Contractual Workers in Social Security Net
Consideration of demands of trade unions and making of further improvement in the benefits available to workers by the Government is a continuous process.
The contractual workers working in establishments having ten or more workmen avail social security and other benefits under the Employees’ Compensation Act (1923), the Employees’ State Insurance Act (1948), the Industrial Dispute Act (1947), the Minimum Wages Act (1948), the Provident Funds Act (1925), the Employees Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act (1952), the Maternity Benefit Act (1961), the Payment of Gratuity Act (1972), etc.
Further, it has been the constant endeavor of the Government to ensure that the unorganised workers, including contractual workers engaged in establishments having less than ten workers, get social security benefits as available to the workers in the organised sector. With this objective, the Government is implementing the Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Act, 2008. The 2008 Act stipulates formulation of suitable welfare schemes for unorganised workers on matters relating to life and disability cover, health and maternity benefits, old age protection. Various Ministries/Departments of the Central Government are implementing such social security schemes like Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (Ministry of Rural Development); National Family Benefit Scheme (Ministry of Rural Development); Health & Maternity Benefit Scheme (Ministry of Health and Family Welfare). In addition to the above welfare schemes, the Central Government has recently converged the social security schemes of Aam Aadmi Bima Yojana (AABY) with Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY) and Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY) to provide life and disability coverage to the unorganised workers for the age group of 18 to 50 years depending upon their eligibility. The annual premium is shared on 50:50 basis by the Central Government and the State Governments. The converged schemes give coverage of Rs.2 lakhs on death at premium of Rs.330/- per annum and coverage of Rs.2 lakhs on accidental death at premium of Rs.12 per annum, besides disability benefit as per scheme. These converged schemes are being implemented by the Life Insurance Corporation of India.
Anganwadi Workers (AWWs): Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme envisages the Anganwadi Workers (AWWs) & Anganwadi Helpers (AWHs) as “honorary workers” from the local community who come forward to render their services, on part time basis, in the area of child care and development. Being honorary workers, they are paid monthly honoraria as decided by Government from time to time. Continuous efforts have been made to improve their working conditions by extending facilities such as paid absence on maternity, insurance cover under the Anganwadi Karyakartri Bima Yojana, reservation of 50% of vacant posts of Supervisors for Anganwadi Workers, recruitment of 25% of Anganwadi Workers from Anganwadi Helpers etc.
Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs): Under the National Health Mission (NHM), support is provided by the Central Government to supplement the efforts of the States to strengthen their health care delivery systems including support for Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) as per the requirements posed by them in their Programme Implementation Plans. Under NHM, ASHAs are envisaged as honorary volunteers and receive only performance based incentives that are linked to a set of tasks related to Maternal and Child Health and disease control. However, keeping in view the important role that ASHAs play-as a link between community and public health system in rural areas, the incentives to ASHAs finalized at the national level are regularly reviewed by the Government and activities for which ASHAs would get incentives are expanded from time to time.
Also under the National Health Mission, States have been given the flexibility to design their own incentives to the ASHAs. In addition to the monetary incentives some States also provide some nonmonetary incentives to ASHAs.
Pension under the Employees’ Pension Scheme (EPS), 1995: Provisions under the Scheme are revised from time to time. Considering the demand from the workers’ side the Government vide Gazette Notification No. 593(E) dated 19.08.2014 decided to provide a minimum pension of Rs. 1,000/- per month for member/ widow(er)/ disabled/ nominee/dependent parent pensioners, Rs. 750/- per month for orphan pensioners and Rs. 250/- per month for children pensioners. Further, the Government raised the ceiling of pensionable salary limit under the Scheme from Rs. 6500/- per month to Rs.15, 000/- per month w.e.f. 01.09.2014.
This information was given by Shri Santosh Kumar Gangwar Union Minister of State (I/C) for Labour and Employment in written reply to a question in Lok Sabha today.