The Follow-up of Nagpur Convention Resolutions

The consortium of 14 NGOs organised a National Convention on Social Security for Unorganised Workers from 26 to 28 October at Morbhawan, Nagpur, Maharashtra, placing social security as a fundamental right of workers. The Convention had been a successful and historic event, which registered the participation of over 800 participants and representatives of more than 300 NGOs, trade unions, people’s movements, community organisations, government authorities, and the participation of state ministers and intellectuals among others.

We adopted the Nagpur Declaration and resolved to hold regional- and state-level conventions and workshops. Consequently, consortium members are organising state-level conventions

. The Rashtriya Yuva Sangathan, Ekta Parishad, NIWCYD, CEC and various trade unions and others organised a Regional Convention in the Adivasi belt (covering eight districts) on 10 and 11 February 2007 at Umariya in Madhya Pradesh. In this meeting more then 300 representatives of trade unions, NGOs, panchayats and other organisations were present despite heavy continuous rains. These participants discussed various social security issues, additional social security issues and land rights for Adivasi workers, mine workers and agriculture workers. The campaign also began with posters and handouts.

The Indian Social Institute, a consortium member, organised a social security workshop/convention in Guwahati on 12 February 2007. More than 150 participants attended this workshop. The community organisations and workers unions of North-Eastern states initiated an intense campaign.

The NIWCYD, Bhopal, with other partner organisations along with trade unions and peoples groups organised state level social security conventions in Bhopal on 20 February 2007. About 100 representatives of various organisations of Madhya Pradesh, social activists and academicians attended this convention.

FEDINA-Bangalore has organised a workshop on social security at Bangalore on 25 February 2007. In this meeting about 75 people discussed various issues of social security.

The organisations who participated in the Nagpur National Convention are planning to organise state conventions in Ranchi, Hyderabad, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Orissa and in other states in the month of March 2007. Reports of conventions held in other places such as Chennai (organised by NCDHR) are still awaited. The consortium is also planning to hold a meeting in Delhi in order to put more pressure on government and to challenge inaction or perfunctory actions of the Government.


Consortium organisations and their partners are also engaged in campaigning by displaying posters, distributing detailed handouts in local languages and conducting postcard campaigns and explaining the need for social security in smaller meetings. Activists are visiting industrial areas, villages and mining areas to campaign. Trade unions are also collaborating in this movement. This campaign is emerging as a national movement. Some other groups have been campaigning in different ways such as by conducting cycle rallies.

Consortium members have also decided that we will actively support and participate in Action 2007 in action programmes for social security for unorganised workers and for livelihood protection. We will also actively participate in and support trade union programmes and participate in and support movement for social security of unorganised workers.

Submissions to the Government

Consortium members (representing ISI, NCDHR, PWESCR, NCC-USW and CEC) personally submitted the Letter of Demands with the Nagpur Declaration and other papers to Ms Sayeeda Hameed, Member of the Planning Commission, after a discussion on 11 December 2006.

Consortium members personally submitted the Letter of Demands with the Nagpur Declaration and other papers to Mr B.C. Mungekar, Dr Abhijeet Sen, and Dr B.N. Yugandhar, Members of Planning Commission and to Mr M.V. Rajasekharan, Minister (Planning) & Ex-Officio Member of the Planning Commission and discussed all the issues for more than half-an-hour on 13 December 2006. In these meetings, Mr Vincent of NCDHR was also present. The members also met Ravi Shrivastava, Member in NCEUSW and submitted the Letter of Demands with the Nagpur Declaration and other papers to him on 13 December 2006.  

In these meetings, members of the planning commission and the NCEUSW suggested the building up of continuous pressure on the government, particularly before or at the beginning of the Budget session of Parliament, as they felt that otherwise the Government, that is, the finance ministry and the labour ministry would ensure that the bill is not introduced in the Parliament.

Response to the ‘Unorganised Workers’ Social Security BILL, 2007’ placed on the website by the Ministry of Labour, Government of India

The consortium members decided to oppose the new Bill of the Ministry of Labour on the grounds that it ignored the demands of trade unions, demands raised in the Nagpur Declaration and the demands submitted to the Labour Ministry by the consortium. The following points were submitted to the Ministry vide a letter dated 15 February 2007

. i) The draft ‘Unorganised Workers Social Security Bill 2007’ is not comprehensive; the provisions of employment regulation, livelihood protection and dispute resolution have been deliberately removed.

ii) The draft bill is merely a charity handout rather than a document that affirms the rights of workers based on the principle of social justice.

iii) The term ‘social security’ has not been defined in the current Bill. The components of social security as in the ILO definition, together with security needed immediately after natural disasters such as earthquakes, flood and the additional social security needed for Dalits, women, Adivasis and other marginalised workers with decent work, as recommended by ILO, should be the necessary components of definition of ‘social security’.

iv) The definition of ‘worker’ excludes those getting above Rs 6500/- and unpaid women workers. The wage ceiling for different social security benefits could have been left to the powers of boards in the schemes so as to make it flexible.

v) The bill deliberately avoids affirming the rights of unorganised workers; their right to organise, the rights of women, Dalits, Adivasis and other marginalised workers, the right to social security and other labour rights.

vi) The accountability of the government has not been established, including accountability from the Consolidated Fund of India and the accountability of the Board to Parliament. vii) The representation of Dalits, women, Adivasis and other marginalised workers in the Social security boards and in the administration of social security has been ignored.

viii) Affirmative provisions concerning these marginalised sections have not been incorporated.

ix) The bill undermines the autonomy of Social Security Boards

x) The roles of the Social Security Boards and the government are confusing and overlapping. The bill does not prescribe clear autonomy for the Board.

xi) The government has blatantly ignored the demands of trade unions, people’s organisations, this consortium and other community organisations. This Bill is a shell without content; a very diluted and narrow attempt from the labour ministry. In the light of the points given above, this bill was strongly rejected in its present form.

Moreover, the manner in which this bill has been floated on the Internet giving very little time for the citizens to respond casts serious doubt on the intention of the government. We wonder whether there is a deliberate attempt on the part of government to create confusion and further delay a comprehensive legislation for unorganised workers.


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