Labour of love: e-shram to finally see light of day
For the first time, the country will have a database of unorganised workers. The e-shram portal will be launched by Labour Minister Bhupender Yadav on Thursday to integrate social welfare schemes for these workers in coordination with states and trade unions.
The government aims to register all workers in the unorganised sector on this portal, said officials. There are varying estimates on the number of unorganised workers.
According to the Economic Survey (2018-19), 93 per cent of the total workforce in India is in the unorganised sector.
According to an estimate, the total workforce in the country is 450 million. Of this, 93 per cent comes at 418.5 million.
These workers comprise the migrant labourers, street vendors, and domestic workers. The portal will also have a database on gig and platform workers. For this purpose, the labour minister had launched the logo of the portal on Tuesday.
From Thursday itself, workers from the unorganised sector can begin registering. The same day, a national toll-free number (14434) will be launched to assist and address queries of workers seeking registration on the portal, said officials.
As part of the process, the workers will be issued an e-shram card containing a 12-digit unique number. A worker can register using his Aadhaar number and bank account details, apart from filling out other necessary details like date of birth, home town, mobile number, and social category.
The whole project is aimed at integrating social security schemes of the government.
The details of the workers will also be shared by state governments and departments.
The registration of workers on the portal will be coordinated by the Union labour ministry, state governments, and trade unions.
The labour minister on Tuesday reached out to all trade unions to mobilise support and awareness about the portal among workers. Awareness campaigns would be planned across the country to enable nationwide registration of workers.
Workers in the unorganised sector don't get minimum wages. A few social welfare schemes do cater to them currently. For instance, a worker in the unorganised sector gets a yearly pension of ~36,000 under the Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Mandhan Yojana by just depositing ~2 per day.
Earlier in June, the Supreme Court had questioned the delay in creating a national database of unorganised workers.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had told the Bench that there were some problems with the software. Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati had said the database is not only a software but also a mechanism where beneficiaries are recognised.
The government said the National Informatics Centre had taken over the project and it would be done in three to four months.
It was alleged that the states had set up their own portals but had not been able to link with the national portal since the same was not yet ready.
The Code on Social Security, 2020, has for the very first time extended social security benefits like maternity leave, disability insurance, gratuity, health insurance, and old-age protection to workers in the country’s booming unorganised sector. These include gig workers, platform workers, contract workers, freelancers, and home-based workers. However, the code is yet to be implemented.
It stipulates the gratuity benefits to fixed-term employees without any conditions on minimum service. The code proposes the creation of a social security fund for extending these benefits to workers in the unorganised sector.