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

#MeToo moment in Hyderabad Urdu varsity? Two girl students seek action against authorities

Counterview Desk
Has the #MeToo movement reached Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MAANU)? It would seem so if a recent letter by newly-appointed chancellor Firoz Bakht Ahmed to MAANU vice-chancellor Dr Aslam Parvaiz is any indication. Seeking reinstatement of two girl victims of “sexual harassment and humiliation”, the letter specifically names head of the department of the Media Centre for Journalism, suspecting, the problem could be much deeper.
Text of the letter: It is a matter of utmost perturbation for me to receive the two representations from the girls studying in the MCJ (Media Center for Journalism) regarding their sexual and subsequently, mental and social harassment at the hands of Prof Ehtesham Ahmad Khan, the HOD, MCJ.
We do not know, how many girls have been exploited by him and preferred to be silent for saving their family’s honour; however, there are two brave girls who stood to the depraved advances and misuse by Prof Ehtesham and came up with written complai…

"Ineligible" funding of Sardar Statue in Gujarat: CAG tells Central PSUs, it's not a heritage CSR activity

By Our Representative
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, in its recent report on Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSE), has qualified public sector undertakings’ (PSUs') funding the 182-metre world’s highest Sardar Statue, currently being constructed in the Narmada river downstream of the Sardar Sarovar dam as an “ineligible” corporate social responsibility (CSR) activity.

Gujarat BJP MLAs, youth leader "incited" attack on North Indians: Cong releases video

Counterview Desk
Senior Gujarat Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil, currently in charge of Bihar and national spokesperson, All-India Congress Committee, has sent a legal notice to chief minister Vijay Rupani threatening criminal case and civil defamation suit for accusing him with "baseless statement" that he was responsible for attacks on north Indians in Gujarat.

29th "NRC-related" suicide in Assam, as Nirod Baran Das takes his life by hanging on a fan

By Our Representative
Reporting 29th case of National Register of Citizens (NRC)-driven suicide in Assam, one of India’s human rights campaign sites has said that, on October 20, tragedy struck Kharupetia town in Darrang district of Assam, when a retired school teacher and advocate Nirod Baran Das “took his life by hanging himself to a fan in his home.” The report adds, “The NRC process has so far claimed over two dozen such lives in the past four months alone.”

"Highly irregular" for PSUs to fund Sardar Statue under Corporate Social Responsibility

Counterview Desk
In a letter to I Srinivas, secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Government of India, former secretary (economic affairs), Ministry of Finance, EAS Sarma, has raised questions on the funding of the Sardar Patel statue in South Gujarat by Central Public Sector Undertaking (CPSUs) relying on the Comptroller and Auditor General report (No 18/2018).

Murder of Tamil Nadu teenage Dalit girl: "Stoic silence" despite #MeToo movement

Counterview Desk
Brinelle D'souza, who is with the Centre for Health and Mental Health, School of Social Work, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, has prepared a strong statement to protest the brutal murder of 13-year-old Rajalakshmi. "Other than a few media reports, this gruesome killing has not caught national attention despite a very vibrant #MeToo campaign currently underway", regrets D'souza.

Post-MJ Akbar resignation: #MeToo movement and fears of backlash

By Sheshu Babu*
For the last few days, #MeToo movement has picked up momentum and many women are coming out with horrific tales of severe harassment in their past lives. They are not afraid anymore to expose famous persons including those at ministerial levels. As a senior journalist Neeraja Chowdhury opined (“An exit, a beginning”, October 18, 2018, indianexpress.com), "The #MeToo revelations are like the eruption of a volcano which was imminent, given the journey working women have covered. It was not easy to make public what they had gone through,and take on powerful men.”

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Bank account frozen, raid on Amnesty office: Govt of India "treating" human rights NGOs like criminal enterprises

By Abhirr VP*
Amnesty India’s bank accounts have been frozen by the Enforcement Directorate, effectively stopping its work. Amnesty India is thus the latest target of the government’s assault on civil society in the country. The accounts of Greenpeace India were frozen earlier this month.

60 ex-civil servants seek release of CAG reports on Rafale, demonetisation before 2019 polls

Counterview Desk
As many as 60 retired civil servants have asked President Ram Nath Kovind to expedite the release of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) reports on demonetisation and the Rafale deal. The letter, signed mainly by former Indian Administrative Service, Indian Foreign Service and Indian Police Service officers, regrets that the status of the audit is "unclear”. According to them, “An impression is gaining ground that CAG is deliberately delaying its audit reports on demonetisation and Rafale deal till after the May 2019 elections so as not to embarrass the present government”.