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Exclusive | Four labour codes will be implemented in 2022; welfare scheme for gig workers on the anvil: MoS Labour Rameswar Teli

“We are linking PM Shram Yogi Mandhan Yojna (PM SYM) that promises pension to informal sector workers registered in the scheme, with the E-sharm database,” said Minister of State for Labour Rameswar Teli.

February 18, 2022 / 02:24 PM IST

Notwithstanding the delay in the implementation of labour reforms, the union labour and employment ministry is looking to roll out the four Labour Codes in 2022, and is working on a social security welfare mechanism for gig and platform workers.

Rameswar Teli, the union Minister of State for Labour and Employment, told Moneycontrol that the ministry was trying to take every state along before rolling out the labour codes, and the existing social security schemes like pension for informal sector workers would be integrated with the unorganised sector database.

“See, we are regularly speaking with all the states. A lot of them are already on board, and framed draft rules. Few more are discussing with us. We must remember that when a big scheme or program comes, we take everyone along. An exact deadline will be tough to give, but we believe that the four codes will be implemented soon in 2022,” Teli said in an interaction with Moneycontrol.

India has consolidated 29 central labour laws into four codes on – wages, social security, occupational health, and industrial relations. While the parliament approved the Code on Wages in August 2019, and the rest three were passed in Sept 2020. But none of them have been rolled out as yet.

Also Read: It’s clear that there is no high wage growth in India

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As per latest government data, at least 26 states and union territories (UTs) have formulated draft rules for the Code on Wages, 22 states and UTs have framed draft rules for Industrial relation code, 20 for code on social security and 17 for the occupational safety and health code.

The minister said the informal sector database was progressing well and the ministry was looking to achieve the 38 crore registration milestone.

“Esharm platform started functioning in the last week of August, and we are targeting to register at least 38 crore people. As of now, around 26 crore informal sector workers have already got registered in the database platform. We believe to achieve the milestone soon, and hope to offer social security benefits to informal sector workers,” Teli said without divulging details.

Also Read: Demand for work under MGNREGS remains elevated; rural housing target missed

“Some schemes will be integrated with the unorganised sector database. We are linking PM Shram Yogi Mandhan Yojna (PM SYM) that promises pension to informal workers registered in the scheme, with the Esharm database,” the minister said, adding that states have been given targets.

“For example, as a parliamentarian, I come from Assam, we have kept the one crore registration target for Assam in the informal workers’ database, and so far at least 65 lakh people have registered themselves in the platform,” he added.

Gig workers

Talking about the welfare of gig and platform workers, the minister said his ministry and senior bureaucrats were talking to stakeholders regularly and almost in every meeting.

“We will soon take a final decision on it. We want improvement in the condition of gig workers. We want companies in the gig and platform economy to offer benefits to gig and platform workers. Discussion is on,” he said.

India has registered at least 7,17,686 gig workers, and almost 58% of them have come from West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar alone, according to official data.

Besides, he said - along with gig workers - he was in discussion for devising a scheme for beedi workers, a flourishing sector in parts of eastern India and Maharashtra. He said he had already met leaders from Bengal and Assam, bidi industry representatives on the same.
Prashant K Nanda is an Associate Editor at Moneycontrol .
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