,41,785 6,18,043 49.77

Himachal Pradesh 12 12 - 2,92,378 2,37,946 81.38
Jammu and Kashmir - - - - - -
Jharkhand 21 12 9 27,66,539 13,29,254 48.05
Karnataka 6 5 - 3,38,931 1,57,405 46.44
Kerala 14 14 - 23,89,160 17,96,315 75.19
Madhya Pradesh - - - - - -
Maharashtra 31 20 10 38,78,711 15,07,839 38.87
Manipur 1 - 1 27,575 18,259 66.22
Meghalaya 5 1 3 1,17,417 56,925 48.48

and functions of the boards. However, the Mizoram 8 -5 54,273 15,240 28.08

SSSB excludes an important component, Nagaland 4 2 1 50,060 39,290 78.49

i e, the representation of municipal bodies and village panchayats, and local level government machineries in its structure.

These boards will recommend to the concerned governments suitable schemes for unorganised workers, advise in the administration and review schemes formulated by the government, the recordkeeping at state and district levels and the

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Orissa 12 6 -7,04,717 4,33,079 61.45

Punjab 20 9 11 4,36,207 1,93,541 44.37
Rajasthan 4 4 - - - 0
Tamil Nadu 2 2 - 4,54,736 - 0
Tripura 4 4 - 3,03,335 2,58,402 85.19
Uttar Pradesh 71 48 22 1,00,08,699 42,26,353 42.23
Uttarakhand 15 4 9 6,16,590 3,47,737 56.40
West Bengal 19 3 10 51,46,075 35,27,137 68.54
Total 376 219 119 4,39,61,882 2,32,85,856 52.97
Source: http://www.rsby.gov.in/Overview.aspx
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HACWS, PMCP, NSWFTE), and for the BPL category workers within those groups, more specifically. Other schemes with general names (IGNOAPS, NFBS, JSY, JBY, AABY, and RSBY) are also applicable to the BPL categories of unorganised workers only. While the Social Security Bill of 2005 had security provisions for both BPL and APL unorganised workers, the UWSSA has completely neglected the latter. This has hurt those workers who are officially just above the poverty line. Moreover, in the absence of proper legislation and written contracts, even APL unorganised workers are largely exploited in the market.

The original proposal recommended a user-contributory social security system for APL workers, which was reasonable and feasible, but has not been given any space in the final document of the UWSSA. In that respect, the UWSSA is a misnomer since it covers just a fraction of the unorganised workforce.

There are many other aspects of social security left completely untouched by the UWSSA (Shankar 2009; Goswami 2009) (1) agricultural labour unorganised workers in the organised sector such as contract labourers and other informal workers, (2) the provision of minimum conditions of work such as timely wages, working hours, minimum wages, holidays, etc, (3) the provision of unemployment allowance (as is MGNREGA),

(4) grievance redressal mechanisms, and (5) special provisions for women workers regarding sexual harassment, security issues, wage gap, etc.

Most state governments in the 2010 Indian Labour Conference claimed to have initiated the RSBY in their states as

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a stand-in for the UWSSA. Under the RSBY (launched on 1 October 2007), families of two adults and up to three dependants are issued “smart cards” for availing cashless hospitalisation and medication facilities up to Rs 30,000 in a year. Table 1 (p 27) presents the statewise coverage status of the scheme as documented in its official website.4

Up to 29 March 2011, 376 districts had been selected and around 53% BPL families enrolled under the scheme. Among the states, Tripura, Himachal Pradesh and Chhattisgarh lead the race with above 80% coverage; in Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Goa, the scheme has zero coverage. Thus there is large interstate variation in the coverage of the scheme. But a more crucial question is that even if the coverage of the BPL families had been 100%, how many unorganised workers would fall into the category and be able to avail this facility?

Below Poverty Line?

We carried out an exercise to see to what extent the unorganised working population is being covered by these BPL targeted social security schemes. If in a family of five, one or two person(s) work(s) and get(s) the minimum stipulated wages, in how many days would the family cross BPL criteria?

The BPL criteria for the family have been derived for the following two cases (GOI 2009): (1) by doubling individuallevel BPL income, assuming two earning members in the family, and (2) by tripling individual-level income, assuming three earning members in the family. Clearly the latter case lifts the BPL level very high and the poverty ratio at the family level increases substantially. However,

Table 2.1: Calculation of Number of Days of Work for a Family to Cross the BPL Criteria, 2008-09, Rural

States Minimum Wages (Rs Per Day) BPL Criteria 2004-05 (Rs Per Month) for No of Days If in the Family No of Days If in the Family 2006-07* 2008-09# Individual+ Family 2 Family 3 Family 2 One Member Two Members Family 3 One Member Two Members (Two Members (Three Members 2008-09# Works Work 2008-09# Works Work Working) Working)

Andhra Pradesh 58.25 68.71 433.43 866.86 1,300.29 1,121.82 17 9 1,682.73 25 13

Assam 74.35 87.71 478 956 1,434 1,237.18 15 8 1,855.76 22 11

Bihar 81 95.55 433.43 866.86 1,300.29 1,121.82 12 6 1,682.73 18 9

Chhattisgarh 102.27 120.64 398.92 797.84 1,196.76 1,032.50 9 5 1,548.75 13 7

Delhi 142 167.51 541.39 1,082.78 1,624.17 1,401.24 9 5 2,101.87 13 7

Goa 93 109.71 608.76 1,217.52 1,826.28 1,575.61 15 8 2,363.42 22 11

Gujarat 55 64.88 501.58 1,003.16 1,504.74 1,298.21 21 11 1,947.31 31 16

Haryana 138 162.79 529.42 1,058.84 1,588.26 1,370.26 9 5 2,055.40 13 7

Himachal Pradesh 100 117.96 520.4 1,040.8 1,561.2 1,346.92 12 6 2,020.38 18 9

Jammu and Kashmir 66 77.86 522.3 1,044.6 1,566.9 1,351.84 18 9 2,027.75 27 14

Jharkhand 67.72 79.88 404.79 809.58 1,214.37 1,047.69 14 7 1,571.54 20 10

Karnataka 83.02 97.93 417.84 835.68 1,253.52 1,081.47 12 6 1,622.20 17 9

Kerala 97.52 115.04 537.31 1,074.62 1,611.93 1,390.68 13 7 2,086.03 19 10

Madhya Pradesh 93 109.71 408.41 816.82 1,225.23 1,057.06 10 5 1,585.59 15 8

Maharashtra 65 76.68 484.89 969.78 1,454.67 1,255.01 17 9 1,882.51 25 13

Orissa 70 82.57 407.78 815.56 1,223.34 1,055.43 13 7 1,583.15 20 10

Punjab 100.51 118.56 543.51 1,087.02 1,630.53 1,406.73 12 6 2,110.10 18 9

Rajasthan 100 117.96 478 956 1,434 1,237.18 11 6 1,855.76 16 8

Tamil Nadu 74.12 87.43 441.69 883.38 1,325.07 1,143.20 14 7 1,714.80 20 10

Uttar Pradesh 76.31 90.02 435.14 870.28 1,305.42 1,126.24 13 7 1,689.37 19 10

Uttarakhand 72.22 85.19 486.24 972.48 1,458.72 1,258.50 15 8 1,887.76 23 12

West Bengal 74.33 87.68 445.38 890.76 1,336.14 1,152.75 14 7 1,729.12 20 10

India 120 141.55 446.68 893.36 1,340.04 1,156.11 9 5 1,734.17 13 7

Family 2: BPL criteria for families assuming two earning members in the family, Family 3: assuming three earning members in the family. # Figures for 2008-09 are obtained by adjusting the earlier figures with per cent growth rate in all-India annual CPI-RL during that period. The CPI-RL growth rate during 2006-07 to 2008-09 = 17.96% and during 2004-05 to 2008-09 = 29.41%. Source: * indiastat.com + GOI (2009).

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Table 2.2: Calculation of Number of Days of Work for a Family to Cross the BPL Criteria, 2010-11, Urban
States Minimum Wages (Rs Per Day) BPL Criteria 2004-05 (Rs Per Month) for No of Days If in the Family No of Days If in the Family
2006-07* 2010# Individual+ Family 2 Family 3 Family 2 One Member Two Members Family 3 One Member Two Members
(Two Members (Three Members 2010# Works Work 2010# Works Work
Working) Working)
Andhra Pradesh 58.25 83.35 563.16 1,126.32 1,689.48 1,782.04 22 11 2,673.06 33 17
Assam 74.35 106.39 600.03 1,200.06 1,800.09 1,898.71 18 9 2,848.07 27 14
Bihar 81 115.90 526.18 1,052.36 1,578.54 1,665.02 15 8 2,497.53 22 11
Chhattisgarh 102.27 146.34 513.7 1,027.4 1,541.1 1,625.53 12 6 2,438.30 17 9
Delhi 142 203.19 642.47 1,284.94 1,927.41 2,033.01 11 6 3,049.51 16 8
Goa 93 133.07 671.15 1,342.3 2,013.45 2,123.76 16 8 3,185.64 24 12
Gujarat 55 78.70 659.18 1,318.36 1,977.54 2,085.88 27 14 3,128.82 40 20
Haryana 138 197.46 626.41 1,252.82 1,879.23 1,982.19 11 6 2,973.28 16 8
Himachal Pradesh 100 143.09 605.74 1,211.48 1,817.22 1,916.78 14 7 2,875.17 21 11
Jammu and Kashmir 66 94.44 602.89 1,205.78 1,808.67 1,907.76 21 11 2,861.64 31 16
Jharkhand 67.72 96.90 531.35 1,062.7 1,594.05 1,681.38 18 9 2,522.07 27 14
Karnataka 83.02 118.79 588.06 1,176.12 1,764.18 1,860.83 16 8 2,791.25 24 12
Kerala 97.52 139.54 584.7 1,169.4 1,754.1 1,850.20 14 7 2,775.30 20 10
Madhya Pradesh 93 133.07 532.26 1,064.52 1,596.78 1,684.26 13 7 2,526.39 19 10
Maharashtra 65 93.01 631.85 1,263.7 1,895.55 1,999.40 22 11 2,999.10 33 17
Orissa 70 100.16 497.31 994.62 1,491.93 1,573.67 16 8 2,360.50 24 12
Punjab 100.51 143.82 642.51 1,285.02 1,927.53 2,033.13 15 8 3,049.70 22 11
Rajasthan 100 143.09 568.15 1,136.3 1,704.45 1,797.83 13 7 2,696.75 19 10
Tamil Nadu 74.12 106.06 559.77 1,119.54 1,679.31 1,771.31 17 9 2,656.97 26 13
Uttar Pradesh 76.31 109.19 532.12 1,064.24 1,596.36 1,683.82 16 8 2,525.73 24 12
Uttarakhand 72.22 103.34 602.39 1,204.78 1,807.17 1,906.18 19 10 2,859.27 28 14
West Bengal 74.33 106.36 572.51 1,145.02 1,717.53 1,811.63 18 9 2,717.44 26 13
India 120 171.71 578.8 1,157.6 1,736.4 1,831.53 11 6 2,747.30 16 8

Family 2: BPL criteria for families assuming two earning members in the family, Family 3: assuming three earning members in the family. # Figures for 2010 are obtained by adjusting the earlier figures with per cent growth rate in all-India annual CPI-IW during that period.

The CPI-IW growth rate during 2006-07 to 2010-11 = 43.09% and during 2004-05 to 2010-11 = 58.23%.

Source: *indiastat.com + GOI (2009).

this is considered as an extreme case. The figures have been updated using the consumer price index for industrial workers (CPI-IW) for urban areas, and with CPI for rural labourers (CPI-RL) for rural areas. Further to calculate the number of days, two cases are considered: (1) one person in the family is employed, and

(2) two persons are employed and receive the minimum wages for unskilled work.5 The wages for unskilled jobs are the lowest among all types of works and these are used to calculate the maximum number of days of work/employment in a month for crossing the poverty lines. The reference years for rural and urban areas are 2008-09 and 2010-11 respectively, depending on the availability of the data.

Table 2.1 (p 28) shows that in rural areas, at an all-India level, a family crosses the poverty line (in case 1) if one member works for only nine days or two members work for only five days in a month. In case 2, i e, with a relatively high BPL criterion, a family goes above the poverty line in only 13 days if one member is employed and in seven days if two m embers are employed. The calculated

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number of days varies widely across the states. The median number of days comes out to be 13 if one family member works and seven if two family members work under the first case; and 19.5 and 10 under the second case. Thus, even considering the high-level BPL criteria for families, on an average 10-20 days of employment in a month push families outside the poverty line.

Table 2.2 presents similar calculations for urban areas. At all-India level, urban families cross the BPL mark if one family member works for 11 days or two members work for six days under the first case. The corresponding figures are 16 and eight days for the second case. Given the high cost of living in urban areas, more numerous job opportunities and higher wages than in rural areas, it is very unlikely that the sole breadwinner of a family would work for only 16 days and two workers from a family would work for only six to eight days in a month.

In fact to meet their daily expenses, these poor workers work for more days in a month and also engage in part-time jobs and multiple assignments at the

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same time. Thus, they could cross the

o fficial poverty line very easily, but given their large family sizes, socio-economic status and poor access to social sector services, their living conditions remain poor. The calculations demonstrate that the majority of the unorganised workers and their families are deprived of much needed social security facilities just b ecause they lie above the poverty line.

Reaction and the Politics of Welfare

Most unorganised workers battle fears of uncertainty and failure in their daily life. There were large expectations from the social security package, but the legislation turned out to be weak, leading to widespread dissatisfaction. Unorganised workers – construction labourers, sweepers, dhobis, coconut tree-climbers, childcare providers, hand-embroidery artisans, bead makers and small shop vendors – led a demonstration with the Unorganised Workers’ Federation in Chennai in July 2009 (The Hindu 2009). In addition to the gap in coverage of health schemes, another grievance raised by these workers

COMMENTARY

was the issuance of cards by the village administrative officers only to the agricultural labourers in a family and not to other unorganised workers.

In March 2010, a demonstration rally under the banner of Karnataka State Tailors Association (KSTA) in Mangalore (The Hindu 2010a) wanted the UWSSA to include welfare funds for tailors, soft loans for housing, children’s education, healthcare benefits and old-age pension facilities. While making provisions for each specific group of unorganised workers may be difficult, the ambit of the UWSSA could have easily been broadened to include provisions for workers in APL category.

A nationwide bandh called by various trade unions on 7 September 2010, aimed to pressurise the government to extend the benefits of the UWSSA to each and every unorganised worker. The demonstration and strike were fairly supported by organised workers (The Hindu 2010b, c).

Populist Move

What can be expected from a legislation that leaves everything to the whim of the government? In the absence of any timeline, compulsion or penalty, little progress has been made since the enactment of the law. Recently, a National Social Security Fund (NSSF) has been made operational to fund the schemes. Budget 2010-11 declared an allocation of Rs 1,000 crore for financing the schemes, mainly targeting weavers, toddy tappers, rickshaw pullers and bidi workers (Sen 2010). However, the fund amount is minuscule, considering the large number of unorganised workers (around 423 million). According to the Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability, an “allocation of Rs 22,841 crore (i e, 0.39% of GDP as estimated by NCEUS) should have been made in the budget for universal social security coverage” (cited by Sen 2010).

Initiatives at the state level have been very slow. In the conference of the state labour ministers at New Delhi, on 22 January 2010, only seven big states – Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Jharkhand, Haryana, West Bengal, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh

– reported forming the Worker’s Welfare Boards. In April 2010, the Orissa government formed its state social security board (Business Standard 2010). No new schemes seem to be in the pipeline to address the issues suggested by the bill or at least to justify the title of the UWSSA.

A detailed analysis of the UWSSA makes it clear that the government is not at all willing to guarantee any social security benefits to the unorganised workers. Then why hurry up to bring out such an incomplete, unstructured, loose-ended legislation? The answer can be found looking at the context in which the government got the legislation passed. The bill reached the floor during the last phase of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government’s tenure, just before the 15th general elections to the Lok Sabha scheduled for April-May 2009. So just six months before the election, the UPA government hastily declared the UWSSA, undoubtedly, in a political move to lure the votes of the 92% unorganised workforce. Experience tells us that schemes launched primarily to fulfil the requirement of votes and populist agendas, without political will, are difficult to sustain. Rao et al (2006) cite as an example the National Social Security Scheme 2004, hastily launched by the then central government as a pilot project in 50 chosen districts. Though the UWSSA is a constitutional legislation and not a governmental welfare scheme, it needs serious amendment to become more meaningful.

Notes

1 NCEUS (2009: 181) recommends as minimum conditions of work: (1) working day of eight hours including half-hour break, (2) one paid leave per week, (3) extension of Minimum Wages Act 1948 to all the employments, (4) piece-rate wage to time rate wage, (5) equal remuneration to women, (6) penalty for deferred payment of wages, (7) imposition of fines in case of deduction in wages, (8) right to organise, (9) nondiscrimination, (10) accident compensation and use of safety equipment, (11) protection from sexual harassment, and (12) arrangements for child-care and basic amenities at the workplace.

The social security provisions (NCEUS 2009: 181) are: (1) Health benefits including hospitalisation benefit for the worker and his/her family to the tune of Rs 15,000 per year, sickness allowance for 15 days beyond 3 days of hospitalisation at Rs 50 per day, maternity benefit to the extent of Rs 1,000 to the worker/spouse of worker. (2) Life and disability cover for all the unorganised workers to include life and disability insurance to the tune of Rs 30,000 (natural death), Rs 75,000 (accidental death or total permanent disability) and Rs 37,500 (in case of partial permanent disability). (3) Old age security in the form of pension of Rs 200 per month to all BPL workers above the age of 60 years and provident fund for other workers.

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2 Summary Record of Discussions of the 42nd Session of Indian Labour Conference held on 20-21 February 2009 in New Delhi. Last viewed on 26 January 2012: labour.nic.in/lc/42ilc/Re-cordNoteofDiscussions.pdf

3 Summary Record of Discussions of the 43rd Session of Indian Labour Conference held on 23-24 November 2010 in New Delhi, viewed on 15 January 2011: http://labour.nic.in/lc/43ilc/ RecordNoteofDiscussionAmendedbyMOLE.pdf

4 Last viewed on 26 January 2012: http://www. rsby.gov.in/ 5 “Minimum Wages (2006-07)”, v on 1 Ja

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References

Business Standard (2010): “Orissa to Form Social Security Board for Unorganised Workers”, Business Standard, 12 April, viewed on 12 January 2011:http://www.business-standard.com/ india/news/orissa-to-form-social-security-boardfor-unorganised-workers/391581/

GOI (2008): “The Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Act, 2008”, Ministry of Law and Justice, New Delhi.

– (2009): “Report of the Expert Group to Review the Methodology for Estimation of Poverty”, viewed on 30 March 2011, Planning Commission, Government of India: (http://www.planningcommission.gov.in/reports/genrep/rep_pov.pdf)

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  • vol xlviI no 7

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