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Two new Bills sought for unorganised workers

Special Correspondent

To ensure effective implementation of social security schemes "The problem with the earlier Bill was that it transposed the conditions of the organised sector and did not deal with the social security aspect in a comprehensive manner."

NEW DELHI: The National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector has recommended replacing the Unorganised Sector Workers Bill, drafted by the previous Government, by two new bills — the Unorganised Sector Workers Social Security Bill, 2005 and the Unorganised Sector Workers (Conditions of Work and Livelihood Promotion) Bill, 2005.

Addressing a press conference here on Saturday, acting chairman of the Commission K. Jayashankar said the rationale behind formulating the two bills was to ensure the smooth and effective implementation of social security schemes for the unorganised sector workers. "The problem with the earlier Bill was that it transposed the conditions of the organised sector and did not deal with the social security aspect in a comprehensive manner," he said.

Elaborating the provisions of the two Bills, Mr. Jayashankar said the Unorganised Sector Workers Social Security Bill 2005 would cover approximately 30 crore workers in the unorganised sector with a monthly income up to Rs 5,000.

The financial implications of the proposed social security scheme would be to Rs. 32,850 crores, of which the Central Government share would be Rs. 17,548 crores and that of the State Government Rs. 5,010 crores.

This adds up to Rs. 22,558 crores, equivalent to 0.8 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product in 2004-05.

Taking into account administrative expenses, as well as expenses for capacity building and related activities, the upper boundary of the public outlay on the scheme would not exceed one per cent of the GDP, he added.

The Unorganised Sector Workers (Conditions of Work and Livelihood Promotion) Bill, 2005 seeks to address the conditions of work for those employed in the unorganised sector with a view to providing a basic minimum standard on hours of work, payment of minimum wages and adherence to Bonded Labour Abolition Act and Child Labour Prohibition & Regulation Act. As for self-employed workers, the draft Bill proposes various measures for protection and promotion of livelihood. These relate to the provision of credit, right to common property and natural resources, use of public space to engage in economic activities and encourage the promotion of associations of self-employed workers.

The commission believes that the workers can be covered in five years as is proposed under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.

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