Labour codes need to be drafted keeping in mind realities of informal sector workers -Ileena Roy and Ranjana Das
-The Indian Express
These vulnerabilities of the informal sector became even more prominent as the entire country went into a state of suspension due to the lockdown enforced as a state response to the pandemic.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her budget speech referred to the implementation of the four labour codes, closing the process that started 20 years ago. She also mentioned a handsome Rs 15,700 crore for MSMEs, more than double of this year’s budget estimate.
The announcements are welcome if they provide job and social security to informal workers. India’s estimated 450 million informal workers comprise 90 per cent of its total workforce, with 5-10 million workers added annually. Nearly 40 per cent of these employed with MSMEs.
Why are these important announcements? According to Oxfam’s latest global report, The Inequality Virus, out of the total 122 million who lost their jobs in 2020, 75 per cent, which translates to 92 million jobs, were lost in the informal sector. The report further highlights that over 300 informal workers died due to the lockdown, with reasons ranging from starvation, suicide, exhaustion, road and rail accidents, police brutality and denial of timely medical care. The National Human Rights Commission recorded over 2,582 cases of human rights violation as early as April 2020.
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The Indian Express, 18 February, 2021, https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/nirmala-sitharaman-union-budget-labour-codes-law-7193088/
Tagged with: Informal Sector Informal Workers Informal Labourers Labour Codes The Code on Social Security 2020 The Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code 2020 The Industrial Relations Code 2020 The Code on Wages 2019 Informal Sector Workers Income Inequality Social Inequality Pandemic Lockdown Covid-19 Labour Rights Income Security Joblessness Job Security MSMEs