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Country India

February 24, 2012

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Activists to fight for pension rights of daily wagers

Daily News & Analysis, India. 24 Feb 2012.

The members of Kagad Kach Patra Kashtakari Panchayat (KKPKP) and SWaCH will participate in the Pension Parishad on February 25 to force the government to consider the workers of the unorganised sector for the pension scheme.

Pension Parishad is an initiative to restore the right to pension for the members of the unorganised sector under the Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme.

Workers from all over the country will attend the Pension Parishad to be held between 2 pm and 5 pm at Sahil Chowk, Shivaji Market Yard.

“The Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme provides a monthly pension of Rs500 to persons over 60 years, who fall in the below poverty line (BPL) bracket,” said Lakshmi Nayaran, secretary KKPKP.

All the working poor, who are not covered under any legislation, should automatically be covered under the Unorganized Workers’ Social Security Act, 2008.

Waste pickers, domestic workers, construction workers, quarry workers, hamals, street vendors and autorickshaw drivers constitute 93% of the country’s workforce and contribute 50% to India’s gross domestic product (GDP).

The government of India enacted the Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Act in 2008 in response to consistent demands from unorganised workers.

However, NGOs say it has no provisions for central funds, no financial commitment and no legal binding on the government.

“The worst situation is of the aging poor or those who are unable to work on account of disability. They are the most helpless and vulnerable,” said Dipanwita Sengupta, KKPKP activist.