History of Social Security of Unorganized Workers -- With Special Reference to India

26 Pages Posted: 10 Feb 2015

Date Written: February 3, 2015


“Social Security” is very wide term and today it has acquired a global character. Social Security means that Government, which is the symbol and representative of society, is responsible for fixing a minimum standard of living for all its citizens. The man’s quest for the protection from the natural hazards, socio-economic insecurity is the base of the development of social security concept. With the industrial revolution a new class of ‘workers’ emerged, who were totally dependent on the wages and allowance for their existence. Sometime they were subject to exploitation by the employers in the industries. Since then the workers were in quest for the social security. The history of social security in the form of social insurance and social assistance begins in the Europe the 19th Century and these are the Germany, USA, Britain and France where it is started first. Germany is the first state in the world which adopted the old age social insurance scheme in the year 1889 during the period of Chancellor Otto Von Bismarck. In order to keep the wellbeing of the workers and efficiency of the German economy Chancellor Bismarck was motivated to undertake the social insurance scheme as propounded by the Emperor William the First. It is also to be noted that the social insurance is one part of the social security. In reality the social security plan was coming into being in USA in the year 1935 but there was one precursor which would be called as the social security as provided to the disabled veterans, widows and children of the deceased in the Civil War in USA. That led then America to undertake the pension programme. In the international scenario there was “Social Assistance” provided by the professional organizations to their members in the middle age in France. Such “Social Assistance” was a form of now-a-days “Social Security” concept. But this system comes to an end in the year 1791 with the abolition of corporation by the “Allarde Decree”. The realization of the social security was started with French revolution whereby the rights of men proclaimed and later on it was adopted into the preamble of the French Constitution. In the year 1919 just after the World War First the ILO was formed in accordance with the provisions of the Versailles treaty. The treaty provided for the right to social security of the working class. In the year 1944 along with the other countries the International Labour Organization (ILO) adopted a declaration covering the extent of the measures of the social security for the working class. WTO is rather strong than ILO in respect to operation of labour standard in the international level. Since its inception in the 1994 it has the real authority to enforce the labour standards by virtue of trade section. The main object of the WTO is to reduce customs, tariffs and like other obstruction for the free export and import of goods, services and capital between its member states. Hence very aim and object of the WTO puts question regarding the operation of labour standards. The European Union has its own system of labour law. But these are not exclusive as the provisions for minimum wage fairness of dismissals and collective bargaining are not included in it. But the European Court of justice has now given initiation for adopting legal protection to keep the worker s rights alive. The developing countries in Asia and Pacific are predominantly agricultural. The societies in these countries have derived their support and sustenance from their time tested mechanisms, founded on the caring for the individuals by the family and community. The growing urbanization has produced a two-fold effect. Firstly, it has eroded the homogenous character of a rural community and secondly, it has brought about the need to provide an alternative form of social security in vulnerable environment. Several developing countries in Asia and Pacific have been searching for extending alternatives social security protection to various groups. Each country is faced with a different situation. India as such is a vast nation with one-sixth of the world human population. The social security measures planned and implemented in India in the post Independence era has been limited to organized sectors whereas the majority of the work force earns wages through unorganized labor markets. The Government of India has been dealing with a population that has been ever growing. The planners with the limited resources have barely been able to cope with the ever-increasing demands. The rapid disorganization of a joint family system due to urbanization is leaving more and more families in secured, vulnerable and devoid of social security. The Government institutions and NGOs have to build up a system in order to build in a community-based network.

Suggested Citation

Kar, Dr. Sujit, History of Social Security of Unorganized Workers -- With Special Reference to India (February 3, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2559656 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2559656

Dr. Sujit Kar (Contact Author)


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