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The concept of Labour Welfare emphasises on skill formation and development, strengthening and modernisation of employment service, promotion of industrial and mines safety, workers' education, promotion of self-employment, rehabilitation of bonded labour, enforcement of labour laws especially those relating to unorganised labour and women and child labour, promotion of a healthy industrial relations situation and encouragement of workers' participation in management. Improvement in the quality of labour, productivity, skills and working conditions and provision of welfare and social security measures, especially of those working in the unorganised sector are crucial elements of the strategy for labour welfare.
There are Institutional mechanisms which ensure a minimum level of social security benefits the workers in the organised sector of the economy. However, workers in the unorganised sector who constitute 90 per cent of the total workforce do not have access to such benefits. Steps need to be taken on a larger scale than before to improve the quality of working life of the unorganised workers, including women workers. The unorganized workers doesnot have the benefit of the social security cover provided to the workers in the organized sector through a legal framework and institutional infrastructure created under the Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948 and the Employees Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952.
Due to the nature of employment it has not been possible to extend to them the benefits of a contribution oriented or employers’ liability oriented social security scheme enjoyed by their counterparts in the organized sector, except to a small section of beedi workers and that too on a limited scale in respect of provident fund and Employees State Insurance Corporation Schemes. The recently introduced Unorganised Sector Workers’ Social Security Bill, 2007 holds great expectation for the unorganised workers. The prime objectives concerning social and economic policy of the Government is improvement of labour welfare and increasing productivity with reasonable level of social security. . In 1999 the Workmen Compensation Act has been revised to benefit the workers and their families in the case of death/disability. The labour laws enforcement machinery in the States and at the Centre are working to amend the laws which require changes, revise rules, regulations orders and notifications.
Various plan schemes of the Ministry of Labour aim at achievement of welfare and social security of the working class. Plan initiatives in the Labour & Labour Welfare Sector are as under:
The National Employment Service covers all the States and Union Territories except Sikkim, and functions within the framework of the Employment Exchanges (compulsory notification of vacancies) Act 1959. It has a network of 953 Employment Exchanges as on 30.6.99.
- Training for skill development
- Services to job seekers
- Welfare of labour
- Administration of labour regulations
The Employees Pension Scheme, 1995 was amended in February, 1999 to provide for pension to dependent father/mother in respect of a deceased member, who has no eligible family members and if no nomination was executed by him during his life time.
For workers of poor families not covered under any insurance scheme or any law the Central Government has introduced a scheme of Personal Accident Insurance Social Security Scheme. The Scheme is applicable to all persons in the age group of 18-55 who are earning members of poor families and meet with fatal accidents. The quantum of benefit is Rs.3,000. The Scheme is implemented through the General Insurance Corporation.
A new initiative has been taken by the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperation by providing insurance cover to unorganised labour working in construction industry, agriculture fields and forests where the insurance cover will be provided through the Co-operatives on basis through the national insurance cover and Labour Co-operatives. A premium of Rs.5.25 per annum will be paid by the Co-operatives. The insurance cover has the provision that in the case of death of a labourer, his family will be paid Rs.25,000.