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Role of Community Organization Practice in Empowering Unorganized Labours

Vinayaka A., Research Scholar, Department of Social Work, VSK University, Ballari- 583105, Karnataka. Email:

Kumara, Assistant Professor, Department of Social Work, VSK University, Ballari – 583105, Karnataka. Email:

Abstract: In India, a significant majority of workers, approximately 93%, are employed in the unorganized sector. Currently, the responsibility of implementing social security schemes for these workers lies with various Ministries/Departments under Schedule II of the "Unorganized Workers Social Security Act (UWSSA), 2008". These schemes aim to provide welfare benefits to unorganized workers, but they are administered at the state level by different agencies, each with its own set of eligibility criteria, enrollment processes, and benefits. It is important to note that community organization practices have a primary objective of empowering individuals within a sustainable social environment. These practices focus on all sectors of society, including the unorganized labor sector. The unorganized sector faces numerous challenges and problems, and therefore, requires assistance and support to ensure their well-being and sustainability within the social sector. The relationship between the unorganized labor sector and community organization practices is interdependent, as community organizations contribute to the development of all sectors within society. The empowerment of unorganized labor is based on the effective practice of community organization. This study aims to elaborate on the role of community organization practices in empowering the unorganized labor sector. The data collected for this study includes secondary sources such as books, articles, and websites related to the subject. The findings of this study highlight the significance of community organization practices in empowering the unorganized sector and their contribution to the well-being of social sectors.

Keywords: Community organization, Empowerment, Modification, sustainability, Unorganized sector.


The term "unorganized worker" has been defined in the Unorganized Workers' Social Security Act of 2008. It encompasses individuals who work from home, those who are self-employed, and wage workers in the unorganized sector. Additionally, it includes workers in the organized sector who are not covered by any of the Acts listed in Schedule-11 of the Act. These Acts include the Employee's Compensation Act of 1923, the Industrial Disputes Act of 1947, the Employees' State Insurance Act of 1948, the Employees Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provision Act of 1952, the Maternity Benefit Act of 1961, and the Payment of Gratuity Act of 1972. (Annual Report, Ministry of Labour and Employment 2015)

According to the survey conducted by the National Sample Survey Organization in 2011-12, the total employment in both the organized and unorganized sectors of the country amounted to 470 million. Out of this figure, approximately 80 million individuals were employed in the organized sector, while the remaining 390 million were part of the unorganized sector. The unorganized sector accounts for over 90 percent of the country's total employment. Many of these workers are involved in home-based occupations such as beedi rolling, agarbatti making, papad making, tailoring, and embroidery work. (Kamala Kantha 2012)

Unfortunately, the unorganized workers face various challenges including irregular employment patterns, lack of formal employer-employee relationships, and absence of social security benefits. To address some of these issues, several legislations have been enacted, either directly or indirectly applicable to the workers in the unorganized sector. These include the Employee's Compensation Act of 1923, the Minimum Wages Act of 1948, the Maternity Benefit Act of 1961, the Contract Labour (Abolition and Prohibition) Act of 1970, the Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment & Conditions of Service) Act of 1996, and the Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare (Cess) Act of 1996, among others. (Annual Report, Ministry of Labour and Employment 2015)

Challenges Faced by Unorganized Workers

According to the National Sample Survey Organization's survey conducted in 2011-12, the total employment in India encompassed approximately 470 million individuals, encompassing both the organized and unorganized sectors. Of this figure, around 80 million individuals were employed in the organized sector, while the remaining 390 million were engaged in the unorganized sector.( Chatterjee, Subhasish. 2016). The unorganized sector accounts for over 90 percent of the country's total employment. A significant portion of these unorganized workers are involved in home-based occupations, including beedi rolling, agarbatti making, papad making, tailoring, and embroidery work.(Marshall 1961)

The unorganized workforce endures the recurring patterns of extreme seasonality in employment, absence of formal employer-employee relationships, and the lack of social security safeguards. Various legislations, such as the Employee's Compensation Act of 1923, the Minimum Wages Act of 1948, the Maternity Benefit Act of 1961, the Contract Labour (Abolition and Prohibition) Act of 1970, the Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment & Conditions of Service) Act of 1996, and the Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare (Cess) Act of 1996, have direct or indirect implications for workers in the unorganized sector as well.

The Ministry of Labour also administers Welfare Funds for specific groups of workers in the unorganized sector, such as beedi workers, cine workers, and certain non-coalmine workers. These funds are utilized to provide a range of welfare activities for the workers, including healthcare, housing, education assistance for children, and water supply. In India, the terms "unorganized sector" and "informal sector" are used interchangeably in research literature.(satya raju1989)  However, the term "unorganized sector" is commonly employed in official records and analyses. It refers to the portion of the economy that is not part of the organized sector. On the other hand, the term "organized sector" is typically used when referring to enterprises or employees where ten or more individuals work together. Various methods are employed to assess employment data in the organized sector, such as the Annual Survey of Industries (ASI) and the Employment Market Information (EMI) program. However, these methods, along with those used to assess overall employment, such as the decennial population census and surveys conducted by the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO), have their own limitations. The unorganized sector poses challenges in terms of underestimation and inadequate analysis, which in turn affect the accuracy of estimates for this sector. (Ministry of Information and Broad casting, India, 2014)

Share of Labor input in Unorganized Sector

 India's labor force comprises approximately 487 million individuals, making it the second largest in the world, trailing only China. The majority of these workers, over 94 percent, are engaged in unincorporated and unorganized enterprises, which encompass a wide range of activities from street vendors to home-based diamond and gem polishing operations. On the other hand, the organized sector includes individuals employed by the government, state-owned enterprises, and private-sector companies. In 2008, the organized sector provided employment to 27.5 million workers, with 17.3 million working for government or government-owned entities. (Asthana, S., 2019)

Special legislation pertaining to unorganized labor refers to laws and regulations

1. The Contract Labour (Regulation & Abolition) Act of 1970 has the objective of overseeing the utilization of contract labor in establishments that employ twenty or more workers. Additionally, it seeks to address the abolition of contract labor under specific circumstances.

2. The Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act of 1979 aims to facilitate the employment of inter-State migrant workmen and establish regulations for their working conditions.

3. The Cine-workers Welfare Fund Act of 1981 is a legislation aimed at providing financial support for initiatives that promote the well-being of specific individuals involved in the cinema industry. According to this act, a "cine-worker" refers to an individual who has been employed in the production of at least five feature films, either as an artiste (such as an actor, musician, or dancer) or in any other capacity, be it skilled, unskilled, manual, supervisory, technical, artistic, or otherwise. The act also specifies that the remuneration received by such cine-workers should not exceed 1600/- per month for monthly payments or Rs. 8000/- for lump sum payments in each of the five feature films.

4. The Iron Ore Mines, Manganese Ore Mines, and Chrome Ore Mines Labour Welfare Fund Act of 1976 is a legislation aimed at funding initiatives that enhance the well-being of individuals employed in iron ore mines, manganese ore mines, and chrome ore mines.

 5. The Limestone and Dolomite Mines Labour Welfare Fund Act of 1972 is a law that mandates the imposition and collection of a cess on limestone and dolomite. The funds generated from this cess are utilized to support activities that promote the welfare of individuals working in limestone and dolomite mines.

 6. The Mica Mines Labour Welfare Fund Act of 1946 establishes a fund dedicated to financing initiatives that enhance the welfare of laborers employed in the mica mining industry.

 7. The Beedi Workers Welfare Fund Act of 1976 is an act designed to provide financial support for measures aimed at promoting the welfare of individuals engaged in beedi establishments. 

8 The Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Act, 2008 has been enacted in India to provide social security to workers in the Unorganised Sector. Despite opposition from trade unions, worker organizations, and civil society, the government passed the bill on social security for unorganised workers in the Lok Sabha on December 17, 2008. This act allows both the Central and State Governments to develop schemes and provides funding for central government schemes. To achieve its goals, the act establishes a Board at the State level and requires the funding of State Government Schemes for record keeping by district administration and the establishment of a workers facilitation centre. Additionally, the act empowers the Central and State Governments to create rules. All unorganized sector workers above the age of 14 are eligible to register themselves and receive a 'smart' identity card.

9. The Building and other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and conditions of service) Act, 1996 is a legislation aimed at governing the employment and working conditions of construction workers, as well as ensuring their safety, health, and welfare. It also addresses other related matters and incidental issues.

Social security programs 

1. Life and Disability coverage is provided through the Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY) and is accessible to individuals aged 18 to 50 years who have a bank/post office account and consent to join/enroll in auto debit. In the event of the insured's death, regardless of the cause, the scheme offers a risk coverage of Rs. 2.00 lakh at an annual premium of Rs. 436, which will be automatically debited from the subscriber's bank/post office account. 

2. the Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY) is also available to individuals aged 18 to 70 years with a bank/post office account who consent to join/enroll in auto debit. The scheme provides a risk coverage of Rs. 2.00 lakh in case of accidental death or total permanent disability, and Rs. 1.00 lakh for partial permanent disability due to an accident. The premium for this coverage is Rs. 20 per annum, which will be deducted from the account holder's bank/post office account through auto-debit.

3. The Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (ABPMJAY) offers a yearly health coverage of Rs. 5 lakhs for each qualifying family, specifically for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization encompassing 1949 treatment procedures across 27 specialties. This scheme operates in a completely cashless and paperless manner. The families eligible for benefits under AB-PMJAY have been selected based on the Social Economic Caste Census (SECC) of 2011, considering 6 deprivation and 11 occupational criteria in both rural and urban regions.

4. The Government of India introduced the Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maan-Dhan (PM-SYM) pension scheme in 2019 with the aim of offering old age protection. This scheme provides a monthly pension of Rs. 3000/- to individuals who have reached the age of 60. Eligible participants are workers between the ages of 18-40, earning a monthly income of Rs. 15000/- or less, and not affiliated with EPFO/ESIC/NPS (Government-funded programs). Those who meet the criteria can enroll in the PM-SYM Scheme. The beneficiary is responsible for contributing 50% of the monthly amount, while the Central Government matches this contribution. The Government's contribution is managed by LIC, the fund manager for the scheme.

5. The Government had launched e-Shram portal in August 2021 with an objective to create National Database of Unorganised Workers and to facilitate delivery of Social Security Schemes/Welfare schemes to the unorganised workers including vendors and streetside sellers.

6. In order to facilitate benefit of social security schemes to the eShram registrants, e-Shram portal is integrated with Pradhan Mantri Shram-Yogi Maandhan (PM-SYM) portal. E Shram registrants can seamlessly take benefits of PMSYM pension scheme through this integration. The e-Shram portal is also integrated with National Career Service (NCS) Portal. The e Shram registrants can seamlessly register on NCS portal and search for suitable job opportunities.


Classification of Unorganized (informal) workers

1. By Occupation: This category encompasses individuals involved in various occupations such as small and marginal farmers, landless agricultural laborers, share croppers, fishermen, those engaged in animal husbandry, beedi rolling, labeling and packing, building and construction workers, leather workers, weavers, artisans, salt workers, workers in brick kilns and stone quarries, as well as workers in saw mills and oil mills, among others. 

2. Nature of Employment: Individuals falling under this category are characterized by the nature of their employment, which includes attached agricultural laborers, bonded laborers, migrant workers, as well as contract and casual laborers. 

3. Service Category: The service category comprises of professionals such as midwives, domestic workers, fishermen and women, barbers, vegetable and fruit vendors, news paper vendors, and others who provide various services. 

4. Special Category: The special category includes individuals with unique occupations such as toddy tappers, scavengers, and carriers of head loads, drivers of animal-driven vehicles, as well as loaders and unloaders.

Apart from these four classifications, there is a substantial segment of unstructured workforce comprising cobblers, Hamals, Handicraft artisans, Handloom weavers, Lady Tailors, Physically handicapped self-employed individuals, Rickshaw pullers, Auto drivers, Sericulture workers, Carpenters, Tannery workers, Power loom workers, and Urban poor 

Community organization in the Labor welfare sector

Community organization is one of the method in social work, involves various organization and institutions to meet the basic needs of the community people. as a method used to make efforts and directed towards community needs. It develops integration within the community and helps the people to cooperate each other. It is a democratic method which belief is the equality of all men and women and dignity provide to individuals. It scope have wide range covers many field like organised and unorganized. It’s motivated the people and inculcates the idea of promotion and progress is community level and society level (Meenakshi G,2007) Community organization development means the adjustment of resources and needs with one another. These organizations are those welfares which are undertaken by the members of that community for the use of resources and needs fulfillment

During field work practice in industrial setting a social worker plays several roles, First, social worker collects baseline information of all member of the organization from management. This baseline information includes basic personal information to professional information. Collected information always helps him to understand the dynamics of industry i.e human behaviors, group activities and organisational functioning Community organization is a means of bringing unorganised people together to address problematic social conditions. As a purposeful collective effort, organizing requires sound analytical, political, and interactional skills. An important aspect of those skills for professional organizers involves a continuous pattern of systematic planning, "doing", reflecting again (theorizing) and acting strategically to build a group that can achieve its aims. Like life satisfaction and labour empowerment (Meenu Agrawal 2012)

Community organization deeply rooted in the reform traditionally unorganized peoples became in their field, its create such values as self-determination, self-sufficiency, empowerment, and social justice. Therefore this community organization is particularly relevant to direct practice with and advocacy for disempowered unorganized labour. The methods community organization is aimed at who seek to expand and refine their skills in unorganized sector its provide-building and collective action through its approaches. It builds on foundation knowledge and skills from the prerequisite introductory level practice in the labour sector promoting the organised structures and dynamics, power structure and dynamics, empowerment, advocacy, helps to improve small group dynamics leadership qualities in the unorganized labours Community Organizer is the person who acts as liaison between the legal system and beneficiaries as well. Employees’ Provident Fund &Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952- to help employees save a fraction of their salary every month so that he can use the same in an event that the employee is temporarily or no longer fit to work or at retirement. Employers and employees both contribute 12% of wages in contribution accounts. The benefit of this act is limited to organized labour. (Meenakshi G2007)


Statement of the Problem: The unorganized sector pertains to household-based manufacturing activities as well as small-scale and tiny sectors of industry. This sector lacks stability in terms of profits or gains and operates within a limited geographical area. It requires less manpower and investment compared to the organized sector. Various industries such as handicrafts, artisan professions, khadi and village industries, handloom sector, beedi making, agarbatti making, hand paper manufacturing, and matchbox production can be found within the unorganized sector of the Indian economy. (Gupta N 1982) This sector is characterized by easy entry, smaller scale of operations, local ownership, uncertain legal status, labor-intensive methods, and the use of lower technology-based approaches. Additionally, it is associated with flexible pricing, less sophisticated packaging, absence of brand names, limited storage facilities, and a less efficient distribution network. Furthermore, individuals working in this sector often face challenges in accessing government schemes, finance, and aid. Entry barriers for employees are relatively low, and there is a higher proportion of migrant workers who receive lower compensation rates.(HDI report-2012)

Objectives of the study.

  • To bring out the issues and challenges of unorganized labours

  • To understand the need of community organization method for unorganized labours

  • To analyze activity of program for unorganised Labours.

  • To study the Welfare and Social Security Provisions for Unorganised Labours 

Research approach and data collection: Descriptive research technique was adopted to carry out detailed study on the concept. This study has made use of secondary data to collect information with regard to unorganized sector workers, problems of unorganized sector, Social Security Schemes for Workers in Unorganized Sector and some activities of central board for unorganised workers etc. It mainly referred data from the reports of various government bodies working at local to international level, books, articles, journals and government bodies, websites.


1. Social Security problems: In India, various social security legislations have been implemented, but unfortunately, these legislations only apply to organized labor due to their collective strength and unionism. As a result, both social assistance and social insurance remain inaccessible to the unorganized labor force. 

2. Compensation Problem: The issue of compensation is of utmost importance for every employee, as they seek job security and reimbursement for the expenses they have incurred. Regardless of whether a company is small or large scale, it is imperative for them to fulfill this requirement. The success of a company heavily relies on its employees, thus emphasizing the significance of safeguarding their well-being and safety. Consequently, India introduced a significant law known as "The Employees Compensation Act, 1923" (formerly known as the Workmen Compensation Act, 1923). This legislation ensures that workmen in the organized sector receive compensation in cases of industrial accidents or occupational diseases resulting in disability or death. However, due to the overwhelming number of unorganized laborers, they are exempted from the provisions of this law.

3. Insecurity of job: The lack of job security is a significant issue faced by the unorganized sector, primarily due to the casual nature of employment. As mentioned earlier, these acts are initially applicable to the unorganized sector as well. However, due to the limited number of workers in any organization, unorganized workers are exempted from these laws. Social security can be defined as the provision of benefits to households and individuals through public or collective arrangements, aimed at protecting against a decline in the standard of living caused by various risks and needs. There are numerous instances of individuals losing their jobs in the unorganized sectors for trivial reasons. While several legal obligations have been established to prevent such humiliation in employment, the majority of these legal provisions are only applicable to organized sectors.

 4. Low wages and have no power of bargaining: The issue of low wages and the lack of bargaining power is prevalent among workers in the unorganized sector. Minimum wages, for the most part, apply to laborers working within the purview of organized or formal sectors. Another labor law, known as "The Minimum Wages Act, 1948," addresses the concern of ensuring the security of basic needs for laborers. Although this act is legally non-binding, it holds statutory significance. Any payment of wages below the minimum wage rate is considered as forced labor, which is a violation of labor rights.

5. No Trade Union to put their demands: The majority of informal workers lack awareness regarding the existence and regulations of labor unions, resulting in their inability to voice their demands through such organizations. However, a significant number of workers from unorganized sectors, including agricultural workers, brick workers, hosiery workers, construction laborers, fish and forest workers, domestic workers, Biri rollers, sex workers, and liquor shop employees, have united under the platforms of Shramajivi Swikriti Manch and Asanghathit Kshetra Shramik Sangrami Mancha. This collective effort aims to bring together the unorganized sector workers and address their concerns collectively. 

6. A considerable portion of workers endure unhygienic living conditions, residing in areas plagued by unsanitary conditions, sewer seepage, overflowing drainage systems, and vulnerability to flooding and storms. These workers often reside in slum areas where basic facilities such as washing, urinal, and toilet facilities at their workplaces are substandard. It is evident that industries have failed to provide adequate facilities to their workers. In contrast, organized laborers benefit from the provisions outlined in "The Factories Act, 1948," specifically Section 11, which mandates cleanliness within factory premises. This section ensures that factories maintain cleanliness and remain free from any unpleasant odors emanating from drains, privies, or other nuisances.

 7. The unorganized sector in India commonly subjects its workers to extended hours of work without adhering to labor and regulatory norms. Unlike the agricultural sector, which lacks fixed working hours due to the absence of specific guidelines for agricultural laborers, "The Factories Act, 1948" stipulates regulations for adult workers (those aged 18 and above). According to this act, adult workers should not exceed 48 working hours per week and 9 working hours per day. Additionally, Section 51 of the Act emphasizes that the spread over (the duration between the start and end of work) should not exceed 10 and a half hours.

8. Sexual harassment remains a significant concern within the workplace. Despite the legal right for women to have a safe working environment, this issue has been largely neglected. Women continue to endure various physical and psychological ailments as a result of eve-teasing and sexual harassment. Despite the implementation of the 2013 Act, women are still being subjected to assault within their workplaces.

 9. Individuals are hired as seasonal employees, meaning they are only employed for a specific period and remain jobless for the rest of the year. This type of employment typically lasts for approximately 3-4 months. In India, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Workers Employment Guarantee Act of 2005 aims to provide employment security by guaranteeing a minimum of 100 days of work in the most underdeveloped districts of the country for those who are capable of manual labor.

 10. Insecurity Caused by Natural Disasters: Natural disasters such as floods, droughts, earthquakes, and famines have a devastating impact on the informal sector. Not only do these disasters disrupt the productive foundation of the informal sector, but they also affect the limited household assets of its owners


The unorganized sector has experienced both growth and limitations throughout the years. In India, the term "unorganized sector" is commonly used in official records and analyses. The challenges and difficulties faced in this sector are diverse in nature. The unorganized sector plays a crucial role in the Indian economy and therefore requires special attention. Consequently, efforts have been made to identify and address the issues and obstacles faced by unorganized workers, aiming to provide them with at least a basic level of social security. Numerous problems and challenges are encountered by individuals working in this sector. This is primarily due to the disorderly nature of labor relations and the absence of formal employer-employee relationships, which are often of a casual nature, if they exist at all.


Annual Report, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Government of India, 2013-14

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Arjun  Patel  & Desai  Kiran. (1995). Rural  Migrant  Labour  and  Labour  Laws. New Delhi:   Westville Publishing House.

Asthana, Subodh. (2019). Protection of the Rights of Unorganized Sector. Pleaders Intelligent Legal Solutions.

Chatterjee, Subhasish. (2016). Laborers of Unorganized sectors and their Problems. International Journal of Emerging Trends in Science and Technology.

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Government of India, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, India, 2014.

Government of India, Economic survey, 2014-15.

Gupta S.N. ( 1982). Labour and Industrial Law, p. 30-31.

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Meenakshi Gupta, (2007). Labour Welfare and Social Security in Unorganised Sector, New Century Publications, 2007.

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Rapaka Satya Raju, (1989), Urban unorganised sectior in India, Mittal Publications, p.11.

Sathya, P. (2016). Issues of Unorganized laborers in India. Indian Journal of Applied Research, p. 44.


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