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The labour ministry will begin a drive in April to register around 470 million unorganised sector workers and provide them a card, Unorganised Worker Index Number, bringing them under the social security net, an official source said. The ministry wants to complete the exercise by the end of the next fiscal year, before the polls in 2019, so that these workers are covered under the social security code it proposes. “The ministry will begin registering the unorganised workers across the country by the beginning of the next fiscal year to provide them benefits of various social security schemes run by retirement fund body EPFO and state health insurer ESIC,” the official source said. The UWIN card would have a unique number which would be seeded with Aadhaar to provide all benefits of social security schemes at one stop, he added. “A Labour Code on Social Security and Welfare is at the consultation stage and could be a reality by the time registration of informal workers is complete,” he said. The ministry has already initiated a pilot on the UWIN Cards to test the efficacy of the system, he said, adding it is satisfied with the results. The source said the only issue is who would pay the matching contribution for informal sector workers under the schemes run by the Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) and Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC). Under these schemes, apart from employees, employers also contribute to social security scheme accounts.
The government, said the source, will have to find some mechanism for informal sector workers as there would not be any employer to contribute for the schemes. The source said the under the new code, the issue of contribution by employer is likely to be sorted out.