e-Shram to help settle workers’ accident claims
- The Union Labour and Employment Ministry is working on a mechanism to process accident insurance claims by unorganised workers registered on the e-Shram portal, which has seen over 27 crore registrations so far.
- The portal was launched six months ago with the aim of creating a national database of unorganised workers and to facilitate social security schemes for them.
Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana
- e-Shram portal is being discussed to be linked with the Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana, the Centre’s existing accident insurance scheme.
- The scheme would allow the workers to get the direct benefit transfer (DBT) through the e-Shram unique ID number. Unique IDs on the e-Shram portal carried the same series from the Employees Provident Fund Organisation’s universal account number (UAN).
- At the time the portal was launched in August 2021, the Ministry had estimated that there were 38 crore unorganised sector workers in the country.
About e-shram portal
- The portal was launched on August 26, 2021.
- Ministry of Labour & Employment
- e-Shram Card:
- Workers will be provided with an e-SHRAM card which will have a 12 digit unique number.
- The details of workers will also be shared by the state government and departments.
- Single window:
- This will be a single-point reference to help authorities reach out to and track workers in the informal sector, and offer welfare in times of crisis.
- The database will include construction workers, migrant workers, gig and platform workers, street vendors, domestic workers, agriculture workers, migrant workers and similar other sub-groups of unorganised workers.
- Self enrolment:
- It will be available in public for open access where workers can self-enrol through Aadhaar and mobile numbers.
- Lack of Social security benefits:
- Formal workers work in the public and private organised sectors and have adequate social security benefits.
- But informal sector workers lack these benefits, making them very vulnerable to economic and political shocks.
- Susceptibility to economic shocks:
- The casual workers among the informal workers are most susceptible to economic shocks as most of them do unskilled, low-paid occupational jobs.
- A significantly high proportion of these workers belong to the marginalised groups and are migrant labourers.
- The problems in the informal sector can be costly as it can lead to job and wage losses, higher inflation and even risk the livelihood of migrant workers.
- Structural disadvantage:
- The structural disadvantage in terms of literacy and skills make them more prone to exploitation.
- The discrimination in the urban informal labour market against these people leaves them with no choice but to accept the offered wage.
- Government failure:
- There is a government failure to reduce wage inequality and ensure a bare minimum wage to a large chunk of the urban informal workers during normal times.
- Therefore, the majority of urban informal workers remain highly vulnerable and live in precarious conditions even during normal times.
- The existing government programmes cannot provide gainful employment opportunities to the migrants at their native places.
- Implications of Lockdown:
- Informal sector workers suffered far more from the national lockdown in 2020 than their formal sector counterparts.
- With an inadequate safety net, there were painful accounts of displaced informal workers trying to get back to their rural homes.
- State of unorganised sector in India
- E-shram portal
- Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana
Q. Although e-Shram is a important to provide the unorganised workers much-needed exposure, it is logged with impediments which can hinder the welfare measures. Analyse.