Responding to a prolonged nationwide debate and a growing need for social security for unorganised workers, a group of 14 network organisations working on Labour rights, Dalit rights, Women’s rights, Tribal and marginalized people came together and formed a consortium to pursue their right to social security, to campaign for awareness, to forge alliance with trade unions, people’s movements and other organisations and to put pressure on the government to pass a comprehensive social security law.

The 14 organisations that formed the consortium were: Fedina and Women’s Voice from Bangalore; NAFRE, CEC, NCC-USW, Delhi Forum, NCDHR, HRLN, PWESCR and ISI from Delhi; YUVA from Mumbai, NIWCYD from Nagpur; BIRSA from Ranchi and LAYA from Vishakapatnam. In a meeting, they decided to organise a national convention to deliberate the following issues: ‘Social Security vs Employment Regulation’, ‘Discrimination in Social Security Benefits’, ‘Social Exclusion, Discrimination and Violence based on Caste’, ‘Women and Social Security’, ‘Sexual Harassment, Violence and Gender Discrimination in the Unorganised Sector’, ‘Structure of Social Security Administration’, ‘Social Security Fund — Sources and Methods of Collection’, ‘Need for a Separate Comprehensive Law for Agriculture Workers’, ‘Feasibility of Insurance-based Social Security and Privatisation of Insurance, Alternative Ways as in the ESI Scheme’ and ‘New Economic Reforms and the Unorganised Sector’.

Nagpur Convention

The consortium organised a National Convention on Social Security of Unorganised Workers from 26 to 28 October 2006 in Morbhawan, Nagpur, (Maharashtra ). Espousing social security as a fundamental right of workers, more than 800 representatives of 500 organisations including social activists, leaders of peoples’ movements, trade unions and NGOs from all over India deliberated on various dimensions of social security and the bills for unorganised workers proposed by the government. The convention adopted the Nagpur Declaration and resolved to hold regional- and state-level conventions and workshops. The consortium also submitted demands and memoranda to the concerned ministries and other authorities, asking for an appropriate comprehensive law. The meeting supported the demand made by trade unions in a meeting on 19 October 2006 in Delhi.

Subsequently, state-level and regional-level conventions were held between January and March 2007 in Bhopal, Bangalore, Chennai, Guwahati, Umariya, Ranchi and Rajnandgaon. Throughout the country, handouts were distributed and posters were displayed. Local MPs and MLAs were mailed postcards, and signature campaigns were carried out. In many regions, rallies and meetings were organised that protested against the apathy and inaction of the government.



Delhi Consultation and Emergence of 'Social Security Now'

In order to consolidate the gains of the campaign, the group organised a National Consultation in Delhi on 10 April 2007 in the Indian Social Institute, in conjunction with the Action 2007 events. It was attended by about one hundred representatives of trade unions, peoples’ movements, NGOs and academicians. They deliberated on the impact of government economic policies on informal workers, the latest government draft bills for unorganised workers and decided on an action plan to intensify the nationwide campaign for comprehensive social security for unorganised workers.

The Consultation resolved:,

To conduct a workshop to arrive at the ‘non-negotiables’ of the campaign.
To evolve a common identity and a message for the campaign.
To prepare popular campaign material in regional languages and to develop songs, street plays and other cultural expressions.
To prepare a symbol.
To incorporate Dalits, Adivasis and gender concerns in all articulations on social security for unorganised workers. To strengthen inter-organisational communication-sharing and co-ordination (website).
To establish linkages with trade unions, people’s movements and Dalit, Adivasi and women’s organisations.
To reach out to 500 districts in India within one year. To broaden the consortium by incorporating new members.

Above all, The participants unanimously decided on ‘SOCIAL SECURITY NOW’ as the name of the campaign for comprehensive social security for unorganised workers in India. It also decided on a Working Group for the Campaign. It further decided to incorporate all members who were signatories to the Nagpur declaration and all those who were party to the decisions of the Delhi meeting to be NETWORK MEMBERS of the campaign. It was also decided to incorporate additional network members who agreed with the non-negotiable elements of the campaign.

Report of the National Consultation on Social Security held on 10 April 2007,at ISI,New Delh



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