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Working Of Unorganized Workers Social Security Act, 2008

The objective of the Unorganised Workers Social Security act,2008 is To provide for the social security and welfare of unorganised workers and for other matters connected therewith or incidental thereto is the objective to accomplish as said by the very act. We need to who is an unorganised worker.

According to Section 2(m) of this act, unorganised worker means a home-based worker, self-employed worker or a wage worker in the unorganised sector and includes a worker in the organised sector who is not covered by any of the Acts mentioned in Schedule II to this Act. And as per the first national Commission on Labour (1966-69) unorganised labour are those who have not been able to organise themselves in pursuit of common objectives on account of constraints like casual nature of employment, ignorance and illiteracy, small and scattered size of establishments and the position of power exercised over them by employers because of the nature of the industry. Nearly, 20 years later, the National Commission on Rural Labour (1987-91) too portrayed a similar picture and contributory factors for the unorganised workforce in India.

In the rural areas, the unorganised sector mainly comprises landless agricultural labourers, small and marginal farmers, share croppers, those engaged in animal husbandry, poultry and fishing activities, rural artisans, forest workers, toddy tappers etc. whereas in the urban areas it comprises mainly of manual labourers engaged in construction, carpentry, trade transport, communication etc. and also includes street vendors, hawkers, head load workers, garment makers etc.

According to the report of Economic Survey released in 2019, the unorganized sector accounts for 93% of the total workforce of the country.[1]Finally before going in to the project , we also need to what is social security, it means the efforts related to protect and support the sufferers against the impacts of different types of unwanted activities due to that the life of persons is under risk.

These are called social risks and include retirement, sickness, disability, old age, survivor, death of earning members, maternity, unemployment, etc. .[2]Under terms of occupation , unorganised workers include Small and marginal farmers, landless agricultural labourers, share croppers, fishermen, those engaged in animal husbandry, beedi rolling, labelling and packing, building and construction workers, leather workers, weavers, artisans, salt workers, workers in brick kilns and stone quarries, workers in saw mills, oil mills, etc. come under this category.[3]

Aim: To analyze the working of the Unorganised Workers Social Security Act,2008.

This study deals with the Unorganised Workers Social Security Act,2008 and Unorganised Workers Social Security Rules,2009 as well as secondary sources like news articles , surveys and government reports,

  1. To know the schemes notified by the Union Government
  2. Whether state of Tamil Nadu has social security board as envisaged in this act, and if, what are the schemes notified by it.
  3. To know how far the schemes have been implemented by Union
  4. To know the working of the National Social Security Board and Workers Facilitation Centre

  1. There are ample of schemes been notified by the Union Government.
  2. Tamilnadu don't have a Tamil Nadu Social Security Board for unorganized workers but has separate boards of their own.
  3. The Union has not done well in implementing the schemes.
  4. The working of the National Security Board is not up to the mark.
Critical Analysis
Union Schemes
According to Section 3 of the Unorganised Workers Social Security Act, 2008, the Union Government shall notify welfare schemes for Unorganized workers on matters relating to:
  1. life and disability cover
  2. health and maternity benefits;
  3. old age protection; and
  4. any other benefit as may be determined by the Central Government. In addition to the Schemes to mentioned in Schedule-I , government has notified the following social security schemes:
Life and disability cover is provided through Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Yojana (PMJJBY) and Pradhan Mantri Surksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY). Benefits under the schemes are for Rs.2 lakh on death due to any cause & permanent disability , Rs.1.0 Lakh on partial disability and Rs.4 lakh on death due to accident to the Unorganized workers at the annual premium of Rs.342/- (Rs.330/- for PMJJBY + Rs.12/- for PMSBY) depending upon their eligibility. PDS - All families below the poverty line. Benefits are 35 kg of rice or wheat every month, while a household above the poverty line is entitled to 15 kg of food grain on a monthly basis.

Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana - Gramin (PMAY-G) - Any family which has a differently abled member is also eligible to avail. Those who do not have a permanent job and only engage in casual labour.Assistance provided to the Beneficiary to the tune of Rs.1.2 Lakh in plain areas and Rs. 1.3 Lakh in Hilly Areas.

The eligible Unorganised Workers can avail the scheme from their respective banks at annual premium of Rs. 342/-. As on 30.12.2020, 9.70 and 21.87 crore people have been enrolled under PMJJBY and PMSBY respectively.

The health and maternity benefits are addressed through Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY) which is a universal health scheme administrated by the National Health Authority. The number of eligible beneficiaries under Social Economic Caste Census (SECC) of 2011 on the basis of select deprivation and occupational criteria across rural and urban areas is 10.74 Crore families (50 crore people). The Scheme gives flexibility to States/Uts to run their own health protection scheme in alliance with AB-PMJAY. The States/Uts implementing AB-PMJAY have further expanded the coverage of the scheme to include 13.13 crore families (65 crore people).

For old age protection to Unorganized sector workers including traders, shopkeepers and self- employed persons, the Government has launched two flagship schemes namely Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maan-DhanYojana (PM-SYM) and National Pension Scheme for Traders, Shopkeeper and Self-Employed Persons (NPS- Traders).

Under the schemes, beneficiaries are entitled to receive minimum monthly assured pension of Rs.3000/- after attaining the age of 60 years. The workers in the age group of 18-40 years whose monthly income is below Rs.15000/- can join the PM-SYM scheme and Traders, shop keepers and self-employed persons whose annual turnover is not exceeding Rs.1.5 crore can join NPS - Traders scheme.

These are voluntary and contributory pension schemes and monthly contribution ranges from Rs.55 to Rs.200 depending upon the entry age of the beneficiary. Under both the schemes, 50% monthly contribution is payable by the beneficiary and equal matching contribution is paid by the Central Government. Both the schemes are being implemented in all the States/Uts of India. The details of numbers of beneficiaries as on 28.02.2021 under PMSYM and NPS Traders, 44.90 Lakh and 43,700 respectively.

Atal Pension Yojana for the age of 18-40 years those having bank account linked with Aadhaar. Can attain a pension of 1000-5000 rupees, or he can also get an accumulated sum of the pension after his death. The accumulated amount will be given to the spouse or if the spouse is dead as well then to the nominee.

Other schemes - National Safai Karamcharis Finance and Development Corporation (NSKFDC) - Scheme provides financial assistance to the Safai Karamcharis, Manual Scavengers and their dependants through SCAs/RRBs/Nationalized Banks for any viable income generating scheme including sanitation related activities and for education in India and Abroad.

Self-Employment Scheme for Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers (Revised) -Identified manual scavengers, one from each family, eligible for One Time Cash Assistance (OTCA) of Rs. 40,000/- or any such amount as OTCA as revised from time to time.

Benefits are the manual scavenger and the dependents shall be provided, free of cost, skill training of their choice from the list of such trainings organized by the National Safai Karmacharis Finance and Development Corporation (NSKFDC) from time to time . A monthly stipend of Rs. 3000/-(Rupees three thousand only) or any such amount as may be decided from time to time shall be remitted by NSKFDC.

We could find there are ample of schemes been notified by the union government for the unorganized workers starting from the Indira Gandhi Government and still there many other schemes.

We could find that Tamil Nadu doesn't have a Tamil nadu social security board as envisaged in the act but has separate boards for each unorganized worker.

In Tamil Nadu, two Welfare Boards viz.
  1. Tamil Nadu Construction Workers Welfare Board and
  2. Tamil Nadu Manual Workers Social Security and Welfare Board are presently functioning for Unorganized workers.
The members of the Tamil Nadu Manual Workers Social Security and Welfare Board are from various employments. The Government has now decided to form separate Welfare Boards for certain employments.

Accordingly separate Welfare Boards are being formed for the following employments:
  1. Tamil Nadu Auto Rickshaw and Taxi Drivers Welfare Board
  2. Tamil Nadu Tailoring Workers Welfare Board.
  3. Tamil Nadu Hairdressers Welfare Board
  4. Tamil Nadu Washermen Welfare Board
  5. Tamil Nadu Palm Tree Workers Welfare Board
  6. Tamil Nadu Handicraft Workers Welfare Board
  7. Tamil Nadu Handlooms and Silk Weaving Workers Welfare Board
  8. Tamil Nadu Foot Wear and Leather Goods Manufactory and Tannery Workers Welfare Board.
  9. Tamil Nadu Artists Welfare board
  10. Tamil Nadu Goldsmith Welfare Board.

Some Of The Schemes Of The Under The Construction Workers Welfare Board:
Assistance for education- Assistance of Rs.1,000/- is paid to the daughter of a registered construction worker for studying 10th Std., 11th Std, and 12th Std., and Rs.1,000/- and Rs.1,500/- to the son/daughter who passes 10th Std and 12th Std., respectively.

Assistance ranging from Rs.1,000/- to Rs.4,000/- is paid to the children for doing professional courses, degree and post graduate courses for day scholars and assistance ranging from Rs.1,200/- to Rs.6,000/- is paid to the students staying in hostels.

Assistance for marriage - Assistance of Rs.2,000/- is paid to the son or daughter of a registered Construction worker and to the marriage of registered construction worker himself / herself.

Assistance for maternity / miscarriage / termination of pregnancy - A sum of Rs.4,000/- is paid as assistance to a registered woman construction worker for delivery of a child or for the miscarriage of pregnancy or for the termination of pregnancy.

Assistance to family in case of natural death - A sum of Rs.15,000/- is paid as assistance to his/her nominee.

Some of the Schemes for Manual Workers:
Group personal accident insurance scheme - All registered manual workers have been insured under Group Personal Accident Insurance Scheme. Every year, the renewal of premium to the insurance company is paid by the Board. In the event of death of a registered manual worker in an accident, a sum of Rs.1 Lakh is paid to the nominee of the deceased. A compensation is paid upto Rs.1 lakh depending upon the percentage of loss of limbs, eyes, etc.

Pension Scheme - The Government have decided to introduce pension scheme to all the workers who have registered with all the Manual Workers Welfare Boards at the rate of Rs.300/- per month. Accordingly, a worker who has registered with the Board for a minimum of 5 years and attained the age of 60 years is eligible to get pension.

Assistance for funeral expenses - In the event of death either natural or accident of a registered manual worker, the nominee is paid, a sum of Rs.2,000.

Assistance for reimbursement of cost of spectacles -A sum of Rs.500/- each is paid to 2000 workers every year.

Conclusively , the hypothesis 2 sounds positive.

Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme
This Scheme comes under the National Social Assistance Programme. The eligible age for IGNOAPS is 60 years. The pension is Rs.200 p.m. for persons between 60 years and 79 years. For persons who are 80 years and above the pension is Rs.500/ - per month.

At National Level, the beneficiary abstract shows as follows:
  • 2016 -2017 - 1.43 Cr
  • 2017-2018 - 1.70 Cr
  • 2018 - 2019 - 2.15 Cr
  • 2019 - 2020 - 2.39 Cr
  • 2020 - 2021 - 2.49 Cr
From 2016 - 2020. we could find for each calendar there is increase in the beneficiaries but there is some fluctuation, 2020 - 2021 has less increase in beneficiaries than the remaining.

The DBT fund report says how much amount has been transferred to the beneficiaries account in total. They are:
  • 2016 -2017 - 429.96 Cr
  • 2017-2018 - 3920.94 Cr
  • 2018 - 2019 - 5328.22
  • 2019 - 2020 - 5920.22 Cr
  • 2020 - 2021 - 5867.11 Cr
Just looking at totally how many amounts has been transferred to the beneficiaries finds to be worrisome because though there was increase in beneficiaries from 2019 -2021 , there is decrease in the amount dispersal shows the poor implementation of the scheme in the current regime considering the pandemic situation.

Our state Tamil Nadu has 1445323 beneficiaries where specifically Vellore is said to have the highest beneficiaries of 156829.While our neighborhood Kerala is said to have 531818 and also in Maharashtra the count is 1129537. Kerala is also equally developed state compared to us though less in size is said to have less beneficiary and even Maharashtra which is bigger in size has less beneficiary than us , both comparison shows the implementation level in our state is much better and those who have banks accounts are only 2 in Kerala while in our state its 1428760 which shows there is much more awareness in our state. So, it's implemented well in our state so far beneficiaries concerned as we couldn't find data on DBT fund report state wise

Thus, this scheme is concerned, as a whole , Union seems to be not properly implementing the scheme from the year 2020.Thus, it's a failure on the part of the Union

Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY)
As on 2nd January, 2017, the total no. of persons enrolled under the scheme were 9.88 crore, the total no. of claims received were 10,131 and the no. of claims disbursed were 7,351.

13.25 crore account-holders have insured themselves for personal accident cover under PMSBY till December 2017. No. of claims paid - 14,292, Amount disbursed - 285.84 crores

As on 31st March 2019, the gross enrolment by banks, subject to verification of eligibility criteria, is about 15.47 crore under PMSBY and 32,176 claims of Rs. 643.52 Crore have been disbursed.

As on 31st December, 2019 the gross enrolment by banks subject to verification of eligibility criteria is about 17.37 crore under PMSBY and 36,896 claims of Rs.737.92 crore have been disbursed.

We can say there is some progress but still the no. of claims paid is less in parallel to the enrolment. Still there is need more for implementation by the government

Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY)
As on 2nd January, 2017, the total no. of persons enrolled under the scheme were 3.08 crore, the total no. of claims received were 51,916 and the no. of claims disbursed were 48,277.

5.22 crore account-holders have insured themselves for life insurance cover under PMJJBY till December 2017.No. of claims paid - 79,312, Amount disbursed - 1586.24 Crores

As on 31st March 2019, the gross enrolment by banks, subject to verification of eligibility criteria, is about 5.91 crore people under PMJJBY and 1,35,212 claims of Rs. 2704.24 Crore have been disbursed.

As on 31st December 2019 the gross enrolment by banks, subject to verification of eligibility criteria, is about 6.52 crore people under PMJJBY; and 1,65,090 claims amounting to a total of Rs.3,301.80 Crore have been disbursed

We can see that there is progress in the implementation but the government needs to show how many claims has been made out of the insurers which is also not shown for the previous scheme but we are satisfied that there is some progress.

Till 31st March, 2017, Life & Accident Insurance cover to Handloom Weavers was provided under MGBBY. Handloom Weavers Comprehensive Welfare Scheme (HWCWS) has been approved on 5th June,2018 with certain modifications. Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY) and Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY) are insurance schemes offering Life and accidental & disability insurance coverage on natural/accidental death, total/ partial disability to handloom weavers/workers in the age group of 18-50 years.

As per the decision of the Government of India taken in Sept, 2019, the beneficiaries of the converged PMJJBY and PMSBY are to be transition from subsidy regime to full premium payment with effect from 1 April, 2020. These schemes are being implemented directly through banks.

Atal Pension Yojana
As on 2nd January, 2017, 39.23 lakh subscribers have been enrolled under APY.

As on 30th December, 2017, 79.20 lakh subscribers have been enrolled under APY.

As on 31st March 2019, the number of subscribers is 149.53 lakh with Asset under Management (AUM) of Rs. 6860.30 crore

As on 31st December, 2019, the number of subscribers under APY is 2.06 Crore with contribution of Rs.8,818 crore uploaded by banks.

We can there is great increase in the subscribers in the said scheme which itself a great hit as we can see it in each year from the above figure and hope government will be able to abide with the promise of giving the pension amount

Aam Admi Bima Yojana (AABY)
The Scheme provides life insurance protection to the rural & urban persons living below poverty line or marginally above poverty line. As on 31st March 2015, about 4.32 Cr. people have been covered. 30,41,921 scholarships were disbursed to beneficiaries for an amount of Rs. 274 Cr. & an amount of Rs 414.43 Cr

As on 30th November 2017, about 4.71 crore people have been covered under AABY Scheme. During the financial year (2017-18), 33,94,100 scholarships were disbursed to beneficiaries for an amount of Rs. 235.80 crore and an amount of Rs. 257.95 crore has been paid towards total number of 83,699 claims

For the year 2019 -2020, there is no addition of beneficiaries, no amount dispersed too.

From the above all schemes we understand, the current regime wants to shift from the old schemes to new schemes which have been implemented prior to this party regime, may be for an administration purpose or might also there can be a political motive. We can also see, schemes that were brought by the UPA regime was completely poor in implementation wherein specifically the Aam Admi Bima Yojna scheme, for which we could find no allocation during the year 2019 -2020 which shows the bad performance but whereas, regarding the schemes that were brought by the current regime, we could see that there is some consideration of the government over the scheme or some progress but still we need more data to ascertain the actual progress.

To answer to the hypothesis, we could say that union government cannot be completely blamed of poor implementation of schemes and at the same time we infer that still there needs a much more implementation of the schemes and ensure the beneficiaries are quenched by the schemes implemented.

In the Ministry of Labour and employment official website . we could know only that the government has just constituted the National Social Security Board for recommending formulation of' social security schemes viz. life and disability cover, health and maternity benefits, old age protection and any other benefits through a 2008-9 survey but after that no data is provided in the website regarding it working.

It's been more than 12 years , still if there is no data , the interest of the union government towards the unorganized sector who are contributing nearly 60 percent of our Country GDP is being a mirage. According to Section 9 of the Unorganised Social Security Rules,2009 , the board should conduct at least one meeting every four months. So , calculating it from the year 2009 how many meetings it should have conducted but where is the data is the question, for which the labour ministry should answer.

WFCs have helped to identify and register eligible households and facilitate their access to benefits. WFCs have also significantly improved coverage of schemes that are most relevant to informal economy workers, including health and accident insurance, death benefits and pensions. The MIS used by the WFCs contains data on 260,348 households out of a total estimated 361,525 informal economy households in Karnataka. Of these households, 260,470 individuals were found to be eligible for existing social protection schemes. Community Facilitators have helped to submit applications for 47 per cent of these eligible individuals.

Of these applications to existing schemes, 72 per cent have been approved. Findings of a randomized controlled trial conducted in 2012 show that WFCs have helped increase people's awareness of social protection schemes and improved access to them. For instance, the coverage of Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna (National Health Insurance Scheme) was 75 per cent higher in households covered by WFCs. The study also showed that older Centres performed better, which suggests that the performance of WFCs improves over time.

To conclude on the hypothesis , the government has to provide data to know the working of the board but no data from 2009,seriously makes us think that the working of the board is very poor but regarding the facilitation centre as per the ILO report WFC's are performing good in Karnataka but as far as other states are concerned, we will have bare hands with no information until government provides in the public domain.

Hypothesis 4 also proves to be true.

Conclusion and Suggestion
At this culminating point, we see that the working of the act couldn't be properly assessed due to lack of information but with the glimpse of information we could say that it's been poorly working. The schemes being implemented for the unorganised sector must be ensured of their reach in this corona situation in large scale and if possible, make relaxations in the conditions in attaining it.

Because as per the study conducted by CAPSULE (Campaign Against Pseudo Science Using Law and Ethics), an independent forum part of Kerala Shastra Sahitya Parishad, 85.5 % people in the unorganized sector has informed that either their income has fully stopped or there is a major decline. The change in income during the lockdown period has affected the lifestyle of around 59% of the respondents who participated in the survey. Around 44% admitted that they borrowed money for daily expenses and 48% said that they are on debt during the lockdown. Among women, around 94% admitted that they faced serious financial crisis during lockdown and expected the situation to turn grave in future.

We should also know that section 10 of the act requires the unorganised workers to register themselves to the district administration for benefitting the schemes. For this purpose, they have a website called eshram, so far nearly 3,47,30,963 have registered. The act has come up with an impractical provision that every scheme formulated by the government shall include its own mechanism of grievance redressal.

The author's experience in Maharashtra shows that women beneficiaries of the niradhar yojanas (social assistance schemes for destitute persons with a large percentage of women amongst the beneficiaries) face a number of problems including corruption, delays, and harassment in the government offices as well as banks and post offices.[4]From this we can understand having their own redressal mechanism will have leave the authorities unfettered, so there is need for separate independent redressal authority.

The Labour ministry is taking care of both organised workers and unorganised workers as a result of which they couldn't effectively participate in the both the fields, so there should be a divide in this ministry, one for organised sector and another one for unorganised sector.

We are not able to get data for many of the schemes and working of the acts related to the unorganised sector, government by creating a maintaining a separate department for unorganised sector could enhance their administration and make more concentration on the benefit of unorganised workers and make surveys and release reports of the implementation of the schemes. One can't always file an RTI and wait for 30 days. If one can't get such information under RTI application within 30 days, he has to go to the concerned authority physically and push the process as there is no check on such processes, only the concerned person has to do it on his/her own which is so pity.

If the concerned department is located far away its destination, how one can expect he/she would reach there. Only with such data we can know the government is functioning properly if not the improper updating attitude of the information will also be treated as a failure and poses a serious question or makes the citizens of India doubt its reliability.

  7. National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP)|Ministry Of Rural Development|Government Of India
  8. Annual Report 2018-19_ dfs0.pdf (
  9. Annual Report 2019-2020 (English).pdf (
  10. Annual Report 2017-18 DFS.pdf (
  11. AnnualReport2015-16 DFS.pdf (
  12. Annual Report-2016-17 DFS.pdf (
  13. Annual Report (English) 2019-20.pdf (
  14. ANNUAL REPORT 2020-21 11-2-20... (
  16. AR_MoT_2019-20_English.pdf (
  17. Aboutus.pdf (
  18. RessourcePDF.action;jsessionid=f0Nn9OZmw0WF9T5Fx3DCezTFzH2XMKZ_rbLbHBrPCe7_xwdR0XHp!1750948109 (
  1. Riya Rana; India Lockdown: Most Affected Is Unorganized Sector; It Is 93% Of The Total Workforce, 41 Crore People Lack Economic Security;March 30,2020; India Lockdown: Most Affected Is Unorganized Sector; It Is 93% Of The Total Workforce, 41 Crore People Lack Economic Security - Inventiva
  2. Silkimra S; Social Security: Meaning, Definition, Characteristics, Objectives, Functions; Social Security: Meaning, Definition, Characteristics, Objectives, Functions (
  3. Unorganised labour force in India - Vikaspedia
  4. A Critique of the Unorganised Workers' Social Security Act : | Economic and Political Weekly (

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