- The Union Ministry of Labour has called tenders to design, develop and run the new UWIN- Unorganised Workers Identification Number
- The Section 10 the Unorganised Workers Social Security Act, 2008 had first mandated that every worker be registered and issued a smart ID card.
- The UWIN schemed was first mooted in 2014.
- In 2015, the central government has asked states/UTs to launch the Shram Shakti Pehchaan campaign to enroll unorganised sector workers and issue them smart cards to avail of benefits of various schemes
- In December 2017, in a bid to provide social security to people working in the unorganised sector, the government approved to invest Rs 402 crore to create a national platform for unorganised workers and issue a unique ID for them by 2019.
- Now, ten years after passing a law in 2008 that envisaged a portable smart ID card for unorganised workers, the Centre has started work to create a national database and Aadhaar-seeded identification number system to facilitate welfare delivery to 40 crore workers in the sector.
- Unorganised Workers’ Identification Number or UWIN is a proposed unique number to be issued as the identity proof to unorganised workers in India.
- It initially proposed to provide a smart card to the unorganised workers ] entitled to benefits under various schemes such as Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) and Aam Aadmi Bima Yojana (AABY), Atal Pension Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana and Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana etc.
- The portable smart card would have details of bank account, mobile numbers and benefits of social security schemes that can be availed by the workers.
- However, the proposal to issue smart cards was rejected due to the high cost.
- Now, a proposal to issue a Unique ID, that is UWIN, and allotment of an Aadhaar-seeded identification number to them without issuing any smart card, has been approved by the central government with an estimated cost of Rs 402.7 crore to be implemented in two years.
- There will be a central database of workers based on the UWIN number.
- The single unified sanitised database will assign a ten-digit UWIN to every worker and include details of both nuclear and extended families of unorganised workers.
- The UWIN number will be linked with the Aadhaar number of the workers to help the government keep track whether benefits were reaching the intended beneficiaries.
- The platform will be set up within six months of the contract being signed, and a third of the workers are expected to be registered in the first year, with the remainder to be registered in the second year.
- While the Centre, through the service provider will create and maintain the platform, it is up to the states to identify and register unorganised workers.
- The Socio-Economic and Caste Census 2011 will be used as the base for the platform, and other worker databases – from the states as well as other Central ministries such as Textiles and Health – will also be incorporated into UWIN.
- The Andhra Pradesh Social Security Board’s Aadhaar-linked database with 2.2 crore workers will be used as an efficacy indicator for the national project.
Need of UWIN
- From the detailed analysis of the problems faced by workers in unorganised sector, it is realised that social security is mandatory for the unorganised sector workers to decrease their vulnerability.
- Though some efforts are taken by the Government by passing the Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Act, 2008 and many schemes to provide a minimum level of social security to the poor unorganised workers but proved to be inadequate, due to the deficit in delivery mechanism of social security programmes.
- Such deficit includes:
- Lack of delivery infrastructure at the level of state governments;
- Lack of organisational capabilities on the part of delivery agencies;
- Misidentification of the programme beneficiaries;
- Incidence of corrupt practices, rent seeking by the administration and delivery agencies, and elite capture of the schemes;
- Lack of awareness on the part of people regarding details of schemes as well as their own entitlements.
- Lack of Simple and Easily Accessible Schemes
- Non- convergence of Social Security Schemes
- Lack ofCentralized Data base
- It was realized that instead of analysing what sort of social security measures are required to fulfil the multi facet needs of the unorganised sector workers, the need of the hour is how social security programmes have to be effectively implemented for the informal workers who are the target groups.
- Thus, one centralised data base for all social security schemes and access to social security benefits to be made available against one single identity number was proposed.
- The move to issue UWIN is the first step towards ensuring social security benefits for this vast segment of people who often labour under hazardous conditions.
- Also, the portability feature of the UWIN enables migrant workers to access health facility and other entitlements across the country.
Challenges for Aadhar based UWIN
- The entire UWIN platform is built around Aadhaar and the service provider “is expected to design processes by the means of which authentication of the unorganised worker is performed using Aadhaar information, this might be challenged in the court.
About unorganized sector
- According to the Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Act, 2008, ‘Unorganised Sector’ means an enterprise owned by individuals or self-employed workers and engaged in production or sale of goods or providing service of any kind whatsoever, and where the enterprise employs workers, the number of such workers is less than ten.
- There are around 40 crore unorganised workers in the country, which accounts for around 89 per cent of the total workforce, as per government estimates.