Minister informed that the government is committed for the cause of unorganised workers which constitute nearly 93% of the total workforce of the country. The Unorganized Workers would be issued a Smart Card. The Card would be linked to Aadhar and will also have the details of bank account, mobile numbers and benefits of social security schemes as RSBY, AABY, IGNOPS can be availed by such workers.
As you are aware, the Shram Suvidha Portal was launched on 16 October 2014 in Shramev Jayate Karyakram inaugurated by the Prime Minister during the State Labour Ministers Conference ushering in an era of Transperancy & Accountability in the labour laws enforcement system wherein a unique Labour Identification Number (LIN) has been issued to 7,40,850 Establishments as on date covering EPFO, ESIC, DG(MS) and CLC ( C). This will help in creating conducive atmosphere for doing business with ease in the country. The mandatory uploading of inspection reports within 72 hours would keep a check on arbitrariness in inspections and will ensure more effective and purposive labour inspections. Single on-line returns for 16 Acts in the Central sphere and on-line inspection reports will lead to better compliance and enforcement of labour laws thereby, benefiting the workers. We are also putting details of contract workers in each establishment in Shram Suvidha Portal. I am happy to inform that a lot of State Governments have come forward to join this portal and we are working very closely with them on the matter.
In another major initiative, The Ministry has launched portability of Provident Fund benefits through Universal Account Number for workers in the organized sector across jobs and geography areas. Now the EPF account of employee will be updated monthly and he would also be informed through SMS & will enable them to consolidate all their previous accounts. Special drives are now being undertaken to include both construction and contract workers in UAN thereby bringing them in the formal security cover
The Government has notified increase of wage ceiling from Rs. 6500/- to Rs. 15,000/- for coverage under Employees’ Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act 1952.The Government has also notified for providing a minimum pension of Rs. 1000/- per month to the pensioners under the Employees’ Pension Scheme 1995.
My Ministry has taken several path breaking initiatives with the objectives of enhancing the dignity and brand equity of vocational training, making vocational training demand responsive and for vastly expanding the opportunities available to our youth for becoming competent trained manpower. In this regard our Ministry has entered into MoU with Germany for the skill up-gradation of our youth to improve their competitiveness and employability.
Apprenticeship Scheme has the potential of becoming a major vehicle for preparing practical oriented skilled manpower. For attracting the youth to apprenticeship, we have almost doubled the stipend and have indexed it with minimum wages of semi-skilled manpower. The stipend has increased from Rs.2100/- per month to about Rs.4200/- per month. We are supporting MSMEs in engaging apprentices. New scheme Apprentice Protsahan Yojana will provide 50% support towards payment of stipend. Our goal is to enhance apprenticeship seats from about 4.9 lakh to more than 20 lakh in next few years.
A nation-wide programme for Recognition of Prior Learning of construction of workers has been launched which will provide gap training and would award NCVT certificate after assessment. This sector employs more than 10% of the workforce. There is also a provision of wage compensation to the workers in the scheme. The scheme is being financed from the Cess collected from construction projects.
We have also taken up a new scheme for developing one ITI in each state as model ITI which will completely re-orient the training programmes to present industry needs and set benchmarks in vocational training. In addition, steps like revamp of training curricula, introduction of semester system and periodic re-affiliation of ITIs in order to enhance quality of vocational training have been taken. This has become necessary in view of rapid expansion of seats in ITIs which has now reached almost 1.2 million.
In order to guide and counsel the youth in a professional manner about the modern day career options, Ministry is implementing National Career Service (NCS) Project which will also have 100 Model Career Centres. In addition to make employment services user friendly through IT platform, these Career Centres would also provide training in Last Mile Employability skills. NCS portal will be functional by March, 2015.
Labour is one of the most critical factors of production. Industrial peace and harmony can be achieved only when the goals of employment and employability are in tune with the goals of industrial development and growth. It is our vision to have an environment which is conducive for inclusive growth and development of the country. Trade unions have always been our partners in this process and I assure that rights of the workers will be protected. I re-iterate that with discussions and dialogue, we shall take along all stakeholders in the nation building process. Very soon, I shall be convening tri-partite meetings for meaningful and result oriented consultations.