Comprehensive Labour Legislation

The Union Labour & Employment Minister Shri Mallikarjun Kharge has informed the Rajya Sabha  that ILO has adopted C-102 Social Security (Minimum Standards) Convention, 1952 covering various branches of Social Security like medical care, sickness, unemployment, old age etc., C-118 Equality of Treatment Convention, 1962 and C-157 Maintenance of Social Security Rights Convention 1982 providing for social security rights and benefits for migrant workers and C-168 Employment Promotion and Protection against Unemployment Convention 1988 requiring members to establish a system of protection against unemployment and to lay down an Employment Policy. Out of these, India has ratified C-118 Equality of Treatment Convention, 1962 on 19.08.1964. The principal social security laws enacted in India are- The Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948; The Employees’ Provident Funds & Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952; The Workmen’s Compensation Act, 1923; The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961; and The Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972.

            The Arjun Sengupta committee report presented in 2006 relates to Social Security for the unorganised sector workers. Government has enacted the “Unorganised Worker’s Social Security Act” in 2008 to safeguard the interests of unorganised workers. The Act provides for constitution of National Social Security Board which shall recommend social security schemes viz life and disability cover, health and maternity benefits, old age protection and other benefits as may be determined by the Government for unorganised workers. Government has set up a National Social Security Fund for unorganised workers. Central Government is implementing various social security schemes for the benefit of unorganised workers like – Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) Jana Shree Bima Yojana, Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme, Aam Aadmi Bima Yojna, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). India has also enacted Right to Education, 2009 which provides for compulsory education for 6-14 years.

             Presently, discussions are going on in ILO for a comprehensive instrument in the form of non-binding Recommendation on Social Protection Floor for providing basic social protection benefits for all. Government of India is of the view that each country should decide the level of its own Social Protection Floor and there should not be prescription of a Uniform Social Protection Floor for all countries. Social protection should be implemented depending on the national social and economic circumstances in member states. 

                Replying to a related question the Minister said State governments are also implementing various schemes for providing social security benefits like health insurance and old age pensions to unorganized sector workers.