By: Dr. Priyanka Saurabh
In the changing times, due to various calamities, the biggest crisis has happened for the daily wage workers. There was very little discussion within the country and the government of the country did not think of anything for their financial help. There is no doubt that the working class of the country is the most exploited. The crisis of sustenance has arisen for the daily wage laborers. The laborers coming to the cities in search of livelihood are dying of hunger. Who is responsible for the daily wage workers? Crores of people across the country are daily wage workers. A laborer plays a valuable role in nation-building.
The importance of workers working in any society, country, organization, or industry cannot be underestimated by anyone. The standing of the industrial structure cannot be imagined without their labor. The activities of daily wage laborers or the collection of data are not stored under any legal provision, which means the government does not keep their accounts. These daily wage workers/informal/unorganized sectors have a prominent place in the Indian economy in terms of contribution to GDP and employment. Out of the total workforce in the country, about 72 percent are engaged in the casual/informal sector in urban areas.
The importance of the casual/informal sector is immense in urban development. According to the Economic Survey of India, about 90% of India’s total workforce of about 500 million workers is engaged in the informal sector. Not only this, the migrant daily wage laborer is the builder of not only modern India but also modern Singapore, modern Dubai, and every modern country that fashions itself into the glamor quotient of modernity. The urban economy in India is analogous to that of developing economies, brought about by informal workers, casual laborers, and the unorganized sector. Indeed, it is the back-end India that provides the front-end India with the support it needs daily to keep the wheels of the modern economy moving.
Factories, industrial units, hotels, restaurants, and many other establishments, irrespective of big names and their well-known operators, depend on such workers or daily wage earners. They come for different purposes. There are Uber and Ola drivers, masons, carpenters, food delivery boys, painters, plumbers, and many more. Labor migration within India is important for economic development and contributes to improving the socio-economic status of the people. Migration can help improve incomes, develop skills, and provide greater access to services such as healthcare and education.
Despite this, these daily wage earners are surrounded by many problems. There is no reliable data on how many informal sector workers/daily wage earners enter and leave our states and cities. According to the Economic Survey of India 2019, around 90% of India’s total workforce is engaged in the informal sector. Major challenges include lack of job security, limited or no access to banking and insurance channels, and a generally underdeveloped public health system, in the absence of records of the workforce.
It also lacks basic facilities. Workers in the informal sector are more dependent on public facilities such as handpumps and public taps or standpipes that are connected to a municipal or public connection. And these sources are generally unreliable – hand pumps and municipal pipes don’t always supply potable quality water.
Given the importance of hand washing in combating infection, a lack of water sanitation and hygiene puts migrant laborers at risk of working in an unsafe work environment.
To make urban areas more inclusive for the informal sector worker, the central and state governments to address the social and economic disparities in the Indian economy, the rural-urban divide, and uneven development within states and between regions in the country You need to keep up your efforts. The informal sector worker needs to be supported with relevant information and counselling for job search and employment opportunities based on their skills and experience through their local administration and panchayat structures. The recently proposed Unorganized Workers Index Number Card by the Ministry of Labor will also help formalize the workforce. The basic requirements for these can be met by focusing on public health infrastructure.
Smart city projects and public health emergency infrastructure also need to be strengthened. This social and financial inclusion will make the Smart Cities Mission truly holistic. Helping them financially like other regular employees will strengthen their social security. There is a need to speed up the Social Security Fund so that it can provide a sense of financial security to the poorest and most vulnerable sections of the country. A laborer plays a valuable role in nation-building. The importance of workers working in any society, country, organization, or industry cannot be underestimated by anyone. Without their labor, the standing of the industrial structure cannot be imagined.