Press Release

For immediate Issue

 

National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector (NCEUS) releases report on “Comprehensive Legislation for Protection of Unorganised Workers”

 

  Presents two draft bills to safeguard working conditions and introduce a national social security scheme for workers in the unorganized sector

 

  Report is a curtain raiser to the comprehensive landmark report on India’s working poor to be presented to the Prime Minister and publicly released before the end of this month

 

  This report is the first of its kind in the country on the unorganized workers covering both agricultural and non-agricultural sectors

 

New Delhi, 7th July, 2007. The National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector (NCEUS) has presented two Draft Bills on Conditions of Work and Social Security for Unorganised Workers to the Prime Minister. The Bills, along with an explanatory report, were presented by the Chairman of the Commission, Dr. Arjun Sengupta MP. This is a prelude to the presentation of a detailed and comprehensive report before the end of this month analyzing the conditions of work and livelihood promotion issue of the unorganized workers accompanied by a set of recommendations.  This report is the first of its kind in the country on the unorganized workers covering both agricultural and non-agricultural sectors.

 

The Bills prescribe minimum conditions of work and introduction of a minimum social security for both agricultural and non-agricultural unorganized workers.

 

On the minimum conditions of work for all unorganized workers, the Bill’s key recommendations include:

   An eight-hour working day with at least half-hour break

  One paid day of rest

   A statutory national minimum wage for all wage workers and home workers

  Employments specifically done by women to be brought on par with employment certified as being of

    equivalent value

  Penal interest on delayed payment of wages

  No deduction of wages in the form of fines

  Right to organize

  Non-discrimination on the basis of sex, caste and religion, incidences of HIV/AIDS and place of origin

  Adequate safety equipment at the workplace and compensation for accidents

  Protection from sexual harassment, provision of childcare; and provision of basic amenities at the work

   place.

 

On a minimum social security for all unorganized workers, the Bills mandate the Central Government to formulate and notify a National Security Scheme for the agricultural and non-agricultural workers. The total outlay of the scheme proposed to cover all agricultural workers is estimated at Rs. 19,400 crores. Outlay for non-agricultural workers is estimated at Rs. 12,950 crores. The scheme should include package of National Minimum Social Security benefits whose minimum levels are prescribed as follows:

 

o   Hospitalisation benefit for the worker and his/her family to the tune of Rs. 15,000 per year

o   Sickness allowance for 15 days beyond 3 days of hospitalization @ Rs. 50 per day

o   Maternity benefit to the extent of Rs. 1,000 to the worker/spouse of worker

 

o   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 (incase of partial permanent disability)

 

           Old age security in the form of

o        Pension of Rs. 200 per month to all BPL workers above the age of 60 years

o        Provident Fund for other workers 

 

The scheme is to be implemented within a period of five years.  The organizational model is federal where the implementation will be the responsibility of the State Social Security and Welfare Board with the assistance of the Workers’ Facilitation Centre at the grass root level, supervised and monitored by the National Social Security and Welfare Board.

 

Commenting on the Bills, Dr. Arjun Sengupta, Chairman, NCEUS said, “The unorganized sector employs as much as 86% of the total workforce in the Indian Economy. The Commission’s landmark legislative recommendations have a potential to improve the quality of life of more than 340 million of the most marginalized and vulnerable working poor of India.”

 

The Commission has also carefully considered and prescribed a tripartite, conciliation focused, dispute resolution machinery, which in its view is likely to be more effective than the implementation machinery for the few existing laws that are in force for workers in the unorganized sector.

 

The Commission has deliberately proposed two separate and comprehensive bills for Agricultural and Non-Agricultural workers, subsequent to its consultations with Central Trade Unions and other representative organisations. The consultations have unequivocally favoured two separate Bills keeping in view the distinct nature of problems faced by the two sectors and this is also in consonance with the view from the National Common Minimum Programme of the present Government.

 

In incorporating the social security aspect in both the bills, the Commission is also following the consensus arrived on the issue by the Second National Commission on Labour.

 

For further information, please contact:

Mahesh Kumar, Director, National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector,
Tel: (011) 23701063, e-mail: mknceus@yahoo.co.in