• IASbaba
  • September 18, 2021
  • 0
UPSC Articles
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  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  • GS-3: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.


Context: On August 26, 2021, the Ministry of Labour and Employment (MOLE) launched the E-Shram.

  • It is the web portal for creating a National Database of Unorganized Workers (NDUW), which will be seeded with Aadhaar. 
  • It seeks to register an estimated 398-400 million unorganised workers and to issue an E-Shram card containing a 12-digit unique number.
  • Registered workers will be eligible for Rs 2 Lakh on death or permanent disability and Rs 1 lakh on partial disability.


  • Tedious Process: Given the gigantic nature of registering each worker, it will be a long-drawn process. 
  • Data Security issues: Given the mega-size of the database, there is potential for its misuses especially in the absence of Data Protection legislation. The Union government would have to share data with State governments whose data security capacities vary. 
  • Definitional issues: By excluding workers covered by EPF and ESI, lakhs of contract and fixed-term contract workers will be excluded from the universe of UW. 
  • Ever-changing identities: Unorganised may have complex and ever-changing identities where they move between formal and informal sectors.
  • Gig workers – Gig workers are included by the Labour ministry while they are excluded by the other three Labour Codes creating legal confusions over the classification of gig/platform workers.
  • Federal Challenges: Union chalks out the plan but states have to implement it. Differences in state capacities can create hurdles in the implementation.
  • Corruption – Middle service agencies such as Internet providers might charge exorbitant charges to register and print the E-Shram cards.

Way Ahead

  • Involvement of surveillance agencies is crucial to address the issues of corruption. 
  • Government must publish statistics at the national and regional levels of the registrations to assess the registration system’s efficiency. 
  • Triple linkage of One-Nation-One-Ration Card , E-Shram Card (especially bank account seeded) and the Election Commission Card can be done, for efficient and leakage-less delivery,

Connecting the dots:

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