Unorganised sector a major challenge: Kharge

Union Minister for Labour and Employment Mallikarjun Kharge said the major challenge facing India today was that of the unorganised sector.

He was speaking at the second World Social Security Summit organised by the International Social Security Association in Capetown, South Africa, on Friday. Mr. Kharge is heading a six-member high-level delegation from India, which held discussions with several Labour Ministers of the nearly 120 countries participating in the meet.

Mr. Kharge said India was committed to social security programmes and had introduced several forward-looking legislation such as the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, housing programmes for those below the poverty line, old age pension, the RSBY (Rashtriya Swasthaya Bima Yojna), the Right to Education, the mid-day meal scheme, etc. He emphasised that the social security schemes in India had the full support of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Ministry of Finance.


Mr. Kharge said: “Our major challenge remains the unorganised sector where around 430 million workers are employed in a total workforce of around 450 million. By their sheer numbers, this segment is crucial to India's continuing growth in the post crisis recovering period. While it is a fact that India's economy was less impacted upon by the financial crisis, we have not remained insulated to its consequences. We have started a slew of programmes to address the social security issues in the unorganised sector.”
The employees in the unorganised sector, despite comprising a majority of the working class in the country, mostly remain in low-paid insecure jobs, have little access to institutionalised social security and are the most vulnerable to the negative impact of economic slowdowns in terms of job loss and wage cuts. The government has since introduced health insurance, general insurance and a pension scheme for those serving in the unorganised sector.

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