The Indian economy is characterised by the existence of a vast majority of informal or unorganised labour employment. As per a survey carried out by the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) in 2009–10, the total employment in the country was of 46.5 crore comprising around 2.8 crore in the organised and the remaining 43.7 crore workers in the unorganised sector. Out of these workers in the unorganised sector, there are 24.6 crore workers employed in agricultural sector, about 4.4 crore in construction work and remaining in manufacturing and service.
The Ministry of Labour, Government of India, has categorised the unorganised labour force under four groups depending on occupation, nature of employment, specially distressed categories and service categories.
The Ministry of Labour and Employment in order to ensure the welfare of workers in the unorganised sector which, inter-alia, includes weavers, handloom workers, fishermen and fisherwomen, toddy tappers, leather workers, plantation labourers, beedi workers, has enacted the Unorganized Workers’ Social Security Act, 2008. The Act provides for a constitution of the National Social Security Board which shall recommend the formulation of social security schemes, viz. life and disability cover, health and maternity benefits, old age protection and any other benefits as may be determined by the Government for the unorganised workers. Accordingly, the Ministry has constituted a National Social Security Board.Source : Ministry of labour and Employment