The Department of Labour, Government of Karnataka (GoK) and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH have been implementing a pilot project on ‘Social Security Benefits for Unorganized Workers in Karnataka’ in five districts of Karnataka. The Unorganised Workers Social Security Act, 2008, provides scope for formation of Workers Facilitation Centers (WFCs). In accordance with the act, since 2009, the project has pioneered the concept of single-window approach to facilitate the access to social security benefits among unorganized worker families. About 250 Workers Facilitation Centres (WFCs) at Gram Panchayat and urban ward level have been set up in the pilot districts. The WFCs are being manned by trained Community Facilitators.
The project is working to develop appropriate social security products for the unorganised sector establish efficient and effective delivery structures for the social security system and improve the capacity of all the actors involved in the programme to implement the social security system (including planning and delivery of the social security benefits). The living standards of unorganised workers through the new social security products shall be improved and a reliable impact monitoring system to supply regularly updated information on the reform programme shall be provided.
A mid-term impact study conducted in summer 2012 by Institute for Social and Economic Change and Oxford University found improved outreach, access and use of government social security schemes in the pilot areas with WFCs as compared to areas without WFCs. These WFCs have not only focused on creating a dynamic database to identify the unorganised workers for various schemes, but also created awareness on social security schemes, facilitated the targeted households in fulfilling the formalities of application submission and followed up the process until the benefit is delivered.
The key results achieved by the project as of March 2013 are:
- 2, 66,504 households have been surveyed and 1, 06,968 applications have been submitted for different social security schemes.
- Recognizing the positive outcomes of the pilot programme, the GoK has decided to replicate the same model in all the remaining districts of the state and requested GIZ to facilitate the up-scaling in building up and further developing the capacity of stakeholders at various levels to use the full potential of mechanisms of data gathering, analysis, eligibilities, documentation, applications processing and facilitating interface with other systems to achieve quality outcomes.