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Social Security Bill draft finalised

Aarti Dhar

It offers health insurance, maternity and old age benefits for the unorganised sector


  • The Act will be executed through a Central social security authority
  • Workers should register themselves to get a social security number
  • It will be implemented through worker facilitation centres

    NEW DELHI: The National Advisory Council, chaired by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, on Saturday finalised draft social security legislation for unorganised sector workers that will benefit about 30 crore workers not covered under labour laws. The draft Bill redefines workers to bring self-employed, casual, contract and home-based workers under its purview. It offers health insurance, maternity benefit, old age benefit, integrated insurance scheme and even schemes for conservation of natural resources on which workers depend for livelihood.

    Once passed in Parliament, the Act will be executed through a Central social security authority that will have a supervisory board. The proposed Bill empowers the Government to levy a cess or an appropriate tax, or even create an appropriate mechanism for collection of contribution from individual employers (or contractors).

    The proposed legislation seeks to create a participatory structure that builds on already existing civil society, government and semi-government organisations which have a good record and the benefits will be extended to children's education, housing and skill development, once the scheme gets going and adequate funds flow in. The Act will be implemented through worker facilitation centres in every village and mohalla. Workers will have to get registered for receiving the social security number for which he will be required to pay a nominal sum. Upon registration, every worker will be entitled to floor level scheme to be funded by the Centre directly, through cess, contribution or any other means, including donations.

    The centres will be managed and run by a network of facilitating agencies which will be reputed organisations that work directly with the unorganised sector such as cooperative societies, self-help groups, trade unions, welfare boards and even panchayats. The draft will be forwarded to the Labour and Employment Ministry. The NAC also discussed judicial reforms, including setting up of fast track courts, local courts and an All-India Judicial Service, whose creation will be recommended to the Government.

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