17.1 mn workers added to informal sector database

About half of the 17.1 million informal sector workers, including gig workers, registered on the unorganized sector database are women, the labour ministry said on Sunday, a month after the database was launched on August 26.

Workers from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh made up most of those registered on the database. Around 78% of registrations were facilitated by the government-run common service centres, while individual workers did the rest.

The database, a first such exercise, is crucial to tracking the flow of informal workers to the formal sector and offer social security benefits in times of need.

The initiative follows the massive reverse migration triggered by the sudden announcement of a nationwide lockdown last year.

“The completion of one month of the launch of e-Shram portal marks with the registration of more than 17.1 million workers from the unorganized sector and in unorganized employment,” it added.

The government seeks to ensure the benefits of social welfare schemes reach vulnerable people by enlisting unorganized sector workers on the database.

The labour ministry said the registration of workers gained momentum week on week as authorities reached out to constituents and beneficiaries.

Government data showed that while 1.35 million people registered on the website in the first week of the programme, at least 6.95 million workers were registered on the database in the week ended 26 September, indicating the pace of enrolment is accelerating.

“Registration is necessary so that we know how many workers are there in each trade. More than 400 trades have already been represented on the portal. We want everyone to register so that every worker, including those who perform a very small job, is able to avail the benefits of government schemes. Moreover, those who register on the portal are eligible to get insurance up to 2 lakh,” Union labour minister Bhupender Yadav said. “There has been week-on-week improvement in the percentage of the female workforce registering themselves on the e-Shram portal. The share of women workers drastically improved from around 37% in the first week to almost 50% in the latest week,” he added.

The government’s target is to enrol more than 380 million workers in the unorganized sector.

The labour ministry said analysis based on last week’s data showed significant numbers of women engaged in domestic work are getting themselves registered on the website. This is an occupation where women out

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