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282 ‘sewer deaths’ in last 4 years reported

A question was put forth by BJP MP, Sushil Kumar Singh, on December 3 in the Lok Sabha regarding rehabilitation of Manual scavengers. He asked about deaths due to manual scavenging and details of identified manual scavengers and their rehabilitation.

07 Dec 2019

DeathImage Courtesy: theprint.in

In response to a question related to manual scavenging, the government said that there are no reports regarding deaths of persons due to manual scavenging but admitted there have been deaths due to cleaning of sewers and septic tanks as recorded by National Commission for Safai Karamcharis. The PUDR report titled “Chronic ‘Accidents’: Deaths of Sewer/Septic Tank Workers, Delhi, 2017-2019” as contended that official bodies have attempted to create a false distinction between the manual scavengers and sewer/septic tank cleaners so as to give priority should be given to manual scavengers. PUDR argues that such official narratives cause sanitation workers to be relegated to the background and questions as to the rights of sewer workers are left out of the debate.

As per data from the Commission, 282 sewer deaths have taken place since 2016 until November 6, 2019 in the country. Out of these, families of 156 deceased persons have received compensation under the provisions of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013. That is just bit more than half of the deceased persons families receiving such compensation.

About Manual Scavenging and sewer cleaning

On October 2, 2014, the Government of India launched the Swachh Bharat Mission with the aim to achieve universal sanitation coverage within five years as a “fitting tribute to Mahatma Gandhi” on his 150th Birth Anniversary in 2019. While the Government lauds the success of the Mission covering 99.2 per cent of rural India in the last four years, it glosses over how sanitation workers and manual scavengers are losing their lives maintaining sewers and septic tanks in the name of clean India.

Manual scavenging refers to the practice of manually sanitation work such as cleaning, carrying, disposing or handling human excreta from dry latrines and sewers and involves the use of basic tools such as buckets, brooms and baskets. The practice of manual scavenging is inextricably linked to India’s caste system where those born into the supposed lower castes, such as Valmiki or Hela, were made exclusively responsible to perform this job.

Sewer cleaning comes under the definition of “hazardous cleaning” which is defined as manual cleaning of sewer or septic tank by an employee without the employer fulfilling his obligations to provide protective gear and other cleaning devices and ensuring observance of safety precautions. There is however no rehabilitation provision for sewer cleaners

Rehabilitation under the Act

The Act provides for rehabilitation of persons identified as manual scavengers to give them a photo identity card, one-time cash assistance, scholarship for his children, allotment of residential plot, financial assistance for house construction, training in livelihood skill and other such social assistance. Out of 60,440 identified manual scavengers, 40,383 have received one-time cash assistance under the Act, the provision of the other rehabilitative measure is still unclear and so is the amount provided as one-time assistance.

Relevant point to note here is that the distinction made between a manual scavenger and a sewer cleaner has been deliberately made by the legislators and hence even in the parliament they have claimed that there have been no deaths due to manual scavenging.

Related:

Swachh Bharat: Who Will Clean & Empty Out 9.8 Crore Septic Tanks/Pits?

Public Hearing on Sewer Workers – Hearing the victims and their families

Manual Scavenging still on: How Swachh is GOI's conscience?

282 ‘sewer deaths’ in last 4 years reported

A question was put forth by BJP MP, Sushil Kumar Singh, on December 3 in the Lok Sabha regarding rehabilitation of Manual scavengers. He asked about deaths due to manual scavenging and details of identified manual scavengers and their rehabilitation.

DeathImage Courtesy: theprint.in

In response to a question related to manual scavenging, the government said that there are no reports regarding deaths of persons due to manual scavenging but admitted there have been deaths due to cleaning of sewers and septic tanks as recorded by National Commission for Safai Karamcharis. The PUDR report titled “Chronic ‘Accidents’: Deaths of Sewer/Septic Tank Workers, Delhi, 2017-2019” as contended that official bodies have attempted to create a false distinction between the manual scavengers and sewer/septic tank cleaners so as to give priority should be given to manual scavengers. PUDR argues that such official narratives cause sanitation workers to be relegated to the background and questions as to the rights of sewer workers are left out of the debate.

As per data from the Commission, 282 sewer deaths have taken place since 2016 until November 6, 2019 in the country. Out of these, families of 156 deceased persons have received compensation under the provisions of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013. That is just bit more than half of the deceased persons families receiving such compensation.

About Manual Scavenging and sewer cleaning

On October 2, 2014, the Government of India launched the Swachh Bharat Mission with the aim to achieve universal sanitation coverage within five years as a “fitting tribute to Mahatma Gandhi” on his 150th Birth Anniversary in 2019. While the Government lauds the success of the Mission covering 99.2 per cent of rural India in the last four years, it glosses over how sanitation workers and manual scavengers are losing their lives maintaining sewers and septic tanks in the name of clean India.

Manual scavenging refers to the practice of manually sanitation work such as cleaning, carrying, disposing or handling human excreta from dry latrines and sewers and involves the use of basic tools such as buckets, brooms and baskets. The practice of manual scavenging is inextricably linked to India’s caste system where those born into the supposed lower castes, such as Valmiki or Hela, were made exclusively responsible to perform this job.

Sewer cleaning comes under the definition of “hazardous cleaning” which is defined as manual cleaning of sewer or septic tank by an employee without the employer fulfilling his obligations to provide protective gear and other cleaning devices and ensuring observance of safety precautions. There is however no rehabilitation provision for sewer cleaners

Rehabilitation under the Act

The Act provides for rehabilitation of persons identified as manual scavengers to give them a photo identity card, one-time cash assistance, scholarship for his children, allotment of residential plot, financial assistance for house construction, training in livelihood skill and other such social assistance. Out of 60,440 identified manual scavengers, 40,383 have received one-time cash assistance under the Act, the provision of the other rehabilitative measure is still unclear and so is the amount provided as one-time assistance.

Relevant point to note here is that the distinction made between a manual scavenger and a sewer cleaner has been deliberately made by the legislators and hence even in the parliament they have claimed that there have been no deaths due to manual scavenging.

Related:

Swachh Bharat: Who Will Clean & Empty Out 9.8 Crore Septic Tanks/Pits?

Public Hearing on Sewer Workers – Hearing the victims and their families

Manual Scavenging still on: How Swachh is GOI's conscience?

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UP: Days after milk adulteration scandal, vermin found in Mid-Day Meal dal

On December 3, a dead rat was found in a mid-day meal (MDM) served to middle school students in UP’s Muzaffarnagar.

04 Dec 2019

mid-day meal

News18 reported that the incident took place in Janta Inter College at Pachenda in the Mustafabad area. The rat was found in the dal cooked for students enrolled in the school between Class 6 and 8.

Nine students and one teacher who was required to taste-test the meal before its distribution complained of their health deteriorating after consuming the meal and they were rushed to the district hospital.

An NGO called Jan Kalyan Sanstha Committee based in Hapur (about 90 kilometres away from Muzaffarnagar) was reported to be the caterer of MDMs in the school. The organisation cooks its food in its Hapur location and transports the prepared meals to Muzaffarnagar.

The mishap was reported by the student who was in charge of serving meals for the day. It was just as the student was serving dal to the tenth student after having served it to the nine poisoned students, that he noticed that what he originally thought was khichdi in the dal was, in fact, a dad rat. He informed the school authorities immediately who stopped serving the contaminated food.

NDTV also reported that all of the children as well as the teacher have been discharged from the hospital after primary care. The media also reported that the District Magistrate (DM) of the area has ordered the police to file an FIR against the agency responsible for providing the mid-day meal to Janta Inter College. In addition, concerned officials have been rushed to the school to collect samples of the food and make inquiries regarding the incident.

Uttar Pradesh has witnessed multiple mid-day Meal scheme-related controversies this year. This incident comes less than a week after a video went viral showcasing how one litre of milk was diluted with a bucket of water so that the mixture could be used to feed 81 children as part of their mid-day meal in Sonbhadra, UP. In August, a government primary school in UP's Mirzapur was found serving salt-roti to children in the name of mid-day meals. A week prior to this, the same kids were given salt-rice for their mid-day lunch. 

On November 26, the HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank told the Lok Sabha that the most number of MDM-related complaints was reported from Uttar Pradesh (14 out of a total 52). Uttar Pradesh received the highest amount of funds to run the MDM program in its school, at about Rs. 11.2 billion.


Related:

All is not well for the Mid-Day Meal Scheme in India
Sonbhadra: 1L of milk given to 81 students as part of their mid-day meal!
Citizens in Support of Journalist Pawan Jaiswal
Odisha Government ensures the inclusion of eggs in Mid Day Meal
Akshaya Patra imposing vegetarian food mono culture on children
Religious Indoctrination Through Midday Meals

UP: Days after milk adulteration scandal, vermin found in Mid-Day Meal dal

On December 3, a dead rat was found in a mid-day meal (MDM) served to middle school students in UP’s Muzaffarnagar.

mid-day meal

News18 reported that the incident took place in Janta Inter College at Pachenda in the Mustafabad area. The rat was found in the dal cooked for students enrolled in the school between Class 6 and 8.

Nine students and one teacher who was required to taste-test the meal before its distribution complained of their health deteriorating after consuming the meal and they were rushed to the district hospital.

An NGO called Jan Kalyan Sanstha Committee based in Hapur (about 90 kilometres away from Muzaffarnagar) was reported to be the caterer of MDMs in the school. The organisation cooks its food in its Hapur location and transports the prepared meals to Muzaffarnagar.

The mishap was reported by the student who was in charge of serving meals for the day. It was just as the student was serving dal to the tenth student after having served it to the nine poisoned students, that he noticed that what he originally thought was khichdi in the dal was, in fact, a dad rat. He informed the school authorities immediately who stopped serving the contaminated food.

NDTV also reported that all of the children as well as the teacher have been discharged from the hospital after primary care. The media also reported that the District Magistrate (DM) of the area has ordered the police to file an FIR against the agency responsible for providing the mid-day meal to Janta Inter College. In addition, concerned officials have been rushed to the school to collect samples of the food and make inquiries regarding the incident.

Uttar Pradesh has witnessed multiple mid-day Meal scheme-related controversies this year. This incident comes less than a week after a video went viral showcasing how one litre of milk was diluted with a bucket of water so that the mixture could be used to feed 81 children as part of their mid-day meal in Sonbhadra, UP. In August, a government primary school in UP's Mirzapur was found serving salt-roti to children in the name of mid-day meals. A week prior to this, the same kids were given salt-rice for their mid-day lunch. 

On November 26, the HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank told the Lok Sabha that the most number of MDM-related complaints was reported from Uttar Pradesh (14 out of a total 52). Uttar Pradesh received the highest amount of funds to run the MDM program in its school, at about Rs. 11.2 billion.


Related:

All is not well for the Mid-Day Meal Scheme in India
Sonbhadra: 1L of milk given to 81 students as part of their mid-day meal!
Citizens in Support of Journalist Pawan Jaiswal
Odisha Government ensures the inclusion of eggs in Mid Day Meal
Akshaya Patra imposing vegetarian food mono culture on children
Religious Indoctrination Through Midday Meals

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Engineers and graduates apply for gov’t sanitation worker jobs!

Engineers and graduates apply for gov’t sanitation worker jobs!

30 Nov 2019

unemployment

A total of 7,000 engineers, graduates and diploma-holders have applied for 549 posts of sanitary workers in the city corporation in Coimbatore, the Hindustan Times reported.

Official sources confirmed that the Corporation had called for applications for the post of 549 grade – 1 sanitary worker posts and 7,000 applicants appeared for the three day interview, verification and selection process that began on Wednesday.

The verification of candidates revealed that nearly 70 percent of the candidates had completed the SSLC, the minimum qualification, and most of them were engineers, post-graduates and diploma-holders, etc.

In Bihar, earlier this month, more than 5 lakh candidates applied for Group – D jobs in the Bihar Vidhan Sabha – posts for watchmen, gardeners, peons and cleaners. Most of the applicants were engineers, MBAs, postgraduates and graduate degree holders.

In Chennai, in February, 4,000 highly qualified people applied for the post of 14 sanitary workers at the Assembly Secretariat.

2018 saw, 54,230 graduates, 28,050 postgraduates and 3,740 PhD holders applied for 62 posts of messenger peons at the telecom wing of the UP Police in August.

In March, 82 lakh, mostly highly qualified candidates, applied for 62,907 posts for the Group – D category in the Railways.

This list can go on.

So, why exactly are so many qualified candidates applying for government jobs?

1.      Payment structures – Most of the candidates who have applied for these posts confess that it is the payment that attracts them to the job. The candidates who applied for the sanitary worker posts told the Hindustan Times that their private jobs earned them Rs. 6,000 – 7,000 while the government job offered starting Rs. 15,700 to Rs. 20,000.
 

2.      Perks for employees: Government jobs come with a lot of perks for employees like provisions for children’s education, housing quarters, reliable retirement policies, pension schemes, medical benefits, etc. Pension schemes, housing and children’s education are particularly attractive to candidates who, if work in private companies, always fear getting laid off due to ups and downs in business. 

While these two are the major reasons why people opt for government jobs, another major reason that pushes them towards these secure, but lower posts is the rising unemployment.

Jobs

(Image Credit – Economic Times)

In Parliament, the Government confirmed that the unemployment rate in rural areas had almost doubled from 2.9% in 2013 – 14 to 5.3% in 2017 – 18.

Replying to a question by Congress MP Kumar Ketkar in the Rajya Sabha, minister of state for labour and employment Santosh Kumar Gangwar said that the unemployment rate in urban areas had increased from 4.9% to 7.7% in the same period. The unemployment rate for urban males had risen from 3% in 2015 – 16 to 6.9% in 2017-18.

The numbers were based on the results of the annual Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) conducted by the National Statistical Office (NSO).

The unemployment rate was found to be the highest among people aged 15 – 29 years of age at 22.5 percent in the January to March 2019 quarter. The NSO report also shows that Kerala (the most literate state) and Jammu and Kashmir have the highest rate of joblessness, While Gujarat and Karnataka have the least.

Experts from private agencies have opined that India’s GDP has hit a multi-quarter low due to shrinking industrial output, slower growth in services and a slowing external trade and slackening investments by corporate companies. Data from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) showed that the unemployment rate between January and April rose to 6.87 percent from 5.5 percent in the same period last year. Data from the PLFS concludes that at least every fifth Indian is out of a job.

Another observation shows that labour force participation rate (LFPR) dipped in the first quarter of the year, which indicates that the weak economy is compelling people to quit looking for jobs. The LFPR for all ages in urban India for the third quarter rose to 36.3% as against 36% in the first quarter. In case of just the urban youth, the LFPR dipped quarter on quarter from 38.2 percent to 37.7 percent – indicating that the most employable segment was stepping away from the labour force.

Among the unemployed youth, women outnumbered men, with 23 lakh women remaining unemployed, which is 29 percent at the national level. The female LFPR remains between 16 – 17 percent which means only every sixth woman is seeking a job.

An analysis by The India Forum said that it was important to analyse labour market indicators which provided a conceptual understanding of the conditions of employment.

It said that the decline in LFPR was expected as younger individuals spent more time in getting educated. However, what was worrying that the LFPR in the non-student age group too was high, which could indicate them giving up after failed job searches and withdraw from the market altogether.

Data also showed that 75% of people were engaged in self-employment and casual wage employment. What casual wage employment implies is that when the number of members working in a household increases or the number seeking casual wage employment increases, each worker simply works for less time than before and a large section of the workforce is underemployed and engaged in low productivity work. Second, the earnings from these activities are on average quite low pointing to the fact that most workers are trapped in low paying activities.

With average earnings from self-employment also being low at Rs. 9,750 per month, it is difficult for them to sustain their own business, let alone provide employment to others. Though the report indicates that regular wage workers / salaried workers do have better pay, some of them are not entitled to social security benefits and face vulnerable terms of employment.

The number of people jumping for lower post government jobs even after being over qualified just goes to show that India is not creating the kind of employment opportunities that they are looking for. It is also important that the government look to provide foundational, multifarious skills to the youth, so that they can be utilized in a wide variety of jobs and later be used to up-skill themselves.

Today, India faces a two pronged challenge – one, to create ‘productive’ jobs for the more qualified candidates that meet their aspirations and two, bring back into the fold, the disillusioned jobseekers who have withdrawn from the labour market. Will it overcome the same?

Related:
Unemployment rate doubled in rural areas, 2014-2018: GOI
Maha Vikas Aghadi demands employment for ‘locals’
India’s Microenterprises Can Spur Jobs, Gender Equity If They Scale Up: Study
India is losing its economic way: Growth is significantly lower, debt and distress are growing
Warning of severe slowdown World Bank cuts India growth projection to 6%
Slowdown: Family Savings Dip, Debts Mount
Dumb and Dumber: Facing Slowdown, Govt Squeezes Expenditure

Engineers and graduates apply for gov’t sanitation worker jobs!

Engineers and graduates apply for gov’t sanitation worker jobs!

unemployment

A total of 7,000 engineers, graduates and diploma-holders have applied for 549 posts of sanitary workers in the city corporation in Coimbatore, the Hindustan Times reported.

Official sources confirmed that the Corporation had called for applications for the post of 549 grade – 1 sanitary worker posts and 7,000 applicants appeared for the three day interview, verification and selection process that began on Wednesday.

The verification of candidates revealed that nearly 70 percent of the candidates had completed the SSLC, the minimum qualification, and most of them were engineers, post-graduates and diploma-holders, etc.

In Bihar, earlier this month, more than 5 lakh candidates applied for Group – D jobs in the Bihar Vidhan Sabha – posts for watchmen, gardeners, peons and cleaners. Most of the applicants were engineers, MBAs, postgraduates and graduate degree holders.

In Chennai, in February, 4,000 highly qualified people applied for the post of 14 sanitary workers at the Assembly Secretariat.

2018 saw, 54,230 graduates, 28,050 postgraduates and 3,740 PhD holders applied for 62 posts of messenger peons at the telecom wing of the UP Police in August.

In March, 82 lakh, mostly highly qualified candidates, applied for 62,907 posts for the Group – D category in the Railways.

This list can go on.

So, why exactly are so many qualified candidates applying for government jobs?

1.      Payment structures – Most of the candidates who have applied for these posts confess that it is the payment that attracts them to the job. The candidates who applied for the sanitary worker posts told the Hindustan Times that their private jobs earned them Rs. 6,000 – 7,000 while the government job offered starting Rs. 15,700 to Rs. 20,000.
 

2.      Perks for employees: Government jobs come with a lot of perks for employees like provisions for children’s education, housing quarters, reliable retirement policies, pension schemes, medical benefits, etc. Pension schemes, housing and children’s education are particularly attractive to candidates who, if work in private companies, always fear getting laid off due to ups and downs in business. 

While these two are the major reasons why people opt for government jobs, another major reason that pushes them towards these secure, but lower posts is the rising unemployment.

Jobs

(Image Credit – Economic Times)

In Parliament, the Government confirmed that the unemployment rate in rural areas had almost doubled from 2.9% in 2013 – 14 to 5.3% in 2017 – 18.

Replying to a question by Congress MP Kumar Ketkar in the Rajya Sabha, minister of state for labour and employment Santosh Kumar Gangwar said that the unemployment rate in urban areas had increased from 4.9% to 7.7% in the same period. The unemployment rate for urban males had risen from 3% in 2015 – 16 to 6.9% in 2017-18.

The numbers were based on the results of the annual Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) conducted by the National Statistical Office (NSO).

The unemployment rate was found to be the highest among people aged 15 – 29 years of age at 22.5 percent in the January to March 2019 quarter. The NSO report also shows that Kerala (the most literate state) and Jammu and Kashmir have the highest rate of joblessness, While Gujarat and Karnataka have the least.

Experts from private agencies have opined that India’s GDP has hit a multi-quarter low due to shrinking industrial output, slower growth in services and a slowing external trade and slackening investments by corporate companies. Data from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) showed that the unemployment rate between January and April rose to 6.87 percent from 5.5 percent in the same period last year. Data from the PLFS concludes that at least every fifth Indian is out of a job.

Another observation shows that labour force participation rate (LFPR) dipped in the first quarter of the year, which indicates that the weak economy is compelling people to quit looking for jobs. The LFPR for all ages in urban India for the third quarter rose to 36.3% as against 36% in the first quarter. In case of just the urban youth, the LFPR dipped quarter on quarter from 38.2 percent to 37.7 percent – indicating that the most employable segment was stepping away from the labour force.

Among the unemployed youth, women outnumbered men, with 23 lakh women remaining unemployed, which is 29 percent at the national level. The female LFPR remains between 16 – 17 percent which means only every sixth woman is seeking a job.

An analysis by The India Forum said that it was important to analyse labour market indicators which provided a conceptual understanding of the conditions of employment.

It said that the decline in LFPR was expected as younger individuals spent more time in getting educated. However, what was worrying that the LFPR in the non-student age group too was high, which could indicate them giving up after failed job searches and withdraw from the market altogether.

Data also showed that 75% of people were engaged in self-employment and casual wage employment. What casual wage employment implies is that when the number of members working in a household increases or the number seeking casual wage employment increases, each worker simply works for less time than before and a large section of the workforce is underemployed and engaged in low productivity work. Second, the earnings from these activities are on average quite low pointing to the fact that most workers are trapped in low paying activities.

With average earnings from self-employment also being low at Rs. 9,750 per month, it is difficult for them to sustain their own business, let alone provide employment to others. Though the report indicates that regular wage workers / salaried workers do have better pay, some of them are not entitled to social security benefits and face vulnerable terms of employment.

The number of people jumping for lower post government jobs even after being over qualified just goes to show that India is not creating the kind of employment opportunities that they are looking for. It is also important that the government look to provide foundational, multifarious skills to the youth, so that they can be utilized in a wide variety of jobs and later be used to up-skill themselves.

Today, India faces a two pronged challenge – one, to create ‘productive’ jobs for the more qualified candidates that meet their aspirations and two, bring back into the fold, the disillusioned jobseekers who have withdrawn from the labour market. Will it overcome the same?

Related:
Unemployment rate doubled in rural areas, 2014-2018: GOI
Maha Vikas Aghadi demands employment for ‘locals’
India’s Microenterprises Can Spur Jobs, Gender Equity If They Scale Up: Study
India is losing its economic way: Growth is significantly lower, debt and distress are growing
Warning of severe slowdown World Bank cuts India growth projection to 6%
Slowdown: Family Savings Dip, Debts Mount
Dumb and Dumber: Facing Slowdown, Govt Squeezes Expenditure

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Bihar’s MGNREGA Workers Stare at Deeper Rural Stagnation

The rural workforce is caught between delayed or non-payment of wages in the state and lack of jobs outside.

29 Nov 2019


Jageshwari Devi, MGNREGA worker, Mahant Maniyari village, Kurhani block Muzaffarpur district.


After a gap of months, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) workers in ward no. 7 of Ratnauli panchayat in Mahant Maniyari village under Kurhani block of Muzaffarpur district are back on 100-day work. But many of them are still awaiting their past wages.

Jageshwari Devi, 58, a resident of the village, while lifting bricks on her head, said: “We are working under MGNREGA with the hope of getting payment sooner or later. Since five months, we have been waiting for our wages, but there are just assurances, no relief.”

According to Sanjay Sahni, convener of non-political organisation, NREGA Watch, the reason for the gap in work is non-payment of wages, which is to be done by the district administration and government.

Sahni told NewsClick that there were three categories of workers who are awaiting their wage in terms of time interval. For a few of them, wages of three to six months are pending, but many of them are still desperate about getting their annually awaited wages.

The mandate of MGNREGA is to provide at least 100 days of guaranteed wage employment in a financial year to every rural household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work. Its core objectives include providing not less than 100 days of unskilled manual work as guaranteed employment in a financial year to every rural household as per demand, resulting in creation of productive assets of prescribed quality and durability and, most importantly, strengthening the livelihood resource base of the poor. But the rural job guarantee scheme’s story on ground remains opposite to its laid down principles.

 

MNREGA_Workers%201.jpg%20BIhar.jpg
MNREGA workers in Bihar continue to work without wages.

 

Acknowledging the prolonged wage crunch and equal work demand, NREGA Watch, along with workers of the Kurhani and adjoining blocks, is planning to stage a protest at the Muzaffarpur collectorate. The decision to protest came up in wake of workers of Sakra, Gaighat, Bandra, Kurhani, Marwan, Musahari, Maraul, Bochahan, Saraiyya and Kanti blocks not been paid since months. NREGA Watch sources said noted development economist, Jean Dreze, and co-founder of Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan, Nikhil Dey, will participate in the proposed protest.

 

PROTEST%20LETTER.jpg
Letter to DM Muzaffarpur by NREGA Watch on protest against non-payment

 

Last year, too, the MGNREGA workers had protested citing rampant corruption in the people’s scheme.

According to Section 3(3) of the MGNREGA, workers are entitled to payment on a weekly basis, and in any case within a fortnight of the date on which work was done. The National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005, states that in case of a delay in payments, there is a provision for compensation to workers at the rate of 0.05% per day. However, this clause is not taken seriously by the administration and workers are hardly ever paid compensation for wage delay.

Despite such provisions in the Act, labourers have not been paid the meagre amount of Rs 171/day, which is the state-wise amount for unskilled manual workers, based on measurement of work done i.e. piece rate basis.

 

bihar%20mnrega.PNG
Anil Ram (right), a migrant labourer with NREGA Watch convener Sanjay Sahni.

 

Anil Ram, a migrant worker from village Mahant Maniyari, says if MGNREGA wages were a bit high, at least Rs 400/day, then people like him would not have to migrate to Vishakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh.

“At least 100 of us have migrated to states like Assam, Gujarat, and sole reason remains extremely low wages of workers. How can we run a family of four on Rs 171/day?” he says.

But sometimes it is the other way around, he says. “When they do not find an economically favourable job outside Bihar, many youth, out of distress, decide to return and try their hands in 100 days of work”, he adds.

Anil Ram’s says the basic problem is lack of opportunities. For Bihar’s MGNREGA workers, it’s a choice between the devil and the deep sea. While low wages in Bihar compel them to migrate, lack of opportunities outside the state, pushes them back home to work for lower wages or even no wages for months.

Speaking with NewsClick over phone, Ashish Ranjan, secretary of National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), Bihar chapter, said there was severe fund shortage under MGNREGA in the state. “Payment to MGNREGA workers has been stopped since six months,” says Ashish, who currently works with MGNREGA workers in Araria district of Bihar.

He accused the government of gimmickry to mislead MGNREGA workers when it comes to paying them for their labour, by announcing of wrong dates for release of funds. “This is how the government misleads workers on MIS (Management Information Systrem),” he adds.

The intentions of the Bihar government have been suspect since long in terms of raising MGNREGA wages, he says, adding that in 2015, it slashed the minimum wage to Rs 138 a day which, after efforts of social activists and a public interest litigation filed in Patna High Court, was finally rolled back.

The Bihar government has the power to strengthen livelihoods of MGNREGA workers under Section 32(1) of the Act, which states that the government may, by notification, make rules to carry out the provisions of Act subject to the conditions of consistency with MGNREGA and rules made by the Central government.

MGNREGA, which is a bottom-up, people-centric, demand-driven, self-selecting and rights-based programme that ensures employment specifically to rural population, seems to have been deliberately turned into a non-functional scheme to hurt the rural population.

In short, the cat fight and blame game of fund crunch between state and Central government is directly pushing rural workers deep into rural stagnation, which will further lead to an existential crisis of the worst kind sooner rather than later.

The writer in an independent researcher based in Bihar.

Courtesy: Newsclick.in

Bihar’s MGNREGA Workers Stare at Deeper Rural Stagnation

The rural workforce is caught between delayed or non-payment of wages in the state and lack of jobs outside.


Jageshwari Devi, MGNREGA worker, Mahant Maniyari village, Kurhani block Muzaffarpur district.


After a gap of months, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) workers in ward no. 7 of Ratnauli panchayat in Mahant Maniyari village under Kurhani block of Muzaffarpur district are back on 100-day work. But many of them are still awaiting their past wages.

Jageshwari Devi, 58, a resident of the village, while lifting bricks on her head, said: “We are working under MGNREGA with the hope of getting payment sooner or later. Since five months, we have been waiting for our wages, but there are just assurances, no relief.”

According to Sanjay Sahni, convener of non-political organisation, NREGA Watch, the reason for the gap in work is non-payment of wages, which is to be done by the district administration and government.

Sahni told NewsClick that there were three categories of workers who are awaiting their wage in terms of time interval. For a few of them, wages of three to six months are pending, but many of them are still desperate about getting their annually awaited wages.

The mandate of MGNREGA is to provide at least 100 days of guaranteed wage employment in a financial year to every rural household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work. Its core objectives include providing not less than 100 days of unskilled manual work as guaranteed employment in a financial year to every rural household as per demand, resulting in creation of productive assets of prescribed quality and durability and, most importantly, strengthening the livelihood resource base of the poor. But the rural job guarantee scheme’s story on ground remains opposite to its laid down principles.

 

MNREGA_Workers%201.jpg%20BIhar.jpg
MNREGA workers in Bihar continue to work without wages.

 

Acknowledging the prolonged wage crunch and equal work demand, NREGA Watch, along with workers of the Kurhani and adjoining blocks, is planning to stage a protest at the Muzaffarpur collectorate. The decision to protest came up in wake of workers of Sakra, Gaighat, Bandra, Kurhani, Marwan, Musahari, Maraul, Bochahan, Saraiyya and Kanti blocks not been paid since months. NREGA Watch sources said noted development economist, Jean Dreze, and co-founder of Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan, Nikhil Dey, will participate in the proposed protest.

 

PROTEST%20LETTER.jpg
Letter to DM Muzaffarpur by NREGA Watch on protest against non-payment

 

Last year, too, the MGNREGA workers had protested citing rampant corruption in the people’s scheme.

According to Section 3(3) of the MGNREGA, workers are entitled to payment on a weekly basis, and in any case within a fortnight of the date on which work was done. The National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005, states that in case of a delay in payments, there is a provision for compensation to workers at the rate of 0.05% per day. However, this clause is not taken seriously by the administration and workers are hardly ever paid compensation for wage delay.

Despite such provisions in the Act, labourers have not been paid the meagre amount of Rs 171/day, which is the state-wise amount for unskilled manual workers, based on measurement of work done i.e. piece rate basis.

 

bihar%20mnrega.PNG
Anil Ram (right), a migrant labourer with NREGA Watch convener Sanjay Sahni.

 

Anil Ram, a migrant worker from village Mahant Maniyari, says if MGNREGA wages were a bit high, at least Rs 400/day, then people like him would not have to migrate to Vishakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh.

“At least 100 of us have migrated to states like Assam, Gujarat, and sole reason remains extremely low wages of workers. How can we run a family of four on Rs 171/day?” he says.

But sometimes it is the other way around, he says. “When they do not find an economically favourable job outside Bihar, many youth, out of distress, decide to return and try their hands in 100 days of work”, he adds.

Anil Ram’s says the basic problem is lack of opportunities. For Bihar’s MGNREGA workers, it’s a choice between the devil and the deep sea. While low wages in Bihar compel them to migrate, lack of opportunities outside the state, pushes them back home to work for lower wages or even no wages for months.

Speaking with NewsClick over phone, Ashish Ranjan, secretary of National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), Bihar chapter, said there was severe fund shortage under MGNREGA in the state. “Payment to MGNREGA workers has been stopped since six months,” says Ashish, who currently works with MGNREGA workers in Araria district of Bihar.

He accused the government of gimmickry to mislead MGNREGA workers when it comes to paying them for their labour, by announcing of wrong dates for release of funds. “This is how the government misleads workers on MIS (Management Information Systrem),” he adds.

The intentions of the Bihar government have been suspect since long in terms of raising MGNREGA wages, he says, adding that in 2015, it slashed the minimum wage to Rs 138 a day which, after efforts of social activists and a public interest litigation filed in Patna High Court, was finally rolled back.

The Bihar government has the power to strengthen livelihoods of MGNREGA workers under Section 32(1) of the Act, which states that the government may, by notification, make rules to carry out the provisions of Act subject to the conditions of consistency with MGNREGA and rules made by the Central government.

MGNREGA, which is a bottom-up, people-centric, demand-driven, self-selecting and rights-based programme that ensures employment specifically to rural population, seems to have been deliberately turned into a non-functional scheme to hurt the rural population.

In short, the cat fight and blame game of fund crunch between state and Central government is directly pushing rural workers deep into rural stagnation, which will further lead to an existential crisis of the worst kind sooner rather than later.

The writer in an independent researcher based in Bihar.

Courtesy: Newsclick.in

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Only work, no pay: 40,000 teachers in K’taka not paid salaries since September

The teachers are getting the short end of the stick between the tussle of the Centre and the states

29 Nov 2019

teachers

The government school teachers in Bengaluru have not received their salaries since the month of September despite several requests, reports Deccan Herald. The number of the teachers whose salaries have been delayed is easily over 40,000.

Office bearers of the Karnataka Primary School Teachers’ Association said, “Salaries of teachers for all 204 educational blocks have not been released.”

Teachers, who are burdened with home loans and other expenses are approaching authorities but to no avail.

Arun Shahapur, member of the Legislative Council said, “Many teachers approached me with the issue. When we checked with the department, officials said that the delay is due to the switching process from Khajane 1 to Khajane 2 system for disbursal of salary funds. Whatever is the technical issue, the department must release salaries for teachers on time.”

Shahapur added that the problem of salaries is common for teachers hired under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan schemes, but for the last few months, even the teachers hired directly by the department seem to be suffering. The government disburses salaries to regular teachers through the respective zilla and taluk panchayats, the teachers from the SSA get their dues from the SSA state project office.

Officials from the department of public instruction have said that the delay is due to the pending approval for release of salary funds. “The estimation of salaries sent from districts needs to get a vote on account three months before. Due to several technical issues, including wrong estimation sent from districts the process was delayed,”

As per the SSA scheme, the Human Resources Department provides Rs. 15,000 to per teacher, with the state having to pay the rest to bring it on par with other teachers. The funding changes every year depending on the progress of the scheme and new proposals.

Speaking to The Times of India, an office bearer said, “The Centre releases its share in three installment and it has been irregular. The state refuses to disburse the salary until it gets the Centre’s share. But, the teachers are the ones suffering.”

S R Umashankar, Prinicipal Secretary of the Primary and Secondary Education department said that the deputy directors would gather on Saturday to discuss the issue.

This isn’t the first time that teachers have been short-changed in the fight between the Centre and the State.

Earlier this month, the Meghalaya Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan Association (MSSAA) threatened to agitate if the state government failed to release funds for their pending salaries for three months before November 18. In a letter to the Principal Secretary of the Education Department, the MSSAA President Aristotle Rymbai said that 5814 lower primary teachers and 6727 upper primary teachers working under the Samagra Shiksha were facing hardships because of the delayed in salary.

In Chandigarh, in the same month, 200 computer teachers, 87 counsellors and other contractual employees in 114 government schools protested saying they are still awaiting the salary for the month of October.

In July, the employees of Patna University too were dealt the same card. It is still unsure if they will get their salaries for the next six months. Sources say that the procedure of payment of salaries through treasury may take a long time because a mandatory bar-code of only 270 of the 1000 employees has been created in the past three months. 

The former member of Bihar’s Public Service Commission and the former head of the English Department PU, Shiv Jatan Thakur slammed the government’s decision to pay through treasury and not the university fund as established under the Section 45 of the Patna University Act, 1975.

In October, teachers of the Jai Narayan Vyas University in Jodhpur demonstrated outside the Vice Chancellor’s office because of the failure of the university to disburse salaries owing to the delay in the issuance of the block grant by the state government.

Earlier this year, the teacher associations in Bihar like the Bihar Rajyapatrit Shikshak Mahasangh, Bihar Rajya Prarambhik Shikshak Sangh and Parivartankari Prarambhik Shikshak Sangh, threated to vote NOTA in the then parliamentary elections over the delay in payment of salaries of over three lakh teachers.

Teachers in West Bengal threatened to cease work over the government’s decision to hike salaries according to the seventh central pay commission starting 2020 instead of 2019. Their fight for the hike has been going on since 2016, but has always fallen on deaf ears.

It is pathetic to see the apathy of the state and central government towards the teachers who are engaged in such a noble profession and depriving them of their right to live with dignity under Article 21 of the Constitution.


Also Read

Thousands of teachers to cease work in West Bengal colleges today
Diwali likely to remain dark for contractual workers in Bihar

Only work, no pay: 40,000 teachers in K’taka not paid salaries since September

The teachers are getting the short end of the stick between the tussle of the Centre and the states

teachers

The government school teachers in Bengaluru have not received their salaries since the month of September despite several requests, reports Deccan Herald. The number of the teachers whose salaries have been delayed is easily over 40,000.

Office bearers of the Karnataka Primary School Teachers’ Association said, “Salaries of teachers for all 204 educational blocks have not been released.”

Teachers, who are burdened with home loans and other expenses are approaching authorities but to no avail.

Arun Shahapur, member of the Legislative Council said, “Many teachers approached me with the issue. When we checked with the department, officials said that the delay is due to the switching process from Khajane 1 to Khajane 2 system for disbursal of salary funds. Whatever is the technical issue, the department must release salaries for teachers on time.”

Shahapur added that the problem of salaries is common for teachers hired under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) and Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan schemes, but for the last few months, even the teachers hired directly by the department seem to be suffering. The government disburses salaries to regular teachers through the respective zilla and taluk panchayats, the teachers from the SSA get their dues from the SSA state project office.

Officials from the department of public instruction have said that the delay is due to the pending approval for release of salary funds. “The estimation of salaries sent from districts needs to get a vote on account three months before. Due to several technical issues, including wrong estimation sent from districts the process was delayed,”

As per the SSA scheme, the Human Resources Department provides Rs. 15,000 to per teacher, with the state having to pay the rest to bring it on par with other teachers. The funding changes every year depending on the progress of the scheme and new proposals.

Speaking to The Times of India, an office bearer said, “The Centre releases its share in three installment and it has been irregular. The state refuses to disburse the salary until it gets the Centre’s share. But, the teachers are the ones suffering.”

S R Umashankar, Prinicipal Secretary of the Primary and Secondary Education department said that the deputy directors would gather on Saturday to discuss the issue.

This isn’t the first time that teachers have been short-changed in the fight between the Centre and the State.

Earlier this month, the Meghalaya Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan Association (MSSAA) threatened to agitate if the state government failed to release funds for their pending salaries for three months before November 18. In a letter to the Principal Secretary of the Education Department, the MSSAA President Aristotle Rymbai said that 5814 lower primary teachers and 6727 upper primary teachers working under the Samagra Shiksha were facing hardships because of the delayed in salary.

In Chandigarh, in the same month, 200 computer teachers, 87 counsellors and other contractual employees in 114 government schools protested saying they are still awaiting the salary for the month of October.

In July, the employees of Patna University too were dealt the same card. It is still unsure if they will get their salaries for the next six months. Sources say that the procedure of payment of salaries through treasury may take a long time because a mandatory bar-code of only 270 of the 1000 employees has been created in the past three months. 

The former member of Bihar’s Public Service Commission and the former head of the English Department PU, Shiv Jatan Thakur slammed the government’s decision to pay through treasury and not the university fund as established under the Section 45 of the Patna University Act, 1975.

In October, teachers of the Jai Narayan Vyas University in Jodhpur demonstrated outside the Vice Chancellor’s office because of the failure of the university to disburse salaries owing to the delay in the issuance of the block grant by the state government.

Earlier this year, the teacher associations in Bihar like the Bihar Rajyapatrit Shikshak Mahasangh, Bihar Rajya Prarambhik Shikshak Sangh and Parivartankari Prarambhik Shikshak Sangh, threated to vote NOTA in the then parliamentary elections over the delay in payment of salaries of over three lakh teachers.

Teachers in West Bengal threatened to cease work over the government’s decision to hike salaries according to the seventh central pay commission starting 2020 instead of 2019. Their fight for the hike has been going on since 2016, but has always fallen on deaf ears.

It is pathetic to see the apathy of the state and central government towards the teachers who are engaged in such a noble profession and depriving them of their right to live with dignity under Article 21 of the Constitution.


Also Read

Thousands of teachers to cease work in West Bengal colleges today
Diwali likely to remain dark for contractual workers in Bihar

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Unemployment rate doubled in rural areas, 2014-2018: GOI

Response to a Rajya Sabha question also states that unemployment grew sharply among urban men from 3% to 6.9% between 2015-16 and 2017-18.

28 Nov 2019

unemployment

The Government has in parliament that the unemployment rate in rural areas almost doubled from 2.9% in 2013-14 to 5.3% in 2017-18. In the same period, there was over 50% increase in unemployment in urban areas. The most striking trend has been the rise in unemployment among urban males from 3% to 6.9% during the two year period from 2015-16 to 2017-18.

Replying to a question by Congress MP Kumar Ketkar in the Rajya Sabha yesterday, on whether the unemployment rate has been rising every quarter, the minister of state for labour and employment Santosh Kumar Gangwar said on Wednesday that in urban areas, the unemployment rate increased from 4.9 to 7.7% during the period.

The minister said that the figures were based on the results of the annual Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) conducted by the National Statistical Office (NSO) under the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation during 2017-18 and the annual employment-unemployment survey conducted by the Labour Bureau, Ministry of Labour and Employment.

According to these surveys, he said, the estimated unemployment rate in rural and urban areas for those 15 years or older was collated and determined. The data revealed that the unemployment rate in rural areas grew from 2.9% in 2013-14 to 3.4% in 2015-16 and 5.3% in 2017-18. In urban areas, the unemployment rate first dipped from 4.9% in 2013-14 to 4.4% in 2015-16, before rising sharply to 7.7% in 2017-18.

Region Gender Survey by Labour Bureau Survey by NSS (PLFS)

2015-16           2017-18

Rural Male       2.9                   5.7

Female             4.7                   3.8

Person              3.4                   5.3

Urban Male      3.0                   6.9

Female             10.9                 10.8

Person              4.4                   7.7

Rural

+

Urban Male      3.0                   6.1

Female             5.8                   5.6

Person             3.7                   6.0

 (Note: Survey methodology and sample selection are different in PLFS and Labour Bureau survey)

In response to another question by Congress MP Anand Sharma on whether India’s unemployment rate has risen to 8.5% due to the economic slowdown and contraction of industrial output, the minister responded by only providing the data from the same PLFS Survey. He said that as per the Region Gender Survey conducted by the PLFS, in the two-year period between 2015-16 and 2017-18, the unemployment rate among rural males increased from 2.9% to 5.7%, while for rural females it dipped from 4.7% to 3.8%. Overall, it increased from 3.4% to 5.3%.

In the case of urban areas, the overall unemployment rate increased from 4.4% to 7.7% with the rate more than doubling for urban males from 3% to 6.9% during the same period. In the case of urban women, it came down slightly from 10.9% to 10.8% in the two-year period.

The minister also stated that during 2017-18, the estimated labour force participation rate for those 15 years and older across the country was 75.8% for males and 23.3% for females.

On the steps taken by the government to improve the employment scenario, Gangwar stated that the private sector is being encouraged and that various projects involving substantial investment are being fast-tracked. He said public expenditure on schemes such as Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme, MGNREGS, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana and Deendyal Antodaya Yojana-National Urban Livelihoods Mission has been increased.

Also, he said, the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana has been initiated for facilitating self-employment. Under this scheme collateral free loans up to Rs 10 lakh are being extended to micro and small business enterprises and to individuals to enable them to set up or expand their business activities.

He said a digital portal has also been set up under the National Career Service Project to provide a nation-wide online platform for the job seekers and employers for job-matching.

Finally, he said, skill development schemes have been initiated to improve the employability of youth. And under the National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme, the government will reimburse 25% of the stipend payable to apprentices to improve the employment climate.

Unemployment rate doubled in rural areas, 2014-2018: GOI

Response to a Rajya Sabha question also states that unemployment grew sharply among urban men from 3% to 6.9% between 2015-16 and 2017-18.

unemployment

The Government has in parliament that the unemployment rate in rural areas almost doubled from 2.9% in 2013-14 to 5.3% in 2017-18. In the same period, there was over 50% increase in unemployment in urban areas. The most striking trend has been the rise in unemployment among urban males from 3% to 6.9% during the two year period from 2015-16 to 2017-18.

Replying to a question by Congress MP Kumar Ketkar in the Rajya Sabha yesterday, on whether the unemployment rate has been rising every quarter, the minister of state for labour and employment Santosh Kumar Gangwar said on Wednesday that in urban areas, the unemployment rate increased from 4.9 to 7.7% during the period.

The minister said that the figures were based on the results of the annual Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) conducted by the National Statistical Office (NSO) under the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation during 2017-18 and the annual employment-unemployment survey conducted by the Labour Bureau, Ministry of Labour and Employment.

According to these surveys, he said, the estimated unemployment rate in rural and urban areas for those 15 years or older was collated and determined. The data revealed that the unemployment rate in rural areas grew from 2.9% in 2013-14 to 3.4% in 2015-16 and 5.3% in 2017-18. In urban areas, the unemployment rate first dipped from 4.9% in 2013-14 to 4.4% in 2015-16, before rising sharply to 7.7% in 2017-18.

Region Gender Survey by Labour Bureau Survey by NSS (PLFS)

2015-16           2017-18

Rural Male       2.9                   5.7

Female             4.7                   3.8

Person              3.4                   5.3

Urban Male      3.0                   6.9

Female             10.9                 10.8

Person              4.4                   7.7

Rural

+

Urban Male      3.0                   6.1

Female             5.8                   5.6

Person             3.7                   6.0

 (Note: Survey methodology and sample selection are different in PLFS and Labour Bureau survey)

In response to another question by Congress MP Anand Sharma on whether India’s unemployment rate has risen to 8.5% due to the economic slowdown and contraction of industrial output, the minister responded by only providing the data from the same PLFS Survey. He said that as per the Region Gender Survey conducted by the PLFS, in the two-year period between 2015-16 and 2017-18, the unemployment rate among rural males increased from 2.9% to 5.7%, while for rural females it dipped from 4.7% to 3.8%. Overall, it increased from 3.4% to 5.3%.

In the case of urban areas, the overall unemployment rate increased from 4.4% to 7.7% with the rate more than doubling for urban males from 3% to 6.9% during the same period. In the case of urban women, it came down slightly from 10.9% to 10.8% in the two-year period.

The minister also stated that during 2017-18, the estimated labour force participation rate for those 15 years and older across the country was 75.8% for males and 23.3% for females.

On the steps taken by the government to improve the employment scenario, Gangwar stated that the private sector is being encouraged and that various projects involving substantial investment are being fast-tracked. He said public expenditure on schemes such as Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme, MGNREGS, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana and Deendyal Antodaya Yojana-National Urban Livelihoods Mission has been increased.

Also, he said, the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana has been initiated for facilitating self-employment. Under this scheme collateral free loans up to Rs 10 lakh are being extended to micro and small business enterprises and to individuals to enable them to set up or expand their business activities.

He said a digital portal has also been set up under the National Career Service Project to provide a nation-wide online platform for the job seekers and employers for job-matching.

Finally, he said, skill development schemes have been initiated to improve the employability of youth. And under the National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme, the government will reimburse 25% of the stipend payable to apprentices to improve the employment climate.

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Assam migrant labourer forced to rot in detention camp for going to Delhi in search of a job!

Migrant labourer declared ‘foreigner’ for going to Delhi in search of a job!

26 Nov 2019

Assam

3-year-old Majibur Rahman has just been released from a detention camp in Assam. But the poor man is still clueless as to why he was sent there in the first place.

“My grandfather’s name was included in the 1951 NRC. But I was served notice for being a D-Voter and then declared a ‘foreigner’ by the tribunal,” says Rahman who is a resident of Banduguri village in Bongaigaon district. “I have lived here for the last 40 years. Before this my family and I used to live in Pahartoli-Abhayapuri,” he explains.

Rahman’s father Abdul Sattar’s name appears in the voters lists of 1966 and 1970. His grandfather Abdul Hamid also has land patta documents from 1958. His documents may be viewed here:

Land Document 1958
Voters List 1970
Voters List

Rahman’s family is economically weak and he and some of his family members had to leave home and go to Delhi in search of work. It is during that period that he was served a D-Voter notice. CJP’s Volunteer Motivator Abul Kalam Azad explains, “Rahman could not respond to the notice until he returned, and it was because of this delay that he was taken to the police station upon his return.”

The confusion arose because Rahman was registered as living in Assam, but was away in Delhi when the police came to verify his identity. They therefore concluded that there was a discrepancy in his identity and address, wondering if he was indeed a resident citizen. Rahman moved from pillar to post and tried his best to defend his citizenship, but alas he was declared foreigner and sent to the Goalpara detention camp.

“The food was of a poor quality and my health deteriorated significantly during the course of my incarceration,” says Rahman of his days spent at the detention camp. But his days behind bars came to an end on November 20, 2019 and Rahman stepped out of captivity at 10 PM when he was released on bail.

Rahman’s name was excluded from the NRC, as were the names of his family members. CJP is now helping the family defend their citizenship.

Related:

Who is An Indian: Voices from Assam

CJP is committed to defending all genuine Indian citizens: Zamser Ali

Politicians must stand up against NRC: Teesta Setalvad

Assam migrant labourer forced to rot in detention camp for going to Delhi in search of a job!

Migrant labourer declared ‘foreigner’ for going to Delhi in search of a job!

Assam

3-year-old Majibur Rahman has just been released from a detention camp in Assam. But the poor man is still clueless as to why he was sent there in the first place.

“My grandfather’s name was included in the 1951 NRC. But I was served notice for being a D-Voter and then declared a ‘foreigner’ by the tribunal,” says Rahman who is a resident of Banduguri village in Bongaigaon district. “I have lived here for the last 40 years. Before this my family and I used to live in Pahartoli-Abhayapuri,” he explains.

Rahman’s father Abdul Sattar’s name appears in the voters lists of 1966 and 1970. His grandfather Abdul Hamid also has land patta documents from 1958. His documents may be viewed here:

Land Document 1958
Voters List 1970
Voters List

Rahman’s family is economically weak and he and some of his family members had to leave home and go to Delhi in search of work. It is during that period that he was served a D-Voter notice. CJP’s Volunteer Motivator Abul Kalam Azad explains, “Rahman could not respond to the notice until he returned, and it was because of this delay that he was taken to the police station upon his return.”

The confusion arose because Rahman was registered as living in Assam, but was away in Delhi when the police came to verify his identity. They therefore concluded that there was a discrepancy in his identity and address, wondering if he was indeed a resident citizen. Rahman moved from pillar to post and tried his best to defend his citizenship, but alas he was declared foreigner and sent to the Goalpara detention camp.

“The food was of a poor quality and my health deteriorated significantly during the course of my incarceration,” says Rahman of his days spent at the detention camp. But his days behind bars came to an end on November 20, 2019 and Rahman stepped out of captivity at 10 PM when he was released on bail.

Rahman’s name was excluded from the NRC, as were the names of his family members. CJP is now helping the family defend their citizenship.

Related:

Who is An Indian: Voices from Assam

CJP is committed to defending all genuine Indian citizens: Zamser Ali

Politicians must stand up against NRC: Teesta Setalvad

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Will Anganwadi workers ever get their due?

MP N K Premachandran introduces a bill to regularize Anganwadi workers for the second time

25 Nov 2019

Anganwadi workers

Hope for the justice for Anganwadi workers rose once again as N K Premachandran moved for leave to introduce a Bill to provide for regularization of the services of Anganwadi workers and conferring the status of not less than those of Group ‘C’ employees of the Central Government on such Anganwadi workers.

Premachandran, a member of the Revolutionary Socialist Party had introduced a similar bill in the Lok Sabha last year asking for the service status and welfare of the Anganwadi workers.
 

What is an Anganwadi and who are Anganwadi workers

An Anganwadi is a type of rural child care centre in India started by the Indian government as part of the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) to combat child hunger and malnutrition. An Anganwadi is the basic health centre of the village and an important part of the public health care system. Basic healthcare activities provided at an Anganwadi centre include contraceptive counseling, nutrition education and supplementation, immunization and pre-school education among others.

According to the Ministry of Women and Child Development, the total numbers of Anganwadi workers and Anganwadi helpers sanctioned in the country are 1,399,697 and 1,282,847 respectively.

Each worker is responsible for the well-being of around 1,000 people in villages across India. The workers are from the community they operate in and thus have an intimate understanding of the issues surrounding patients.This workforce includes mostly women and is regarded as an acceptable and effective means of employment for women in rural areas.
 

Who is N K Premachandran

 Belonging to the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP), he is the Member of Parliament from the Kollam Lok Sabha constituency. The former water resources minister from Kerala, he was instrumental in taking up the issue of safety of the Mullaperiyar dam.

He won the Kollam parliament seat in the 2019 elections defeating CPI (M) ideologue MA Baby by a record margin of 1.5 lakh votes. His party was a long-time ally of the CPI (M) in the Left Democratic Front (LDF), but ties had soured after RSP was denied a seat in 2014.

Premachandran is a well-known orator. He has heard delivered upon long pending demands of locals and contributed positively to developmental works.

In his five-year-term, Premachandran (58) participated in a staggering 297 debates in the Lok Sabha and moved more than 2000 amendments to different legislations and motions moved by the government in the Lower House none of which have been accepted.

He was also appointed to the Lok Sabha Speaker’s panel and tabled a bill for the consideration of the Lok Sabha seeking a ban on the entry of women aged 10 – 40 years in the Sabarimala temple.
 

The Anganwadi workers’ fight

With an annual budget allocation (2018-19) of Rs. 16,335 crore, the Anganwadi system forms the backbone of the community-based programme for child development.

The government has specific guidelines for these AWWs—for instance, one task should take you two minutes, another five minutes. There are various “days” that have to be organised and specific functions that must be performed. On certain days eggs have to be given to the children, on another day, vaccines; on a third day, babies have to be brought to the centre to be weighed. Then there are “meeting days”—when they must go to the meeting centres, do home visits, and meet pregnant and lactating women. It’s an impossible schedule.

And if this is not enough, AWWs have now been tasked with additional responsibilities—early childhood education (ECE), where they are expected to teach their young wards, and Self Help Group (SHG) formation and training—neither of which they were recruited or trained for, reports Quartz India.

Anganwadi workers have been fighting for better pay for years. The Government of India has recently enhanced the honorarium of Anganwadi Workers (AWWs) at main-Anganwadi Centres (AWCs) from Rs. 3,000/- to Rs. 4,500/- per month; AWWs at mini-AWCs from Rs. 2,250/- to Rs. 3,500/- per month; Anganwadi Helpers (AWHs) from Rs 1,500/- to Rs. 2,250/- per month; and introduced performance linked incentive of Rs. 250/- per month to AWHs, effective from 1st October, 2018. Further, AWWs are allowed performance linked incentive of ₹ 500/- per month for using ICDS-CAS under POSHAN Abhiyaan.In addition to the honorarium paid by the Government of India, the respective State/UTs are giving monetary incentives to these workers out of their own resources as per details given at Annexure-II, reported the Press Information Bureau.

Such an inadequate amount they say is hardly enough to provide nutrition to their own children. The Anganwadi workers have been battling for a minimum wage of Rs. 18,000 per month, garnering support from the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) and other outfits affiliated to the Communist Party of India (CPI – M). They complain that the salaries promised to them don’t come on time and sometimes they have to go months without getting their pay. At such times, they selflessly contribute from their own pockets – for charts, toys and other items, for they love the job they do. Not just this, they also prepare food and ensure the kids get a variety in their diet.

While the Ministry of Women and Child Development has enlisted provisions for insurance and maternity leave, they are only still on paper and have not been implemented yet. Ironical, for these women who take care of pregnant women and look after children, get no such benefits for the same.

The Wire also reports of them being overburdened with tasks like Booth Level Officer (BLO) duties, surveys, maintenance of innumerable registers and even tasks that do not come under the ICDS.

Another fresh obstacle facing them is the change in the attendance system. Many have to mark their attendance by sending live locations and photographs on WhatsApp groups managed by their supervisors. Those who do not have smartphones are either asked to buy one or to use a neighbour’s phone.

“The nature of work is voluntary social service. The government is running away from its responsibility of treating these women as regular employees because of which women are losing out on so many things,” says Shivani Kaul, president of the Delhi State Anganwadi Workers and Helpers’ Union. “The government employs women from the most deprived sections of the society for this scheme and the entire system considers women as the cheapest source of labour. Be it in domestic work or the caregiving sector, women are taken for granted everywhere,” Kaul added.

Many governments have looked at privatizing the social welfare scheme and neglecting the impact it will have on these women who have been toiling away for years seeing the government’s vision through.

“Regardless of the party in power, the government, since 1991, has been trying to involve private players in social welfare schemes and step away from its responsibilities and this attitude is affecting the workers severely. ICDS is a central government scheme and the Centre should take full responsibility,” Kamala, general secretary of Delhi anganwadi workers and helpers affiliated with CITU told The Wire.

According to Kamala and Kaul, ICDS should be made into a separate department which will open the doors to the regularisation of anganwadi workers. “Until the workers are given the status of employees, they should at least be given a minimum wage.” Kamala added.

Speaking to Sabrang India, Armaity Irani from the Anganwadi KarmachariSangathana (Maharashtra) said that Anganwadi workers are critical providers of education for children of the poor, which is one of the six services provided by them. They look after children aged 0 – 6 years by providing them important education, a period which is extremely important for brain development. Yet, the government is overlooking their contribution as education providers and focusing solely on the issue of food. Even that, is way below the mark, as the children who need hot meals, are instead being given THR (Take Home Ration), powders to be boiled in water which is unpalatable, thus leading to severe starvation and malnutrition.

Another problem, Irani added, was the problem of cumbersome technology. As mentioned above, Anganwadi workers are now given phones to mark their attendance with and some, over the age of 60, find it especially difficult to operate the same. Plus network issues in rural areas mean that they aren’t able to log in, thus leading to pay cuts. They also have to use this to report other details like the data of beneficiaries, their age, weight, details of home visits, etc.

There is an additional burden of rent. The Anganwadi workers do not get their salaries or rent for the centres in time and often have to rely on their own means to gather money and pay for the Anganwadi Centre rent out of their own wages.

Regularisation is a far-fetched dream, says Irani, about the hard-working Anganwadi workers who even work on Sundays, providing food to the kids. The Centre has a stipulated wage package for the workers and the helpers, with the rest being provided by the State governments. Currently, the Centre pays Rs. 4,500 to workers and Rs. 2,250 to helpers. There is also a disparity here for some governments do not contribute to salaries or benefits at all. The unions are now demanding a minimum wage of Rs. 21,000 per month for all anganwadi workers from the Central government.

 It is pitiable to see that one of the most important links in the chain of women and child welfare is being treated so apathetically by every government. With demands being ignored for years, these women have now taken to the streets to protest against the step-motherly treatment meted out to them by the same government that they help so smoothly run.

Shubha Shamim, Vice-President, All-India Federation of Anganwadi Workers and Helpers (AIFAWH) told Sabrang India that the current policies of the government are completely opposite to those that we require for regularization. She said, “I don’t think the government will take any step towards regularization. The wage increase last year has not been implemented in many places yet. The Centre will pass on the responsibility to the states to take care of the wage problem. The government isn’t willing to increase wages citing that the work of the Anganwadi workers is not a full-time job, though the reality is quite the opposite. We do not have any hopes from the current government as it is anti-people, anti-workers and anti-welfare schemes. They are only aiming for privatisation and when they do heed to our demands, it is woefully inadequate.”

 

Related:

Assam Midday Meal workers protest outside education minister’s residence
Mahapadav Ends With Call to Prepare For Country-Wide Indefinite Strike
#WorkersStrikeBack: Workers Unite Across India, Retaliate Against Anti-People Government
Massive Protest by Women Demands Food, Jobs and End to Violence
Thousands march to Parliament against NDA’s Anti- Labour policies

 

Will Anganwadi workers ever get their due?

MP N K Premachandran introduces a bill to regularize Anganwadi workers for the second time

Anganwadi workers

Hope for the justice for Anganwadi workers rose once again as N K Premachandran moved for leave to introduce a Bill to provide for regularization of the services of Anganwadi workers and conferring the status of not less than those of Group ‘C’ employees of the Central Government on such Anganwadi workers.

Premachandran, a member of the Revolutionary Socialist Party had introduced a similar bill in the Lok Sabha last year asking for the service status and welfare of the Anganwadi workers.
 

What is an Anganwadi and who are Anganwadi workers

An Anganwadi is a type of rural child care centre in India started by the Indian government as part of the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) to combat child hunger and malnutrition. An Anganwadi is the basic health centre of the village and an important part of the public health care system. Basic healthcare activities provided at an Anganwadi centre include contraceptive counseling, nutrition education and supplementation, immunization and pre-school education among others.

According to the Ministry of Women and Child Development, the total numbers of Anganwadi workers and Anganwadi helpers sanctioned in the country are 1,399,697 and 1,282,847 respectively.

Each worker is responsible for the well-being of around 1,000 people in villages across India. The workers are from the community they operate in and thus have an intimate understanding of the issues surrounding patients.This workforce includes mostly women and is regarded as an acceptable and effective means of employment for women in rural areas.
 

Who is N K Premachandran

 Belonging to the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP), he is the Member of Parliament from the Kollam Lok Sabha constituency. The former water resources minister from Kerala, he was instrumental in taking up the issue of safety of the Mullaperiyar dam.

He won the Kollam parliament seat in the 2019 elections defeating CPI (M) ideologue MA Baby by a record margin of 1.5 lakh votes. His party was a long-time ally of the CPI (M) in the Left Democratic Front (LDF), but ties had soured after RSP was denied a seat in 2014.

Premachandran is a well-known orator. He has heard delivered upon long pending demands of locals and contributed positively to developmental works.

In his five-year-term, Premachandran (58) participated in a staggering 297 debates in the Lok Sabha and moved more than 2000 amendments to different legislations and motions moved by the government in the Lower House none of which have been accepted.

He was also appointed to the Lok Sabha Speaker’s panel and tabled a bill for the consideration of the Lok Sabha seeking a ban on the entry of women aged 10 – 40 years in the Sabarimala temple.
 

The Anganwadi workers’ fight

With an annual budget allocation (2018-19) of Rs. 16,335 crore, the Anganwadi system forms the backbone of the community-based programme for child development.

The government has specific guidelines for these AWWs—for instance, one task should take you two minutes, another five minutes. There are various “days” that have to be organised and specific functions that must be performed. On certain days eggs have to be given to the children, on another day, vaccines; on a third day, babies have to be brought to the centre to be weighed. Then there are “meeting days”—when they must go to the meeting centres, do home visits, and meet pregnant and lactating women. It’s an impossible schedule.

And if this is not enough, AWWs have now been tasked with additional responsibilities—early childhood education (ECE), where they are expected to teach their young wards, and Self Help Group (SHG) formation and training—neither of which they were recruited or trained for, reports Quartz India.

Anganwadi workers have been fighting for better pay for years. The Government of India has recently enhanced the honorarium of Anganwadi Workers (AWWs) at main-Anganwadi Centres (AWCs) from Rs. 3,000/- to Rs. 4,500/- per month; AWWs at mini-AWCs from Rs. 2,250/- to Rs. 3,500/- per month; Anganwadi Helpers (AWHs) from Rs 1,500/- to Rs. 2,250/- per month; and introduced performance linked incentive of Rs. 250/- per month to AWHs, effective from 1st October, 2018. Further, AWWs are allowed performance linked incentive of ₹ 500/- per month for using ICDS-CAS under POSHAN Abhiyaan.In addition to the honorarium paid by the Government of India, the respective State/UTs are giving monetary incentives to these workers out of their own resources as per details given at Annexure-II, reported the Press Information Bureau.

Such an inadequate amount they say is hardly enough to provide nutrition to their own children. The Anganwadi workers have been battling for a minimum wage of Rs. 18,000 per month, garnering support from the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) and other outfits affiliated to the Communist Party of India (CPI – M). They complain that the salaries promised to them don’t come on time and sometimes they have to go months without getting their pay. At such times, they selflessly contribute from their own pockets – for charts, toys and other items, for they love the job they do. Not just this, they also prepare food and ensure the kids get a variety in their diet.

While the Ministry of Women and Child Development has enlisted provisions for insurance and maternity leave, they are only still on paper and have not been implemented yet. Ironical, for these women who take care of pregnant women and look after children, get no such benefits for the same.

The Wire also reports of them being overburdened with tasks like Booth Level Officer (BLO) duties, surveys, maintenance of innumerable registers and even tasks that do not come under the ICDS.

Another fresh obstacle facing them is the change in the attendance system. Many have to mark their attendance by sending live locations and photographs on WhatsApp groups managed by their supervisors. Those who do not have smartphones are either asked to buy one or to use a neighbour’s phone.

“The nature of work is voluntary social service. The government is running away from its responsibility of treating these women as regular employees because of which women are losing out on so many things,” says Shivani Kaul, president of the Delhi State Anganwadi Workers and Helpers’ Union. “The government employs women from the most deprived sections of the society for this scheme and the entire system considers women as the cheapest source of labour. Be it in domestic work or the caregiving sector, women are taken for granted everywhere,” Kaul added.

Many governments have looked at privatizing the social welfare scheme and neglecting the impact it will have on these women who have been toiling away for years seeing the government’s vision through.

“Regardless of the party in power, the government, since 1991, has been trying to involve private players in social welfare schemes and step away from its responsibilities and this attitude is affecting the workers severely. ICDS is a central government scheme and the Centre should take full responsibility,” Kamala, general secretary of Delhi anganwadi workers and helpers affiliated with CITU told The Wire.

According to Kamala and Kaul, ICDS should be made into a separate department which will open the doors to the regularisation of anganwadi workers. “Until the workers are given the status of employees, they should at least be given a minimum wage.” Kamala added.

Speaking to Sabrang India, Armaity Irani from the Anganwadi KarmachariSangathana (Maharashtra) said that Anganwadi workers are critical providers of education for children of the poor, which is one of the six services provided by them. They look after children aged 0 – 6 years by providing them important education, a period which is extremely important for brain development. Yet, the government is overlooking their contribution as education providers and focusing solely on the issue of food. Even that, is way below the mark, as the children who need hot meals, are instead being given THR (Take Home Ration), powders to be boiled in water which is unpalatable, thus leading to severe starvation and malnutrition.

Another problem, Irani added, was the problem of cumbersome technology. As mentioned above, Anganwadi workers are now given phones to mark their attendance with and some, over the age of 60, find it especially difficult to operate the same. Plus network issues in rural areas mean that they aren’t able to log in, thus leading to pay cuts. They also have to use this to report other details like the data of beneficiaries, their age, weight, details of home visits, etc.

There is an additional burden of rent. The Anganwadi workers do not get their salaries or rent for the centres in time and often have to rely on their own means to gather money and pay for the Anganwadi Centre rent out of their own wages.

Regularisation is a far-fetched dream, says Irani, about the hard-working Anganwadi workers who even work on Sundays, providing food to the kids. The Centre has a stipulated wage package for the workers and the helpers, with the rest being provided by the State governments. Currently, the Centre pays Rs. 4,500 to workers and Rs. 2,250 to helpers. There is also a disparity here for some governments do not contribute to salaries or benefits at all. The unions are now demanding a minimum wage of Rs. 21,000 per month for all anganwadi workers from the Central government.

 It is pitiable to see that one of the most important links in the chain of women and child welfare is being treated so apathetically by every government. With demands being ignored for years, these women have now taken to the streets to protest against the step-motherly treatment meted out to them by the same government that they help so smoothly run.

Shubha Shamim, Vice-President, All-India Federation of Anganwadi Workers and Helpers (AIFAWH) told Sabrang India that the current policies of the government are completely opposite to those that we require for regularization. She said, “I don’t think the government will take any step towards regularization. The wage increase last year has not been implemented in many places yet. The Centre will pass on the responsibility to the states to take care of the wage problem. The government isn’t willing to increase wages citing that the work of the Anganwadi workers is not a full-time job, though the reality is quite the opposite. We do not have any hopes from the current government as it is anti-people, anti-workers and anti-welfare schemes. They are only aiming for privatisation and when they do heed to our demands, it is woefully inadequate.”

 

Related:

Assam Midday Meal workers protest outside education minister’s residence
Mahapadav Ends With Call to Prepare For Country-Wide Indefinite Strike
#WorkersStrikeBack: Workers Unite Across India, Retaliate Against Anti-People Government
Massive Protest by Women Demands Food, Jobs and End to Violence
Thousands march to Parliament against NDA’s Anti- Labour policies

 

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Sabrang

Address Demands of PWD Workers: Assam

25 Nov 2019

PWD

SILCHAR: The three-day 41st State conference of PWD Workers’ Union concluded here at the Gandhi Bhavan after deliberations among the leaders and workers for their resolution. The opening session itself, presided over by Anil Rajkumar, the keynote speeches  raised crucial issues related to working conditions of this sector.

More than 4,000 employees of the department stand in need of regularisation for their better sustenance to end their financial difficulties. Section assistants are deprived of grade pay, giving the sense of discrimination and negligence. The employees demand leave travel concession and retention. They face acute problem of accommodation. There is virtually a sort of disorder in providing accommodation to them. Those who retire refuse to vacate their quarters. Some employees after retirement rent their quarters to others. Concerted voice has been raised from the conference to pressure the government to resolve them.

The Workers’ Union has hailed the signature project initiated by the Sarbananda Sonowal government which makes provision for allotment of Rs 10 crore to each constituency. It is a novel project that aims at construction and repair of roads for better connectivity and for easy and fast movement. The work has already started which keeps in mind the greenery and ecology with plantations along the roads. Demand has also been focussed on filling up posts left vacant following retirement. This has become a major irritant for the functioning of the department.

Kabindra Purkayastha former Union Minister, MLAs Dilip Kumar Paul and Amar Chand Jain in identical tone spoke of the commitment of the Sonowal government to develop the two valleys equally.This has been on the top of the agenda. Road development is essential for economic boost up. They assured the leaders of the Union and workers their demands would be brought before the state and expect positive outcome. They at the same time laid stress on both way cooperation between the State and the employees. This will pace up development works. The conference was graced by State president, Debajit Debroy, VP Bijoy Kumar Dutta and general secretary, Chandra Kanta Saikia.

Address Demands of PWD Workers: Assam

PWD

SILCHAR: The three-day 41st State conference of PWD Workers’ Union concluded here at the Gandhi Bhavan after deliberations among the leaders and workers for their resolution. The opening session itself, presided over by Anil Rajkumar, the keynote speeches  raised crucial issues related to working conditions of this sector.

More than 4,000 employees of the department stand in need of regularisation for their better sustenance to end their financial difficulties. Section assistants are deprived of grade pay, giving the sense of discrimination and negligence. The employees demand leave travel concession and retention. They face acute problem of accommodation. There is virtually a sort of disorder in providing accommodation to them. Those who retire refuse to vacate their quarters. Some employees after retirement rent their quarters to others. Concerted voice has been raised from the conference to pressure the government to resolve them.

The Workers’ Union has hailed the signature project initiated by the Sarbananda Sonowal government which makes provision for allotment of Rs 10 crore to each constituency. It is a novel project that aims at construction and repair of roads for better connectivity and for easy and fast movement. The work has already started which keeps in mind the greenery and ecology with plantations along the roads. Demand has also been focussed on filling up posts left vacant following retirement. This has become a major irritant for the functioning of the department.

Kabindra Purkayastha former Union Minister, MLAs Dilip Kumar Paul and Amar Chand Jain in identical tone spoke of the commitment of the Sonowal government to develop the two valleys equally.This has been on the top of the agenda. Road development is essential for economic boost up. They assured the leaders of the Union and workers their demands would be brought before the state and expect positive outcome. They at the same time laid stress on both way cooperation between the State and the employees. This will pace up development works. The conference was graced by State president, Debajit Debroy, VP Bijoy Kumar Dutta and general secretary, Chandra Kanta Saikia.

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Jagmel Singh murder: Family ends protest, accepts compensation

Jagmel Singh, a Dalit, he was murdered in Punjab over a minor dispute by upper-caste Hindus

19 Nov 2019

Dalit Labour

Image Courtesy: Hindustan times

Jagmel Singh’s family has finally relented and ended their protest after the Punjab government offered Rs. 20 lakh compensation, a government job to his wife, and free education to his three children, The Hindustan Times reported.

However, even this still appears to be woefully inadequate, considering Jagmel, a Dalit, died a slow death 9 days after being tied to a pillar, brutally thrashed with iron rods and lathis and forced to drink urine by upper-caste men in Changaliwala village on November 7 following a minor dispute.

“The victim was undergoing treatment at PGI, Chandigarh, and both his legs had to be amputated to control the spread of infection due to the injuries,” Lehra station house officer Satnam Singh had said.

The family of the 37-year-old had refused to allow the post-mortem of his body till their demand of Rs. 50 lakh compensation and a government job for his wife were met. They, along with several members from Dalit organizations had staged a protest at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) campus, where his body was lying in the mortuary.


Compensation details

Sandeep Sandhu, political secretary to Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, said a compensation of Rs 20 lakh, including Rs 8.15 lakh provided under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, will be given to the next of kin.

Out of the total compensation, Rs. 6 lakh would be given on the day when the post-mortem of the body would be conducted. The remaining Rs. 14 lakh would be given on the bhog (post death ritual) ceremony. His wife, Manjit Kaur, would be given a group-D job, near her residence, giving relaxation in the prescribed educational qualification. Apart from bearing the charges for the bhog ceremony, the government has also promised to provide Jagmel’s children with education up to the graduation level.

Sandhu also said that the government would pay an additional Rs. 1.25 lakh for the repair of their house and give free ration to the family for six months.

Punjab has the highest population of Scheduled Castes that is, 31.9 per cent of the total population of 277.43 lakhs. In 2016, the National Records Crime Bureau (NCRB) recorded a total of 132 crimes against the Scheduled Castes, with 130 cases still pending investigation.

Jagmel Singh’s death had sparked outrage in Sangrur where Dalit organisations called a protest, demanding compensation for the family.

 

 

“We want strict action against the culprits and the government should compensate the family. A member of the family should be given a government job on humanitarian grounds,” said Bikkar Singh, the district chief of Dalit outfit Zameen Prapti Sangharsh Committee.

The incident also saw attacks coming in from Opposition parties who attacked the Congress government over the ‘barbaric’ treatment being meted out to Dalits in the state, with the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) saying that the ‘rule of the jungle’ was prevalent in the state.

 

Various activist organisations on Monday also gheraoed the residence of former Punjab CM Rajinder Kaur Bhattal at Lehra in Sangrur district whom they alleged of supporting the accused in the case.

The Opposition also raised the issue on the first day of the Winter Session of the Parliament.

 


Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) State Chief Jasbir Singh Ghadi, who had arranged food for the family during their protest at the PGI, said, “BSP has formed a team of five lawyers to fight the legal battle for the family. The culture of rich and upper caste suppressing the poor and lower class has been going on in the country since long now, and though rules and acts have been made against it, no concrete steps have been taken….No personal matter can grow so deep that results in something so torturous.”

Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has ordered a comprehensive probe by ADGP Gurpreet Deo into the murder case, an official spokesperson said.

"The Chief Minister has ordered the police to file the challan in the case within a week. All effort would be made to ensure stringent punishment for the culprits within three months," the spokesperson said.

The police have arrested Rinku, Amarjeet Singh, Lucky alias Goli, and Beeta alias Binder, all residents of Jagmel’s village and booked them for abduction, wrongful confinement, attempt to commit culpable homicide, voluntarily causing hurt and other charges under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. They were produced in a Sunam court on Monday and are sent to police custody till November 21.


Related:
Irony at its worst: Dalit boy thrashed for attending rally about ending caste discrimination
Uttar Pradesh records highest crimes against Dalits: NCRB
A Look into the Kerala Double POCSO-Suicide Case
Two Dalit Kids Beaten to Death for Defecating in Open: MP
Not just open Defecation, Dalit Girl Child was molested too, says Father: MP Murder

Jagmel Singh murder: Family ends protest, accepts compensation

Jagmel Singh, a Dalit, he was murdered in Punjab over a minor dispute by upper-caste Hindus

Dalit Labour

Image Courtesy: Hindustan times

Jagmel Singh’s family has finally relented and ended their protest after the Punjab government offered Rs. 20 lakh compensation, a government job to his wife, and free education to his three children, The Hindustan Times reported.

However, even this still appears to be woefully inadequate, considering Jagmel, a Dalit, died a slow death 9 days after being tied to a pillar, brutally thrashed with iron rods and lathis and forced to drink urine by upper-caste men in Changaliwala village on November 7 following a minor dispute.

“The victim was undergoing treatment at PGI, Chandigarh, and both his legs had to be amputated to control the spread of infection due to the injuries,” Lehra station house officer Satnam Singh had said.

The family of the 37-year-old had refused to allow the post-mortem of his body till their demand of Rs. 50 lakh compensation and a government job for his wife were met. They, along with several members from Dalit organizations had staged a protest at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) campus, where his body was lying in the mortuary.


Compensation details

Sandeep Sandhu, political secretary to Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, said a compensation of Rs 20 lakh, including Rs 8.15 lakh provided under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, will be given to the next of kin.

Out of the total compensation, Rs. 6 lakh would be given on the day when the post-mortem of the body would be conducted. The remaining Rs. 14 lakh would be given on the bhog (post death ritual) ceremony. His wife, Manjit Kaur, would be given a group-D job, near her residence, giving relaxation in the prescribed educational qualification. Apart from bearing the charges for the bhog ceremony, the government has also promised to provide Jagmel’s children with education up to the graduation level.

Sandhu also said that the government would pay an additional Rs. 1.25 lakh for the repair of their house and give free ration to the family for six months.

Punjab has the highest population of Scheduled Castes that is, 31.9 per cent of the total population of 277.43 lakhs. In 2016, the National Records Crime Bureau (NCRB) recorded a total of 132 crimes against the Scheduled Castes, with 130 cases still pending investigation.

Jagmel Singh’s death had sparked outrage in Sangrur where Dalit organisations called a protest, demanding compensation for the family.

 

 

“We want strict action against the culprits and the government should compensate the family. A member of the family should be given a government job on humanitarian grounds,” said Bikkar Singh, the district chief of Dalit outfit Zameen Prapti Sangharsh Committee.

The incident also saw attacks coming in from Opposition parties who attacked the Congress government over the ‘barbaric’ treatment being meted out to Dalits in the state, with the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) saying that the ‘rule of the jungle’ was prevalent in the state.

 

Various activist organisations on Monday also gheraoed the residence of former Punjab CM Rajinder Kaur Bhattal at Lehra in Sangrur district whom they alleged of supporting the accused in the case.

The Opposition also raised the issue on the first day of the Winter Session of the Parliament.

 


Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) State Chief Jasbir Singh Ghadi, who had arranged food for the family during their protest at the PGI, said, “BSP has formed a team of five lawyers to fight the legal battle for the family. The culture of rich and upper caste suppressing the poor and lower class has been going on in the country since long now, and though rules and acts have been made against it, no concrete steps have been taken….No personal matter can grow so deep that results in something so torturous.”

Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has ordered a comprehensive probe by ADGP Gurpreet Deo into the murder case, an official spokesperson said.

"The Chief Minister has ordered the police to file the challan in the case within a week. All effort would be made to ensure stringent punishment for the culprits within three months," the spokesperson said.

The police have arrested Rinku, Amarjeet Singh, Lucky alias Goli, and Beeta alias Binder, all residents of Jagmel’s village and booked them for abduction, wrongful confinement, attempt to commit culpable homicide, voluntarily causing hurt and other charges under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. They were produced in a Sunam court on Monday and are sent to police custody till November 21.


Related:
Irony at its worst: Dalit boy thrashed for attending rally about ending caste discrimination
Uttar Pradesh records highest crimes against Dalits: NCRB
A Look into the Kerala Double POCSO-Suicide Case
Two Dalit Kids Beaten to Death for Defecating in Open: MP
Not just open Defecation, Dalit Girl Child was molested too, says Father: MP Murder

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