Government has to create a new code of social security for the Union Territory, says M. Ramadass
The absence of a functional Welfare Board to implement schemes of social security to 28 categories of unorganised or casual labourers has hit them hard, especially during the pandemic, former MP M. Ramadass said on Monday.
In a press statement, Mr. Ramadass said while the government, after a long delay, framed the Puducherry Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Rules, 2020, on the lines of the Government of India Act, 2008, and published the same in the Government Gazette on November 12, 2020, no Government Order was issued to implement the rules regarding the constitution of the board, its activities and sourcing finances for the welfare fund.
While the government was dithering on these matters, the Government of India enacted a new comprehensive act called the Code on Social Security , 2020, replacing or amending the old act. This, in practice, implies that the Puducherry Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Rules, 2020 has become outdated and irrelevant, and the Puducherry government has to restart the rule framing process. All the while, the conditions of these workers, now numbering 26,974, is becoming miserable with the progressive process of privatisation and the onset of the COVID-19 crisis. These included taxi and autorickshaw drivers, carpenters, hair dressers, tailors, cycle-rickshaw pullers, cobblers, washermen, tree climbers, pottery workers and hawkers.
“It is quite unfortunate that the just concluded Budget session of the Assembly has also not taken note of this serious issue. Their poverty and penury are deepening, and they suffer from insecurity of jobs and income. A welfare government cannot be a passive spectator to the sad plight of these hapless and helpless citizens,” Mr. Ramadass said.
He urged the Government to expedite the formation of the Puducherry Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Board for which a new code of social security has to be created. The government has to work on a war footing. A committee of experts drawn from various departments of the government should be constituted with a mandate to complete the work on new social security laws within a month’s time.
The new laws could be published in the gazette, and the government should be in preparedness to take quick decisions and issue orders constituting the Social Security Board, delineating its functions and the rate of contributions to the welfare fund by workers, employers, if any, and the government, Mr. Ramadass said.
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