NEW DELHI: The government is scaling down the much-hyped multi-facility ‘Unorganised Workers Identification Number’ (UWin) card to avoid overlap of purpose with the ‘Aadhaar’ number — a unique identification number being issued to all resident Indians.
The U-Win card, launched on a pilot basis in Gujarat last year by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was to eventually replace the smart card issued under the Rashtriya Swastha Bima Yojana.
U-Win was being marketed as a starting point for formulation of schemes to provide life and disability cover, health and maternity benefits, as well as old-age protection for workers in unorganised sector.
Labour secretary Shankar Agarwal told ET that the U-Win card will still stay but no longer as a smart card with attached benefits (as conceived earlier) because of near universal coverage of ‘Aadhaar’, which could be used for authentication of beneficiaries.
“U-Win will be an ordinary card that would establish the identity of unorgnaised workers who are eligible for social security benefits under the Unorganised Social Security Act, 2008. This would now be seeded with Aadhaar to authenticate the identity of these workers,” Agarwal said.
The decision comes in the backdrop of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s Budget speech in which he announced the government’s intent to set up a national social security platform, the development of which would have led to duplication of work and further complicated the issue of identification and authentication.
Unorganised sector workers, who account for over 90% of the country’s total labour force, are out of the ambit of labour regulations and most social schemes.
Prior to this, the government has had to roll back decisions on imposing tax on provident fund withdrawal, tightening of PF withdrawal norms, and on the provident fund interest rate, after protests from trade unions.
The labour ministry had initiated action for issuance of U-Win cards in 2014 and had estimated that within three years it would be able to register estimated 35 million unorganised sector workers under the Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Act, 2008.