The government has made Aadhaar the mandatory identification proof for all workers from the organised and unorganised sectors to avail of social security benefits from May 3. The objective is to weed out duplication and reduce wastage of resources.
In the absence of biometric identification proof so far, there have been reports of imposters and people registered in different names claiming social security benefits.
“With this notification, the ministry of labour and employment is legally empowered to collect the Aadhaar number for all workers to whom social security benefits have to be given,” labour secretary Apurva Chandra said. According to Chandra, the labor ministry will now start collecting the database of workers which will subsequently be used to extend social security benefits to them.
“However, no benefits will be denied to anyone during this time due to lack of Aadhaar,” Chandra clarified. The labour ministry is developing the National DataBase for Unorganised Workers (NDUW) portal along with NIC that will have a database of over 35 crore workers.
The portal is expected to be operational in two-three months and would initially have the readily available data of building and construction workers and the beneficiaries of the Employees State Insurance Corporation followed by gig workers.
The government invoked clause 142 of the Code on Social Security, 2020, to mandate the requirement of Aadhaar. The article states that an employee or unorganised worker must “establish his identity or, as the case may be, the identity of his family members or dependants through Aadhaar number” to register as beneficiaries for social security benefits or avail of other social security services.
“The Central government hereby appoints May 3, 2021, as the date on which the provisions of section 142 of the said Code shall come into force,” the labour ministry said in a notification recently.
According to the Code, Aadhaar registration is mandatory for workers seeking benefits from the government in kind or cash. These include medical and sickness benefits, pension, gratuity, maternity benefits and any other benefit or for withdrawal of funds.
“Further, Aadhaar registration will also be mandatory for availing services of career centre or receiving any payment or medical attendance as insured person himself or for his dependants,” the Code said.
The government wants to ensure there are no fake beneficiaries as it moves towards universal social security under the Social Security Code, beginning with the coverage of 1 million gig workers under the scheme.
India has 500 million workers and barely 10% of them are organised. The rest are unorganised workers with bare minimum or no social security benefits.
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