Skip to main content

Gujarat model 'revealed': Social security benefit, paid leave, written contract elude majority workers

By Rajiv Shah
Fresh data released by the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO), India’s premier data collection centre between decadal censuses, have revealed that, far from being a model for the country to follow, Gujarat under the years under Narendra Modi as chief minister (2001-14) failed to take care of the workers’ plight in the huge informal sector which is shaping up following the state’s fast-growing industrialization. According to the NSSO, the informal sector workers make up nearly 75 per cent of the state’s workforce employed in the non-agricultural sector (both rural and urban), and the workers in this sector particularly have massively failed to get any social security benefits, including paid leave. With wages one of the lowest in India, the workers in this sector suffer even more.
The NSSO data suggest that, as against the all-India average of 72 per cent workers not getting any social security benefits – essential during the transitional phase of an economy – Gujarat’s proportion is 75 per cent. Worse, even some of the poorer Bimaru states have begun to perform better on this front. Thus, Odisha’s 74 per cent workers are outside the social security net, followed by Madhya Pradesh (70 per cent), Bihar (69 per cent), and Assam (58 per cent). In fact, if the data reveal, 11 out of 20 major Indian states perform better than Gujarat. The NSSO report states, social security mainly consists of “provident fund (PF) scheme, gratuity and, health care and maternity benefits.” It adds, “Non-availability of social security benefits is a measure of insecurity in the job one performs.”

The report says, the proportion of employees not eligible for any social security benefit was higher for the construction sector as also in wholesale and retail trade, activities of households as employers, “and undifferentiated goods and services producing activities of households”. It adds, “The proportion of employees not eligible for any social security benefit was considerably lower for the industries public administration and defence, compulsory social security, education, industries information and communication, financial and insurance activities, and public administration.” Titled “Informal Sector and Conditions of Employment in India”, and finalized in July 2014, the report is based on survey it carried out between July 2011 and June 2012.
Coming to paid leave, which is essential for anyone falling ill, the NSSO finds that Gujarat’s 73 per cent workers do not get the facility – which higher than all but six of the 20 major states. Here also several “backward” states are found to be performing better – Chhattisgarh’s 72 per cent workers do not get paid leave, followed by Madhya Pradesh (71 per cent), Assam (64.1 per cent), and so on. While no reasons have been forwarded for this state of affairs, the NSSO data suggest at least one thing very clearly – that Gujarat may be suffering because of lack of workers’ participation in unions and associations, must for putting up collective demands.
Thus, the NSSO report states, Gujarat’s 87.3 per cent workers are not associated with any union or association, which is higher than most of the 20 major states with the exception of just four states – Rajasthan (90 per cent), Odisha (89 per cent), Jharkhand (88 per cent), and Himachal Pradesh (67 per cent). The national average on this score is 80 per cent. Kerala has the least percentage of workers who are not unionized – 45 per cent, followed by Assam (70 per cent), Karnataka (71 per cent), Punjab (73 per cent), Tamil Nadu (74 per cent), West Bengal (77 per cent), Bihar (78 per cent), Maharashtra (81 per cent), and so on. 
Poor unionization also means poor wages – the average wage (for both casual and salaried classes) in Gujarat were Rs 268 per day, as India's Rs 322, and worse than all states except Chhattisgarh ( Rs 237), Bihar (Rs 239), Odisha (Rs 255), Madhya Pradesh (Rs 261), and Uttar Pradesh (Rs 265). It also means a lower proportion of workers enter into contractual agreement for work. NSSO data show that 82 per cent of the workers in Gujarat work without any written contract, as against the all-India figure of 79 per cent. Only five of 20 major states have a higher proportion of workers working without contractual agreement -- Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab. 

Comments

TRENDING

Hindus to be 'sent' to Kashmir? Despite Israeli settlements, peace eludes the region

By Anand K Sahay*
Curfew, news and communications blackout, transportation shut-down... News reports from Kashmir are worrying. So are the views relayed through the media, especially television. Old-fashioned repression seems to be consorting comfortably with expressions of concern “for our Kashmiri brethren”. We are looking at Orwell’s 1984 in the making.

Dholera 'inundated': Gujarat govt tries selling low lying area as top smart city site

Counterview Desk
Even as the Dholera Special Investment Region Regional Development Authority (DSIRDA) of the Gujarat government was busy organising a junket for Gujarat-based journalists for the area sought to be sold as an ideal special investment region (SIR) for industrialists, well-known farmers' activist Sagar Rabari has wondered why no investor has so far agreed to put in money in an area situated in Ahmedabad district along the Gulf of Khambhat.

Congress' anti-democratic laws led to Modi govt's 'Constitutional' changes: Scholars

Counterview Desk
A large number of academics* said to be belonging to several Indian and international institutions, even as taking strong exception to the Narendra Modi government's alleged move to amend the Constitution through "illegitimate" means, have taken strong exception to their colleagues in academia who we have become "all too accustomed to adopting a calculated silence in the face of such indignities."

Savarkar 'opposed' Bhagat Singh's, Netaji's dream of India, supported British war efforts

By Shamsul Islam*
In a shocking development, the student wing of the RSS put the busts of martyrs Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose with Savarkar's on one pedestal at the University of Delhi late in the night on August 20, 2019. Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for a socialist-democratic-secular republic and Netaji raised Azad Hind Fauj (INA) consisting of people of all religions and regions for armed liberation of India.

UN experts object to GoI move to 'reinforce' trend of prosecution, eviction of tribals

Counterview Desk
In a report sent to the Government of India, three United Nations (UN) special rapporteurs, expressing "concerns" over the failure to ensure "adequate" implementation of the India Forest Rights Act (FRA), have regretted that the Government of India has not cared to reply their previous communications on this.

Modi's Gujarati mind? Why govt move to 'sell-off' defence PSUs isn't in national interest

By Sandeep Pandey*
The Standing Committee on Defence, 2017-18, of the 16th Lok Sabha highlights the idea of Buy Indian-IDDM (Indigenously Designed Developed and Manufactured). The Committee expressed concern over the import content of equipments produced and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Ordnance Factories (OFs) and defence Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) because of the dependence it creates for military hardware on foreign suppliers.

As submergence stares Narmada valley, Patkar says: With powerful in throne, we're helpless

Counterview Desk
Well-known anti-dam organization, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), plans to begin its “Resist Illegal Submergence in Narmada Valley” satyagraha on August 21 at Jantar Mantar, Delhi, amidst news that the situation in the valley is “critical”, with two persons having already died in flood-related incidents in the upstream of the Sardar Sarovar dam.

RTI Act holy cow for Govt of India? Official insists, don't ask why, when, what, where

By Pankti Jog*
The Government of India appears to have begun treating the Right to Information (RTI) Act as a holy cow. Its officials seem to believe that the Act is a sacred law, under which people shouldn't be questioning its functioning. One recalls what Prime Minister Narendra Modi said while addressing an RTI convention in 2015: “Why should government wait for people to ask information, we will have all information out in the domain, we have nothing to hide."

Can't go to court with RTI information, rule Ahmedabad authorities: Kankaria accident

By Pankti Jog*
In a shocking reply to an application filed by me, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) authorities have said that the information provided under the Right to Information (RT) Act should be used in court or in a judicial process. The Act is known to be a major tool that enables citizens to seek certified copies of documents, records from any public authority of state and Central government within 30 days, as per provisions of the Act.

Central Gujarat effluent channel 'releasing' highly polluted industrial wastewater: PM told

Counterview Desk
Senior environmentalists of the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS), Vadodara, Rohit Prajapati and Krishnakant, in an open letter to the Prime Minister, the Gujarat chief minister, the Gujarat chief secretary, and senior Government of India and Gujarat government officials dealing with environment, pollution and climate change have said that the authorities’ response their pleas to take action against the leakages and flow of polluted wastewater from the effluent channels of Central Gujarat industrial areas has met with complete inertia.