Social security board with statutory powers demanded

VIZIANAGARAM: The CITU district council refuted the reported remarks of Botcha Jhansi Lakshmi, Lok Sabha member, that the CPI (M) had stalled the passage of Unorganised Sector Workers Social Security Bill –2007 in the last session of Parliament.

At a press conference on Thursday, CITU district president M. Srinivasa and general secretary T. Suryanarayana said that the Congress-led UPA Government brushed aside some of the recommendations of the committee and made cosmetic changes in the bill.

Category of workers

The proposed bill did not make any distinction between categories of workers like agriculture workers and unorganized workers, not to speak of unorganized workers in organised sector and government departments, he said.

The recommendations if not incorporated would serve no purpose, he said and recalled how the NDA Government shelved the proposal of a comprehensive legislation but launched on the eve of elections-2004 a social security scheme for unorganised workers.

About 3500 workers were enrolled under the scheme and received Rs.17.5 lakhs as contribution.

The Government utilized the amount for payment of premiums under the Universal Health Insurance Scheme and Personal Accident Insurance Scheme for the relevant period. Later, the scheme was closed, Mr. Srinivasa added.

The UPA Government had chosen the same track, he said and demanded that it constitute Social Security Board with statutory powers besides giving representation to trade unions at national, state and districts-level. He also demanded separate bills for agriculture and unorganized workers.

Mr. Suryanarayana said it was unfortunate that the government did nothing for unorganized workers who constitute 93 per cent of the workforce and contribute 63 per cent to the nation’s GDP.