दिनाॅक 22/08/2017 को महिला निर्माण श्रमिकों के साथ कौशल विकास पर कार्यशाला का आयोजन लोखण्डे भवन मे किया गया। इस कार्यशाला मे 60 महिला श्रमिकों ने हिस्सा लिया। इस कार्यशाला मे सहयोग विहार, मोहन गार्डन, शिव विहार, मीरा बाग, जन्माष्टमी पार्क तथा डेरी वाला बाग की महिला श्रमिकों ने हिस्सेदारी की। इस कार्यक्रम मे BWI और DGB ने सहयोग किया।
रमेन्द्र कुमार जी ने कार्यशाला का संचालन करते हुये महिलाओं से पूछा कि आज महिलाओं को कौशल विकास का प्रशिक्षण लेने की अवश्यकता क्यो है। महिलाओं ने बताया की हमारे पास हुनर नही है इसलियें हम पूरा जीवन काम करते है उसके बाद भी हमें सम्मान नही मिलता, काम की पूरी मजदूरी नही मिलती हमें शोषित मजदूरी मे काम करना पडता है। देश मे महिला पुरूष की समान मजदूरी का कानून है फिर भी हमें पुरूष के मुकाबले कम मजदूरी मिलती है। ढेकेदारों द्वारा महिला श्रमिकों की मजदूरी का शोषण होता है। अगर हम प्रशिक्षण लेते है तो हमारी मजदूरी बढती है जिससे हमे घर और समाज मे सम्मान मिलेगा। काम करना हमारी मजबूरी है यदि हम पति-पत्नी दोनो मिलकर काम नही करेंगे तो घर का गुजारा कैसे होगा।
अनिता जी ने सहभागियों से पूछा कि यदि वह इस प्रशिक्षण मे हिस्सा लेती है तो परिवार के अन्य सदस्य (पति) की क्या भूमिका होगी। कुछ महिलाओं ने बताया कि वह पति की सहमति से इस कार्यशाला मे भाग लेने आई है। कुछ महिलाओं ने बताया कि पति ने कहा कि यदि वह इस प्रशिक्षण मे भाग लेती है तो कमाने नही जा पायेगी ऐसी स्थिति मे घर का गुजारा कैसे होेगा। कुछ महिलाओं ने कहा कि यदि वह कमाने नही जायेगें तो प्रशिक्षण मे आने जाने का खर्चा कहाॅ से जुटायेगें।
महिलाओं से प्रशिक्षण से जुडे कई सवाल पूछे। जैसे प्रशिक्षण कब शुरू होगा, कहाॅ जाना होगा, कितना खर्चा आयेगा, सरकार की तरफ से इस प्रशिक्षण मे कुछ सहयोग मिलेगा या नही। महिलाओं ने अपनी रूचि के अनुसार अलग-अलग ट्रेड मे प्रशिक्षण के लिये नाम लिखवाया।
महिलाओं के मन मे शंका थी कि यदि वह कौशल विकास का प्रशिक्षण ले भी लेती है तो उसके बाद भी सरकार समान ठेकेदार उनके काम को मान्यता देगे या नही। उन्हे उनकी पसन्द का काम मिलेगा या नही क्या अलग अलग रहकर काम ढूठनाॅ आसान होगा, यदि काम दूर दराज के क्षेत्रो मे मिले तो कैसे काम पर जायेंगे।
दिनाॅक 04/08/2017 को चन्दर विहार, निलोठी, मे निर्माण मज़दूरों के क्षेत्रीय सम्मेलन का आयोजन किया गया। इस सम्मेलन मे 250 श्रमिकों ने हिस्सेदारी की।
सम्मेलन मे सहभागियों का स्वागत जया जी ने किया। संगठन की वार्षिक रिर्पोट संगीता जी ने प्रस्तुत की और संगठन के समक्ष चुनौतियाॅ एवं उनका सामूहिक हल पर अपना वक्तव्य रखा। संगठन का परिचय आरती जी ने दिया। साथ ही साथ संगठन की मजबूती और सामूहिकता के कई उदाहरण रखें।
संगठन के स्थानीय वक्ताओं ने दिल्ली सन्निर्माण कल्याण बोर्ड मे भ्रष्ट्रचार को जनता के सामने रखा तथा अन्य यूनियन द्वारा मजदूरों की लूट को जनता के सामने रखा।
मजदूरों मे मजबूत संगठन के निर्माण से हम सरकार को मजदूर पक्षीय नीतिया बनाने तथा क्रियान्वयन के लिये बाध्य कर सकते है। दिल्ली निर्माण मजदूर संगठन से मंगला जी, अंजली जी, सुमन जी, कैलाश जी, असीत जी, रूकसाना जी, अनील जी ने कार्यक्रम मे हिस्सेदारी की।
दिनाॅक 28/07/2017 को चूना भट्टी कैम्प, कीर्ति नगर के निरंकारी भवन मे निर्माण मज़दूरों के क्षेत्रीय सम्मेलन का आयोजन किया गया। इस सम्मेलन मे चूना भट्टी कैम्प के ए. बी. सी ब्लाक, हरिजन कैम्प, कमला नेहरू कैम्प के 300 श्रमिकों ने हिस्सेदारी की।
सम्मेलन मे सहभागियों का स्वागत बिन्दु जिन्दल जी ने किया। संगठन की वार्षिक रिर्पोट आरती ने प्रस्तुत की। संगठन के महासचिव श्री रमेन्द्र कुमार ने संगठन के समक्ष चुनौतियाॅ एवं उनका सामूहिक हल पर अपना वक्तव्य रखा। साथ ही साथ रमेन्द्र कुमार ने संगठन की मजबूती और सामूहिकता के कई उदाहरण रखें।
संगठन के स्थानीय वक्ताओं ने दिल्ली सन्निर्माण कल्याण बोर्ड मे भ्रष्ट्रचार को जनता के सामने रखा तथा अन्य यूनियन द्वारा मजदूरों की लूट को जनता के सामने रखा।
मजदूरों मे मजबूत संगठन के निर्माण से हम सरकार को मजदूर पक्षीय नीतिया बनाने तथा क्रियान्वयन के लिये बाध्य कर सकते है। दिल्ली निर्माण मजदूर संगठन से मंगला जी, सुमन जी, कैलाश जी, असीत जी, रूकसाना जी, सुदीता जी, ने कार्यक्रम मे हिस्सेदारी की।
दिल्ली की चार बस्तियों से घरेलू कामगारों महिलाओं को आगरा भ्रमण के लिये ले गये।
महिलाओं मे आत्मविश्वास बढ़ाना व स्ंवय के लिये जीना सीखाना
60 घरेलू कामगार महिलाये पहली बार एक दिन के लिये घर से बाहर निकली
महिलाये घर के कामकाज व बच्चो की देखभाल व घरेलू काम मे इतना व्यस्त रहती है की स्वंय के लिये कभी समय नही निकल पाती है
इसलिये एक दिन सिर्फ अपने लिये जीना और घूमना
महिलाओं को घर से निकलकर घूमना अच्छा लगा।
महिलाओं का आत्मविश्वास बढ़ा।
पहले महिलाओं को लगता था कि उन्हे केवल परिवार के लिये ही जीना है परन्तु भ्रमण के दौरान उन्होने महसूस किया कि हमे अपने लिये भी जीना चाहिए।
Above: Domestic workers protesting in New Delhi for a central legislation to guard their interests. Photo: Anil Shakya
~By Lilly Paul
Why were the maids and domestic helps at Mahagun Moderne society at Noida Sector 78 left with no other option but to use force in trying to establish their economic rights? It led to chaos and unnecessary legal hassles for the maids. As per legal opinion accessed by India Legal, they actually have little legal status as employees, hence cannot enforce any known law of the land in courts.
This is not to cast aspersions on the apartment owners at the upscale society. They, too, were within their rights to enforce a secure atmosphere within their living parameters. While they surely did not anticipate the riot-like situation that had arisen on the early morning of July 12, tensions remained high between the highly disparate economic strata, existing cheek by jowl. This is, anyway, a serious social issue that needs to be addressed urgently.
The major reason for the outburst seems to be the lack of legal protection for these domestic workers which leaves them highly vulnerable to exploitation. Labour legislations in India do not have anything specific for domestic workers, hence they are not generally categorised to benefit from the Minimum Wages Act, 1948. Their inclusion (or exclusion) varies from state to state, depending on that government’s employment schedule as per the Minimum Wages Act. Kerala and Andhra Pradesh have domestic workers categorised in their schedule, though most states, especially Delhi and Uttar Pradesh do not.
Ramendra Kumar, president, Delhi Gharelu Kamgar Sangathan, the only registered union of domestic workers in Delhi, told India Legal: “There is no general law for domestic workers at all in the country. All the existing laws are only applicable to people working in the organized sector. Only in some state schedules have they been included and there, too, their salaries are below MW Act recommendations.”
The Delhi government had formed a Minimum Wage Advisory Committee, notified on September 15, 2016, of which Kumar was a member. The committee comprised employers, workers, and government representatives which submitted its report on February 15 this year. This was for the organised sector, even for contractual labourers of that sector. Here minimum wages have been hiked to Rs 13,350 per month. Adjacent to all this rise, there was no talk at all on domestic workers.
“People have lost their faith in the system of justice. They don’t allow law to take its own due course because they don’t believe that justice will be served…”
—Prof Arvinder A Ansari, Professor of
Sociology at Jamia Milia Islamia
“We had recommended inclusion of domestic workers in the employment schedule but no meeting has been called after the submission of the report. If domestic workers are included in the schedule they too can avail of all the benefits apart from getting fixed wages like getting compensated for working overtime, fixed working hours, etc. But at present domestic workers are not protected under any act or law,” said Kumar.
Not just the MW Act, but there are other schemes too, which have failed to provide any relief to the domestic workers. Like in 2011 the government had included domestic workers in the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY)—a smart card based health insurance scheme which would give an insurance cover of up to Rs 30,000.
But the facilities of the scheme could be availed only by registered domestic workers for which they had to bring an Identification certificate from two out of the four parties—the employer, the Resident Welfare Association (RWA) of the society they work in, registered trade unions or the police. One of the certificates could be availed from a trade union but submitting certificates from two institutions became difficult. Even though the employer just had to give a self-attested ID certificate declaring that the worker works in his/her home yet they were apprehensive.
Kumar says: “Firstly, it is not an act but just a scheme and therefore there’s no violation of law for which you can approach the Labour Department. The RWAs never gave a certificate. Out of 5,000 employers we approached, only 900 of them gave a positive response and provided us with the certificate. We submitted all the papers to the Labour Department, Delhi but today not even a single domestic worker in Delhi is registered with RSBY. They registered construction workers under this scheme and that too only 7,000 got registered even though we had over one lakh contract workers.”
He also told about the condition of legal legislation for domestic workers in states like Maharashtra which already has an Act for domestic workers named Maharashtra Domestic Workers Welfare Act, 2008.
“Previously too, in the Congress government, there was just a one-man board for implementing the Act but from the past two years since the BJP government took power the Board Council for this Act has been defunct. There was a provision in the Act that after attaining the age of 55 a person would get Rs 10,000 as honorarium but that too has been stopped by the present government including the dissolving of the Board.”
Labour legislations in India do not have anything specific for domestic workers, hence they are not generally categorised to benefit from the Minimum Wages Act, 1948.
Although the government is working on proposals to make minimum wages a statutory right for all employees but whether it will include domestic workers too is doubtful.
Shashi Tharoor, a Congress MP, had introduced a private bill—The Domestic Workers’ Welfare Bill—in August 2016. The Bill includes all the provisions and loopholes due to which domestic helps are exploited. Like, it clearly defines ‘domestic work’, minor domestic worker and brings private households in the ambit of law, but the Bill has been lost in the bureaucratic maze since.
Lack of trust
Another aspect of the entire ‘riot’ episode was the lack of trust that people belonging to the marginalized section of society have in the police and the system of justice. The ones who barged in to the society were common people like the neighbours of the maid, the local hawkers and shop vendors who worked in and around the society since it was built.
Dr Arvinder A Ansari, Professor of Sociology at Jamia Milia Islamia, explains: “People have lost their faith in the system of justice. They don’t allow law to take its own due course because they don’t believe that justice will be served due to which people have started taking law in their hands. When law gets regressive such incidents of violence can be encountered in the society”
The Mahagun Moderne chapter has also exposed this trust deficit, between the two classes. After the incident, the already skeptical employers had marked the workers as thieves, who misuse their necessity to keep maids. Whereas the workers now feel more threatened for themselves, seeing their employers as oppressors who brand them labels as and when convenient.
Nupur Sharma (name changed), a resident of the society angrily speaks about the maids being responsible for the disruption that occurred: “No one is innocent, none of them. No need to write in favour of these people. These people know that without them we will be helpless that is the reason they knowingly trouble us. They steal and we never complain. We think about them but they don’t”.
“All the existing laws are only applicable to people working in the organized sector. Only in some state schedules have they been included and there, too, their salaries are below MW Act recommendations.”
—Ramendra Kumar, president,
Delhi Gharelu Kamgar Sangathan
Whereas Sayra (name changed) who has been working here as a domestic help even before the place was occupied by its residents narrates her own insecurities. She is one of the people blacklisted by the security guards and barred from entering the premises. She says she was far away from the incident but yet her name has been listed and her ID card kept by the guards. She is worried as to what she will do if her employer doesn’t come to fetch her. She says: “I work here but they are not letting me in. After the ruckus happened they have listed our names and now they are not allowing us to get inside.”
Political maturity could have helped to stabilize the situation but it was further deteriorated by Union minister Mahesh Sharma’s intervention in the entire episode. His meeting with the society members and the announcement that followed; it will be ensured that the ones arrested get no bail worsened things.
Ramendra Kumar says: “The minister said that his party will give the workers a befitting reply. Is BJP a party of goons?”
Some say most of these workers are illegal migrants from Bangladesh. Although all of them have their Voter-Ids and Aadhaar cards checked with the police and they also go through a verification process when they are brought to work in these societies by contractors. Yet the social media is full of complaints about this, calling it ‘Malda again’. Undoubtedly, most of the domestic workers hail from West Bengal, the districts of Malda, Cooch Behar, etc. They are hired by these society people because being migrants from West Bengal they work for a low price. This is the reason that they are preferred more for work.
Shashi Tharoor, a Congress MP, had introduced a private bill—The Domestic Workers’ Welfare Bill—in August 2016. The Bill includes all the provisions and loopholes due to which domestic helps are exploited
Sayra responds to the Bangladeshi allegation saying: “We have shown our Id-proofs to the police and the society people, they still say we are from Bangladesh. Will we become Bangladeshi if they call us so? We are from Cooch Behar, our district in Bengal. Is Bengal Bangladesh?
KK Gautam, a retired Deputy Superintendent of UP Police, says: “Many of these maids are Bangladeshis and the place has many such immigrants. They are generally involved in crimes and sometimes very serious crimes. The people who keep maids do not go through the discomfort of getting them verified by the police, because nobody wants to waste their time moving around police stations. And for that reason police verification must be made simpler.
“These Aadhaar card and Voter-Id cards have become so easy to make that anyone can get them made. It is our administration’s fault. Therefore Aadhaar and Voter-ID verification must be made stricter,” he said.
Grim reality of domestic helps in bondage
Maya, who has taken up the cause of domestic helps of her area under the banner of Delhi Gharelu Kamgar Sangathan, interjects, “When we seek work, why are we first asked about where we come from? Does being a migrant from West Bengal, UP or Madhya Pradesh make us different from other migrants?“ A timid Anjali, who hails from Bengal, discloses she was locked up by a family after being accused of attempting to steal money and was rescued by neighbours when she shouted for help. The other participants explained Anjali’s predicament as arising from the bias about workers from certain states and districts.
The recent case in Noida involving a domestic worker and her immediate branding as a Bangladeshi by the residents of the luxury residential complex she worked in is not an aberration. The capital has numberless families that come from Indian states but end up being misidentified as Bangladeshis. This also leaves them susceptible to accusations, or redress when such charges are proved unjustified.Kanti is a case in point.In her mid-40s, her knees in bad shape, she gave up being a daily-wage labour and began work as a cook two years ago. Her employers in west Delhi accused her of stealing Rs 20 lakh and half a kilogram of gold. “My employers questioned me from midnight till 5 in the morning. I kept pleading that I had not stolen anything, but they took me to the police station and summoned my husband and sons. I had to record my statement and go to Tees Hazaari Court, even undergo a narco-analysis test. After two years of this, they told us the matter was resolved.“ By now in tears, Kanti asked, “What about my honour? Who will restore it?“ She was so traumatised by the incident that she stopped working.
These humiliations come with wages as low as Rs 1,000 a month for dishwashing and mopping the house. A maid makes Rs 4,000 or so working in three homes daily . For those who also cook and do the laundry , the monthly take could be around Rs 6,000.Sometimes, getting even the rightful pittance is a challenge. Sita, 35, reveals that her employer suddenly terminated her services after charging her with stealing Rs 1 lakh and gold bangles. “They paid me just Rs 500 of the Rs 2,500 due to me,“ says Sita. Along with friends, she confronted the lawyer who had hired her only to be told that the law was on his side.“He told us, `I will employ and chuck out maids by the hour.What can you do?’“ she recalls.
Another who never got her money was a 15-year-old student in a west Delhi slum. She began work as a house help to earn money to buy her Class XI textbooks. A fortnight into work, she was accused of theft and police picked her from her house at 4am. The distressed girl never received the wages for the days she worked. And while accusing her, everyone seemed to ignore the fact that her employer was, in fact, in violation of child labour laws.
Despite such horror sto ries, women in thousands seek employment in up scale homes. Mohan Devi Sahu, a 40-something from UP , sums up the dis piriting story of domestic helps like herself. “My mother was a maid,“ be gins Sahu. “As a young mother, I too worked in homes to support my chil dren and now my daughter is a maid in the same blocks in Kalkaji.“ And then she sighs, “No laws, no regu lations, and respect is still a far cry.“
In June 2015, the Aam Aadmi Party government announced the formation of a committee to look into ways to “regulate the working conditions of domestic workers in Delhi“. In September that year, the panel’s report was unanimous on the urgent need for an exclusive legislation to protect the rights of this growing workforce. Two years later, there is no draft of such legislation.Even the law being drafted to regulate the operations of private placement agencies is just b
eing finalised and will likely reach the Delhi cabinet ina couple of months.
Trade unionist Ramendra Kumar, president, Delhi Gharelu Kamgar Sangathan, said that the growing instances of attacks on d
stic workers and violation of their rights to decent wages is clearly due to the absence of laws to protect them.
Having been in the committee set up by Delhi government in 2015, he was dismayed by the delay in enacting the sorely needed legislation.“I am disappointed at the lack of decisive action to protect the rights and secure the domestic workers, most of whom are women,“ Kumar said.
At the nationa
l level too, it is only now that a draft National Policy for Domestic Workers is taking shape. Earlier, in 2011, a poli
cy for domestic
workers caught the public attention, but faded away. The latest labour department draft estimates the number of people working as domestic helps at 2-2.5% of
on. Last week, the union ministry of labour consulted stakeholders on the draft law with the ultimate aim being to “formalise domestic work and bring it at par with the formal workforce“.The draft policy says that “the central and state governments shall … institutionalise a social protection floor and ensure domestic workers are able to exercise their labour rights as guaranteed under the Constitution of India“.
In Delhi, the committee set up by the AAP government, headed by Shalimar Bagh MLA and then deputy Speaker Bandana Kumari with representatives from voluntary organisations, trade unions and the International Labour Organization as members, first sat on July 17, 2015. The records of the proceedings show that all members agreed that the working conditions of domestic workers were pathetic because of a lack of a specific law to regulate their services.
In the report submitted in September that year, the panel pointed out that existing legislations such the Minimum Wages Act, 1948 and the Unorganised Workers Social Security Act, 2008, had significant gaps in establishing and regulating working conditions of domestic helps (working hours, overtime, leave provision, dispute redress, etc). It recommended, therefore, a comprehensive legislation exclusively for domestic workers. It advised that while the new rules were being framed, a chapter could be incorporated in the Unorganised Workers Social Security Act to deal with domestic workers.
The committee suggested that the creation of a database and reg
istration of both workers and employers and recommended fixing of payment for domestic work (full time, part time and live-in) under the Minimum Wages Act, calculated on hourly basis for the hours of duty performed.
For live-in workers, the committee recommended minimum rate wages for eight active hours of work, stand-by hours and overtime, along with free lodging and boarding. It also suggested employment cards for domestic workers so they could avail social security benefits. The panel was keen on skill-development centres to upgrade the capacities of domestic workers.
Amod Kanth, chairman, Domestic Worker Sector Skill Council, said, “States must take a cue from Jharkhand which is on its way to becoming the first state to effect legislation to regulate not just placement agencies but also protect domestic worker.“
Kanth was optimistic that a national policy and state laws would also help check human trafficking and prevent exploitation of women who seeks work as domestic helps.
प्रेमचंद ने हिन्दी कहानी को निश्चित परिप्रेक्ष्य और कलात्मक आधर दिया। उनकी कहानियां परिवेश बुनती हैं। पात्रा चुनती हैं। उसके संवाद बिलकुल उसी भाव-भूमि से लिए जाते हैं जिस भाव-भूमि में घटना घट रही है। इसलिए पाठक कहानी के साथ अनुस्यूत हो जाता है। प्रेमचंद यथार्थवादी कहानीकार हैं, लेकिन वे घटना को ज्यों का त्यों लिखने को कहानी नहीं मानते। यही वजह है कि उनकी कहानियों में आदर्श और यथार्थ का गंगा-जमुनी संगम है। कथाकार के रूप में प्रेमचंद अपने जीवनकाल में ही किंवदंती बन गये थे। उन्होंने मुख्यतः ग्रामीण एवं नागरिक सामाजिक जीवन को कहानियों का विषय बनाया। उनकी कथायात्रा में श्रमिक विकास के लक्षण स्पष्ट हैं, यह विकास वस्तु विचार, अनुभव तथा शिल्प सभी स्तरों पर अनुभव किया जा सकता है। उनका मानवतावाद अमूर्त भावात्मक नहीं, अपितु सुसंगत यथार्थवाद है।