The objective is to embrace the large number of workers in the organised and unorganised sectors who are currently not under the social security net.
The Central Government is going to roll out a ‘social security’ plan for all workers in the country. It intends to extend health insurance, life insurance and provident fund facilities to all workers, whether in the organised or unorganised sector.
The Labour Ministry has proposed to roll out unique identity numbers to all unorganised-sector workers from April 2018 and link them with their Aadhaar numbers. This number is similar to the numbers issued by the Central Provident Fund Organisation, for the employees.
Linking the unique identity number with the Aadhaar will help reduce leakage and duplication of identity. This will also facilitate a move towards the Universal Social Security Code Bill, wherein the government hopes to consolidate the existing social security acts, such as the EPF Act and Employees’ State Insurance Act.
This will not only help extend the formal social safety net to the entire workforce in the country, but also help formalise the economy further.
Speaking about the plan, M. Sathiyavathy, secretary-labour & employment, Govt of India said “The aim is, social security to all. If a segment of the 475 million workforce is already getting social security benefits, we are striving to cover the rest of the working community”.
The organised sectors have seen an increase in the number of workers added in the Social Security Scheme. In 2017, 25 million workers were added under the scheme, because of strict government regulations.
The workers in the unorganised sector will be allotted unique identity numbers from the next financial year. The Standing Finance Committee at the Centre has approved the unique identity plan for the unorganised-sector workers, which comprises about 90 per cent of the total workforce.
The Government at the Centre is planning to include states in the social security plan and the Labour Ministry has already met with the state governments. Expectation is that both the Centre and the State will contribute towards the corpus to fund the insurance and PF benefits. They have been discussing the threshold salary for contributing towards the corpus.
Workers getting salary greater than the threshold will be required to contribute a certain amount to avail the benefits.
The secretary of labour and employment, said “The initiative, for the first time, will have complete data on the Indian workforce; tell us about the job creation picture more reliably; and offer retirement benefits to a large number of workers, who are far out of the social security net”.