Moving ahead with its promise to provide smart cards to unorganised sector workers that would enable them to access social security benefits, the labour ministry has called for a meeting with smart card vendors and agencies next week.
The meeting, called on September 18, will focus on finalisation of the technical aspects of such cards, including cost, specifications, security and production capacity of vendors.
“A meeting is scheduled to be held …to get viewpoint and feedback from smart card vendors and smart card issuing agencies for drafting guidelines for issuing of smart card, namely UWIN Card to unorganised workers under the Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Act, 2008,” said a missive by the labour ministry.
Based on the feedback, the labour ministry is planning to finalise the technical specifications for the cards and initiate the bidding process.
“We should hopefully start the bidding over the next two months and look forward to launching the cards by early next year,” said a senior government official.
UWIN or Unorganised Worker Identification Number Cards are expected to help the near 45 crore workers in the informal sector to tap into social security benefits such as health, maternity and old age benefits as well as disability insurance.
The extension of social security benefits to unorganised sector workers, including ASHA and anganwadi workers has also been a key demand of central trade unions that had organised a nation wide strike on September 2.
The scheme was formally
launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in October last year as “a smart card for the workers in the unorganised sector seeded with details of two more social security schemes.”
But under the plan being finalised, along with social security schemes such as the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana, Aam Admi Bima Yojana, old age pension, the smart cards that would be available to workers above 14 years of age, are also expected to include recently launched benefits including the Pradhan Mantri Jan Suraksha Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana and the Atal Pension Yojana. The cards would also have national portability to adapt to the life of migrant workers.