Security to Become a Right
August 22, 2008
The Union Cabinet today approved the Unorganized Sector Workers’ Social Security Bill, 2008, incorporating one of the key recommendations of the paliamentary standing committee — making social security a legislated right.
The Bill will facilitate formulation of social security schemes and make provident fund a legislated right for workers in the unorganised sector. However, the Bill winks at the demand for creating a national social security fund.
Accepting the committee’s demand, the labour ministry has made a key change in the original draft so that “the government will not be able to exclude any of the listed schemes. It can only rationalise and amend them”, Labour Minister Oscar Fernandes said in a communication to committee chairman Sudhakar Reddy.
The labour minister had been holding talks with Reddy to sort out the differences with the committee. The Bill has been pending in the Rajya Sabha.
The Bill, as it would be introduced in Parliament, will list clearly the resources meant for each of the schemes.
The Bill provides for pension for the aged, health insurance for the entire family, maternity benefits, and insurance to cover death due to accidents.
Anyone in the unorganised sector can claim these benefits after getting registered with the boards that will be set up to facilitate the implementation of these schemes. The ministry has also agreed to clearly define the powers of the national and state advisory boards to be set up to design the schemes.
Reddy said he was not very happy as the Bill did not provide for a national fund.
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