Abhilasha NS, Arun S, Biswajit Sarmah, Nishant Chavan, Rahul Anthwal
Azim Premji University, Bangalore
Extending social security to the informal sector
Theme - Protecting The Vulnerable: Providing Social welfare to Informal sector
1,455 3,530 3,335 2,500
4,873 7,172 7,943 7,139
Employment (2008) Projected Employment (2022)
Focus: Identification of bottlenecks in extending social security to construction
workers in Karnataka and feasible interventions to overcome them.
Estimated 15 lakh construction workers in Karnataka, Only 3
lakhs are registered so far.
Rs 2000 cr. welfare fund with Karnataka Building and other
Construction Workers Welfare Board (KBOCWWB)
Low registration, inability to attract workers to register.
Excessive reliance on trade unions for registration (high fees
charged), low engagement of civil society.
Trade Unions unable to register workers (mostly migrant) at
construction camp sites.
Cards not reaching the registered beneficiaries.
Inadequate manpower at KBOCWWB.
Cumbersome process of claims for benefits.
Poor data storage and analysis.
Problem: Inaccessibility and marginal utilisation of eligible welfare benefits by construction
workers in Karnataka Construction industry: fastest growing industry
All India Employment Numbers (In ‘000s)
Source: NSDC Skill Gap Analysis Report 2009
workers, and in
Tackle the problem of low
enumeration and design of welfare
delivery system to access eligible
benefits by the construction workers
High Level Description
Engaging various stakeholders for different
constituencies of construction workers
• Trade Unions- in small scale construction sites & non-
migrant construction workers.
• KBOCWWB and NGOs- Large construction sites + migrant
• Plural approach, building on existing systems
• Govt machinery – cumbersome, bureaucratic
Automation in registration and renewal of
workers, and in utilisation of eligible benefits
• Biometric registration, on the spot delivery of cards
• Automatic digital data storage/analysis.
• Reduction in paperwork.
• Accessibility of benefits for mobile workers.
• Cost effective in long run.
• Overcomes delays and card non-delivery.
• Electronic claims of benefits.
Manpower and Capacity Building.
• Increase the number of employees dedicated to identification
• Time bound, dedicated facilitation of registration
• Outsource the technical process of registration.
• Cost-efficient, dedicated team
• Skilled manpower like medical doctors to process medical
• Rapid settlement of claims
• Review & Monitoring : District Surveillance Committee under
On The Spot Card
Beneficiary (Proof of
identity, age, doctors
No. of workers to be
Time frame 180 days
Registration Toolkit Biometric reader, Camera,,Electricity,
NGOs/Volunteers/Media will identify the
1. Total districts in Karnataka : 30.
2. The manpower recruited by
board will be engaged in benefit
offices after registration is over.
3. Every registration centre will
have equipment to issue
biometric card on the spot of
Category of Expenditure
Annual Cost Total Cost
I. Fixed Infrastructure
Central Server at state
1 1,000,000 1,000,000
30 200,000 6,000,000
II. Manpower (Over and above present strength)
Salary of the Additional
30 300,000 9,000,000
Salary of Additional
30 180,000 5,400,000
30 600,000 18,000,000
III. Biometric Registration and Card Issuance on the spot
Issuance Cost 1,000,000
IV. Total Expenditure 159,400,000
Business Contingency Plan
• Reissuance of lost card
• Reporting of lost card
• Addition and deletion of members
• Subscription of members
• Photo/Thumb impression correction
• Any other error correction
• Awareness and intimation slips will be given to
all the sites before registration day (RD).
• On the RD kits, manpower, WIO will visit the
• Every registration site will have WIO to
authenticate the registrations.
• Worker will pay the registration fees along with
relevant documents to get his biometric data
submitted and receive a card on the spot.
• Auto-digitized registration data will be loaded in
the District Servers which will be further
connected to State Server.
All amounts in Indian Rupees | No of Registrations for 2015-16 & 2016-17 considered constant as of 2014-15 | Projected Benefits payout from last 5
years growth trend. (Sources: KBoCWW)
Estimated Benefits In Successive Years After Proposed Registration
10 lakhs enrolment in 6 months.
Benefit payout of Rs. 41 Cr in 2014-15 and 151 Cr in 2016-17.
Highest benefit distribution in Children Education, Funerals &
Greater availability of social credit/insurance due to
expectations of benefits from the govt.
Reduction in the burden of health expenditure.
Open up avenues for educaitonal opportunities.
2012-13 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17
No of registrations
No of projected
35,290,224 278,200,000 556,400,000
Marriage 894 8365000 19,565,657 95,382,576 143,073,864
Maternity 99 594000 1,375,000 8,937,500 13,406,250
Illness 159 133750 856,329 1,284,493 1,926,739
Major Illness 154 4495555 28,661,989 42,992,983 64,489,475
Death 79 6309000 39,304,938 58,957,407 88,436,111
Funeral 553 10362000 285,387,686 428,081,530 642,122,295
Total 8358 44223505 410,441,823 913,836,489 1,509,854,734
Before and After Scenario
Issue Existing processes
After Implementation of proposed
KBOCW with officers in deputation
and contract executives
KBOCW with full time officers and
increased and specifically skilled
executives – medical, social, etc.
Registration through Trade
Union/NGO/Dept. in for the
Trade Union: Focus on local
construction workers, big project
storage of Data
Cumbersome Paperwork, expensive
for construction worker, loss of wage,
delay/no delivery of cards
Biometric registration and card
delivery on the spot, robust
Benefit Accessibility Difficulty in accessibility
Construction workers can avail
benefits from anywhere.
Amount of Benefits
Rs. 4.42 Crore of welfare benefit
Annual benefit distribution of Rs.
41 Crore after one year and Rs.
151 Cr. after two years.
Mode of remitting
Direct credit to account of
beneficiary but no didgital records to
Direct credit of benefits to account
and maintenance of data to avoid
fraud /duplicate claims.
Replicability and Scalability
To Other States
• Depending on the size of labour
force in construction industry.
• Strength and constituency pattern of
Trade Unions and NGOs.
• Presence of migrant labour force
may need special strategy.
• Build inter-state coordination to
extend benefits to workers.
To Other Informal Sectors
• Identification by existing bodies
working with the workers of sectors
e.g. Street Vendors Union, Resident
Welfare Association (RWA) etc.
• Regulatory and welfare body as per
• Registration fees, employer’s
contribution, government grants.
• Biometric, on the spot registrations.
To other welfare schemes:
• Data of registered workers can be
used to secure benefits other from
schemes such as Rashtriya Swasthya
Bima Yojana (RSBY) etc.
• Respective state welfare boards can
use the data of registered workers to
promote modular education among
children of informal sector by
leveraging unique educational
resources by NGOs and pvt sector
e.g.- Azim Premji Foundation1
• Access of benefits by migrant construction
workers in their home state without
collaboration among states.
• Prospects of demand from other sectors
which have scarce funding sources.
• Full autonomy to such a huge fund
bearing board i.e. KBOCWW is difficult.
• When maximum number of workers are
registered, the pilferage through
fraud/duplicate claims will be high in
• Challenges of identification of age of
worker in absence of document . Impact
on pension etc.
• Termination of contract of registration
agency is not easy in case of defaulting.
• Possibility of misusing the scheme by local
• Lesser registration of female construction
• Technological failures due to electricity ,
Challenges & Mitigation Factors
Semi-structured interviews with construction workers (migrant and local) in Bangalore.
Interactions with officials of the KBOCWB, Trade Unions, etc.
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