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Bill on Social Security for Unorganised Workers Passed 

The Hindu 

December 18, 2008




Itíll cover 34 crore workers in the next five years Farm workers and migrant labourers will also be covered 94% workers in unorganised sector will benefit

Parliament on Wednesday passed the ambitious Unorganised Workersí Social Security Bill, 2008 that seeks to provide welfare measures for the unorganised worker. The Bill has already been passed by the Rajya Sabha. 

The Lok Sabha passed the Bill, being described as the first major step in 60 years to remove the difficulties of the poor, after several amendments moved by the members of the Left parties were defeated.

Winding up the debate, Minister for Labour and Employment Oscar Fernandes said it was a millennium scheme that would cover 34 crore workers in the next five years. Agricultural workers and migrant labourers will also be covered under the Act. 

Plea to States 

He said 94 per cent of the working class in the country employed in the unorganised sector would get the benefit of health, life and disability insurance, old-age pension and the group accident scheme. Mr. Fernandes said the government had already started implementing some of the schemes such as health insurance and old-age pension for those below the poverty line while appealing to the States to cooperate in the successful implementation.

Rural job scheme 

The Minister said the government was extremely concerned at the problems of the poor and hence introduced the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme that gave a minimum of 100 days of employment to those in the unorganised sector, thereby raising the income of the workers from Rs. 20 to the equivalent of $2 a day. This was a revolutionary measure, he said. 

The Bill was introduced in the Rajya Sabha in September 2007 and subsequently referred to the Standing Committee. It was passed in October this year. 

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