The central government has taken a significant step towards ensuring fair wages for workers by implementing the minimum wages act, 1948. This act is applicable to both the public and private sectors and empowers central and state governments to regularly review and revise the minimum wage rates. However, the specific provisions related to minimum wages in the code on wages act, 2019, are yet to be put into effect.
In recognition of the challenges faced by unorganised workers, the government introduced the unorganised workers social security act (UWSS), 2008. The main aim of this act is to provide social security benefits to such workers through well-designed welfare schemes. These schemes cover essential aspects like life and disability cover, health benefits, maternity support, and old age protection. The central government plays a vital role in determining the scope and benefits of these welfare schemes.
To cater to the needs of life and disability cover, two schemes were launched: Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY) and Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY). PMJJBY offers a risk coverage of Rs. 2 lakh for death, and PMSBY covers accidental death or total permanent disability, providing a risk coverage of Rs. 2 lakh, as well as partial permanent disability with Rs. 1 lakh. The annual premiums for these schemes are kept nominal to make them accessible to all.
For the elderly population, the government introduced the Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maan-Dhan (PM-SYM) pension scheme, which provides a monthly pension of Rs. 3000 for workers aged 60 and above. This initiative benefits unorganised workers with a monthly income of up to Rs. 15000.
To streamline the process and ensure easy access to these welfare schemes, the government launched the e-shram portal in August 2021. This online platform aims to create a comprehensive national database of unorganised workers, facilitating a smoother delivery of social security benefits. The overwhelming response is evident from the registration of over 28.99 crore workers on the portal.