The government has decided to extend coverage under the Employees Provident Fund Act and the Employees State Insurance Scheme to 40 crore unorganised workers in the country, Minister of State for Labour & Employment Bandaru Dattatreya said on Monday.

Addressing the media on the achievements of his ministry in the three years of the Modi Government, he said the government was committed to ensure wages, jobs and social security for all workers, including the
unorganised sector.

The Labour & Employment Minister said the Group of Ministers on codification and rationalisation of Central labour laws had approved the Labour Code on Wages and it would be sent to the Cabinet for approval. The ministry was working on three other Labour Codes: the Labour Code on Industrial Relations, the Labour Code on Social Security and Welfare, and the Labour Code on Occupational Safety and Working Conditions, he said.

Dattatreya said his ministry was implementing reforms for employment generation. India was the only country which has launched Shram Suvidha Portal for effective compliance and ease of doing business. The ministry was implementing the National Career Service (NCS) project as a vibrant platform for strengthening public employment services in the country.

In the last three years, the Labour Ministry had got several laws passed by Parliament. These include the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2016, which ensures complete prohibition on employment of children below 14 years and also prohibited adolescents (14-18 years) to work in hazardous occupation or processes. The
Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017 has increased maternity benefit to women from 12 weeks to 26 weeks for two surviving children and 12 weeks for more than two children.

The minister said the minimum wage (per day) for non-agricultural workers in the ‘C’ area category was increased from Rs 246 to Rs 350  to Rs 437 in ‘B’ Area category and to Rs 523 in ‘A’ area category.

He said employers can apply for EPF code number online by uploading of digitally signed documents. As on 6 December 2016 around 1.52 lakh establishments have obtained online registration.

The minister said the ESIC was now covering complete districts instead of targeted industrial clusters. This coverage was expanded to all 393 districts where these clusters are located, and 301 districts have been fully covered already.