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SC on Complete registration of unorganized workers

Context:

The Supreme Court asked the Centre and states to complete the registration of unorganised workers, who had to return to their native villages after the Covid-induced national lockdown last year, “as early as possible” so that they “are able to reap the benefit of different” welfare schemes.

Relevance:

GS-III: Indian Economy (Growth and Development of Indian Economy, Employment), GS-II: Social Justice (Issues related to Poverty, Government Policies & Interventions)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Migrants in India
  2. Causes of internal migration in India
  3. Types of informal employment in India:
  4. SC’s observations on need of registration of unorganized workers
  5. Code on Social Security Bill, 2020:
  6. Way Forwards to improve the condition of unorganized sector workers

Migrants in India

What is Migration?

Human migration involves the movement of people from one place to another with intentions of settling, permanently or temporarily, at a new location (geographic region).

Migrants in India

  • The Census defines a migrant as a person residing in a place other than his/her place of birth (Place of Birth definition) or one who has changed his/ her usual place of residence to another place (change in usual place of residence or UPR definition).
  • The number of internal migrants in India was 450 million as per the most recent 2011 census.
  • Seasonal Migrants: Economic Survey of India 2017 estimates that there are 139 million seasonal or circular migrants in the country.

Causes of internal migration in India

  1. Unemployment in hinterland: An increasing number of people do not find sufficient economic opportunities in rural areas and move instead to towns and cities.
  2. Marriage: It is a common driver of internal migration in India, especially among women.
  3. Pull-factor from cities: Due to better employment opportunities, livelihood facilities etc cities of Mumbai, Delhi, and Kolkata are the largest destinations for internal migrants in India.

Types of informal employment in India:

The Indian Economy is characterized by the existence of a vast majority of informal or unorganized labour employment. The Ministry of Labour, Government of India, has categorized the unorganized labour force under 4 groups in terms of Occupation, nature of employment, especially distressed categories and service categories.

  1. In terms of Occupation: Small and marginal farmers, landless agricultural laborers, share croppers, those engaged in animal husbandry etc. come under this category.
  2. In terms of Nature of Employment: Attached agricultural labourers, bonded labourers, migrant workers, contract and casual labourers come under this.
  3. In terms of Specially distressed categories: Toddy tappers, scavenger, Carriers of head loads, Drivers of animal driven vehicles, Loaders and unloaders come under this category.
  4. In terms of Specially distressed categories: Toddy tappers, scavenger, Carriers of head loads, Drivers of animal driven vehicles, Loaders and unloaders come under this category.

SC’s observations on need of registration of unorganized workers

  • The Supreme Court has asked states and Union territories to keep a record of the returning migrant labourers, including details about their skills, place of their earlier employment, etc so that the administration can extend necessary help to them.
  • The SC said that there should be a common national database for all organised workers situated in different states.
  • The SC highlighted that the process initiated by the Ministry of Labour and Employment for creating a National Database for Unorganised Workers should be completed with collaboration and coordination of the States. It may serve registration for extending different schemes by the States and Center.
  • The SC also said that there should be a suitable mechanism to monitor and supervise whether the benefits of the welfare schemes reach the beneficiaries which may be from grassroot levels to higher authorities with names and places of beneficiaries.
  • In addition, the stranded migrant workers throughout the country should be provided dry ration under the AtmaNirbhar Bharat Scheme or any other scheme found suitable by the Centre and the states.

Code on Social Security Bill, 2020:

Click Here to read about the Code on Social Security Bill, 2020

Way Forwards to improve the condition of unorganized sector workers

  • Credit facilities to be made available to make initial investment and for further expansion for the informal workers.
  • The government should evolve a mechanism to listen to the grievances and the grievances should be redressed periodically to the informal labours.
  • More importance must be given to the female in family also to improve the status of female agricultural labours.
  • Normally women agricultural labourers receive lower wage than the men even in doing identical jobs, although there is constitutional backing in the form of equal wage for equal work. The Government must effectively enforce the concerned Act.
  • Co-operation of agricultural labourers in the local self-governing institution must be extended in order to provide representations to this section.
  • In order to eliminate these socio-economic and cultural barriers, female children and women should be educated through formal and non-formal channels. The voluntary agencies have also got a significant role to play in this regard.
  • Vending rights on space to the vendors ultimately increases his/ her accountability on space and its surrounding environment. By this means they would maintain health and hygiene.

-Source: Indian Express

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