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is the universal human need for reassurance and support in times of unemployment, illness, disability, death and old age and social security ensures such support. The government is expected to fulfill the primary responsibility for developing appropriate systems for providing protection and assistance to its workforce and their families. Public support systems for social security in India have gained prominence over traditional family support in tune with the trends of urbanization and work place migrations. The dependence on social security varies as per the need and income status.
Following are the enacted social security laws in India:
The matters concerning Social Security are listed in the Directive Principles of State Policy and the subjects in the Concurrent List. The following social security issues are mentioned in the Concurrent List (List III in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India) –
- The Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948
- The Employees’ Provident Funds & Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952 (Separate provident fund legislations exist for workers employed in Coal mines and tea plantations in the state of Assam and for seamen).
- The Workmen’s Compensation Act, 1923
- The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961
- The Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972
Item No. 23: Social Security and insurance, employment and unemployment.
Item No. 24: Welfare of Labour including conditions of work, provident funds, employers’ liability, workmen’s compensation, invalidity and old age pension and maternity benefits.
Part IV Directive Principles of State Policy
Article 41 guarantees right to work, to education and to public assistance. In certain cases the State shall, within the limits of its economic capacity and development, make effective provision for securing the right to work, to education and to public assistance in cases of unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement and in other cases of undeserved want.
Article 42 provides for just and humane conditions of work and maternity relief.The State shall make provision for securing just and humane conditions of work and for maternity relief.
In the Organized Sector social security is provided through five Central Acts, namely, the ESI Act, the EPF & MP Act, the Workmens’ Compensation Act, the Maternity Benefit Act, and the Payment of Gratuity Act. In addition, there are a large number of welfare funds for certain specified segments of workers such as beedi workers, cine workers, construction workers etc. On the other hand, the workers in the unorganized sector suffer from the lack of labour law coverage, seasonal and temporary nature of occupations, high labour mobility, dispersed functioning of operations, casualization of labour, lack of organizational support, low bargaining power, etc. which make them vulnerable to socio-economic hardships.