Gujarat: Over 63 lakh workers in the unorganised sector have registered on the state portal
The agriculture industry had the biggest number of registrations, with 36 lakh, including 17 lakh agricultural labourers and 4 lakh cultivators
As of January 31, more than 63 lakh workers from unorganised industries in Gujarat had enrolled in the e-Shram platform, which covers 150 sub-sectors. Males account for 54% of total registrations, while females account for the remaining 46%.
While agriculture has emerged as the most popular sector for unorganised workers in Gujarat, the website has also received registrations from wig manufacturers, agarbatti producers, band baaza performers, piano tuners, snake charmers, and bidi checkers, to name a few.
In comparison to the state's metropolitan areas, rural areas have dominated registrations in the last four months.
"The e-gram centres and Sewa Kendra centres in rural areas are stronger compared to the Common Service Centres (CSCs) in the urban areas. Though the CSCs, too, picked up later, the registrations in the urban areas are lower as more awareness needs to be spread in slum areas. Urban centres also do not have a target group and less information about the unorganised sectors," Labour Commissioner P Bharathi told.
Around 28 lakh people were registered at CSCs, with another 23 lakh at State Seva Kendras and another 13 lakh through self-registration.
The agriculture industry had the biggest number of registrations, with 36 lakh, including 17 lakh agricultural labourers and 4 lakh cultivators.
The Ministry of Labour and Employment created the e-Shram platform in August last year to register unorganised workers from all sectors, including construction workers, migrant workers, street sellers, and domestic workers.
According to state government records and the Ministry of Labour and Employment, in Gujarat, the difference between the top two occupations — agriculture vs domestic and home — is as much as nine times. The agriculture sector employs approximately 36 lakh people, compared to only 4 lakh in the domestic and household sector.
Of the 63.26 lakh registrations in Gujarat as of January 31, individuals earning less than Rs 10,000 formed the category with the most workers, with 52.46 lakh. Gujarat has roughly 88,012 unorganised workers in the Rs 21,000 and above income band, whereas there are almost 50,000 workers in the Rs 18,000-21,000 income bracket who have registered.
In terms of community, OBC has the biggest percentage at 47%.
In terms of age, persons between the ages of 18 and 40 made up the largest group, accounting for 58% of the total. Only 15% of workers over the age of 50 have been identified so far, while 1.85% of those aged 16 to 18 have been identified.
"The portal is the answer to the need for a database of workers in the unorganised sectors. Linking the portal with various existing as well as future schemes of the state and central governments, more realised post Covid pandemic, will prove beneficial. Currently, we do not have the details of labour migration into and out of Gujarat," said Anju Sharma, principal secretary, labour skill development and employment department.
According to a survey conducted by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO), the state must cover around 1.78 crore workers in the unorganised sector. As of January 31, the state has only met 35% of the target in the previous four months.
Officials claim, however, that the rate of registration is gradually increasing. On January 8, the greatest number of registrations in a single day since October 2021 was 1.62 lakh.
Though some states provide one or more perks, the registered workers are only covered by the Centre's accidental insurance policy of Rs 2 lakh with the e-Shram cards issued by the state government, which are valid across the country, according to a CSC in-charge.
To qualify as an unorganised sector worker, you must be between the ages of 16 and 60 and not be a social security recipient under the ESIC or PF schemes. Special sub-sectors, such as salt pan workers, have been introduced to the category in Gujarat. Beekeepers, masseurs, animal-drawn vehicle drivers, tea merchants, ayahs, wigmen, buffoon-clowns, and horn comb producers are among the state's unorganised sector workers.