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Social Security and Labour Welfare

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Social Security and Labour Welfare in India: A review



Social security is one of the pillars on which the structure of a welfare state rests, and it constitutes the hard core of social policy in most countries. It is through social security measures that the state attempts to maintain every citizen at a certain prescribed level below which no one is allowed to fall. It is the security that society furnishes through appropriate organization, against certain risks to which its members are exposed (ILO, 1942). Social security system comprises health and unemployment insurance, family allowances, provident funds, pensions and gratuity schemes, and widows’ and survivors’ allowances. The essential characteristics of social insurance schemes include their compulsory and contributory nature; the members must first subscribe to a fund from which benefits could be drawn later. On the other hand, social assistance is a method according to which benefits are given to the needy persons, fulfilling the prescribed conditions, by the government out of its own resources.

                    The present section reviews labour welfare activities in India with particular emphasis on the unorganized sector. Although provisions for workmen’s compensation in case of industrial accidents and maternity benefits for women workforce had existed for long, a major breakthrough in the field of social security came only after independence. The Constitution of India (Article 41) laid down that the State shall make effective provision for securing the right to public assistance in case of unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement and in other cases of underserved want. The Government took several steps in compliance of the constitutional requirements. The Workmen’s Compensation Act (1926) was suitably revised and social insurance programmes were developed for industrial workers. Provident funds and gratuity schemes were introduced in most industries, and maternity legislation was overhauled. Subsequently, State governments instituted their own social assistance programmes. The provisions for old age comprise pension, provident fund, and gratuity schemes. All the three provisions are different forms of retirement benefits. Gratuity is a lump sum payment made to a worker or to his/her heirs by the company on termination of his/her service due to retirement, invalidity, retrenchment or death (Vajpayee and Shanker, 1950).





Welfare is the provision and maintenance of the conditions of life for individuals by the community.

Welfare has a positive and negative aspect. Negative welfare is the provision by the state or other institutions of a “safety net” or the distribution of benefits according to some criteria; so-called positive welfare is the provision of opportunities for people to “help themselves”. This contrast lies behind foreign-aid strategies which concentrate on providing skills or “seed capital” rather than food parcels, for example. The concept of positive and negative welfare is related to the concepts of positive and negative freedom.

Marxists support both positive and negative welfare, but recognise that the market inevitably generates inequality and a class of people inevitably the recipients of welfare, who have nothing to sell but their labour power, alongside a class of people who live off the proceeds of exploitation, invariably the providers of welfare. Only by bringing the means of production under thorough going proletarian democracy can the very need for welfare be abolished.



Concept of labour welfare

           The concept of labour welfare is flexible and elastic and differs widely with time, region, industry, social values and customs, degree of industrialization, the general socio-economic development of the people and the political ideologies prevailing at a particular time. It is also moulded according to the age-groups, socio-cultural background, marital and economic status and educational level of the workers in various industries

                In its broad connotation, the term welfare refers to a state of living of an individual or group in a desirable relationship with total environment – ecological, economic, and social. Conceptually as well as operationally, labour welfare is a part of social welfare which, in turn, is closely linked to the concept and the role of the State. The concept of social welfare, in its narrow contours, has been equated with economic welfare. As these goals are not always be realised by individuals through their efforts alone, the government came into the picture and gradually began to take over the responsibility for the free and full development of human personality of its population.

                  Labour welfare is an extension of the term Welfare and its application to labour. During the industrialisation process, the stress on labour productivity increased; and brought about changes in the thinking on labour welfare. An early study under the UN observed as follows “in our opinion most underdeveloped countries are in the situation that investment in people is likely to prove as productive, in the purely material sense, as any investment in material resources and in many cases, investment in people would lead to a greater increase of the flow of goods and services than would follow upon any comparable investment in material capital” (UN, 1951). The theory that welfare expenditure, especially expenditure on health and education, is productive investment has led to the view that workers could work more productively if they were given a fair deal both at the work place and in the community.

                    The concept of labour welfare has received inspiration from the concepts of democracy and welfare state. Democracy does not simply denote a form of government; it is rather a way of life based on certain values such as equal rights and privileges for all. The operation of welfare services, in actual practice, brings to bear on it different reflections representing the broad cultural and social conditions. In short, labour welfare is the voluntary efforts of the employers to establish, within the existing industrial system, working and sometimes living and cultural conditions of the employees beyond what is required by law, the custom of the industry and the conditions of the market (A. J. Todd, 1933).

                  The constituents of labour welfare included working hours, working conditions, safety, industrial health insurance, workmen’s compensation, provident funds, gratuity, pensions, protection against indebtedness, industrial housing, rest rooms, canteens, crèches, wash places, toilet facilities, lunches, cinemas, theatres, music, reading rooms, holiday rooms, workers’ education, co-operative stores, excursions, playgrounds, and scholarships and other help for education of employees’ children.

                   However, labour welfare has both positive and negative sides associated to it. On the positive side, it deals with the provision of opportunities which enable the worker and his family to lead a good life, socially and personally, as well as help him to adjust social transition in his work life, family life and social life. On the negative side it functions in order to nutralise the baneful effects of large scale industrialization and provide a

counterbalance to the undesirable social consequences and labour problems which have evolved in the process of this transition.

                    The word labour means any productive activity. In a broader sense, therefore, the phrase labour welfare means the adoption of measures to promote the physical, social, psychological and general well-being of the working population. Welfare work in any industry aims, or should aim, at improving the working and living conditions of workers and their families.





           Labour welfare has been defined in various ways, though unfortunately no single definition has found universal acceptance. The Oxford Dictionary defines labour welfare as “efforts to make life worth living for worker”

                  Chamber’s Dictionary defines welfare as “a state of faring or doing well; freedom from calamity, enjoyment of health, prosperity.”

                 The ILO report refers to labour welfare as “such services, facilities, and amenities, which may be established in, or in the vicinity of undertakings to enable persons employed therein to perform their work in healthy and congenial surroundings and provided   with amenities conducive to good health and high morale”.



               On the basis of the various definitions, the basic characteristics of labour welfare work may be noted thus:

1. It is the work which is usually undertaken within the premises or in the vicinity of the undertakings for the benefit of the benefit of the employees and the members of their families.

2. The work generally includes those items of welfare which are over and above what the employees expect as a result of the contract of service from the employers.

3. The purpose of providing welfare amenities is to bring about development of the whole personality of the worker -his social, psychological, economic, moral, cultural and intellectual development to make him a good worker, a good citizen and a good member of the family.

4. These facilities may be provided voluntarily by progressive and enlightened entrepreneurs at their own accord out of their realization of social responsibility towards labour, or statutory provisions may compel them to make these facilities available; or these may be undertaken by the government or trade unions, if they have the necessary funds for the purpose.

5. Labour welfare is a very broad term, covering social security and such  other activities as medical aid,  crèches, canteens, recreation,  housing, adult education, arrangements for the transport of labour to and from the work place.

6. It may be noted that not only intra-mural but also extra-mural, statutory as well as non-statutory activities, undertaken by any of the three agencies- the employers, trade unions or the government- for the physical and mental development of the worker, both as a compensation for wear and tear that he undergoes as a part of the production process and also to enable him to sustain and improve upon the basic capacity of contribution to the processes of production, “which are all the species of the longer family encompassed by the term ‘labour welfare’.


Concept of labour welfare


In its broad connotation, the term welfare refers to a state of living of an individual or group in a desirable relationship with total environment – ecological, economic, and social.

Conceptually as well as operationally, labour welfare is a part of social welfare which, in turn, is closely linked to the concept and the role of the State. The concept of social welfare, in its narrow contours, has been equated with economic welfare. Pigou defined it as “that part of general welfare which can be brought directly or indirectly into relations with the measuring rod of money” (Pigou, 1962). According to

Willensky and Labeaux, social welfare alludes to “those formally organised and socially sponsored institutions, agencies and programmes which function to maintain or improve the economic conditions, health or interpersonal competence of some parts or all of a population” (Willensky and Labeaux, 1918). As these goals may not always be realised by individuals through their efforts alone, the government came into the picture and gradually began to take over the responsibility for the free and full development of human personality of its population.

                  Labour welfare is an extension of the term Welfare and its application to labour. During the industrialisation process, the stress on labour productivity increased; and brought about changes in the thinking on labour welfare. An early study under the UN observed as follows “in our opinion most underdeveloped countries are in the situation that investment in people is likely to prove as productive, in the purely material sense, as any investment in material resources and in many cases, investment in people would lead to a greater increase of the flow of goods and services than would follow upon any comparable investment in material capital” (UN, 1951). The theory that welfare expenditure, especially expenditure on health and education, is productive investment has led to the view that workers could work more productively if they were given a fair deal both at the work place and in the community.

                    The concept of labour welfare has received inspiration from the concepts of democracy and welfare state. Democracy does not simply denote a form of government; it is rather a way of life based on certain values such as equal rights and privileges for all. The operation of welfare services, in actual practice, brings to bear on it different reflections representing the broad cultural and social conditions. In short, labour welfare is the voluntary efforts of the employers to establish, within the existing industrial system, working and sometimes living and cultural conditions of the employees beyond what is required by law, the custom of the industry and the conditions of the market (A. J. Todd, 1933).

                  The constituents of labour welfare included working hours, working conditions, safety, industrial health insurance, workmen’s compensation, provident funds, gratuity, pensions, protection against indebtedness, industrial housing, rest rooms, canteens, crèches, wash places, toilet facilities, lunches, cinemas, theatres, music, reading rooms, holiday rooms, workers’ education, co-operative stores, excursions, playgrounds, and scholarships and other help for education of employees’ children.


Labour and Labour Welfare

Labour sector addresses multidimensional socio-economic aspects affecting labour welfare, productivity, raising living standard of labour force and social security. To raise earnings of work force and achieve higher productivity, skill upgradation through suitable training is of utmost importance. Manpower development to provide adequate labour force of appropriate skills and quality to different sectors essential for rapid socio-economic development and elimination of the mismatch between skills required and skills available has been a major focus of human resource development activities during the last fifty years. Employment generation in all the productive sectors is one of the basic objectives. In this context, providing enabling environment for self employment has received special attention both in urban and rural areas. Objective is also to eliminate bonded labour, employment of children and women in hazardous industries, and minimize occupational health hazards. During the Ninth Plan period, elimination of such undesirable practices as child labour, bonded labour, ensuring workers’ safety and social security, looking after labour welfare and providing of the necessary support measures for sorting out problem relating to employment of both men and women workers in different sectors will receive priority attention. It is also envisaged that the employment exchanges will be reoriented so that they become the source of labour related information, employment opportunities and provide counseling and guidance to employment seekers.


 All labour welfare measures have the following objectives:

1. Enabling workers to live richer and more satisfactory lives;

2. Contributing to the productivity of labour and efficiency of the enterprise;

3. Enhancing the standard of living of workers by indirectly reducing the burden on their                           purse;

4. Enabling workers to live in tune and harmony with services for workers obtaining in the neighbourhood community where similar enterprises are situated;

5. Based on an intelligent prediction of the future needs of the industrial workers, designing policies to cushion off and absorb the shocks of industrialisation and urbanisation to workers;

6. Fostering administratively viable and essentially developmental outlook among the workforce; and

7. Discharging social responsibilities.




 Principles of labour welfare

Certain fundamental considerations are involved in the concept of labour welfare. The following are the more important among them.


Social responsibility of industry

This principle is based on the social conception of industry and its role in the society that is, the understanding that social responsibility of the state is manifested through industry. It is assumed that labour welfare is an expression of industry’s duty towards its employees.

Social responsibility means that the obligation of the industry to pursue those policies, to take such decisions, and to follow those lines of action which are desirable in terms of the objectives and values currently obtaining in the society. The values of the Indian community are enshrined in the constitution of the country. Labour welfare is not embroidery on capitalism nor the external dressing of an exploitative management; rather, it is an expression of the assumption by industry of its responsibility for its employees (Maurioce Bruce, 1961). Industry is expected to win the co-operation of the workers, provide them security of employment, fair wage, and equal opportunity for personal growth and advancement, and make welfare facilities available to them.


Democratic values

The principle of democratic values of labour welfare concedes that workers may have certain unmet needs for no fault of their own, that industry has an obligation to render them help in gratifying those needs, and that workers have a right of determining the manner in which these needs can be met and of participating in the administration of the mechanism of need gratification. The underlying assumption to this approach is that the worker is a mature and rational individual who is capable of taking decisions for himself/herself.


Adequacy of wages

The third principle of labour welfare is adequacy of wages; it implies that labour welfare measures are not a substitute for wages. It will be wrong to argue that since workers are given a variety of labour welfare services, they need be paid only low wages. Right to adequate wage is beyond dispute.





The fourth principle of labour welfare lays stress on the dictum that to cultivate welfare is to cultivate efficiency. Even those who deny any social responsibility for industry do accept that an enterprise must introduce all such labour welfare measures which promote efficiency (Marshall, 1950). It has been often mentioned that workers’ education and training, housing, and diet are the three most important aspects of labour welfare, which always accentuate labour efficiency.


Since industrial organisation is rigid and impersonal, the goal of welfare in industry is the enrichment and growth of human personality. The labour welfare movement seeks to bring cheer, comfort, and warmth in the human relationship by treating man as an individual, with quiet distinct needs and aspirations. Social and cultural programmes, recreation and other measures designed after taking into consideration the workers’ interests go a long way in counteracting the effects of monotony, boredom, and cheerlessness.




The sixth principle of labour welfare recognises that the responsibility for labour welfare   lies on both employers and workers and not on employers alone (Moorthy, 1958). Labour welfare measures are likely to be of little success unless mutuality of interest and responsibilities are accepted and understood by both the parties, in particular the quality of responsibility at the attitudinal and organisational level.


Totality of welfare

The final principle of labour welfare is that the concept of labour welfare must permeate throughout the hierarchy of an organisation, and accepted by all levels of functionaries in the enterprise.



The issue of labour welfare may be studied from different angles, such as:

  • The location, where these amenities are provided, within and outside the industrial undertakings;
  • The nature of amenities such as those concerned conditions of employment and
  • The welfare activities termed as ‘statutory’, ‘voluntary’ and ‘mutual’.
  • The agencies which provide living conditions of work people; these amenities.
  • On the basis of location of welfare activities, labour welfare work has been classified by Broughton in two specific categories, namely, (a)intramural(b)extra-mural

 (a)Intra-mural activities: consist of such welfare schemes provided within the factories as medical facilities, provision of crèches, and canteens, supply of drinking water, washing and bathing facilities, provision of safety measures such as fencing and covering of machines, good lay-out of machinery and plant, sufficient lighting, first-aid appliances; activities relating to improving conditions of employment, recruitment and discipline and provision of provident fund and gratuity, maternity benefits,etc.

(b)Extra-mural activities: cover the services and facilities provided outside the factory such as, housing accommodation, indoor and outdoor recreation facilities, amusement and sports, educational facilities for adults and children, provision of libraries and reading rooms.

               In the welfare activities concerned with conditions of employment are included activities for the management of problems arising out of hours of work, wages, holidays with pay, rest intervals, sanitation, continuity of employment, control over the recruitment of female and juvenile labour, while all such schemes of benefits as co-operative societies, legal and medical aid, and housing are included in the category of activities concerned with conditions of workers.

               Labour welfare work may be statutory, voluntary or mutual. It is   statutory when such activities have to be undertaken in furtherance of the legislation adopted by the government. It is voluntary when the activities are undertaken at their own accord by the employers or some philanthropic bodies or when a labour organisation undertakes such activities for the welfare of their members. It is mutual, when all parties join hands to bring about the social and economic uplift of the workers.

            The National Commission on labour has classified various labour welfare measures under two distinct classes:

(1)those which have to be provided, irrespective of the size of the establishment or the number of the persons employed therein such as facilities relating to washing, storing, drying the clothing, first-aid, drinking water, latrines and urinals

(2)those which are to be provided subject to the employment of a specified number of persons, such as canteen, rest shelter, crèche, ambulance,etc.

             According to the Encyclopedia of social sciences, “industrial welfare work ”has taken numerous forms such as:

(a)those dealing with immediate working conditions are special provisions for adequate light, heat, ventilation, toilet facilities, accident and occupational disease prevention, lunch room, rest room, maximum hours, minimum wages,etc.;

(b)those concerned with less immediate working conditions and group interests, are gymnasiums ,club rooms, play grounds, gardens, dancing, music, house organs, mutual aid societies, vacation with pay, profit-sharing, stockownership, disability and unemployment funds, pensions, savings banks, provisions for conciliation  and arbitration, shop committees and workers councils;

(c)those designed to improve community conditions, such as housing, retail stores, schools, libraries, kinder gardens, lectures on domestic sciences, day nurseries, dispensary and dental service screening of motion pictures, arranging athletic contests and picnics and summer camps.



Scope of labour welfare work

It is somewhat difficult to accurately lay down the scope of labour welfare work, especially because of the fact that labour class is composed of dynamic individuals with complex needs.

           In a world of changing values, where ideologies are rapidly undergoing transformation, rigid statements about the field of labour welfare need to be revised. Labour welfare work is increasing with the growing knowledge and experience of techniques. An able welfare officer would , therefore, include in his welfare programme the activities that would be conducive to the well-being of the worker and his family. The test of the welfare activity is that it removes, directly or indirectly, any hindrance, physical or mental of the worker and restores to him the peace and joy of living the welfare work embraces the worker and his family

            The following list, which is by no means exhaustive, gives the items under which welfare work should be conducted inside and outside the work place:


(1)Conditions of work environment:

The workshop sanitation and cleanliness, humidity, ventilation, lighting, elimination of dust, smoke, fumes and gases, convenience and comfort during work, operative postures, sitting arrangements etc; distribution of work hours and provision for rest times, breaks and workmen’s safety measures.


(2)Workers health services.

These should include factory health centre; medical examination of workers, factory dispensary and clinic for general treatment; infant welfare; women’s general education; workers recreation facilities; education, etc;


 (3)Labour welfare programme:

These should cover factory council consisting of representatives of labour and employers; social welfare departments; interview and vocational testing; employment, follow-up, research bureau; workmen’s arbitration council.


(4)Labour’s Economic welfare programme:

These should include co-operatives or fair price shops for consumer necessities; co-operative credit society, thrift schemes and savings bank; health insurance; employment bureau; etc.


(5)General welfare work:

This should relate to housing and family care.




Central Sector

There are Four types of initiatives through the Plan for the Labour and Labour Welfare Sector. They are:

  1.         i.            Training for skills development
  2.       ii.            Services to job seekers
  3.     iii.            Welfare of Labour
  4.    iv.            Administration of Labour regulations

Many initiatives are taken for the benefit of workers through the plans of a number of Labour Intensive Sectors. These are not discussed here because they fall under the purview of respective sectoral programmes of the plan.

Vocational Training/Skill Development Training

The primary purpose of vocational training is to prepare individuals, especially the youth in the age group of 15-25 years, for the world of work and make them employable for a broad group of occupations. The main vocational training schemes comprise of Craftsmen Training scheme, Apprenticeship Training scheme, Training of Skilled Workers, Training of Women as a special target group, Training of Craft Instructors, Training of Supervisors and Foremen. Applied research on vocational training problems is carried out. Preparation and development of instructional material is another area where appropriate attention is being paid.

Craftsmen Training scheme and Apprenticeship Training scheme, which are adequately dovetailed and meant to bring maximum benefit to the youth in their formative years, form the core of the vocational training schemes. Other vocational training schemes, though smaller in magnitude, also serve a very useful and essential purpose in the overall sphere of vocational training. In spite of difficulties and shortcomings, the vocational training schemes have continued to make progress specially in term of being the primary source of manpower for industry. The schemes being well standardized and having national coverage, enjoy a fairly high crediability.

The Central Government mainly concentrates on laying down the policies, procedures and training standards while the administrative aspect of the Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) is taken care of by the concerned State Governments/UTs. In this process, the Central Government is advised by two advisory tripartite bodies namely, National Council for Vocational Training (NCVT) and the Central Apprenticeship Council (CAC). Both the councils have the Union Labour Minister as the Chairman.

Craftsmen Training Scheme

Craftsmen Training Scheme(CTS)under the National Vocational Training System was introduced in 1950 for imparting skill training.

Training is imparted mainly in engineering trades. A few trades out side the engineering field are also covered but the bulk of the services sector and other needs of industries other than manufacturing, are not handled by DGE&T.

Two major resources for such training are the Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) and the 25000 industrial establishments that take part in Apprentice Training. There has been a significant growth and expansion in the network of ITIs which have grown to 4086 in the public and private sector with a seating capacity of 6.41 lakh as on 31.12.1998 (State-wise details presented in Annexure 5.7.3) and another 2.59 lakh under the Trade Apprentice Scheme. Apprenticeship training scheme provides practical training in 135 designated trades to train apprentices in 97 subject fields in engineering and technology for graduates and diploma holders and 94 subject fields for technicians.

The National Vocational Training Institute at NOIDA (UP) and the Regional vocational Training Institutes for Women in different parts of India impart basic and advance levels of vocational training to women. A women's cell under the office of DGE&T is also coordinating with the states in the matter of vocational training for women. In the Ninth Plan, a Centrally Sponsored Scheme "Establishment of new ITIs in the North Eastern States and in Jammu and Kashmir" is proposed.

The existing training institutions have, no doubt, been meeting a significant part of the requirements of the skilled manpower of the organised industry. It, however, seems necessary that the processes of restructuring and reorientation of their courses are made more dynamic with a view to quickly respond to the labour market. A greater involvement of industry in planning and running the training system would also be necessary for this purpose. For skill upgradation of the workers in the unorganised sector, flexibility in the duration, timing and location of training courses would need to be introduced. Since a sizeable proportion of employment would have to be self-employment the in the tiny and small units in various sectors, the training system should also gear up not only for providing hard skills for suitable trades, but also the soft skills of entrepreneurship, management and marketing, as part of the training courses.

In the changed economic scenario, where displacement of labour is inevitable and existing labour force is expected to get retrenched, a special training scheme is also being implemented by the Ministry of labour, so that, the workers thus retrenched are not affected adversely. This scheme is funded out of the National Revival fund (NRF). Under this scheme, payment are made to the workers who are voluntarily retiring and also for retraining and redeployment of retrenched workers.

Services to job seekers

To provide services to job seekers is another important initiative taken by the Labour and Labour Welfare Plan. To achieve this objective, the National Employment Service has been established.

National Employment Service

It consists of a network of 942 (as on 30.6.98) Employment Exchanges spread throughout the country. These Employment Exchanges continue to provide placement vocational guidance services to job seekers registered with them. During the period January - June,1998, the Employment Exchanges effected 1.18 lakh placements (statewise details are in annexure 4). Special emphasis was laid on promotion of self employment by suitably motivating and guiding job seekers. Twenty three special cells have been set up for this purpose in selected District Employment exchanges. Out of 165.8 thousand applicants on the live registers of these 23 cells about 61.1 thousand have been placed in self employment up to December 1997, by these cell. Besides placement, Employment Exchanges also handle Employment Market Information. The function of identifying job seekers has been assumed now primarily by the organisations where jobs arise. The governments now reach the job seekers directly when a sizable job demand arises.The number of jobs in public sector has reduced sharply with the reorientation of the role of economic planning.

The National Employment Service in the context of the newly emerging market scenario has to be reoriented. The Employment Services has now accepted its enhanced role and is paying greater attention to compilation and dissemination of comprehensive labour market information. The important reports generated by EMI are "The Quarterly Employment Review", "Occupational and Educational Pattern in India" etc.

The Employment Service continued to pay special attention to the needs of the weaker section of society. A comprehensive package of services to the handicapped is provided by 17 Vocational Rehaibilitation Centres for the Handicapped. The centre at Vadodara caters exclusively to the needs of handicapped women. Vocational guidance and training in confidence building is provided to job seekers belonging to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes at 22 coaching cum guidance centres. Besides, the scheme to provide facilities to SC/ST job seekers for practising shorthand and typing is in operation in CGCs.

In addition, there are also plan schemes for modernisation and computerisation of employment exchanges. 

Welfare of labour

One of the major concerns of the Government has been the improvement of labour welfare with increasing productivity and provision of a reasonable level of social security. The planning process attempts to achieve these goals by monitoring working conditions and creation of industrial harmony through an infrastructure for healthy industrial relations.

Special drives for inspections under the Crash Programmes & Task Force inspections were organised during the year for extending coverage of labour laws like the Minimum Wages Act, Payment of Wages Act, Equal Remuneration Act & Contract Labour (Regulation & Abolition) Act to workers in the unorganised/informal sector. A total of 1074(P) inspections under the above enactments were carried out during the year 1998 as a result of which 15938(P) irregularities and 489(P) cases of under payments/non payments were detected.

There are at present 12 Industrial Tribunals cum Labour Courts constituted by Ministry of Labour dealing with industrial disputes in respect of which the Central Govt. is the appropriate authority. Two CGIT cum Labour Courts,one each at Lucknow and Nagpur have been set-up. It is also proposed to open three new CGITs at Hyderabad, Bhubaneswar and Chennai, and provide computer facilities in all the CGITs in a phased manner. The number of Industrial Tribunals and Labour Courts set up by the State Governments and the Administrations of the Union Territories as on 31.10.1998 was 331.


Labour Welfare Funds

The Ministry of Labour is administering five welfare funds for beedi, cine and certain categories of non coal mine workers. the funds have been and set up under the following Acts of Parliament:

  1. The mica mines Labour Welfare Fund Act, 1946.
  2. The Limestone and Dolomite Mines Labour Welfare Fund Act.
  3. The Iron Ore, Manganese Ore and Chrome Ore Mines Labour Welfare Fund Act 1976.
  4. The Beedi Workers' Welfare fund Act, 1976
  5. The Cine Workers Welfare Fund Act, 1981

The fund created by these acts, is used by the Central Government for the Welfare of Workers under these occupations.

Agriculture Workers

Agriculture Workers constitute by far the largest segment of workers in the unorganised sector. These workers get employment for less then six months in a year and have to migrate to other ares for alternative employment.

Several measures have been taken to protect the interests of the agricultural workers. The very first legislation-the Minimum Wages Act, 1948 is applied to the agriculture sector also. Measures have also been taken to look into the interest of construction workers. Many enactments were extended to the include construction workers.

Child Labour

According to the 1991 Census, the number of working children in the country was of the order of 11.28 million (State wise details are available in annexure 5.7.5). The existence of child labour in hazardous industries is a great problem in India. Non availability of accurate, authentic and up to date data on child labour has been a major handicap in planned intervention for eradication of this social evil. Efforts are underway in the Ninth Plan, to modify and improve the existing National Child Labour Project. A major activity undertaken under this scheme is the establishment of special schools to provide non-formal education, vocational training, supplementary nutrition, stipend, health care etc. to children withdrawn from employment in hazardous industries. Under the existing scheme 76 National Child Labour Projects were sanctioned in the Child Labour endemic States to cover nearly 1.55 lakh children. According to the available information, about 1.05 lakh children have benefitted from the special schools. State wise coverage under National Child Labour Project is furnished at Annexure 5.7.6.

The revised scheme approved by Govternment of India in January, 1999 provides for 100 National Child Labour Projects to cover more children.



Rehabilitation of Bonded Labour

A Centrally Sponsored Scheme was launched by the Ministry of Labour in 1978-79 for the identification, release and rehabilitation of bonded labourers. The scheme envisages provision of rehabilitation grant up to a ceiling limit of Rs. 10,000/- per freed bonded labourer, half of which is given as central share.

Women Labour

The Ministry of Labour has set up a Women Labour Cell in 1975. The intention was to focus attention on the lot of working women with a view to improving it. An important activity of the Cell is to convene the meeting of the Central Advisory Committee which has been constituted under the Equal Remuneration Act, 1976 and follow up the recommendations made by the Committee. Another important activity of the Women Cell is to examine and process project proposals to carry out studies on matters affecting women workers and also to fund programmes aimed at improving their economic well being. Several projects aimed at improving the working conditions of women and raising their economic level were processed by the Women Cell of the Ministry of Labour during 1998-99. The Cell also give grants-in-aid to voluntary organisation to carry out research studies on problems of women workers, their employability and the extent of their displacement on account of technological and various other changes. This scheme was introduced with the intention of furthering Government’s policy of helping women workers to become aware of their rights and opportunities and also become economically independent.

 Occupational Safety and Health

The Constitution of India contains specific provisions on Occupational Safety and Health of workers. The Directorate General of Mines Safety (DGMS) and Directorate General of Factory Advice Service and Labour Institutes(DGFASLI) strives to achieve occupational safety and health in mines factories and ports. The schemes relating to occupational safety concentrate on improvement of work environment, man-machinery interface, control and prevention of chemical hazards, development of   protective gears and equipment, training in safety measures and development of safety and health information system.

Directorate General of Factory Advise, Service and Labour Institutes (DGFASLI)

This organisation functions as the technical arm of the ministry in matters concerning with safety, health and welfare of workers in factories and ports/docks.

Directorate General of Mines Safety (DGMS)

The Directorate General of Mines Safety which is a subordinate office of the Ministry of Labour is entrusted with the responsibility of enforcing the provisions of the Mines Act, 1952. With a view to ensuring enforcement of necessary safety measures in mines, inspections and enquiries are carried out by the inspecting officers. During the period April, 1998 to September 1998, 17 notices and 11 orders were issued to coal mines and 4 notices and 15 orders were issued to non-coal mines. The number of inspections and enquiries carried out during this period was 4181.

Labour Statistics

The Labour Bureau is responsible for collection, compilation and publication of statistical and other information regarding employment, wages, earnings, industrial relations, working conditions etc. It also compiles and publishes the consumer Price Index Numbers for industrial and agricultural workers. The Bureau further renders necessary assistance to the States for conducting training programmes in Labour Statistics of State/District/Unit levels.

Workers' Education

The Central Board of Workers Education is dealing with schemes for training of workers in the techniques of trade unionism and in bringing about consciousness among workers about their rights, duties and responsibilities. The Board has also undertaken programmes for rural workers' education and functional adult education.

Labour Research and Training

The V.V. Giri National Labour Institute, a fully funded autonomous body of the Ministry of labour, conducts action oriented research and provides training to grass root level workers in the trade union movement, both in the urban and rural areas and also to officers dealing with industrial relations, personnel management, labour welfare etc.

Social Security

There are a variety of laws enacted and schemes established by the Central/State Governments with a view to provide for social security and welfare of specific categories of working people.

The principal social security laws enacted centrally are the following:

  1. The Workmen's compensation Act, 1923 (WC.Act.)
  2. The Employees State Insurance Act, 1948 (ESI Act)
  3. The Employees' Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1953 (EPF & MP Act)
  4. The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 (MB Act)
  5. The Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972 (PG Act)

The EPF and MP Act are administered exclusively by the Government of India through the EPFO. The cash benefits under the ESI Act are administered by the Central Government through the Employees State Insurance corporation (ESIC), whereas medical care under the ESI Act is being administered by the State Government and Union Territory Administration. The Payment of Gratuity Act is administered by the Central Government in establishments under its control, establishments having branches in more than one State, major ports, mines, oil fields and the Railways and by the State Governments and Union Territory Administrations in all other cases. In mines and circus industry, the provisions of the Maternity Benefit Act are being administered by the Central Government through the Chief Labour Commissioner (Central) and by the State Governments in factories, plantations and other establishments. The provisions of the WC Act are being administered exclusively by State Governments.

Programmes of the State Sector

Important programmes undertaken by the State Governments relate to diversification and expansion of the vocational training programme, improvement in the quality of training and extension of training opportunities for women, the World Bank-assisted Vocational Training Project, extension and modernisation of employment services, strengthening of labour administration, rehabilitation of bonded labour, welfare of rural and urban unorganised labour etc.

Some of the State Governments have attempted to enhance the utility of the employment service set-up. The Government of Gujarat has attempted to utilise the employment service set-up at the Taluka level by bringing the job seekers and the job providers together in Bharti Melas. The Maharashtra Government, in its programme of State-wide employment guarantee, intends to use the employment exchanges to identify the beneficiaries. The West Bangal Government has provided unemployment allowance to those registered, and in the process has generated some information on the number of unemployed persons in the State, by identifying them.

States have also introduced various social security schemes. The Governments of Gujarat, Kerala, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh have insurance schemes for the landless agricultural labourers. This needs to be extended to the entire country. Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu demonstrated the viability and potential of the old age pension scheme. Some form of social assistance is also given to the workers in the unorganised sector. This could be considered by the other states.

Most of the States have strengthened their enforcement machinery to implement various labour laws. The Assam Government has been implementing the Minimum Wages Act very meticulously. Many States and Union Territories have appointed competent authorities under the Equal Remuneration Act, 1976 and have also set-up Advisory Committees under the Act. Kerala State has introduced the 'Regulation of Employment d Conditions of Service Act' for building and other construction workers. There are various welfare schemes operated in some states. The Assam Government has the Assam Tea Welfare Board to promote the welfare of plantation workers. The State of Kerala has introduced many Welfare Fund Acts for unorganised workers and has schemes to implement them. These Acts relate to Handloom Workers, Agricultural Workers, Abkari Workers, Auto Rikshaw Workers, Tailoring Workers, Kerala Etta, Kattuvalli, Thazha workers and Beedi and Cigar Workers.

Social security measures

The concept of social security has been mentioned in the early Vedic hymn which wishes everyone to be happy, free from ill- health, enjoy a bright future and suffer no sorrow. The phrase social security is, therefore, a new name for an old aspiration. Today is based on the “ideals of human dignity and social justice”.

              Social security is defined as “the security that society furnishes, through appropriate organisation, against certain risks to which its members are exposed”. These risks are essentially contingencies against which the individual, who has small means, cannot protect himself. These contingencies include employment injury, sickness, disablement, industrial disease, maternity, old age, burial, widowhood, orphanhood and unemployment.

            Social security is also broadly defined as “the endeavour of the community, as a whole, to render help to the utmost extent possible to any individual during periods of physical distress inevitable on illness or injury and during economic distress consequent on reduction or loss of earnings due to illness, disablement, maternity, unemployment, old age or death of working member”. Social security thus provides a self-balancing social insurance or assistance from public funds or a combination of both.

           Though social security programmes vary from country to country, their three major characteristics are: they are established by law; they provide some kind of cash payment to individuals to replace atleast a part of their lost income that our due to such contingencies as unemployment, maternity, work injury, invalidism, sickness, old age and death; the benefits or services are provide in three major ways: social insurance, social assistance or public services.




Social insurance:

The features of social insurance are:

  • It is financed entirely by or mainly from the common monetary contributions of workers, employers and the state.
  • The state and the employers make major contribution to this fund, while the employees pay only a nominal amount.
  • When there is total or partial loss of income, these benefits, within limits, ensure the maintenance of the beneficiary’s minimum standard of living.
  • Social insurance benefits are granted without an examination of an individual’s need and without any means test, without  affecting the sense of self respect of the beneficiary.
  • These benefits are so planned as to cover, on a compulsory basis, all those who are sought to be covered.
  • Social insurance reduces the suffering arising out of the contingencies faced by an individual –contingencies which he cannot prevent.


         Social insurance is different from commercial insurance, for the latter is voluntary and is meant for the better paid section of the population, and its benefits are in proportion to the premiums paid; it offers protection only against individual risks and does not aim at providing a minimum standard of living.


Social assistance:

Social assistance is provided as a supplement to social insurance for those needy person who cannot get social insurance payments, and is offered after a means test. The general revenues of the government provide the finance for social assistance payments, which is made available as a legal right to those workers who fulfil given conditions. Social assistance and social insurance go side by side. Social assistance programmes cover such programmes as unemployment assistance, old- age assistance, public assistance and national assistance.

              Social security is the combination of social assistance and social insurance. Social insurance, however, falls midway between the two, for it is financed by the stste as well as by the insured and their employers;whereas social assistance is given gratis to the needy by the state or the community.


Public service:

Public service programmes constitute the third main type of social security. They are financed directly by the government from their general revenues in the form of cash payment and services to every member of the community falling within the defined category. This kind of public service is currently available in a number of countries in the form of national health service providing medical care for every person in the country, old-age pension, pension for invalidism, survivor’s pension to every widow or orphan, and a family allowance to every family having a given number of children.

          Although these social security programmes have different characteristics, it is not always easy to draw a line of demarcation among them. In many cases, two or even three programmes have common characteristics. Apart from state there are many other agencies which provide se4curity against contingencies. In many countries trade union have their own sickness, old-age, unemployment schemes. Saving funds, sickness benefits and old-age pensions have also been provided by a large number of organisations to their employees.“ The underlying idea of social security measures is that a citizen, who has contributed, or is likely to contribute to his country’s welfare, should be given protection against certain hazards”. 

         The 1952 ILO convention on social security (minimum standard)divided social security into nine components:


(a)Medical care: This should cover pregnancy,confinement, and its consequences and any disease which may lead to a morbid condition. The need for pre-natal and post-natal care, in addition to hospitalisation, was emphasized. A morbid condition may require general practitioner care, provision of essential pharmaceuticals and hospitalization.


(b)Sickness benefit:This should cover incapacity to work following morbid condition resulting in loss of earnings. This calls for periodical payments based on the convention specification. The worker need not be paid for the first three days of suspension of earnings and the payment of benefit may be limited to 26 weeks in a year.


(c) Unemployment benefit:This should cover the loss of earning during a worker’s unemployment period. When he is capable and available for work but remains unemployed because of lack of suitable employment. This benefit may be limited to 13 weeks payment in a year, excluding the first seven days of the waiting period.


(d)Old-age benefit: This benefit provides for the payment-the quantum depending upon an individual’s working capacity during the period before retirement.-of a certain amount beyond a prescribed age and continues till death.





(e)Employment injury benefit: This should cover the following contingencies resulting from accident or disease during employment:

  • Morbid condition
  • Inability to work following a morbid condition, leading to suspension of earning;
  • Total o0r partial loss of earning capacity which may become permanent;
  • Death of the breadwinner in the family, as a result of which family is deprived of financial support. Medical care and periodical payment corresponding to an individual’s need should be available.


(f)Family benefit: This should cover responsibility for the maintenance of children during an entire period of contingency. Periodical payment, provision of food, housing, clothing, holidays or domestic help in respect of children should be provided to a needy family.


(g)Maternity benefit: This benefit should cover pregnancy, confinement and their consequences resulting in the suspension of earnings. Provision should be for medical care, including pre-natal confinement, post-natal care and hospitalization if necessary. Periodical payment limited to 12 weeks should be made during the period of suspension of earnings.

(h) Invalidism benefit: This benefit, in the form of periodical payments should cover the needs of workers who suffer from any, disability arising out of sickness or accident and who are unable to engage in any gainful activity. This benefit should continue till invalidism changes into old-age, when old age benefits would become payable.


(i)  Survivor’s benefit: This should cover periodical payments to the family following the death of its breadwinner and should continue the entire period of contingency.

          The ILO has suggested various methods of organizing, establishing and financing various social security schemes. For the benefit of the less developed countries, it has fixed the level of benefits fairly low, so that the schemes may be practicable.







Social security and unorganised labour

Social security is the protection which society provides for its members, through a series of public measures, against the economic and social distress that otherwise would be caused by the stoppage or substantial reduction in earnings resulting from sickness, maternity, employment injury, unemployment, invalidity, old age and death; provision of medical care, and the provision of subsidies for families with children (ILO, 1989). The system of social security was started with the organised sector. However, owing to pressures brought on the state and the society by the growing awareness within the unorganised sector, concern is increasingly being expressed and attention given to expanding legislative and social security protection to the unorganised sector.

                 Social security schemes should be linked to economic security, including employment, in-come, and assets. There should be a convergence of the ways of reaching sustainability and of attaining expanded coverage. The growing demands of the unorganised labour force and their attempts to organise themselves can be met by a decentralised participatory social security system. It will lead to a release of the people’s creative energies and a rapid growth of social security for the organised sector. Extending social security to the unorganised sector is not merely a matter of extending existing organised sector schemes to new groups for the following reasons (Getupig, et al, 1992).

1. Unorganised sector is not a homogenous category;

2. Identifying the employer in this sector is difficult;

3. Unlike the organised sector, where steady and regular employment is a given fact, unorganised sector workers need employment security, income security, and social security simultaneously; and

4. Needs of the unorganised sector workers vary from those of the organised sector.

Welfare amenities stipulated in the Factories Act, Mines Act, Plantations Labour Act, etc., are employment-based, in the sense that such Acts are applicable to undertakings employing the minimum prescribed number of workers. Outside the realm of these Acts, there are a large number of small-scale establishments, which have no obligation, statutory or other-wise, to provide welfare amenities to their workers. These establishments are located in both urban and rural areas, and are engaged mostly in processing primary products or in supplementing the existing large-scale industries in transportation, construction, and retail trade. (Ghosh Subratesh, 1996). The precise estimate of their employment strength and their wage, welfare and working conditions are not known. The very nature of industry, the frequent collusion between the employer and his workmen and place of work often being in the backyard of the employers’ dwelling are some of the social problems which stand in the way of bringing the real picture of labour conditions to light. In the absence of any reliable data necessary for policy recommendations, one could take stock of the situation only in terms of opinions expressed by knowledgeable sources.


The first National Commission on Labour (1966-69) defined unorganised labour as those who have not been able to organise themselves in pursuit of common objectives on account of constraints like casual nature of employment, ignorance and illiteracy, small and scattered size of establishments and position of power enjoyed by employers because of the nature of industry etc. Nearly 20 years later the National Commission on Rural Labour (NCRL: 1987-91) visualised the same scenario and the same contributory factors leading to the present status of unorganised rural labour in India.


The 1991 Census has classified workers in this country into two distinct categories as main workers and marginal workers. The main workers are those workers who work for the major part of the year (296 days) and marginal workers are those who work for less that 6 months (183 days). Out of a total work force of 314 million in India, about 286 million (i.e. about 91%) were main workers and about 28 million (i.e.9%) were marginal workers. The data of the Census of India also shows that the bulk of the working population is in the unorganised sector (i.e. 91% of the total population) and this workforce is as yet not actively unionised. The organised sector, which is generally extant around urban settlements, accounts for only 9% of the total work force.



Unorganised workers can be categorised broadly under the following four heads, namely –

  1. 1.     In terms of occupation

Small and marginal farmers, landless agricultural labourers, share croppers, fishermen, those engaged in animal husbandry, in beedi rolling, beedi labelling and beedi packing, building and other construction workers, leather workers, weavers, artisans, salt workers, workers in brick kilns and stone quarries, workers in saw mills, oil mills etc. may come in this category.

  1. 2.     In terms of nature of employment
  2. 3.     Attached agricultural labourers, bonded labourers, migrant workers, contract and casual labourers come under this category.
  3. 4.     In terms of specially distressed categories

Toddy tappers, scavengers, carriers of head loads, drivers of animal driven vehicles, loaders and unloaders, belong to this category.

  1. 5.     In terms of service categories

Midwives, domestic workers, fishermen and women, barbers, vegetable and fruit vendors, newspaper vendors etc. come under this category.


Social security measures in unorganised sector in India

Social security comprises two types of measures, promotional and protective. Promotional measures consist mainly of employment, training, and nutrition schemes, by which persons are enabled to work and earn a livelihood. On the other hand, protective measures consist of schemes by which the State provides the means of livelihood when a person is not able to work (Sankaran, T.S, 1993). ILO standards relating to social security are mainly protective and have been designed primarily for workers in the organised sector. Both promotional and protective measures are necessary to provide adequate social security facilities.


Medical care

According to ILO recommendation No.69, medical care should be provided either through a social service medical care service, with supplementary provisions by way of social assistance, to meet the requirements of people in need who are not covered by social insurance, or through a public medical service (ILO, 1984). It requires that complete preventive and curative care be available, care which is rationally organised and coordinated with general health services. In India, medical care is provided largely by the public medical service, by private doctors and hospitals, and to a limited extent by social insurance schemes, welfare funds, and voluntary health associations. Some of the Welfare Funds in Kerala have adopted the reimbursement of the cost of medical care at standard rates or actual, whereas the Employees State Insurance Scheme is based on providing the service directly under an integrated arrangement in which the financing and the medical services vest with the same organisation. On the other hand, some of the public sector establishments provide service indirectly by entering into contract with doctors, diagnostic centres, and hospitals.


 Sickness benefit

Sickness benefit is payable when an insured person has to stop work due to his poor health conditions, and such a stop in work usually entails reduction or stoppage of earnings. Cash benefit is designed to replace in whole, or in part, the lost earnings. In India, there is provision for payment of sickness benefit under the Employees State Insurance Scheme (Government of India, 1996). Employees of Central and State governments and some public and private sector establishments are entitled to medical leave on half-pay.


Maternity benefit

One of the earliest conventions adopted by ILO was the Maternity Protection Convention in

1919. The purpose of this Convention was to ensure that a woman worker would be able to sustain herself and her baby during the period immediately before and after her confinement. Maternity benefit is usually provided under a social insurance scheme along with medical care and sickness benefit. In India maternity benefit is provided under the Maternity Benefit Act (as an employers’ liability) the Employees State Insurance Act (as a part of the health insurance scheme), the Beedi and Cigar (Conditions of Employment) Act, Beedi and Cigar Labour Welfare Fund Act, and the various State government schemes for social assistance. The National Social Assistance Programme also provides for payment of maternity benefits in lump sum.


Employment injury benefit

Employment Injury Benefit is the most widely adopted branch of social security, and is also known as workmen’s compensation. According to ILO Recommendation No.67 concern in income security, the contingency for which compensation for employment injury should be paid, is traumatic injury, or disease in the course of employment, and not injury brought about deliberately, or by serious and willful misconduct of the victim, which results in temporary or permanent disability or death (ILO, 1984). This is a cash benefit but is often associated with medical care. In India, employment injury benefit is provided under the

Workmen’s Compensation Act and the Employees State Insurance Act. While the former

Act is applicable to some employment in the unorganised sector, such as the construction industry, the latter Act is applicable mainly to workers in the organised sector.


Old-age benefit

Old age, invalidity, and survivors’ benefits are the main long-term social security benefits, which are of great importance in any social security scheme. ILO conventions stipulate that the pensionable age should not be more than 65 years, unless required by demographic, economic, and social criteria, and that there should be a lower age for persons engaged in arduous occupations. Old age pension may be at a flat rate, or be related to one’s past earnings. The current trend appears to be toward building a multi-tiered system consisting of a basic minimum pension and one or more earnings-related pensions. In India old-age benefit is provided as follows (Ministry of Labour, 1996).

(a) Government employees: Paid by respective governments on the basis of employers’ liability.

(b) Employees’ pension scheme:

Workers covered under the Employees Provident and Miscellaneous Provisions Act.

(c) Destitutes and persons below the poverty line:

Paid under national old age pension scheme and old age pension schemes of State governments.

There exist no pension schemes for the self-employed, or for workers employed on a casual, temporary or intermittent basis who are not destitute, and who are not covered by the Employees Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act.


Invalidity benefit

Invalidity benefit is meant for people who have permanently lost their capacity to earn to the extent prescribed. According to ILO Recommendation No.67 concerning income security, the contingency in which invalidity benefit is payable is the inability to engage in any substantially gainful activity, because of a chronic condition due to disease or injury, or because of the loss of a member or its proper functioning. The relevant ILO convention specifies 15 years of contribution or employment or 10 years of insurance. But usually one requires only a few years’ insurance, say five years, a part of which needs to be immediately preceding the invalidity. In India, the Employees Pension Scheme introduced in 1995 provides for invalidity benefits.


Survivors’ benefit

This benefit is meant primarily for widows and children of persons covered by Social Security Schemes who cease to have any financial support on the death of their breadwinner. However, national legislation often recognises claims of other dependents provided there are no primary beneficiaries. A widespread practice is to base the survivors’ pension on the rate of the old age pension the deceased was receiving or would have received (Sankaran, T.S, 1993). In India, survivors’ benefit is provided under the Employees State Insurance Act and Workman’s Compensation Act in case of death of a person engaged in any employment covered under these Acts. This benefit is provided under the Employees Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act in case of the death of a member of the scheme for any reason. Insurance schemes of the Life Insurance Corporation and General Insurance Corporation also provide this benefit. The National Family Benefit Scheme extends this benefit in case of the death of the breadwinner of a family which lies below the poverty line.


Unemployment benefit

The underlying principle of unemployment benefit is that if a person, through no fault of his, is deprived of his income, he has a right to expect income support, at least for the necessities of life while he remains available for work. According to ILO recommendations No.67, the contingency in which unemployment benefit should be paid is loss of earnings due to a state of unemployment of an insured person who is ordinarily employed, a person who is capable of regular employment in some occupation and is searching for suitable employment or due to part time unemployment (Government of India, 1995-‘96). Its main purpose is to deal with temporary unemployment of employed persons and not the extensive and prolonged unemployment and under-employment found in many developing countries. The payment of the benefits depends on satisfying the qualifying clause of covered employment, and a waiting period may also be applied.


Family benefit

ILO Recommendation No.67 says that society should co-operate with parents, and give general assistance designed to secure the wellbeing of children. This benefit is intended to assist families in raising their children. Although there are no family benefit schemes in India, which provide for the payment of cash allowances to families for the maintenance of children, there exist many schemes which help families of Scheduled Castes/Tribes, minorities and other weaker sections of society, in the discharge of their responsibilities for education of their children, marriage of their daughters, construction of houses, and meeting funeral expenses.



Strategies for social security in unorganised sector

The majority of the Social security schemes implemented in the country were in the organised sector, keeping large numbers outside the realm of the Social security net (Berman, 1995). A beginning has been made lately to provide social insurance for workers in the unorganised sector, with the help of the Central and the State governments. These schemes are administered by government agencies, co-operatives or NGOs, and are a combination of social assistance and social insurance.


Insurance schemes

The Life Insurance Corporation of India has developed group insurance, which is akin to social insurance based on large numbers, and has the potential to provide social security to persons in the unorganised industrial and agricultural sectors. There exist now several other group insurance schemes for the unorganised sector workers such as milk producers, handloom weavers, rickshaw pullers, shop assistants, beedi workers, and fish farmers. The schemes of the LIC provide mainly survivor benefits; however, some also provide old-age pensions. The General Insurance Corporation (GIC) of India also administers a few social security schemes for poor families, a Hut Insurance Scheme, and a Solatium Fund. In addition, GIC has introduced a Health Insurance Scheme, and has been administering the comprehensive Group Insurance Scheme for the Central Government. The schemes of the

General Insurance Corporation provide invalidity benefits, or health insurance, or protection against loss of property.


National Social Assistance Programme

Of the various protective schemes in existence for workers in the unorganised sector, the most important is the National Social Assistance Programme introduced in 1955 (Wadhawan, 1989). It provides social assistance to poor households in the case of old age, death of the breadwinner, and maternity through the National Old Age Pension Scheme, National Family Benefit Scheme, and the National Maternity Benefit Scheme respectively. Under the National Old Age Pension Scheme, Central assistance is provided to States for payment of old age pension to persons who are of the age of 65 years or more. In addition to the National Old Age Pension Scheme, all State governments and Union territories have their own old-age pension schemes.



Other pension schemes

Apart from the old-age pension schemes already referred to, the States Kerala, Tamil Nadu,

Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Gujarat have pension schemes for agricultural workers. Many states have extended the old-age pension scheme benefits to destitute widows, physically and mentally retarded persons, freedom fighters and indigent artists; and some have also set up homes for destitute widows and deserted /divorced women. Under the Family Benefit scheme assistance is given to families below the poverty line on the death of their breadwinner; under the National Maternity Benefit scheme assistance is given to pregnant women for the first two childbirths.


Welfare Funds

Welfare funds represent one of the models tried in India for providing social security protection to workers in the unorganised sector. There exist broadly two types of welfare funds– contributory and tax-based. The Government of India has set up tax-based welfare funds for mine workers, beedi rollers, cine workers, and workers in the building industry; these funds are financed by cess levied on the production or export of specified goods. They provide mainly medical care, assistance for the education of children, housing and water supply, and recreational facilities. There are nearly 20 Welfare Funds constituted by Government of Kerala for the benefit of different target groups such as agricultural workers, head-load workers, construction workers, coir workers, cashew workers, motor transport workers, autorickshaw workers, toddy workers, and artisans the majority of which are contributory.


Existing models of social security and labour welfare

Since India has committed to the welfare of the marginalized sections of the society the government has taken upon itself the delivery of all types of social services and social security. This pattern is reflected in existing models of social security delivery as may be seen from Table 2.1. There are mainly three types of social security models: employers’ liability, social insurance, and social assistance. The last category includes welfare funds of

Central government, welfare funds of State government, subsidised insurance schemes, and other forms of social assistance. The beneficiaries of the first (employers’ liability) are mainly workers in the organised sector, whereas under social assistance the beneficiaries are both workers in the organised sector and workers in the informal sector. The latter belong in generally to the marginalised sectors. In the context of growing privatizations of services on the one hand and the growing awareness and organisation of the oppressed sections of workers on the other, it is necessary to search for models of effective social security provision to all the unorganised sector workers. Breadwinner and maternity through the National Old Age Pension Scheme, National Family  Benefit Scheme, and the National Maternity Benefit Scheme respectively. Under the National Old Age Pension Scheme, Central assistance is provided to States for payment of old age pension to persons who are of the age of 65 years or more. In addition to the National OldAge Pension Scheme, all State governments and Union territories have their own old-age pension schemes.




Table 2.1 Existing Models of Social Security




Nature of Benefit





1.Employers’ Liability

1. Workermen’s comp.

2.Maternity Benefit


4.Retrenchment comp.

Workers in the

Organized Sector

Employers manage

2.Social Insurance

(A) 1.Medical Care





Workers in the

Organised sector


Administered by

Employees’ State

Insurance Corporation

financed out of

contributions from

employers, employees

and State Governments

(B)1.Old-age benefit

2.Invalidity benefit

3.Survivors’ benefit

4.Provident Fund

Workers in the organized sector and some sections of the workers in organized sectors.

Administered by

central Board of

Trustees, financed by

contributions from

employers, employees

and central government.


(a)Welfare Funds of

Central Government

(A) 1.Medical care



4.Water Supply

1. Mine workers

2. Beedi workers

3. Cine workers

 4. Building works


Administered Depart-mentally

financed by

special levies in the form of cesses.

(B) 1.Education

2.Old-age Benefit

3.Survivors’ Benefit



(b) Welfare Funds of

state Government

1.Old-age Benefit

2.Medical Care


4.Assistance for

marriage, housing etc.

Workers in the

unorganised sector,

such as handloom

workers, Coir

Workers and

Cashew Workers.


Administered by

autonomous boards

financed by contributors

from employers,

workers and others

(c) Subsidized Insurance

1.Survivors’ benefit

2. Invalidity benefit


Vulnerable groups

of workers such as

agricultural workers

and handloom workers.


Administered by LIC

and GIC, financed by

contributions from

central and state Governments

(d) Other Forms of

Social Assistance

1.Old-age benefit

2.Maternity benefit

3.Surviovrs’ benefit

4. Assistance for:



education etc.

Persons outside the

job market and

below the poverty

line, destitutes,

orphans, deserted,

and divorced

women, widows,

disabled persons,

SCs., STs., OBCs,


Administered Depart-mentally

financial from

general revenues








Social security for the unorganised workers cannot be reached by centralizing and standardizing schemes; they can be reached by workers themselves to take initiative (Subramanya, 1994). People remain weak and vulnerable partly because they are unorganised and hence isolated and powerless. The provision social security can itself be a means that would lead the unorganised sector workers to organise and become empowered. Security of needs like food, health care, housing and child care, is empowering for vulnerable unorganised sector workers and helps them to alter their bar-gaining positions in the market (Sen and Dreze, 1990).Centralised non-participatory systems tend to be disempowering, while participatory and beneficiary-run systems lead the workers to organise themselves.


The Government has taken various initiatives through enactment of legislations, creation of welfare funds, spreading workers education and through supporting non-governmental organisations to bring this deprived class into the mainstream of our work force. Some of the important legislations which help unorganised workers are as under:-

  • Minimum Wages Act, 1948.
  • Workmen’s Compensation Act, 1923.
  • Maternity Benefit Act, 1961
  • The Employees State Insurance Act, 1948.
  • Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976.
  • Contract Labour (Regulation & Abolition) Act, 1970.
  • Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1979.

Indian social security system


       The Central Industrial Relation Machinery (CIRM) is the responsible for enforcing the following labour Laws in the industries and establishments for which the Central Government is the appropriate Government.


    The Central Government is the Appropriate Government under the Act in respect of the establishments of Railways, Mines/oil-fields, Air Transport and major ports. Employers cannot withhold wages earned by workers nor can they make any unauthorised deduction. Payment must be made before expiry of a specified day after the last day of the wage period. Fines can be imposed for only those acts or omissions, which have been approved by an appropriate authority and must not exceed an amount equal to three per cent of wages payable. If payment of wages is delayed or wrongful deductions are made, workers or their trade unions can file a claim.


    The Minimum Wages Act, empowers the Government to fix minimum wages for employees working in specified employments. It provides for review and revision of minimum wages already fixed after suitable intervals not exceeding five years. Central Government is the appropriate agency in relation to any scheduled employment carried on by or under its authority or in railway administration or in relation to mines, oilfields or major ports or any corporation established under the Central Act. State governments are the appropriate agencies in relation to other scheduled employment. The Central Government is concerned to a limited extent with building and construction activities mostly carried on by Central Public Works Department, Ministry of Defence etc, and agricultural farms under the Ministries of Defence and Agriculture. Bulk of such employment fall in the state spheres and state governments are required to fix/revise wages and ensure their implementation in respect of scheduled employment within their spheres.

    Enforcement of Minimum wages in Central sphere is secured [through the Central Industrial Relations Machinery (CIRM). The Central Government has fixed Minimum Wages under the Minimum Wages Act, 1948 for 40 scheduled employment under the Central Sphere.


The Act Applies to all Factories and every other establishments, which employs twenty or more workmen. The Payment of Bonus Act, 1965 provides for a minimum bonus of 8.33 percent of wages. The salary limited fixed for eligibility purposes in Rs. 3,500 per month and the payment is subject to the stipulation that the bonus payable to employees drawing wages or salary between Rs2,500 and Rs. 3,500 per month would be calculated as if their salary or wages is Rs. 2,500 per month.

The Central Government is the Appropriate authority in respect of the industries /establishments for which it is appropriate Government under the industrial Disputes Act, 1947.


Equal Remuneration Act 1979 Provides for payment of equal wages for work of same and similar nature to male and female workers and for not making discrimination against female employees in the matters of transfers, training and promotion etc. Central Government is the appropriate Govt. in respect of industries/establishments for which it is appropriate Govt. under the Industrial Disputes Act. 1947.




The Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970 has been enacted to regulate the employment of contract labour in certain establishments and to provide for its abolition in certain circumstances and for matters connected therewith. It applies to all establishments employing 20 or more contract labour and to all contractors who employs 20 or more contract labors. It applies to all establishments 20 or more contract Labour and to all contractors who employer, 20 or more Contract Labour. The Act provides for the constitution of Central and State Advisory Boards to advise the concerned governments on matters arising out of the administration of the Act.

The Central Government has issued a number of notifications prohibiting employment of Contract Labour in different categories of works, job and process as in mines, Food Corporation of India's godowns, port trusts and many other industries/ establishments for which it is the Appropriate Government. The Central Advisory Contract Labour Board has also constituted a number of committees to enquire into the question of prohibition of contract labour system in different establishments.

Central Government is the Appropriate Government in respect of industries and establishments for which it is Appropriate Government under the industrial Disputes Act,1947

  • CHILD LABOUR (Prohibition and Regulation) Act,1986.

The Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act, 1986 prohibits employment of children in certain hazardous occupations and processes and regulates their employment in some other areas.

Central Government is the Appropriate Government in relation to an establishment under the Control of the Central Government or a railways administration or a major port or a mine or oilfield. The Hon'ble Supreme Court in their Judgement dated 10.12.1996 in the Writ Petition (Civil) No.465/86 has given certain directions regarding the manner in which children working in hazardous occupations are to be withdrawn and rehabilitated. One of the important directions of the Supreme Court relates to conduct of survey of Child Labour. The issue of conducting survey came up for discussion in the Conference of Labour Ministers, Labour Secretaries, Labour Commissioner of all the States/UTs which was held in New Delhi on 22.1.1997 under the Chairmanship of the Union Labour Minister.

After the deliberation in the conference guidelines to the State Governments for implementing the judgement of the Hon'ble Supreme Court have been issued by the Ministry of Labour.


The Industrial Employment (standing orders) Act 1946 is an Act to require employers in industrial establishments to formally define conditions of employment under them. It applies to every industrial establishment wherein 100 (reduced to 50 by the Central Government in respect of the establishments for which it is the Appropriate Government) or more workmen are employed. And the Central Government is the appropriate Government in respect of establishments under the control of Central Government or a Railway Administration or in a major port, mine or oil field. Under the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946, all RLCs(C) have been declared Certifying Officers to certify the standing orders in respect of the establishments falling in the Central Sphere. CLC(C), Jt. CLC(C) and all Dy.CLCs(C) have been declared Appellate Authorities under the Act.


The Hours of Employment Regulations are applicable to all railway servants excepting those governed by the Factories Act, Mines Act and the Indian Merchant, Shipping Act as well as those specifically excluded. The Hours of Employment Regulation provides for classification of railways workers depending upon nature of duties as intensive, continuos, essentially intermittent and excluded.

It regulates hours of work and periods of rest. workers aggrieved by classification can approach RLCs who is empowered to decide such cases.


The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 regulates employment of women in certain establishments for a certain period before and after child birth and provides for maternity and other benefits. The Act applies to mines, factories, circus, industry, plantation and shops and establishments employing ten or more persons, except employees covered under the Employees State Insurance act, 1948. It can be extended to other establishments by the state governments. There is no wage limit for coverage under the Act. The Central Government is Appropriate Government in respect of the Circus Industry and Mines

  • GRATUITY ACT, 1972

The Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972 is applicable, to factories, mines, oil fields, plantations, ports, railways, motor transport undertakings, companies, and to shops and other establishments, Employing 10 or more workmen. The Act provides for payment of gratuity at the rate of 15 days wages for each completed year of service subject to a maximum of Rs. two lakh. In the case of seasonal establishment, gratuity is payable at the rate of seven days wages for each season. The Act does not affect the right of an employee to receive better terms of gratuity under any award or agreement or contract with the employer. Central Government is the Appropriate Government in relation to an establishment belonging to the or under the control of the Central Government or having branches in more than states or an establishment of a factory belonging to or under the control of Central Government or of a major port, oilfield railway or mine.




The Industrial Disputes Act. 1947 is an act to make provision for the investigation and settlement of industrial disputes and for certain other purposes. It provides for a special machinery of conciliation officers, work committees, court of inquiry, Labour courts, Industrial Tribunals and national Tribunals, defining their powers, functions and duties and also the procedure to be followed by them.

It also enumerates the contingencies when a strike or lock-out can be lawfully resorted to, when they can be declared illegal or unlawful, conditions for laying off, retrenching discharging or dismissing a workman, circumstances under which an industrial can be closed down and several other matters related to industrial employees and employers.

The central government is appropriate government for the industries which are carried on:

(a) By or under the authority of Central Govt.

(b) By a railway company:

(c) A controlled industry, specified for this purpose :

(d) In relation to certain industries enumerated in sec 2(a) of the act

Employees State Insurance Scheme: This scheme offers both direct and indirect medical care. The direct method is called the “service system” by which the ESI corporation provides medical care, either through its own Employee’s State Insurance hospital or through reservation of beds in State Government hospital. The indirect method is known as the “Panel system”, under which medical care is provided through private doctors selected by the State government with the approval of the ESI Corporation.


      The benefits provided under the act are:

  • Sickness benefit
  • Maternity benefit
  • Disablement benefit
  • Dependents benefit
  • Funeral benefit and
  • Medical benefit


            All the workers, earning less than 3000 per month and employed in power run factories employing 20 or more persons are covered by this scheme. However, it does not cover workers employed by seasonal factories. An insured person under ESI Scheme is not eligible for similar benefits under the Workmen’s Compensation Act and State Acts relating to Maternity benefits



  • Employees Provident Fund Act, 1952:


The act applies to, mines other than coal mines and commercial establishment employing more than 20 workers. All the workers earning not exceeding Rs 3,500 are covered under this Act. All accumulations of the Provident Fund are invested in Central and State Government securities and other government approved securities. Interest on these securities accrues to the worker’s account. The Provident Fund Act ,1952 was amended following with the Employee’s Family Pension Scheme has been enforced from March 1,1971, with a view to protecting the family of the workers after his death.




  • Plantation Labour Act, 1951.


 Every tea, coffee, rubber and cinchona plantation, measuring 10,117 hectares or more and employing atleast 30 workers, is covered by this act, which has since been extended to the cardamom plantation in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The Act lays great emphasis on the medical care of the workers and their families. According to the rule prescribed by the State Government, workers covered under this act are eligible for cash benefit in sickness and maternity.




  • Employer’s Family Pension Scheme, 1971:

This scheme was notified by the government of India under the Employee’s Provident Fund and Family Pension Act. Here, family pension means a regular monthly amount payable to the person belonging to the family of the member of the Pension Fund Scheme. In the event of his death during the period of reckonable service. The definition of the word, Family covers wife or husband, minor son and unmarried daughter of the member of the Family Pension Fund.  .























List Of Acts

Apprentices Act 
Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act 
Contract Labour (Regulation & Abolition) Act 
Dangerous Machines (Regulation) Act 
Employee State Insurance Act 
Employee's Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act 
Employers Liability Act 
Employment Exchanges (Compulsory Notification of Vacancies) Act 
Equal Remuneration Act 
Factories Act 
Fatal Accidents Act 
Industrial Disputes (Banking and Insurance Companies) Act 
Industrial Disputes Act 
Industrial Employment and Standing Orders Act 
Labour Laws (Exemption from Furnishing Returns and Maintaining Registers by Certain Establishments) Act 
Maternity Benefit Act 
Mines Act 
Minimum Wages Act 
Motor Transport Workers Act 
Payment of Bonus Act 
Payment of Gratuity Act 
Payment of Wages Act 
Plantations Labour Act 
The Sales Promotion Employees (Conditions Of Service) Act 
The Weekly Holidays Act 
Trade Unions Act 
Working Journalists (Fixation of Rates of Wages) Act 
Working Journalists and Other Newspaper Employees (Conditions of Service) and Miscellaneous Provisions Act 
Workmens Compensation Act 
Apprenticeship Rules 
Dangerous Machines (Regulation) Rules 
Employee State Insurance (Central) Rules 
Employee State Insurance (General Provident Fund) Rules 
Employee State Insurance (General) Regulations 
Employees Deposit Linked Insurance Scheme 
Employees Pension Scheme 
Employees Provident Fund Scheme 
Employment Exchanges Rules 
Equal Remuneration Rules 
Payment of Bonus Rules 
Sales Promotion Employees (Conditions of Service) Act 
Working Journalists (Conditions of Service) and Miscellaneous Provisions Rules 
Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Rules 
Contract Labour (Regulation & Abolition) Central Rules 
Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Central Rules - Construction and Maintenance of Creches 
Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Central Rules 
Minimum Wages (Central) Rules 
Payment of Gratuity (Central) Rules 
The Industrial Disputes (Central) Rules 
Workmen's Compensation Rules 




Act-wise outline of welfare facilities

A brief outline of various welfare facilities provided under different labour enactments is given below:

The Factories Act, 1948

  • The welfare amenities provided under the act are given below:
  • Welfare facilities (S. 42)
  • Facilities for storing and dry clothing(S.43)
  • Sitting facilities for occasional rest for workers who are obliged to work standing(S.44)
  • First aid boxes and cupboards-one for every 150 workers and ambulance facilities if there are more than 500 workers. (S.45)
  • Canteens if employing more than 250 workers (S.47)
  • Crèche, if employing more than 30 women (S.48)
  • Welfare officer if employing 500 or more workers (S.49)



The Mines Act, 1952 and the Mines Rule

 The main obligation of the mine owners regarding health and welfare of their workers are as follow:

  • Maintenance of crèches where 50 women workers are employed
  • Provision of shelters for taking food and rest if 150 or more persons are employed.
  • Provision of a canteen in mines employing 250 or more workers.
  • Maintenance of first aid boxes and first aid room in mines employing more than 150 workers.
  • Provision in coal mines of (1)pit head baths equipped with shower bath(2)sanitary latrines and (3)lockers, separately for men and women workers.
  • Appointment of a welfare officer in mines employing more than 500 persons to look after the matters relating to the welfare of the workers.

The Plantation Labour Act, 1951

The following welfare measures are to be provided to plantation workers

  • Canteens in plantations employing 150 or more workers(S.11)
  • Creches in plantations employing 50 or more women workers (S.12)
  • Recreational facilities for their workers and their children(S.13)
  • Educational facilities in the estate for the children of workers, where there are 25 workers children between the age of 6 and 12(S.14)
  • Housing facilities for every worker and his family residing in the plantation.The standard and specialization of the accommodation, procedure of allotment and rent chargable from workers, are to be prescribed in the rules by the state governments(S.15 and 16)
  • The state government may make rules requiring every plantation employer to provide the workers with such number and types of umbrellas, blankets, raincoats or other like amenities for the protection of the workers from rain and cold as may be prescribed(S.17)
  • Appointment of welfare officer in plantation employing 300 or more workers(S.18)  

The exact standards of these facilities have been prescribed under the rule framed by the state governments.



The Motor Transport Workers Act, 1961

    The motor transport undertakings are required to provide certain welfare and health measures as given below.

  • Canteen of prescribed standard, if employing 100 or more workers(S.8)
  • Clean, ventilated, well-lighted and comfortable rest rooms at every place wherein motor transport workers are required to halt every night.
  • Uniforms, raincoats to drivers, conductors and line checking staff for protection against rain and cold. A prescribed amount of washing allowances is to be given to the above mentioned categories of staff(S.10)
  • Medical facilities are to be provided to the motor transport workers at the operating centres and at halting stations as may be prescribed by the stste governments.(S.11)
  • First aid facilitiesequipped with the prescribed contents are to be provided in every transport  vehicle(S.12)


The Merchant Shipping Act, 1958

Provisions in the act relating to health and welfare cover:

  • Crew accommodation
  • Supply of sufficient drinking water
  • Supply of necessities like beddings, towels, mess utensils
  • Supply of medicines, medical stores and provision for surgical and medical advice
  • Maintenance of proper weights and measures on boards and grant of relief to distressed seamen aboard a ship
  • Every foreign-going ship carrying more than the prescribed number of persons, including the crew, is required to have on board as part of her complement a qualified medical officer
  • Appointment of a Seamen’s welfare officer at such ports in and outside India as the government consider necessary
  • Establishment of hostels, club, canteens and libraries.
  • Provision of medical treatment and hospitals
  • Provision of educational facilities.


The governments has been authorized to frame rule, inter alia, for the levy of fees payable by owners of ships at prescribed rates for the purpose of providing amenities to seamen and for taking other measures for their welfare.

Dock Workers(safety, health and welfare)scheme, 1961

A comprehensive Dock workers scheme, 1961, has been framed for all major ports and is administered by the Chief Advisor, Factories(Factory Advice Service and Labour Institutes).It is framed under the Dock Workers (Regulation of Employment)Act, 1948.amenities provided in the port premises includes the provision of(1)urinals and latrines(2)drinking water(3)washing facilities(4)bathing facilities (5)canteens(6)rest shelters(7)call stands(8)first aid arrangements

          Other welfare measures provided are (1)housing(2)schools(3)educational facilities(4)grant of scholarships(5)sports and recreations(6)fair price shops (7)co-operative societies.

           Cost of amenities, welfare and health measures and recreation facilities for registered workers shall be met from a separate fund called the Dock workers welfare fund which shall be maintained by the board. Contributions to this fund shall be made by all registered employers at such rate as may be prescribed by the Board. The Board shall frame rules for the contributions for the maintenance and operation of the fund.

(7) The Contract labour (Regulation and Abolition Act,1970

            This Act provides that the following amenities shall be made available by    contractors for their employees:

  1. Canteen, if employing 100 or more workers.
  2. Rest room or other suitable alternative accommodation where contract labour is required to halt at connection with the work of the establishment.
  3. Washing facilities.
  4. First-aid box equipped with prescribed contents.


(8)  Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation and Employment and (Conditions of                                   Service)Act, 1979

Every contractor, employing inter-state migrant workmen, shall provide:

  1. Suitable condition of work.
  2. Suitable residential accommodation to workers during the period of their employment;
  3. Medical facilities for workmen, free of charge;

Such protective clothing as may be prescribed;



The International Organisation (ILO) was set up in 1919 as a part of the League of Nations for the promotion of universal peace through social justice.The ILO was the only international organization that survived the second world war even after the dissolution of parent body, the League of Nations. It became the first specialized agency of the United Nations in 1946 in accordance with the agreement entered into two organizations.

The aims and purposes of the ILO are set up in the Preamble to its Constitution nand in the Declaration of Philadelphia, adopted in 1944, and formally appended to the constitution in 1946.The Preamble affirms that universal peace can be established only if it is based upon social justice, draws attention to the existence of conditions of the labour involving injustice, hardships to a large number of people and declares that improvement in these conditions is urgently required through such means as the regulation of hours of work ,prevention of unemployment, provision of adequate living wages, protection of workers against sickness, disease and injury arising out of employment,,protection of children, young persons and women, protection of the interest of migrant workers, recognition to the principles of association and also states that the failure of any nation to adopt human conditions of labour is an obstacle in the way of other nations desiring to improve labour conditions in their own countries.

The Organisation is financed by  contributions paid by the governments of the member nations, annually.The contribution made by each member state is determined as a percentage of the total expenditure.



         The ILO consists of three principle organs ,namely –the International Labour Conference, the Governing body  and the International Labour Office.

The International Labourv Conference is the supreme deliberative body of the Ilo and acts as the legislative wing ofr the organization. The International Labour Conference  elect the governing body and adopts international labour standards in the form of Conventions and Recommendations collectively known as the International Labour Code and provide a forum for discussion on social and labour questions.

The Governing Body functions as the  executive wing of the organization.The Governing Body appoints Director-General and prepares the agenda for the conference.It consists of 56 members, 28 representing governments, 14 employers and 14 workers.

The International Labour office, whose headquarters are located in  Geneva, provides the  secretariat for all conferences and other meeting and is responsible for day-to-day implementation of the administrative and other decisions of the conference, and the Governing Body.






Some of the important areas of ILO activities and field operations are-

1.Manpower Organisation and Vocational Training-The ILO as well as the United Nations made concerted efforts in the post second world war period in the manpower field to stimulate the most effective and productive use of human resources in the whole process of economic and social development.The ILO manpower experts have been made available to developing countries seeking help in assessing their manpower needs and in organizing vocational training programmes for meeting skill shortage.

2.Migrant workers-Migrant workers make an important contribution to the economic development of their host countries, yet they may suffer from many forms of discrimination.The international Labour Conference adopted a resolution in June 1971 on the need to promote equality of migrant workers in all social and labour matters.

 3.Women workers- The ILO Constitution specifically provides for the protection of women workers.The first session of the International Labour Conference held in Washington in October 1919,  adopted international standards protecting expectant mothers and limiting the amount of night work by women.In 1937, the conference set down the ILO’s aims in regard to women workers,namely,

  1. a.     the guarantee of all civil and political rights;
  2. b.     full opportunities to improve their education;
  3. c.     better conditions for finding employment;
  4. d.     equal pay for equal work;
  5. e.     legal protection against dangerous working conditions;
  6. f.       legal maternity protection;
  7. g.     the same trade union rights as that of men.

The main conventions  adopted by the ILO with regard to women workers are :Maternity Protection ,1919(revised in 1948);the Night work (women)1919(revised in 1934,1948);the Underground work(women)1953 and the Equal Remuneration,1951.

4.Child Workers:The Ilo has been concerned with the problem of child employment since its inception.It has played a key role in the fight against exploitation of children by setting standards, regulating the minimum age for working and the recruitment of youngsters into unhealthy or dangerous jobs.The theme of the Director-General’s report at the 69th session of the International Labour Conference(1983)was on child labour.

5.Social Security-The ILO has done the pioneering work in the field of social security. A number of Recommendations and Conventions deal with workmen’s compensation,sickness insurance, invalidity, old-age, and survivor’s insurance , unemployment provisions, maternity protection and general aspects of sociall security.One of the most important instruments adopted by the ILOis the social security(Minimum Standards) conventions,1952.Currently , the organisation’s main object is to extend social security to agriculture and plantation workers.

6.Conditions of work-The ILO has devoted considerable attention to the conditions of work of labour at work places including(a)hours of work, (b)weekly rest,(c)holidays with pay,(d)principles and methods of wage regulation and(e)labour administration and inspection. A large number of Recommendations and Conventions covering conditions of  work of labour have been adopted by the International Labour Conference.

7.Health,safety and welfare-In promoting          the interests of labour in the fields of health,safety and welfare, the ILO has had recourse to a variety of methods, regulations, model codes, technical monographs on dangerous machinery and assistance to governments in drafting regulations.Conventions and Recommendations in these fields suggest  general principles concerning the prevention of accidents and protection of health of the workers and also indicate the special requirements of particular industries and processes. The ILO has emphasized on protection against sickness, disease and protection against sickness, disease and injury arising out of employment and stressed on occupational health service and environmental protection.Moreover, the organisation did much to bring about the standardisation  of industrial injury and occupational disease statistics and the systematic collection of data on accident frequency.

8.Co-operatives-Since co-operative organizations of all types proved to be ideal for the developing countries; the ILO has undertaken projects to establish co-operatives, both of producers and consumers, and co-operative legislation to develop specific types of co-operatives and train personnel in co-operative methods.

9. Other Activities-(a)promotion of handicrafts and small industries (b)Encouragement and reinforcement of workers education programmes undertaken by worker’s organizations and other interested parties (c)Adoption of number of Conventions and Recommendations dealing exclusively with various aspects of conditions of employment and welfare of seafarers.  


The international Labour Organisation did much to improve working and living condition of people throughout the world. It is shown itself to be an efficiency tool in the service of social justice in all parts of the world. It has brought about international co-operation, unity and understanding and helped in the elimination of poverty and injustice. It has rendering exemplary service to all the three elements composing it –government, employers and workers. Its Conventions have been greatly appreciated by the working class all over the world for their beneficient, humanitarian and missionary influence. They are considered as the embodiment of social justice by the under-privileged. Our country is greatly benefited by the ILO standards which helped in improving the working class. It has greatly influenced labour legislation, labour welfare, trade unionism and industrial relations of our country. The very law making process in our country in the field of labour has been considerably influenced by its standard-setting process. Following ILO traditional, the principle of tripartite consultation has been successfully adopted by the Government of India in the formulation of labour policy on the Government of India in the formulation of labour policy on the basis of consensus. n essence, there is a close resemblance between the ILO Philadelphia Charter of 1944 and the Fundamental Rights and the Directive Principles of State Policy under the Indian Constution. All these basic document are based on the principles of freedom, individual dignity and social justice.








The importance of labour officers in Indian industry was realised as early as 1931, when the Royal Commission on Labour recommended that their appointment in order to protect the workers from the evils of jobbery and indebtedness, to act as generally as a spokesman of labour and to promote amicable relations between workers and the management.

        The post of the labour officer was instituted initially to:

  • Eliminate the evils and malpractices of the jobbery system in the recruitment of the labour.
  • Develop and improve labour administration.
  • Serve as a liaison with State Labour Commissioner.

   The labour officer was expected to discharge the functions of the policeman, including the maintenance of the law and order in an organisation.

 The Legislative provision for the appointment of welfare officers under the factories act was made in 1948(1) (2) of the act provides that:”In every factory, wherein 500 or more workers are ordinarily employed, the employer shall employ in the factory such number of welfare officers as may be prescribed. The state is authorized to prescribe the duties, qualifications and conditions of service of such officer.”

     According to the Plantation Labour Act,” In every plantation wherein 300 or more workers are employed, the employer shall employ in the factory such number of welfare officers as may be prescribed. The state is authorized to prescribe the duties, qualifications and conditions of service of such officer.”

 Section 58 of the Mines Act, 1952, states:

“For every mine wherein 500 or more persons are employed the owner, the agent or manager shall appoint a suitably qualified welfare officer.”


Qualifications of labour welfare officer

A welfare officer to be appointed should have:

  • A university degree
  • Degree or diploma in social sciences or social work or social welfare from any recognized institution.
  • Adequate knowledge of the language spoken by majority of the workers in the area where factories, mines, or plantations are situated.

The National Commission on labour has stated: “Laws were made to ensure that the managements appointed a person exclusively to look after the welfare of their workers and help them in discharging their statutory obligations in respect of welfare measures. The welfare officers should form part of the administration so that they may discharge their responsibilities effectively. Therefore, the eligibility of a welfare officer must be ensured before his appointment. The welfare officer should not be called upon to handle labour disputes on behalf of the management.

        The committee on labour welfare, after going through the views expressed by the state government, public sector undertakings, and private employer’s organisations, worker’s organisations and eminent persons in the field of industrial relations on the role and status of welfare officer, recommended that “The management should designate one of the existing officers of their personnel department as welfare officer to fulfill the purpose of the law. The management should ensure that only such officers of the personnel department as welfare officer to fulfill the purpose of law. The management should ensure that only such officers of the personnel department are designated to look after the welfare activities as are properly qualified to hold this post and has an aptitude for welfare work.”


Labour welfare

Labour administration Functions

Labour relations

Labour welfare advice and assistance in implementing legislative and non- legislative provisions related to:

  • Health and safety
  • Working conditions
  • Sanitation and cleanliness
  • Recreation
  • Welfare amenities
  • Worker’s education
  • Service like co-ops. grainshops, housing co-ops.
  • Formation of welfare committees
  • Housing
  • Implementation of welfare acts.


These may cover:

  • Organisational discipline
  • Safety and medical administration
  • Wage and salary administration
  • Administration of legislation relating to industrial relations

These may consist of

  • Administration of standing orders
  • Settlement of grievances
  • Settlement of disputes through statutory procedures
  • Trade unions and union management relations
  • Steps to increase the productive efficiency.




Historical growth

The need for organised welfare activities for industrial labour was forcefully brought out by the Textile Labour Enquiry Committee, in its report to the Government of Bombay in 1937 (TLIC, 1938). As a result, a number of labour welfare activities came to be established particularly during the Second World War period. In 1944, the Government of India promulgated through an ordinance the Coal Mines Labour Welfare Fund. A Scheme to set up Labour Welfare Trust Funds formulated by the government was discussed at the eighth meeting of the Standing Labour Committee (SLC) held in March 1946. The Scheme was also considered at the seventh and the ninth sessions of the Labour Ministers’ Conference, and again at the twelfth session of SLC. A draft bill was prepared in the light of these discussions and submitted to the Indian Labour Conference (ILC) for consideration at its eleventh session. In 1954, the Government of India wrote directly to several employers’ and workers’ organisations impressing upon them the need to institute Welfare Funds. Mean-while, the States also instituted Funds for industrial welfare .Labour Welfare Funds may be categorised into industry-wise funds, State-level funds, and enterprise-level funds (Giri V.V, 1962). Industry-wise funds exist in coal, mica, iron ore, gold-mining, and sugar industries, plantations, and toddy tapping. State-level funds are framed under the jurisdiction of State-level boundaries. Enterprise-level funds exist in most under-takings of the Central Government, such as Post and Telegraphs, Ordnance Factories, and Railways. Kerala has set up more than 20 Welfare Funds for the benefit of workers. The include funds for abkari workers, agricultural workers, autorikshaw workers, cashew workers, coir workers, construction workers, and transport workers. A statutory fund was created for financing welfare measures for plantation workers in Assam. Similar funds have been set up also in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Punjab. The Welfare Funds have been set up by special Acts of Parliament. For example, Beedi workers are covered by the Beedi Workers Welfare Fund Act of 1976, Mine workers by the Iron Ore, Manganese Ore And Chrome Mines Labour Welfare Fund Act, 1976; and building workers by the Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act of 1996. In addition, separate laws have been enacted for collecting cess. The Welfare funds set up by the Central Government are financed by levying a cess on specified goods (Table 3.1). Wide variations are seen in the rate structure of the cess. The duty on mica is on an ad valorem basis, whereas the duties on other commodities are at specific rates, ranging from Rs 0.50 to Rs 4 per metric tonne.

Table 3.1 Financing of the Central Welfare Funds


Name of the Act

Cess Levied on

Amount of cess


Mica mines Labour Welfare

Fund Act, 1946

Value of exports

of mica

4.5 percent


Lime Stone and Dolomite mines

Labour Welfare Fund Act,1773

Production of limestone, dolomite

50 paise/ metric



Iron ore, Manganese ore and

Chrome ore mines labour Welfare Cess Act,1976

Production of Iron ore Chrome ore, Manganese ore ,Chrome ore


Rs. 2/ MT

Rs. 4/MT


Beedi Workers Welfare cess


Manufacture of Beedis

50 paise/

1000 Beedis


The Cine Workers Welfare

Cess Act, 1981

Production of feature films

a.Hindi films


b.South Indian

Rs 5000/ Film

c.Marathi& Bangali

Rs 3000/ Film

d.Other Films

Rs2000/ Film


The Building and other Construction Workers

Welfare Cess Act

Cost of Construction

2 Percent


Source: Ministry of Labour, Annual Report, 1995-‘96






         The Ministry of Labour is administering five Welfare Funds for beedi, cine and certain categories of non-coal mine workers. The Funds have been set up under the following Acts of Parliament for the welfare of these workers:

•The Mica Mines Labour Welfare Fund Act, 1946;

•The Limestone and Dolomite Mines Labour Welfare Fund Act,


•The Iron Ore, Manganese Ore and Chrome Ore Mines Labour

Welfare Fund Act, 1976;

•The Beedi Workers' Welfare Fund Act, 1976; and

•The Cine Workers' Welfare Fund Act, 1981.


               The above Acts provide that the Fund may be applied by the Central Government to meet the expenditure incurred in connection with measures and facilities which are necessary to provide the welfare of such workers. In order to give effect to the above objectives laid down in the above Acts, various welfare schemes have been formulated and are under operation in the fields of:

1. Health

2. Social Security

3. Education

4. Housing

5. Recreation

6. Water Supply

            The Labour Welfare Organization which administers these Funds is headed by a Director General (Labour Welfare)/Joint Secretary. He is assisted by the Welfare Commissioner (Headquarters) of Director Rank, who supervises nine Regional Welfare Commissioners for the purpose of administration of these Funds in the States







Benefits provided by Welfare Funds

As mentioned earlier, Welfare Funds are broadly grouped into tax-based and contributory A contributory scheme is akin to social insurance. In India, there is only one social insurance scheme, namely the Employees Social Insurance Scheme, the experience of which has not been encouraging. Increasing difficulty is experienced in collecting contributions. In Indian conditions, from the practical point of view, tax-based schemes would appear to work better.

          The end-use of the Welfare Funds is prescribed in the laws or schemes concerned. The majority of Welfare Funds are used, inter alia, for improvement of public health and sanitation; prevention of disease; and provision and improvement of medical care, water supplies and washing, and educational facilities; improvement of standards of living, including hous-ing and nutrition; amelioration of social conditions; provision of recreational facilities; and family welfare including family planning, and other services (Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operation, 1995-‘96). In actual practice, most of the expenditure from the Welfare Funds has been on health, education, and housing.

                     The Central Welfare Funds have adopted the integrated model of health care and undertaken  to provide medical services directly. The assistance and facilities provided for medical care include purchase of spectacles for persons with ophthalmic problems, reimbursement of actual expenditure for heart disorders, kidney transplants and cancer, reservation of beds in hospitals that treat tuberculosis and for domiciliary treatment for those with tuberculosis, grant for treatment, diet, and transportation charges, subsistence allowance for those with mental disorders or leprosy, and the supply of artificial limbs for orthopaedic problems (Ministry of Rural Areas and Employment, 1996). Table 3.2 shows the number of workers covered under the welfare funds and the expenditure incurred on their health during the year, 1993-’94.

                   Owing to increasing specialisation of health care and rapid spread of private and public hospitals, the model of actual service provision has proved to be neither popular nor viable in the case of welfare funds (Desai, 1988). Welfare funds are adopting the model of reimbursing expenditure, or providing the services indirectly, by entering into agreement with the providers of the service, confining their own function to the financing of the services.

                     Shelter is one of the basic needs of the people. Mineworkers and Beedi workers’ schemes include housing. But considering the present costs of construction it is doubtful if the scale of assistance provided is adequate. Another thrust area has been the education of the workers children as it was felt that this would bring a qualitative improvement in their lives on a lasting basis. Among other things, scholarships, school uniforms, textbooks, and stationary have been provided.

                            The benefits offered to members of Welfare funds have been extended by entering into Group Insurance Schemes, the funds themselves paying the premium for their members. Over one million beedi workers are covered by the LIC’s Group Insurance Scheme. Fifty percent of the premium is paid by the Welfare Fund, the balance being subsidised by the LIC. The Building and Other Construction Workers Act also envisages protection of workers under Group Insurance Schemes and paying the premium from the welfare funds.

                  Regarding old age pension, which welfare funds need to include in the benefits they provide, an important issue is whether only a basic minimum pension should be given leaving it to the individuals to make their own arrangement for supplementing it, or they should provide income-related pensions as under the Employees Pension Scheme.





Limitations of Welfare Funds

Other than medical care, the Welfare Funds set up by the Central government have no provisions for meeting the expenditure on any of the well-recognised branches of social security such as sickness benefit, occupational injury benefit, maternity benefit, invalidity benefit, old age benefit, survivor benefit or unemployment benefit. In other words, these

Welfare Funds cannot be considered to be providing social security, but they have the scope and the potential to become instruments of social security if suitable amendments are made to the laws .Such amendments were made to the Building and Construction Workers Welfare Fund, which provides the benefits of immediate assistance in case of accident, payment of pension, loans and advances for construction of houses, payment of premiums for group insurance schemes, financial assistance for the education of children, payment of medical expenses for the treatment of major ailments, payment of maternity benefit, and provision and improvement of other welfare measures and facilities.


Unification of Labour Welfare Funds

The Government, employers, and trade unions generally agree that the Labour Welfare Funds have gone a long way in ameliorating the conditions of labour outside their work premises and have brought a measure of cheer in workers’ lives. At the same time, it has been increasingly felt that various funds need to co-ordinate their activities more than what has been done. Better still, they could be amalgamated into a common administrative set-up for economy and efficiency of operations.

                            The existing pattern of operations of funds tends to create significant differentials in workers’ social conditions. In mining, those employed in coal mines enjoy better civic conditions and more social services than their counterparts working in mines not covered by any welfare fund. Similarly, workers employed in different industries within the same State may enjoy unequal benefits from labour welfare funds. Despite genuine effort to co-ordinate activities, duplication has been found unavoidable. Too much of bureaucracy is expensive and reduces the quantum of money available for developing welfare services for labour. The Committee on Labour Welfare (1969) suggested the following functions of the Labour Welfare Boards for the unification.

1. Community and social education centres including reading rooms and libraries;

2. Community necessities;

3. Games, sports, and other programs of physical fitness;

4. Excursions, tours, and holiday homes;

5. Entertainment and other forms of recreations;

6. Home industries and subsidiary occupations for women and unemployed workers;

7. Corporate activities of social nature;

8. Such other activities as would, in the opinion of the State Government, improve the standards of living and promote health, family planning, and social conditions of labour.

                      The primary purpose of the labour welfare funds is the socio-economic upliftment of workers, to secure for them better civic and social services and to bring a measure of cheer in their lives. A unified system of administering and financing extra-mural labour welfare schemes will also benefit workers employed in unorganised industrial sector or in such industries remain uncovered for obvious reasons, and thus suffer more. Funds are a way out to extend welfare measures to a large number of workers.


                Labour relations in the unorganised sector are chaotic. For the vast majority of the workers, formal employee-employer relationship does not exist; even in cases in which it exists, it is of a casual nature. Infighting among workers for job opportunities is common. Anarchical tendencies worsen relations between workers and small-time employers. Institutions to give training and specialisation in different trades and vocations have not come into existence.

                 Skilled jobs in many sectors continue to be a male prerogative; unskilled and semi-skilled jobs involving hard physical labour and environmental hazards often get reserved for women workers.



Functioning of Welfare Funds

The administration of Welfare Funds is vested with the Government, and the Funds function like other government departments. The Government nominates board of Directors and more or less equal representation is given to workers’ unions, and Government.

                           Although the Boards of Directors are the ultimate body for deciding the policies and functioning of the Funds, the concerned government department wields considerable powers. The establishment expenses are borne out of the receipts of the respective Funds; the expenses include fees and allowances to Board members, salaries and other benefits to administrative staff, other routine administrative expenses, and contribution to provident funds of the staff. The majority of Welfare Funds in the State expend a large chunk of their income for establishment charges. It means that the savings of the informal sector workers are used to finance the employment of government service personnel.

                         The government contribution and the contributions of workers to the Welfare Funds are seldom fixed on the basis of well-stated principles; out of the 19 Welfare Funds formed in the State only 15 get government contribution. Employers’ contributions were also received only irregularly. The coverage ratio of Welfare Funds in Kerala is also dismal due to poor attractiveness of expected benefits.


                          The basic objective of all Welfare Funds is to provide a measure of social security and insurance for workers who are vulnerable to risks and uncertainties and do not have any institutional protection arising from their employment status. The major social security benefits are provident funds given to workers on superannuation, monthly pension, and gratuity. Social insurance is in the form of an ex gratia payment in the event of disability or death and a modest payment in the event of treatment for ill-health. Welfare assistance consists of financial assistance for housing, education of children, and marriage of daughters.

              The Welfare Fund model of social security is complementary to the basic social security provided by the state. The Welfare Funds which now cover workers in the informal sector, both in agricultural and non-agricultural occupations, have sought to address the concerns of social security, insurance, and welfare albeit only in the minimalist sense. Together with the general and basic social security programmes such as food security, access to school education, and primary health care, the State-assisted social security programmes in Kerala have imparted a sense of dignity and self-esteem to the workers in the informal sector The evolution of such a broad-based social security arrangement in the State has been the result of labour movements and the pro-poor state policies. Certain fundamental weaknesses have been observed which act as hurdles to the smooth functioning of the Welfare Funds in the State. Structural characteristics of the State economy - a low-income agrarian sector, low per capita income, and low industrial productivity persisting in the State act as constraints to the enhancement of the scope of social security arrangements in general and Welfare Funds, in particular. These constraints can be tackled only through a higher rate of investment and structural transformation of the economy. However, these weaknesses cannot be held as an excuse for all the laxity in the functioning of the Welfare Funds.

                    The prescribed criteria for contributions and benefits show wide variations among different Funds; there is need for uniformity. It has been suggested that the State should contribute large amounts only to those Funds in which the total contribution from the employers and the workers is found insufficient to meet the stipulated benefits .The majority of the workers in the informal sector remain outside the coverage of Welfare Funds. Expenditure incurred on evaluating investments and making collections from and disbursements to members. High costs of administration of the majority of the Welfare Boards raise basic questions on the rationale behind running of these Funds. In reality there takes place very little by way of welfare payments despite collection of contributions from the stakeholders.

                A solution suggested to this problem is the setting up of a unified and common administrative body to cater to all the Welfare Funds. It seems therefore essential to think in terms of administrative arrangements which would ensure participation of workers and employers and would be responsive to their specific needs and problems








1. The Organisation of the Chief Labour Commissioner (C))known as Central Industrial Relations Machinery was set up in April, 1945 in pursuance of the recommendation of the Royal Commission on Labour in India and was then charged mainly with duties of prevention and settlement of industrial disputes,enforcement of labour laws and to promote welfare of workers in the undertakings falling within the sphere of the Central Government. Combining the former organizations of the Conciliation Officer (Railways) and Supervisor of Railway Labour and the Labour Welfare Advisor, it started with a small complement of staff comprising Chief Labour Commissioner (C)) at New Delhi, 3 Regional Labour Commissioners at Bombay, Calcutta & Lahore and 8 Conciliation Officer and increased gradually consequent upon expanding labour legislation's in the Post-independence period, increased industrial activity in the country and growing responsibilities of the Organisation.

Presently there are 18 regions each headed by a Regional Labour Commissioner (C) with Headquarters at Ajmer , Ahmedabad, Asansol,Bangalore, Bombay, Bhubaneshwar, Chandigarh, Cochin, Calcutta,Gwahati, Hyderabad, Jabalpur, Madras, New Delhi, Patna, Nagpur,Dhanbad and Kanpur. Out of these, 14 regions have been placed under the supervision of three zonal Dy.CLCs(C) and 4 regional offices are supervised directly by Headquarters office of CLC(C).




CIRM is headed by the Chief Labour Commissioner (Central)[ CLC (C) ]. It is entrusted with the task of maintaining good industrial relations in the Central sphere. At the headquarters, CIRM has a complement of 25 officers who perform line and staff functions. In the field, the machinery has a complement of 253 officers and their establishments are spread over different parts of the country with zonal, regional and unit level formations


3. Objectives of the CLC(C) Organisation.

1. Promotion of peaceful and harmonious Industrial Relations in the Central Sphere through prevention & settlement of I.ds. in the Industries for which Central Govt. is the appropriate Govt.

2. Verification of the Trade Union's Membership.

3. Enforcement of labour laws in central sphere.


The CIRM administers the Labour Laws in the industries for which The Central Govt. is the `appropriate Government' under that Act, Its functions therefore are:

* Prevention and settlement of industrial disputes;

* Enforcement of Labour Laws;

* Verification of membership of Trade Unions;

* Enforcement of Awards and Settlements;

* Conduct of inquiries into the breaches of Code of Discipline;

* Promotion of Works Committees and Workers' Participation in Management;

* Collection of statistical information;

* Defence of court cases and writ petitions arising out of

Implementation of labour laws.


Asstt. Labour Commissioners have been declared inspectors under all the enactments enumerated in column (4),above, except Equal remuneration Act and Payment of Gratuity Act. They are conciliation officers under the I.D.Act (Section 4). They intervene and prevent the industrial disputes and maintain harmonious Industrial Relations. A.L.Cs(C) are also controlling authorities under the payment of Gratuity Act (sec.3), Authorities under the Equal remuneration Act (Sections 7) and Registering and Licensing Officers (Sections 6 and 11 respectively) under the Contract Labour (Regulation & Abolition)Act.

The ALCs as Conciliation Officers intervene into the industrial disputes and maintain harmonious Industrial Relations.

As controlling authorities under the payment of Gratuity Act (sec. 3), and Authorities under the Equal remuneration Act (Sections 7), they

decide the claim cases filed before them under these acts. As Registering and Licensing Officers under the Contract Labour (Regulation & Abolition) Act, they grant licenses to the contractors and Registration certificate to the Principal Employers.

They are also Registering and Licensing officer under I.S(M.W) Act, Registering officer under the Building & other construction workers (RE&CS)Act inspectors under other enactment's. In addition ALCs(C) have to do verification of Trade Union Membership in the establishment wherever required (in respect of industries, which have accepted code of discipline, statutory verification in Banks and ad-hoc verification in major ports). The Ministry and Hqrs also ask them. office of the CLC(C) to conduct inquiries/investigations into complaints/representations references received from VIPs/Unions/individual workers etc.


RLC(C) are the Authority under Minimum Wages Act. They decide cases of payment of wages less than minimum rate of wages fixed, filed before them, as provided under sec. 20 of the M.W.Act. They are certifying officers, under IE(SO) Act. for certification of the Draft Standing Orders, submitted under the I.E (S.O) Act. They are the appellate authority under Payment of Gratuity Act and Equal remuneration Act. They have also been declared inspectors under all the enactments enumerated in column (4), above, except Equal remuneration Act and Payment of Gratuity Act.

The RLCs(C) being the head of the region is not only in charge of day-to-day administration but also has to discharge many statutory duties relating to enforcement and industrial relations, including those of Conciliation Officer under the I.D. Act. Appellate officers under CL(R&A) Act, I.S(M.W) Act and buildings & construction workers (RE&CS) Act, RLCs(C) also function as convener member of the subcommittee constituted by DG(LW) to investigate and report about the desirability to prohibit contract labour in industries.



The Dy. CLCs(C), besides, coordinating, monitoring and supervising the activities of the regional offices, also handle important Industrial Disputes referred to or apprehended in the zone effectively. Dy. CLC(C)s as appellate authority under IE(SOs) Act, dispose off appeals arising out of certification of standing orders by RLC(C)s. The Dy.CLCs(C) are authority for deciding cases of same or similar nature of work and condition of wages of contract labour under Rule 25 (2)(v)(a) and 25(2) (v) (b) of CL(R&A) (Central) Rules. respectively.


The Jt. CLC(C) handles important Industrial Disputes of all India nature. He is also appellate authority under Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act.



As the head of the organisation of the CLC(C) has an over all control over the functioning of the organisation. The CLC(C) has been declared an inspector under some establishments such as M.W. Act etc., he has also been given certain special powers under enactment like CL(R&A) Act, IE9SO) Act etc.


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