Section 2 (1) of the Unorganised Workers Social Security Act, 2008 defines an unorganised sector as a production or service oriented enterprise owned by individuals or self employed workers (one who is not working for an employer and is engaged in an unorganised sector job earning an income below a threshold or owning land below a notified limit) and if workers are employed, then the total number of workers cannot exceed 10.
MEANING OF UNORGANISED SECTOR:
Unorganised worker” (UW) 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 Acts mentioned in Schedule II of the Unorganised Workers Social Act 2008.
CHARACTERISTICS of INFORMAL/ UNORGANISED SECTOR
• Low productivity compared to formal sector.
• Lower wages to workers
• Poor working conditions
• Excessive seasonality of employment
• Negation of social standard
• Poor human capital base (in terms of education, skill and training) as well as lower mobilisation status of the work force
CHARACTERISTICS OF UNORGANISED WORKERS (UW):
• Have limited or no education or other skills.
• Are hugely scattered and don’t have political pressure groups.
• Don’t have fixed jobs i.e. have seasonality as compared to formal sector workers.
• Social stratification is more in them in rural areas on the basis of Caste and sub castes.
• Still today, they act as “bonded labour in some cases due to low incomes & permanent indebtedness.
• Have insufficient Labour laws relating to them.
• Work in very poor working environment.
To overcome the problem of workers in unorganised sector governments have come up with certain Social Security measures.
MEANING OF SOCIAL SECURITY
Social security is “any government system that provides monetary assistance to people with an inadequate or no income”.
Sec 2 (k) : “self-employed worker” means any person who is not employed by an employer, but engages himself or herself in any occupation in the unorganised sector subject to a monthly earning of an amount as may be notified by the Central Government or the State Government from time to time or holds cultivable land subject to such ceiling as may be notified by the State Government. Sec 2 (n): “wage worker means a person employed for remuneration in the EXCLUSIVE OFFER contractor, irrespective of place of work weather exclusive Lee for one employer or for one or more employers weather in cash or in kind weather as a home based worker as a temporary or casual worker or as a migrant worker or workers employed by household including domestic workers with a monthly wage of an amount as may be notified by the central government and state government as the case may be scheduled 2 it includes the following acts:
1. Workmen’s Companies Act,1923.
2. Industrial Dispute Act,1947
3. Employee’s State Insurance Act,1948.
4. Employee’s Provident funds and miscellaneous provisions Act,1952
5. Maternity Benefit Act,1961
6. Payment of gratuity Act,1972.
SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS
Section 3 (1) empowers the Central Government to formulate and notify, from time to time, suitable welfare schemes for unorganised workers on matters relating to (a) life and disability cover; (b) health and maternity benefits; (c) old age protection; and (d) any other benefit as may be determined by the Central Government.
Section 3 (4) empowers the State Government to formulate and notify, from time to time, suitable welfare schemes for unorganised workers, including schemes relating to- (a) provident fund; (b) employment injury benefit; (c) housing; (d) educational schemes for children; (e) skill upgradation of workers; (f) funeral assistance; and (g) old age homes. According to the Unorganised Workers Social Security Act,2008 “Unorganised sector means an enterprise which is engaged in the production or sale of the food or in providing services of any kind owned by individuals or self-employed workers and where the number of worker working is less than 10 in number. Problems faced by the workers As being the weaker section of the society they face many challenges. They are as follows
• Low wages– Wages is only the factor for which any person/employer works. As the labourer is getting meagre wages. As there is the Minimum Wages Act defines the minimum wage, which needs to be paid to the worker, but the worker fails to get minimum wages. The Supreme Court of India ruled that employing workers at wage rates below the statutory minimum wage levels is considered as the forced labour and is the infringement of Article 23 of the Constitution of India even though economic compulsion might drive one to volunteer to work below the statutory minimum wage.
• No Knowledge about Work Hazardous and Occupational Safety-The working conditions in the unorganised sector is the leading cause to have an adverse effect on the health conditions of workers. Concerning home workers, most of the studies reported that labourers suffer from health problems.
• The health problems are mostly related to respiratory due to inhalation of the tobacco dust and body ache, or due to the peculiar posture that has to be maintained at all times of work. Unguarded machinery, various toxic chemical coal, dust lime, dust blaze, the raw material for synthetic generation leads to the death of many unorganised workers because the working conditions are more severe and knowledge of occupational health and safety is negligible.
• Maximum workers are living in deplorable conditions:-They live in unsanitary conditions and likewise battle with sewer seepage framework overflowing drainage system, flooding and storms. They live in a slum area. The facilities such as washing, urinal, toilets facilities at work are found to be below standard. It could be said that no such facilities were provided to workers in the industries.
• Extended Hours of Work:-Long hours of work in the unorganised sector beyond the labour and regulatory norms are standard in India. In the agricultural sector, there are no fixed hours of work as there are no laws to act as guidelines for the working conditions of agricultural labourers.
According to the Unorganised Workers Social Security Act,2008 “Unorganised sector means an enterprise which is engaged in the production or sale of the food or in providing services of any kind owned by individuals or self-employed workers and where the number of worker working is less than 10 in number. Problems faced by the workers As being the weaker section of the society they face many challenges.In the case of Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra, Dehradun v. Uttar Pradesh, The court stated that the right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution of India also includes the right to livelihood.