labour is divided into two parts: Organised and Un-organised labour. In India, 93% of the labour sector lies in the unorganized sector with most of the farm sector falling under the informal category, while only one-fifth of the non-farm workers are found in the organized sector. Subsistence farmers, dairy workers and those working in the traditional manufacturing such as handlooms are grouped under unorganized sector. The term Unorganised labour has been defined as those workers who have not been able to organize themselves to pursuit their common interests due to constraints like casual nature of employment, ignorance and illiteracy.
Trends in Employment in Organised and Unorganised Sectors in India The table below explains the extent of workforce in the organised and unorganised sectors, and their changes over time. The share of organised workforce was about 8.per cent by 1983, which declined to 7.54 per cent by 2004-2005. The corresponding share of unorganized workforce was about 92.07 per cent by 1983, which increased to 92.46 per cent by 2004-2005 Year
Characteristics of unorganised labour
The unorganised sector suffers from cycles of seasonality of employment and majority of the workers do not have a stable and durable avenue of employment. Even those who are visibly employed are not substantially employed, therefore showing the existence of disguised employment The workplace is fragmented and scattered. The workers do the same kind of jobs even in different habitations and maybe not work or live together in compact areas.
There is no employer – employee relationship between the small and marginal farmers as they work in situations which may be marginally favourable to one category but may be described as identical In rural areas the unorganised labour force is highly stratified on caste and community considerations. The unorganised workers are subject to exploitation significantly by the rest of the society. They receive poor working conditions and the wages are below than that in the formal sector. The unorganised workers do not receive sufficient attention from the trade unions.
Problems faced by the unorganised sector
Due to globalization, workers, especially in the traditional and unorganised sectors are alienated from the mainstream of the society in terms of welfare schemes, benefits and social security. They do not have any bargaining power. The people of the unorganised sector are being considered as objects and machines to achieve the target of maximum productions. Therefore, the degradation of man as an object has been set and the meaning and dignity of work thereby seems to have been distorted in the country.
They have lack of skills and have less exposure to information and technology. There is a lack of formal training in the unorganised sector. The unorganised sector mainly produces non-competitive products therefore they are unable to thrive on competition. They do not have the protection of labour laws like the Minimum Wages Act. Equal Remuneration Act and Workmen Compensation Act, because of ignorance and lack of effective enforcement. The voice of the workers is not heard, as at large they do not have collective bargaining capacity due to lack of organisations or unions. Women and children are the most affected among the workers in the unorganised sector while children are exploited to the maximum. A large number of workers in this sector are not aware or informed of the various rights and facilities that are available to them.
Social Security for the unorganised workers
Food Security – Food security is considered to be an important component of social security. The rural and weaker sections of the community are badly affected during natural disasters or calamities. It is important to provide security for food in normal times and especially in times of difficulty. The Public Distribution System (PDS) was implemented in the States to protect the real purchasing power of the poorer sections by providing them an uninterrupted supply of food grains at prices far below the market price.
Nutritional Security – The weaker sections of the community and the unorganised workers are not conscious about their nutrient intake. Lack of nutrients leads to poor growth, poor health and sickness, poor performance and shorter life. There are certain initiatives by the states, local bodies and NGO’s to create awareness on health and nutrition and to ensure adequate nutrient intake for the targeted groups, particularly to children and women. Health Security – It can be described as ensuring low exposure to risk and providing access to health care services along with the ability to pay for medical care and medicine. Such health security should be made available to all citizens.
The poor do not treat for common illness and sometimes to major diseases that are unidentified by them causing higher level of untreated morbidity. The cost and burden of treatments are ever increasing and leading to difficulty for the poor and weaker sections of the community. Housing Security – Housing is one of the basic needs of ever individual and family. The housing needs of the unorganised workers and the poor are ever increasing in the context of the decay of joint family system, migration and urbanisation.
There are several financing companies and commercial banks offering loans to organised workers but these facilities are normally not available and could not be enjoyed by the unorganised workers. Employment Security – Unorganised workers are greatly affected by the seasonal nature of the employment opportunities. The problem of under employment and unemployment exist to a large extent among unorganised sectors. There are several schemes initiated to generate employment opportunities in rural India. The government has recently enacted the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act to provide 100 days guaranteed employment to rural households. Income Security – Even though income and number of days are positively related, this relationship holds good mainly for organised workers. As for unorganised workers, their income is highly influenced by the nature of job, nature and type of products, market value and competition etc. For various other self employed enterprises and other jobs, there is no security available to realize income for the efforts.
Old Age Security – The workers of the unorganised sector face the problem of insecurity when they reach to the life stage of aged when they could not work for themselves. The question of dependency is a major threat to the old age unorganised workers in the context of disappearing joint family system.
Unorganised Sector Workers Act, 2008
The act gives provision of formation of national and state social security boards, which would have network of district and panchayat through workers facilitation centres all over the country. The Worker’s Facilitation Center (WFC) will be the main instrument for implementation of the Act. Functions of the WFC:
1. Registration of the workers and giving them social security numbers with identity cards should be the responsibility of the Worker’s Facilitation Center. 2. Resolution of labour disputes through conciliation and arbitration by setting up committees in consultation with the State Board. 3. They should also have functions of increasing skill and productivity. They should provide marketing linkages to the workers. It should constitute employment exchanges for the unorganised sector. It should provide linkages
for financial services to workers. According to the Act, the workers facilitation center would be initiated by unions or labour NGO’s that the state governments will recognize.
Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee (MGNREGA) Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) aims at enhancing livelihood security of people in rural areas by guaranteeing hundred days of employment in a financial year to a household. Objective: 100 days guaranteed employment to the unemployed families and creation of assets. Positive Impacts of MGNREGA on the unorganised sector:
1. Hike in minimum wage.
2. Enhancement of the bargaining power.
3. Choice of work was given to the workers.
4. Social security and security to get work was given to the workers. 5. Gender equality in work and wages was seen.
6. Stratification of work according to skills was seen.
1. Labour shortage in agriculture was seen.
2. It reduces the strength and capability of labour.
3. There was less work and more wages.
From this we understand that the labour sector in India needs some serious planning. We can see that the unorganised sector is mistreated and are not given access to amenities that belong to them by right. Social Security needs to be provided for these workers and serious steps need to be taken to increase the Organised labour sector of India.