It helps in formulating health, housing, skill, insurance, credit and food schemes for migrant workers, says Minister
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday announced the launch of a portal to collect information on gig, building and construction workers, among others, to formulate welfare schemes for migrant workers, as a part of her Budget 2021-2022 speech.
“We have launched the One Nation One Ration Card scheme through which beneficiaries can claim their rations anywhere in the country. Migrant workers in particular benefit from this scheme — those staying away from their families can partially claim their ration where they are stationed, while their family, in their native places, can claim the rest,” she said.
She said the scheme was being implemented by 32 States and Union Territories with 69 crore people, which is 86% of the beneficiaries. The remaining four States and UTs would implement the scheme in the next few months, she said.
“To further extend our efforts towards the unorganised labour force migrant workers particularly, I propose to launch a portal that will collect relevant information on gig, building, and construction-workers among others. This will help formulate health, housing, skill, insurance, credit and food schemes for migrant workers,” she said.
On the four labour codes passed by Parliament in 2019 and 2020 and expected to be implemented soon, the Minister said the process that began 20 years ago would be concluded now.
“For the first time globally, social security benefits will extend to gig and platform workers. Minimum wages will apply to all categories of workers and they will all be covered by the Employees State Insurance Corporation. Women will be allowed to work in all categories and also in the night shifts with adequate protection. At the same time, compliance burden on employers will be reduced with single registration and licensing and online returns,” she said.
She reiterated that employers who do not deposit the employees’ contribution towards Employees Provident Fund (EPF) on time would not be allowed to show it as a deduction.
“We have noticed that some employers deduct the contribution of employees towards provident funds, superannuation funds and other social security funds but do not deposit these contributions within the specified time. For the employees, this means a loss of interest or income. In cases where an employer later becomes financially unviable, non-deposit results in a permanent loss for the employees.”