The Supreme Court (SC) on May 31, 2018 directed the Centre to not to disburse any grants to the states which have not yet registered domestic workers under the Unorganised Workers Social Security Act, 2008.
The ruling came after the apex court was told that several states have still not complied with its direction of January 11, 2018 in which it had directed the registration of domestic workers, beginning from February 2018.
• A bench of Justices Kurian Joseph and M M Shantanagoudar also directed the Secretary of the Labour Department of the Centre to furnish a report regarding the status of registration in three months.
• The court also ordered that the domestic workers should not only be registered but should also be provided with the identity cards.
• It issued notices to all state governments and asked the chief secretaries of each state to file a status report on action taken in compliance to its earlier orders.
• The Central Government shall not disburse any further grants to the States, which have not registered the domestic workers.
Who filed the petition and why?
The ruling came on a petition filed by NGO Shramjeevi Mahila Samiti, which had told the court that despite the Act coming into force in 2008 and framing of several schemes, no domestic worker has enjoyed their benefits.
Constitution of a National Social Security Board
• The Supreme Court on March 24, 2017 directed the Centre to constitute a National Social Security Board as per the provisions of the Unorganised Workers' Social Security Act, 2008.
• Accordingly, the Centre had set up the board on May 22, 2017. The board was asked to file a report within a period of one month regarding the steps taken for the welfare of the unorganised sector and domestic workers.
• As a pilot project, the court directed the Delhi Government to take immediate steps to register the domestic workers under the Act.
The Unorganised Workers Social Security Act, 2008
As per provisions of the Act, every unorganised worker shall be eligible for registration subject to the fulfilment of the two conditions; he or she should have completed 14 years of age; and a self-declaration by him or her confirming that he or she is an unorganised worker.
The State Governments are mandated to register the unorganised workers and to provide them with benefits of welfare schemes other than the three basic social security schemes of the Central Government i.e. (i) life and disability cover, (ii) health and maternity benefits, and (iii) old age protection.
Few schemes that work for unorganised workers: