Priyanka SaurabhThe biggest crisis due to the Corona disaster has been for daily wage laborers, about whom there was very little discussion within the country, as the government of the country did nothing to help them. There is no doubt that the working class of the country is the victim of maximum exploitation. Coronavirus and lockdown have created a maintenance crisis for daily-wage workers. The workers who are looking for livelihood in the cities are closed in their villages. Earlier also, there was no employment for them in farming and there is not even today. Who is responsible for the woes of daily wage laborers? Crores of people across the country are daily wage workers. A laborer plays a valuable role in building the country.The importance of workers working in any society, country, institution, and industry can’t be undermined by anyone. It cannot be imagined to stand an industrial structure without labourers. The activities of a daily wage labourer or collection of data are not maintained under any legal provision, which means that the government don’t keep an account of them. These wage laborers / informal/unorganised sector occupy a prominent position in the Indian economy in terms of contribution to GDP and employment. Out of the total workforce of the country, about 72 percent in urban areas are engaged as daily-wagers.The daily wage / informal sector is very important 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 laborers are the creators of not only modern India but also modern Singapore, modern Dubai, and every modern country which cast itself in the glamour list of modernity. The urban economy in India is in line with the developing economies, brought by informal workers, daily wage labourers, and the unorganised sector. This is the back-end India that provides the daily support needed to the front-end India to keep the wheels of the modern economy running.Factories, industrial units, hotels, restaurants, and many other establishments, regardless of big names and their famous operators, depend on such workers or daily-wagers. Uber and Ola drivers, massons, carpenters, food delivery boys, painters, plumber and many more. Labour migration within India is important for economic development and contributes to improve the socio-economic condition of the people.These daily-wage workers are surrounded by many problems. There is no reliable data on how many informal sector workers / daily wage workers enter and leave a particular state on city. According to the Economic Survey of India 2019, about 90% of the total workforce of India is engaged in the informal sector. This made it more vulnerable to the economic crisis induced by COVID-19. Major challenges in the absence of workforce results in problems like lack of job security, limited or lack of access to banking and insurance channels, typically less developed public health systems.It also lacks basic facilities. Informal sector workers have a greater dependence on public facilities such as hand-pumps public taps or standpipes that are connected to a municipal or public connection. And these sources are generally unreliable – hand pumps and municipal pipes do not always supply potable quality water. Given the importance of handwashing in combating infections, lack of water sanitation and hygiene puts migrant workers at risk of working in unsafe work environments.To make the urban areas more inclusive to the informal sector worker, the central and state governments need to address economy related problems, rural-urban divide, uneven development within states and uneven development between regions in the country, and social and economic inequalities.The informal sector worker needs to be supported through local administration and panchayat structures based on his skills and previous experience with relevant information and counseling for job search and employment opportunities. The unorganised worker index number card recently proposed by the Ministry of Labour will also help in formalising the workforce. The basic requirements for these can be met by focusing on public health infrastructure.There is also a need to strengthen smart city projects and public health emergency infrastructure. This social and financial inclusion will make the Smart Cities Mission truly holistic. Like other regular employees, helping them financially will strengthen their social security. There is a need to start a Social Security Fund so that it can provide a sense of financial security to the poorest and weakest sections of the country. A laborer plays a valuable role in building the country. The importance of workers in any society, country, institution and industry cannot be undermined byanyone. Without labourers, it can’t be imagined to stand even an industrial structure.
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