How e-Shram is a tool for financial inclusion of the unprivileged

All those registered on the portal will be able to enjoy multiple benefits once they sign up for the Shramik Yojana and receive an e-Shram card

Ankit Agarwal | February 8, 2022


#Covid-19   #welfare   #financial inclusion   #e-Shram   #Labour   #Pandemic  


August 2021 marked the beginning of the execution of various social securities for unorganised or underprivileged sectors of society with the launch of the e-Shram portal. It was created by the ministry of labour and employment (MoLE) for the welfare of the workers in the unorganised sector who are not members of the Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) or Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC).

All those registered on the eShram portal will be able to enjoy multiple benefits once they sign up for the ‘Shramik Yojana’ and receive an e-Shram card. Apart from that, the workers will also be able to enjoy the perks provided by the government’s adoption of social security.

While it can be argued that financial inclusion and inclusive growth can together generate self-employment opportunities and alleviate poverty and unemployment, easy access to formal credit institutions is the stumbling block.

‘Financial  Inclusion’  can  roughly  be  defined  as  ingress  to  banking  services  by individuals of a country. Policy efforts towards the equitable distribution of wealth and sustainable development would be incomplete without realising the financial goals of the country. The objective of e-Shram is to create a centralised database of all unorganised or underprivileged workers (UWs) including construction workers, migrant workers, gig and platform workers, street vendors, domestic workers, farm labourers, etc., to be seeded with Aadhaar. Other objectives of e-Shram that support the underprivileged sectors of the country are:

* To improve the implementation efficiency of the social security services for the unorganised workers.

* Integration of social security schemes meant for UWs being administered by MoLE and subsequently those run by other ministries as well.

* Sharing of information in respect of registered UWs with various stakeholders such as ministries/ departments/ boards/ agencies/ organisations of the central & state governments through APIs for delivery of various social security and welfare schemes being administered by them.

* Portability of the social security and welfare benefits to the migrant and construction workers.

* Providing a comprehensive database to central and state governments for tackling any national crises like covid-19 in the future.

An eShram card is issued to workers who have successfully registered themselves on the portal. This card makes the life of the workers easy as they do not need to apply for any other government social welfare programme.

Furthermore, in order to make it a tool of financial inclusion, e-Shram provides accidental insurance of a sum of Rs 2 lakh annually under the PM Suraksha Bima Yojana (PBSBY). The data of the e-Shram portal may be utilised to provide financial assistance to the eligible workers during a national crisis like the current scenario of the global pandemic. In the future, all the social security benefits of UWs are expected to be delivered through this portal. In case of any emergency and national pandemic-like situations, this database may be utilised to provide necessary assistance to the eligible UWs.

The government is doing its best to encourage the financial inclusion of these workers through various steps. For this purpose, the government has introduced multiple projects under e-Shram’s social security welfare scheme that will enable the UWs to enjoy the privileges of the government scheme, just like others in the nation.

PM Suraksha Bima Yojana

All those UWs registered through e-Shram who choose to be enrolled under the PMSBY will not have to pay the premium for the first year as it will be taken care of by the ML&E. In other words, the premium for the first year is free of cost and no amount will be deducted from the beneficiary’s account. The scheme is implemented by the department of finance.

e-Shram also provides the privilege of registering under the PM Suraksha Bima Yojana to all those underprivileged classes. According to this plan, any person in the age group of 18-70 years provides benefits of Rs 2 lakh at the time of accidental death and permanent disability and Rs 1 lakh in case of partial disability.

National Pension Scheme for Shopkeepers, Traders, and Self-Employed

Under this scheme, after the age of 60 years, a minimum pension of Rs 3,000 is provided to the beneficiary. To get the benefit of this scheme, the beneficiary has to pay a premium of Rs 55 to Rs 200. Fifty percent of the premium amount is deposited by the beneficiary while the other 50% is borne by the government.

Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maandhan Yojana

Through this scheme, a minimum pension of Rs 3,000 is provided to the beneficiary after the age of 60 years. In case the beneficiary dies, 50% of the pension share is provided to the spouse of the beneficiary. To avail the benefit of this scheme, the beneficiary will have to pay the premium between Rs 55 and Rs 200. Here, fifty percent of the premium amount will be deposited by the beneficiary, and the rest of the 50% will be deposited by the government.

Atal Pension Yojana

Under this scheme, a pension between Rs 1,000 and Rs 5,000 is provided to the beneficiary. In case the beneficiary dies or passes away, a lump sum amount of pension is also provided under this scheme to the beneficiary’s spouse.

PDS

The government aims at providing 35 kg of rice or wheat to the beneficiary per month through this scheme. The government additionally provides 15 kg of food items to families living above the poverty line.
 
Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Gramin

The government proffers to provide financial assistance of Rs 1.2 lakh in plain area and ₹1.3 lakh in the hilly area for the construction of the house through this scheme.

National Social Assistant Programme

This is a pension scheme through which a premium of Rs 300 to Rs 500 has to be paid per month to receive a pension of Rs 1,000 to Rs 3,000 monthly on maturity.

Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana

Through this scheme, health insurance of up to Rs 5,00,000 is provided to every family without paying any premium.

Health Insurance Scheme for Weavers


Health insurance is provided to weavers through this scheme.

Self-Employment Scheme for Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers


National Safai Karamchari Finance and Development Corporation Financial assistance is provided to the Safai Karamcharis through this scheme. Through this scheme, skill training will be provided to manual scavengers and their dependents free of cost. Apart from this, a stipend of Rs 3,000 will also be provided by the government.

Under the e-Shram portal, the worker’s occupation is being registered to provide identity to them  along with their occupations. It will further facilitate Governments to devise social security welfare schemes for all the segments of the UWs.

e-Shram is proving to be a bridge between them and the economy of the country by providing them multiple benefits enjoyed by the other working classes of society. The government has constantly been working on various welfare schemes for unorganised sector workers and labourers. A lot of workers fail to benefit from the scheme because of lack of awareness. E-Shram helps them to enjoy the various benefits designed especially for the underprivileged class:

• Financial support
• More job opportunities
• Premium waiver for 1st Year
• Track migrant labourers workforce
• Social security scheme benefits launched by the state and central governments
• Full assistance in emergency and national pandemic situations
• Accident insurance coverage of Rs 2 lakh to the UWs under PMSBY
 
Financial inclusion is a key goal to transform lives, reduce risks. Nearly 90% of the informal labourers in India are far away from formalising their cash transactions. The informal labourers constitute a large portion of the economy. This economy is more or less illiterate. Hence, the government has introduced the e-Shram portal for the underprivileged class so as to financially bring them at par with the rest of the populace through the various government security schemes and initiatives that are hassle-free and user-friendly. It’ll further help our UWs population to enjoy financial freedom just as any other citizen of the country without feeling left out.

Ankit Agarwal is Managing Director, Alankit.

 

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