Mumbai: The state government has decided to distribute Rs 1500 each to approximately 1.05 lakh domestic workers. The decision is the part of Rs 5,476 crore package announced by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray for the weaker sections, during his April 13 address to the state.
The state had said that the financial package was going to benefit 25 lakh domestic workers. Besides domestic workers, families below poverty line (BPL), senior citizens, widowed women, handicaps, workers from unorganised sector, rickshaw drivers and members from the tribal communities are expected to get the benefits.
Rs 1,500 announced by the Labour Department will be distributed to those who are registered with the unorganised labour board and have renewed their memberships. This sum is going to be one-time assistance, the order issued by the state government says.
When asked, Babli Rawat of Gharkam Molkarin Sanghatana said the amount is too insufficient to sustain the blues of ‘break the chain’. "Initially, we were told that the strict restrictions will be in place from April 14 to May 1, but now the period has been extended for another 15 days. Even after this, we are being told that the restrictions will continue till May 30. How the domestic workers are going to survive," she asked.
According to the figures of the 2011 census, the number of domestic workers across the state was anywhere between 30 to 35 lakh. Even then the government says assistance will be given to 25 lakh and orders have been issued for just 1.05 lakh, which is a joke, Rawat said adding, a number of workers lost their registration with the board just because they could not renew it. In 2014, those registered with the board were 1.45 lakh which should have been increased manyfold by now. Each year Rs 60 were charged for the renewal and the board was expecting us to spare a day to visit their office for the renewal.
Prabhakar Narkar of Mumbai Janata Dal said his party had recently carried out a drive in Bhandup and Kanjurmarg areas to organise domestic workers. Problems are many but these unorganised workers desperately need some protection and we are going to raise the issue of maximum financial assistance with the government under our Janata Gharelu Kamgar Sanghatana.
An official from the state government said, the unorganised workers board has been asked to identify and register the domestic workers for the benefits. This process may take some time but we can increase the number in the coming days.