Social Security bill flawed: SSN

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New Delhi, Sep 30: Criticising the bill on social security to unorganised sector for being ''flawed'', the 'Social Security Now', a consortium of more than 500 civil society organizations, peoples groups and trade unions, has demanded that it be sent to a Select Committee of Parliament for consideration and re-drafting to protect the rights of workers.

Charging that 'The Unorganised Sector Workers Social Security Bill 2007' was fundamentally flawed and is not in the long term interest of the workers, the consortium demanded that the bill be referred to the Select Committee of Parliament for a detailed investigation and for preparing comprehensive legislation that establishes the rights of unorganized workers.

It alleged that the bill was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on September 10, the last day of the Monsoon session during zero hour, which smacked of a deliberate move by the UPA government to avoid well informed debate on the issue within and outside the Parliament.

''History will show that the Bill in its present form is a deception on India' s working people. The labour law establishes some rights on workers. This bill does not confer or provide any right to social security to unorganised workers. The Bill pertains to a few elusive schemes,'' it said.

Despite consistent demands by the workers and their representatives, the Bill has rejected the demand for a comprehensive legislation including the provisions for the regulation of employment in the unorganised sector and the demand for a separate legislation for agricultural workers.

Moreover, the Bill, in reality does not incorporate any new scheme, the SSN pointed out and said that rather it was a compilation of existing schemes as provided for in the Schedule of the Bill. These schemes are neither implementable nor have adequate coverage and minimum level of protection, it added.

''Strangely, the Bill prevents for a large segment of unorganized workers from enjoying the benefits of even the namesake schemes. The Labour Minister clarifies in his accompanied statement that the Government intends to provide the benefits of the schemes only to BPL workers, to begin with,'' the consortium said. Further, the central and state social security advisory boards are expected to recommend schemes only for BPL workers. Moreover, the Bill excludes unorganised workers of establishment or employer, which employ more than ten workers leaving out a huge segment of workforce who are part of India' s globalised economy.

''The Bill in no way considers the specific needs of most vulnerable sections of unorganized workers including unpaid women workers, dalits and adivasis.'' The previous NDA government had also formulated geographically defined schemes which later failed and were withdrawn, the consortium pointed out.

The National Working Group of 'Social Security Now' comprised BIRSA (Ranchi); Center for Education and Communication (New Delhi); Delhi Forum (New Delhi); FEDINA (Bangalore); HRLN (New Delhi); Indian Social Institute (New Delhi); LAYA (Vishakapatnam); NAFRE (New Delhi); National Campaign Committee for Unorganised Sector Workers (New Delhi); National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights (New Delhi); National Institute for Women, Child and Youth Development (Nagpur); Programme on Women's' Economic, Social, Cultural Rights (New Delhi); YUVA (Mumbai); Women's' Voice(Bangalore); National Hawkers Federation (Calcutta); Vigyan Foundation (Lukhnow); Nirmala Niketan (New Delhi); South Asian Study Centre (New Delhi); Revolutionary National Hawker's Federation (Mumbai); Delhi Shramik Sangathan (Delhi); Lok Sangharsh Morcha (New Delhi); and Nidan (Patna).


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