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Sanjeev Kumar Patro

News Highlights

  • Odisha with a total registration of over 88.35 lakh tops the unorganised workers' database in the country.
  • Nearly 58 percent of registered unorganised workers in the State belong to the age-group of 18-40 yrs.
  • OBCs (39.5%) form the major chunk of the unorganised workforce in Odisha.
  • Still, 24 percent of the unorganised workforce in the State have no bank account.
  • Only around 27,280 earn a monthly income of Rs 18000-20,000

With a high of around 9 in 10 workers working in the unorganised sector in Odisha, the shocker is unorganised workers in the State are the second poorest lot in the country. Moreover, the bombshell is Odisha migrant workers have been the lowly paid ones nationally.

As per the data released by the Ministry of Labour's e-SHRAM Portal, a whopping  94 per cent of unorganised workers in Odisha earn a monthly income of below Rs 10,000. Among the 35 states and UTs, only around 10 states have over 90 per cent workforce in the unorganised sectors with a monthly income of below Rs 10,000.

And among the 10 states, Odisha with 94 per cent of the unorganised workforce earning less than Rs 10k has finished second in the country after West Bengal.

Migrant Workers Dominate Unorganised Sector

A glance at the registration of unorganised workers shows over 97 percent of registrations from Odisha in the Labour Ministry's portal are migrant workers, which is almost in agreement with the national average.

The bombshell here, therefore, is migrant workers from Odisha are lowly paid in the country. A whopping 94 percent here could earn a monthly income of less than Rs 10k, when the national average is around 92 percent. West Bengal (97%) and Odisha (94%) are the only two states where the proportion of unorganised workers earning less than Rs 10k are much higher than the national average.

And 8 other states have over 90 percent of workers in the unorganised sector who earn a monthly income of less than Rs10k. They are Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir and Madhya Pradesh.

Other Side Of Story

Data analysis reveals that over 71 percent of workers in the unorganised sector in Karnataka earn a monthly income of below Rs 10k, and Gujarat follows it very closely with a rate of 76.5 percent.

The workers in the unorganised sector earning below Rs 10k in all other states and UTs, including north-eastern states and Assam, are in the range of 80-89 percent.

Odisha - The Real Story

As per an analysis by Asian Development Bank, the migrant worker population in Odisha has the lowest skill. The demography of the migration in Odisha shows that they mostly are workers from the agriculture or construction sector, where the education level and vocational training is very low.

Another study by Tata Trust reveals that as the majority of the migrant workers from Odisha take up jobs available in the lowest niches of the unorganized economy like construction, head-loading, mining and agriculture etc, that require a large number of manual labour - where the vocational and general education level doesn't matter - end up with earning lower wages.

Moreover, studies reveal that the migrant workers from the State mostly belong to the weaker classes (ST/SC/OBCs), where the attainment of education and vocational skill are very poor due to poor economic conditions.

The data released today also shows that the majority of workers registered are from the agriculture and construction sectors. It further revealed that over 75 percent of unorganised workers in the State belong to SC/ST and OBC.

When the findings of the studies are seen along with data released today, it becomes then obvious as to why the migrant workers from the State are lowly paid nationally.

The Side Story

As per the data released by the Union Labour Ministry today,  in the last 52 days post the launch of the portal, the total registrations today crossed the 4 crore mark. As of today, the total registered unorganised workers in the portal stands at 4.126 crores.

The Centre has set a higher target, as the Economic Survey 2019-20 had estimated the total unorganised workforce in the country at 38 crores.

Odisha with a total registration of over 88.35 lakh tops the unorganised workers' database in the country. The top 5-states in the unorganised workers' database are Odisha, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh.

The Etceteras

  • Nearly 58 percent of registered unorganised workers in the State belong to the age-group of 18-40 yrs.
  • The second highest age-group has been 40-50 yrs and is followed by 50+ years.
  • The male-female divide in the State stands at 51:48.
  • OBCs (39.5%) form the major chunk of the unorganised workforce in Odisha.
  • 24 percent of the unorganised workforce belong to General Caste.
  • Still, 24 percent of the unorganised workforce in the State have no bank account.
  • Only around 27,280 earn a monthly income of Rs 18000-20,000.

Key Takeaway

Over 21 lakh unorganised workers in the State have no bank accounts. This huge vulnerable worker population in the State are still out of reach of the social welfare programmes launched for their upliftment by the government. Besides this, skilling and bringing the poor and marginal sections of the society to mainstream education are the need of the hour. Unless the root problems are addressed, the vicious cycle of poverty and migration will be clocking in Odisha in the coming decades too.

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