WHITHER UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS
What the article is about?
- Talks about the unemployment crisis and the need for an unemployment allowance scheme.
Syllabus: GS-III Indian economy, Unemployment, Inclusive growth
Unemployment picture and need of unemployment benefit scheme:
- As per the Centre For Monitoring Indian Economy, the average urban unemployment rate remained higher at 9.04% in 2021 and above 7% in January-February 2022.
- Meanwhile, the rural unemployment rate rose to 8.35% in February 2022 after mild fluctuations around 57% since June 2021 (8.75%).
- Even before COVID19, the unemployment rate touched a peak in 2017-18 at 6.1%.
- The urban unemployment rate was 7.8% and the rural unemployment rate was 5.3%.
- Urban unemployment is of grave concern, at least since the pandemic.
Unemployment relief system- Status:
- Unlike in China, the labour laws do not expressly provide for unemployment beneﬁts.
- However, under the Employees’ State Insurance Act (ESIA), 1948, the Rajiv Gandhi Shramik Kalyan Yojana (RGSKY) provides unemployment allowance to involuntarily unemployed insured persons who have made contributions for two years to ESI.
- It covers unemployment due to retrenchment, closure or permanent invalidity.
- It provides medical care during unemployment tenure and vocational training.
- In 2018, the government introduced the Atal Beemit Vyakti Kalyan Yojana (ABVKY) under which unemployed insured persons are provided allowance at the rate of 50% of the average per day earning of the claimant for 90 days on a pilot basis for two years.
- Under the Industrial Disputes Act (IDA), 1947, industrial establishments employing 100 or more workers must pay retrenchment compensation of 15 days of average pay for the completed years of service to workers in case they lose jobs due to government sanctioned workers’ retrenchment or closures of establishments.
- Though the Social Security Code (SSC), 2020, included unemployment protection in its definition of ‘social security’, it did not provide for a scheme for the same.
- Annual Reports of the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) – analyse the working of unemployment allowance schemes
- Under the RGSKY, from 2007-08 to 2019-20, 0.043% (13,341/ 3,09,66,930) of the employees availed of unemployment allowance during this period
- Unemployment allowance’s share in total cash expenditure of ESIC ranged from 0.25% to 0.99%
- The SSC must be amended to provide for a universal unemployment allowance scheme with tripartite contributions
- The 2nd National Commission on Labour in 2002 recommended an unemployment scheme for organised workers financed by employers, workers and the government.
- An urban employment guarantee scheme should be framed to alleviate the sufferings of workers in the urban labour market.