India needs umbrella for social security schemes: Official

Kolkata, June 3 (IANS) India needs to have an umbrella for social security schemes to check duplication of benefits for some beneficiaries while a section of people is left out of it, an official in the central labour and employment ministry said.

“Even today we do not have a social security umbrella. There are a lot of social security programmes run by the state government as well as the Centre but all of these are under different schemes,” the official said.

Additional central provident fund commissioner for West Bengal, North-East and Jharkhand under the central labour and employment ministry, V. Vijaya Kumar, was speaking to the media here on the sidelines of an event organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce.

Kumar said while the central and state governments come up with social security schemes, there is a duplication in this process as a section of people enjoy benefits from both the state as well as the Centre while another section of people is deprived of it.

“An umbrella will remove duplication of schemes,” he said.

Kumar said while foreign countries have an umbrella for the employee benefit programmes, it is absent in India.

“During our first deliberations with the US over social security negotiations, the first question they (US) asked was over the presence of an universal social security,” he said.

The official said social security schemes for the unorganised sector are on the top of the agenda of the Centre and sources of funds have already been identified to roll out such schemes.

According to the labour ministry official, the central government is also spending alike the states on the social sector and an umbrella will ensure smoother and efficient implementation of the schemes.

“Comparing the budgets of states and the centre, we (the Centre) are also spending an equal amount if not more for social security”, he said.

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