India: A provident fund for unorganized workers

The Provident Fund set up in West Bengal provides a good example of a tailor-made pension mechanism allowing a wide range of unorganised sector workers to access old-age benefits. This scheme was set up following a wide consultation process with various trade unions and professional associations, demonstrating the need to involve all stakeholders in the design phase of any new social security programme. The unorganised sector in India constitutes 94% of the total workforce of the country. At the beginning of the year 2006, a total of 676,000 workers were enrolled in the scheme.