NEW DELHI: The government has pulled out a 2014 proposal to provide identification numbers to workers from the the unorganised sector after facing all round criticism for not doing much for migrant labour hit hard by the Covid-19 lockdown.
The new look ‘Unorganised Worker Identification Number (U-WIN)’ will be seeded with Aadhaar and have expanded coverage. Besides, it would include other information such as qualifications and skill set of the worker.
A senior labour ministry official told that the government will aggressively push the U-WIN project to create a comprehensive database of unorganised workers, including the migrant workers. “We are evaluating the details of the workers that can be added into the electronic database to make it all encompassing,” the official added.
In 2014 the labour ministry had launched a pilot for Unorganised Worker Identification Number (U-WIN) in Gujarat, but the project was stalled on the grounds that it was a duplication of Aadhaar that was conceived as a single identification number for individuals.
The Covid-9 outbreak and nationwide lockdown prompted an unprecedented reverse migration of labour from cities to their native villages.
“The current crisis has shown that a specific data registry is needed for migrant workers,” another official said. On being asked as to why the government did not consider cash transfer for migrant workers in the ` 20 lakh crore relief package, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman had told ET in an earlier interview ” I wish we had enough data to assess that and be able to assign something to them. The motive is not to exclude.”
A finance ministry official said the ministry is now working with the labour ministry to address this data issue.
Expanding data coverage
U-WIN will be expanded to cover 40 crore unorganized sector workers, the first official said. More data sets would be added to ensure a more comprehensive profile of a worker is created. Of the total workforce of 50 crore, only 10 crore are covered under government-run social security scheme of Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation and Employees’ State Insurance Corporation.
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