The Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Act came into force in 2008 and it aims to protect unorganised workers across the country. It mandates the central/state government to implement national social security scheme to protect the marginalised communities working in the unorganised sector to be able to meet their basic needs.
Section 2(m) outlines the definition of the term ‘unorganised worker’, which includes any home-based worker, self-employed worker, or wage worker in the unorganised sector. An unorganised sector is defined as an enterprise owned by an individual or a self-employed worker who is engaged production/ selling of goods or services. Also, such an enterprise should employ not more than 10 employees. In addition, the Act covers those workers who do not fall within the remit of any of the following Acts (as mentioned in Schedule II):
- The Workmen’s Compensation Act, 1923
- The Industrial Disputes Act, 1947
- The Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948
- The Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952
- The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961
- The Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972
Section 3 of the Act provides for formulation of social security schemes by Union Government for unorganized workers on matters relating to: (a) life and disability cover; (b) health and maternity benefit; (c) old age protection; and, (d) any other scheme the Government may wish to introduce. It also provides for formulation of scheme by State Governments on matter relating to: (a) provident fund; (b) employment injury benefit; (c) housing; (d) educational scheme for children; (e) skill up
Section 3(2) and 3(4) of the Act provides for incorporation of the following 10 major social welfare schemes of the Union Government under this Act:
- Indira Gandhi national Old Age Pension Scheme,
- National Family Benefit Scheme,
- Janani Suraksha Yojana,
- Handloom Weavers’ Comprehensive Welfare Scheme,
- Handicraft Artisans’ Comprehensive Welfare Scheme,
- Pension to Master craft persons,
- National Scheme for Welfare of Fishermen and Training and Extension,
- Janshree Bima Yojana
- Aam Admi Bima Yojana
- Rashtriya Swasthiya Bima Yojana
Section 5 of the Act provides for establishing National Social Security Board under chairpersonship of the Union Labour and Employment Minister with Director General (Labour Welfare) as Member-
Section 5(8) of the Act provides for functions of the National Social Security Board. It includes: (a) Policy recommendation to central government on issues of unorganized workers; (b) advising government on administrative issue arising out of the implementation of the Act; (c) monitor schemes implemented by the government; and, (d) review of functions performed at state level, such as registration of workers, issuing identity cards to them and other record keeping systems.
Section 6(8) of the Act lays down the functions of the State Social Security Board. It includes: (a) policy recommendation to state government on issues of unorganized workers; (b) advising government on administrative issues arising out of the implementation of the Act; (c) monitoring schemes implemented by the Government; and, (d) review of functions performed at district level, such as registration of workers, issuing identity cards to them and other record keeping systems.
Section 9 of the Act provides for setting up