The e-shram portal launched by the Ministry of Labour and Employment in August this year will go a long way towards creating a centralised database of all unorganised workers, including construction workers, migrant workers, gig and platform workers, street vendors, domestic workers, and agriculture workers. Such a database is essential to ensure that social security services are delivered effectively.

While just three months have gone by since launch, around 11,94,20,932 unorganised workers have already registered themselves on the portal. According to the Union government data, there are around 50 crore workers in the organised and unorganised sector of which 90 per cent are in the unorganised sector. This means that roughly 26 per cent of unorganised labourers have already registered themselves on the portal.

Of the registered labourers, 41.32 per cent are from Other Backward Class (OBCs), 26.95 per cent are from the general category, 22.77 per cent are scheduled caste members and 8.96 per cent are scheduled tribe community members. Interestingly, of the total registered unorganised workers, 52.39 per cent are women.

The e-shram website defines an unorganised worker as any worker who is a home-based-worker, self-employed worker, or a wage worker in the unorganised sector including a worker in the organized sector who is not a member of ESIC or EPFO or not a government employee.

Farm labourers

The highest per cent (60.89 per cent) of unorganised workers are in the 18-40 age group followed by 22.63 per cent between 40 and 50. There are 12.74 per cent unorganised workers 50 and above. About 8.41 per cent of registered unorganised workers don’t have bank account details. The income slab of 94 per cent of workers is ₹10,000 and below. Those working in the agriculture sector as crop farm labourers and field crop and vegetable growers, farmers, etc top the list of registered unorganised workers.

Of the total registered unorganised workers, 51.24 per cent are from the agricultural sector, followed by others (17.6 per cent), construction workers (11.48 per cent), domestic and household workers (9.56 per cent), apparel sector (6.46 per cent), and miscellaneous sectors (3.66 per cent).

Other unorganised workers who have registered on e-shram include from sectors apparel, capital goods and manufacturing, automobile and transportation, education, electronics, healthcare, tourism and hospitality, etc.

The Centre is gearing up to implement the Code on Social Security, 2020 and to bring the maximum number of workers under the ambit of social security schemes. The social security code, along with codes on wages, industrial relations and occupational safety was passed in 2019 and 2020. But the implementation is pending.

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