for Unorganized Sector Workers
Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer
Baba Adhav
Working President
S. Bhatnagar
Correspondence Address:
B-19, Subhavna Niketan
Pitampura, Delhi-110034
Phones: 91-11-27013523, 27022243
Mobile: 9810810365
E-mail: ncccl@vsnl.net
R. Venkataramani
Sr. Advocate- Supreme Court
Geetha R.
South Regional


Date: 25th Aug' 2005

The Member of Parliament,
New Delhi

Sub: Unorganized Sector Workers Bill

Dear Sir,

We wish to draw you attention towards urgent need for a Comprehensive Legislation and not piecemeal Legislative attempts for the Unorganized Sector Workers numbering 37 crores of which substantial numbers are women.

We would like to remind you that on 5th May 2005, a massive rally of Twenty Thousand Unorganized Sector Workers to the Parliament submitted Petitions signed by over a million workers (copy enclosed) through the Lok Sabha Speaker Mr. Somnath Chatterjee to the Petition Committee of Lok Sabha giving details of the main contents of the legislation without which a law can not be implemented. We had invited you to address this rally. We are enclosing a copy of the petition for your ready reference.

On 13th May Justice V. R. Krishna Iyer wrote a letter to the Prime Minister enclosing the full draft of the Bill proposed by NCC-USW. This Bill was prepared on the basis of suggestions which came out of several seminars on the Unorganized Sector Workers Bill during last one and half years in which representatives of several segments of Unorganized Sector Worker and the workers of these sectors themselves participated actively. This Bill was further improved by former senior officials of the Labour Ministry and by Justice V. R. Krishna Iyer.

A Quote from his letter: "The temptation to rush through Parliament a half-baked law providing for a modicum of welfare and social security may be great, but I am sure that it will be a gross betrayal of the expectations and genuine needs of the 37 crore workers and their dependents. I am confident that you will not let this happen". Justice V. R. Krishna Iyer has said this in the light of past experience of getting a Central Legislation for Construction Workers; even with a Nation wide Campaign, a deficient law was enacted and even though nine years have passed, no effective implementation could be achieved.

Apart from the NCC - USW Bill on the Unorganized Sector Workers, there have been many drafts of Unorganized Sector Workers Bill, prepared during the periods of NDA Government ( 4 drafts of Bill circulated by the Ministry of Labour) and the UPA Government ( one Bill by Ministry of Labour, two Bills drafted by National Commission for Enterprises on Unorganized and Informal Sector and the one circulated by NAC being the most diluted version) but none of them except ours, takes care of the Social Security, Welfare and Regulation of employment and wages, conditions of service, dispute resolution, Rights over Natural and Common Resources, Complaints Committee on Sexual Harassment together in an integrated form without which no Legislation can be implemented in the prevailing working conditions of the Unorganized Sector Workers. Workers must be given due space not merely as 'beneficiaries' but as active participants in the formulation and implementation of schemes, with adequate representation including proportionate representation to women workers in the Tripartite Boards at Local, Taluka, District and State Levels and only then the Legislation can be implemented effectively.

On 14th Feb' 2003 National Advisory Council had organized a consultation with the Labour Minister where NCC-USW representative and the Central Trade Union representatives were present. After hearing the Labour representatives the Union Minister for Labour had assured that he would appoint a "drafting committee" to draft the Comprehensive Legislation on the basis of available background and then he would organize a 'National Seminar' to discuss the issue of a Comprehensive Legislation to get a National Consensus but neither was National Seminar organized nor a Drafting Committee appointed.

Although no 'drafting committee' was appointed till now, we received a letter from the office of the Director General ( Labour Welfare) dated 13th August 2005 inviting comments on the draft of the Unorganized Sector Worker Social Security Bill 2005 prepared by the National Advisory Council by 26th August 2005.Meanwhile 21st August 2005 the Hindu reported press statement of the acting chairman of the National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganized Sector that the Commission has recommended replacing the Unorganized Sector Worker Bill, drafted by the previous Govt., by the two new bills -the Unorganized Sector Worker Social Security Bill,2005 and the Unorganized Sector Worker (Condition of work and Livelihood Promotion) Bill 2005.

Another news item on the same day gave impression that the Monsoon Session of the Parliament is being extended to introduce few more Bills now itself including the Unorganized Sector Worker Social Security Bill which was expected to be introduced in the Winter Session.

The two Bills referred above have not been circulated although since last few days they are available on the website of National Commissioner on Enterprises in Unorganized Sector.

In view of the Petition pending with the Petitions Committee of Lok Sabha and your assurances for appointing a 'drafting committee' and calling a National Seminar. It is not reasonable to expedite and introduce a 'half - baked Bill' in the Parliament in the current session. A Bill once introduced has obvious limitations to the amendments which can be accepted in the Parliament. Therefore we request you to raise these issues in the Parliament so that only an INTEGRATED AND COMPREHENSIVE BILL on the Unorganized Sector Workers gets introduced in the winter session of the Parliament.

Yours sincerely,