While the Union Labour and Employment Ministry launched surveys on unorganised sector workers and started a portal for registering such workers in 2021, welfare schemes for unorganised workers under the labour codes passed by Parliament in 2020 remained an unfulfilled promise.
The four labour codes — on wages, social security, occupational safety and industrial relations — were passed by Parliament in 2019 and 2020. However, they are yet to be implemented as the rules framed under provisions of the codes have not been notified. According to senior officials of the Ministry, the Central rules were ready before the start of financial year 2021-2022, but several States are yet to frame their rules under the codes.
In a statement on Friday, the Ministry listed out the developments of 2021, including the setting up of four expert committees for framing standards under the Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020 for factories, dock works, building and other construction works and fire safety. The draft standards were “nearing completion”, the Ministry said. However, there was no word on when welfare measures for gig and platform workers, which was introduced for the first time in the labour codes, would be implemented.
One of the initiatives launched in 2021 was the e-Shram portal, which was launched on August 26, 2021 with the purpose of creating a national database of unorganised workers, the Ministry said. Till December 28, 2021, the portal had 15.53 crore registrations.
Another major step was the launch of all-India surveys on migrant workers and quarterly establishment-based employment, both on April 1, 2021, and on domestic workers, which was flagged off on November 22, 2021.
ESI scheme extension
The Ministry noted it had expanded the Employees’ State Insurance scheme to 52 more districts in the country in 2021, bringing 2.31 lakh employees and their families under the umbrella of the social security scheme. “The benefits of ESI scheme are now available in 592 districts. It is proposed to extend the coverage of ESI scheme to all districts of the country by the year 2022,” it said.
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