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The labour ministry has proposed a comprehensive social security system to provide retirement, health, old age, disability, unemployment and maternity benefits to 50 crore workers in the country.
FACTS FOR PRELIMS
India’s total workforce stands at around 500 million. A little over 10% of this is in the organised sector, where workers enjoy social security of some sort under EPFO and ESIC. But a major portion of the total workforce is still in the unorganised sector, where workers do not often get even the minimum wage and lack any kind of social security cover.
The Labour Ministry’s comprehensive protection plan will be implemented in 3 phases over a period of 10 yrs.
The first phase will see all workers getting the bare minimum, which includes health security and retirement benefits. The second phase will see unemployment benefits being added to it while in the third phase, other welfare measures can be added.
“Its implementation would be regulated and monitored by an overarching regulatory body called the National Social Security Council to be chaired by the prime minister with the finance minister, health minister and chief ministers of all states along with workers and employers as its member.
The 50 crore beneficiaries will be classified into four tiers.
i)The first tier will comprise of destitute and people below the poverty line who cannot contribute to their security and hence the cost will be entirely borne by the government under tax-based schemes.
ii)Workers in the unorganised sector who have some contributory power but are not self-sufficient may be covered under the subsidised schemes in the second tier.
iii)The third tier of beneficiaries will include those who either by themselves or jointly with their employers can make adequate contribution to the schemes, so as to be self-sufficient.
iv) The fourth tier will comprise comparatively affluent people who can make their own provisions for meeting the contingencies or risks as they arise.
The scheme will be largely funded from the Building and Construction Worker Cess and funds allocated to other scattered schemes through the National Stabilisation Fund set up for the purpose.
Source-The Economic Times.