To make social security schemes accessible to unorganised sector workers is a major challenge, which the Government is keen to address at this juncture where the unorganised sector is growing at a faster pace. To make health and social security benefits accessible to un-organised sector workers like construction workers, migrant labourers, volunteers of different schemes like Anganwadi workers are one of the major priorities of the present Government. This was said by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley during pre -budget Consultative Meeting with the representatives of trade unions in New Delhi.
Mechanisms can be thought of wherein social security benefit contributions to workers can be made by employers at a single window for all workers. The Finance Minister added.
Jaitley further said that the present framework of social security is structured for different groupings –organised, unorganised and those not employed/BPL, which are functional requirements. He said that there is a need to ensure a convergence of benefits for all these groupings, above a minimum threshold.
The minister said that for employment generation, the Government has taken many intiatives like Make in India, Skill India, Mudra Yojana and National Career Service Portal. He said that around 9.63 lakh organisations have registered on National Career Service portal and 2.09 crore persons have also registered for employment on the same. Along with skill development, identifying labour-intensive industries and new areas where jobs can be created like renewable energy and reusable resources and providing employment linked training can be some of the ways to capitalise on the demographic dividend, the Finance Minister added.
Along with the Finance Minister Jaitley, meeting was also attended among others by Jayant Sinha, Minister of State for Finance, RN Watal, Finance Secretary, Shaktikanta Das, Secretary, DEA, Dr. Hasmukh Adhia, Revenue Secretary and Dr. Arvind Subramanian, Chief Economic Adviser (CEA). The representatives of various trade union groups who attended the meeting include among others Vrijesh Upadhyay (BMS), Rajender Prasad Singh (INTUC), AL Sachdev (AITUC), Harbhajan Singh Sidhu (HMS), Tapan Sen, (CITU), Sankar Saha (AIUTUC), SP Tiwary (TUCC), Jyotiben Macwan (SEWA), Rajiv Dimri (AICCTU), L Rashid Khan (LPF), Deeepak Jaiswal (NFITU) and Ashok Ghosh (UTUC).
Most of the trade union representatives gave a joint memorandum to the Finance Minister containing suggestions for the Union Budget 2016-17. Various suggestions were made by the representatives of trade unions. The major suggestions include that next Budget should be people oriented and help in creation of more employment opportunities including opening of the Government sector for the employment opportunities. It was suggested to increase the minimum wage to Rs 15,000 especially after the 7th Pay Commission recommended lowest scale starting from Rs 18,000. Other suggestions include need for taking effective and timely measures to keep prices especially of food items under control, strengthening of social security schemes for the workers especially those working in un-organised sector, extension of National Pension System (NPS) to the workers of un-organised sector.