Parliamentary panel recommends money in banks, social security measures for informal workers
Parliamentary panel recommends money in banks, social security measures for informal workers

Parliamentary panel recommends money in banks, social security measures for informal workers

‘Pandemic has made things worse for women, young people, the self-employed, migrants’.

‘Pandemic has made things worse for women, young people, the self-employed, migrants’.

Direct transfer of money to the bank accounts of informal workers and a guarantee scheme for urban employment were among the recommendations of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Labor in its report on the impact of the pandemic on rising unemployment and job losses.

The report, which was presented in Lok Sabha and presented in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, said: “The pandemic has destroyed the labor market, lowered the employment scenario and threatened the survival of millions of workers and their families.” The panel, chaired by Bhartruhari Mahtab, called on the government to improve social security measures for workers.

Referring to the Periodic Labor Force Survey (PLFS), the report said that 90% of the workers were in the informal sector, which is 419 million of the 465 million workers. The PLFS quarterly bulletin for April-June 2020 showed unemployment in urban areas for people over the age of 15 at 20.8%, an increase from 9.1% in January-March 2020.

The Committee noted that PLFS data for years before the pandemic were available and the real impact of
COVID-19 will only be seen when PLFS for 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 is available. It asked the Ministry of Labor to raise the issue of timely completion of the PLFS with the Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation.

Significant loss of income

“Although research data on the impact of the second wave, which has undeniably been more severe than the first, are not yet available, anecdotal evidence as well as the situation experienced during the first wave suggest that there would have been significant revenue losses especially in the informal sector, which pushes the vulnerable deeper into the crisis, ”the report states.

The panel said it was of the “examined opinion that
COVID-19 the crisis in India has come against the background of pre-existing high and rising unemployment ”.

“Therefore, a comprehensive plan and roadmap is needed to address the deteriorating employment situation, which is greatly exacerbated by the pandemic, and increased inequalities in the labor market in the organized sector … Offering another round of income support to the poor to compensate for job losses / employment accrual due to the two imposed lockdowns would go a long way in alleviating their suffering. ”

Among the proposals were the strengthening of social security measures and the possibility of putting “money in the bank accounts of informal workers under unfavorable conditions such as
COVID-19 ”. The panel noted that, as in most countries, the pandemic had also made things worse in India for women, young people, the self-employed, migrants and low- and middle-skilled workers.

“The government should therefore strive to support a recovery that is robust, broad-based and women-centered and based on social dialogues with all stakeholders concerned to promote and ensure a smooth transition,” it said.

Universal healthcare

The panel said that universal health care should be made a legal obligation for the government and that the budget allocation for MGNREGA should be increased. It said a city job guarantee scheme in line with MGNREGA should be implemented.

The committee took note of the government’s efforts to solve the workers’ problems in the past year. The State Building and Other Welfare Council for Construction Workers had paid $ 5,618 to 1.83 workers’ bank accounts during the first wave, and $ 1,704.3 was paid to $ 1.18 workers in the second wave.

The panel highlighted the issue of lack of inquiry from the Ministry of Labor to measure the impact of its advice on employers’ recruitment and redundancy policies. The committee alerted the ministry to the delay in developing a national database of disorganized workers, which the Secretary of Labor and Employment told the panel would now be completed on 15 August.

“As the whole nation witnessed a heartbreaking sight of thousands of migrant workers returning helplessly to their homes without anything to fall back on, the committee finds it surprising that the ministry waited as long as two months, i.e. until June 2020 to write to the state governments, and also under the guidance of the Supreme Court, to collect the much-needed detailed data on the migrant workers. (sic), “the report said.

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