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Over 1 crore people register for jobs on eSHRAM portal!

Within a span of one month, the portal has received a flux of registrations, especially from the agriculture sector.

20 Sep 2021

PortalImage Courtesy:zeebiz.com

Over 1.15 crore people registered for jobs on September 20, 2021 at the e-SHRAM portal created by the central government to provide social security and employment-based benefits.

Launched on August 26, eSHRAM was developed to create a National Database of Unorganized Workers (NDUW), seeded using people’s Aadhaar cards. As many as 1,15,18,143 unorganised workers out of 38 crore workers estimated in the Economic Survey 2019-20 signed up on the portal in less than a month.

Of those who registered, around 57 percent – 65,35,956 people – are men and around 43 percent – 49,81,922 people – are women. However, it did not have a transgender category, a community that suffered greatly during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Around 47 percent (5470831 registrations) belong to the 25-40 age group. Moreover, a whopping 18 percent (2123430 registrations) of the registrations included individuals from the 16-25 age group.

Earlier, the ‘State of Working India 2021’ report by Azim Premji University said that only three out of 10 students in rural India were attending online classes while four out of 10 students availed online classes in urban areas by October-November 2020. As many as 43 percent of children interviewed for the report said they could not attend functional classes due to lack of internet connection or a smartphone. Another 24 percent of interviewed children said their parents could no longer afford to send them to schools.

As per the Ministry of Labour and Employment, eSHRAM is the first national database that details worker’s name, occupation, address, educational qualification, skill types and family details etc. for optimum realization of their employability and related benefits. It may be mentioned that as per the portal’s data, 20 percent (23,29,876 people) of the registered people do not have Aadhar-linked bank accounts.

The report spoke about how women often suffer due to such linking difficulties, especially because women are not informed about the need to link their documents with their bank accounts. Surveys found that 26 percent of poor women live more than 5 km away from the nearest bank or ATM.

The portal said that the four states with the highest registrations, Bihar, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal registered over 11 lakh people each. Further, over 20 states and Delhi city recorded over 10 thousand registrations.

Regarding occupations, the portal stated that the highest registrations came from the agriculture sector followed by construction sector and domestic and household sector. Agriculture accounted for over half the registrations. The former two occupations were called ‘fallback sectors’ in the University report.

Following the Covid-crisis, education, health and professional service sectors saw the highest outflow of workers. Around 18 percent of the education workforce switched to agriculture.

However, NSO data from 2019 stated that even before the pandemic started the income from farming, including livestock, was not significantly higher than income for an agricultural household from other sources like wages and non-farm business.

Related:

India’s workforce demands fiscal support following the second wave of Covid-19!
92 percent of India’s workforce faces historic and unprecedented crisis: SWAN report
India’s dairy farmers face another harsh summer – but not because of the heat
Provide ration, transport, community kitchens for migrant workers: SC

Over 1 crore people register for jobs on eSHRAM portal!

Within a span of one month, the portal has received a flux of registrations, especially from the agriculture sector.

PortalImage Courtesy:zeebiz.com

Over 1.15 crore people registered for jobs on September 20, 2021 at the e-SHRAM portal created by the central government to provide social security and employment-based benefits.

Launched on August 26, eSHRAM was developed to create a National Database of Unorganized Workers (NDUW), seeded using people’s Aadhaar cards. As many as 1,15,18,143 unorganised workers out of 38 crore workers estimated in the Economic Survey 2019-20 signed up on the portal in less than a month.

Of those who registered, around 57 percent – 65,35,956 people – are men and around 43 percent – 49,81,922 people – are women. However, it did not have a transgender category, a community that suffered greatly during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Around 47 percent (5470831 registrations) belong to the 25-40 age group. Moreover, a whopping 18 percent (2123430 registrations) of the registrations included individuals from the 16-25 age group.

Earlier, the ‘State of Working India 2021’ report by Azim Premji University said that only three out of 10 students in rural India were attending online classes while four out of 10 students availed online classes in urban areas by October-November 2020. As many as 43 percent of children interviewed for the report said they could not attend functional classes due to lack of internet connection or a smartphone. Another 24 percent of interviewed children said their parents could no longer afford to send them to schools.

As per the Ministry of Labour and Employment, eSHRAM is the first national database that details worker’s name, occupation, address, educational qualification, skill types and family details etc. for optimum realization of their employability and related benefits. It may be mentioned that as per the portal’s data, 20 percent (23,29,876 people) of the registered people do not have Aadhar-linked bank accounts.

The report spoke about how women often suffer due to such linking difficulties, especially because women are not informed about the need to link their documents with their bank accounts. Surveys found that 26 percent of poor women live more than 5 km away from the nearest bank or ATM.

The portal said that the four states with the highest registrations, Bihar, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal registered over 11 lakh people each. Further, over 20 states and Delhi city recorded over 10 thousand registrations.

Regarding occupations, the portal stated that the highest registrations came from the agriculture sector followed by construction sector and domestic and household sector. Agriculture accounted for over half the registrations. The former two occupations were called ‘fallback sectors’ in the University report.

Following the Covid-crisis, education, health and professional service sectors saw the highest outflow of workers. Around 18 percent of the education workforce switched to agriculture.

However, NSO data from 2019 stated that even before the pandemic started the income from farming, including livestock, was not significantly higher than income for an agricultural household from other sources like wages and non-farm business.

Related:

India’s workforce demands fiscal support following the second wave of Covid-19!
92 percent of India’s workforce faces historic and unprecedented crisis: SWAN report
India’s dairy farmers face another harsh summer – but not because of the heat
Provide ration, transport, community kitchens for migrant workers: SC

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Is India exploiting its ASHA workers?

Successive governments have ignored these baseline health workers who receive low remunerations that are often delayed; they aren’t even given proper Covid kits

17 Sep 2021

Asha WorkersImage from MOHFW Twitter

As part of the government’s National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), a new group of baseline health workers called Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA workers) was formed in 2005 to address health related demands of the rural population, especially women and children, who find it arduous to access basic health services.

The government guidelines laid down several responsibilities of ASHA workers which include creating awareness about health and its social determinants, mobilising the community towards local health planning, and increased utilisation and accountability of existing health services. This 2005 design recruited women as volunteers on honorariums to engage in tasks central to the functioning of the public health infrastructure, and promote good health practices.

Their role became even more critical in the Covid-19 pandemic era as they have been deployed to undertake additional work, like conducting door to door tests, monitoring the migrant workers, ensuring the adherence to Covid-19 protocols, as well as collecting data and reporting to the primary health centres across various states.

But the workload of ASHA workers is not directly proportional to the remuneration they receive, and they continue to be seen merely as volunteer service providers. The enormity of injustice does not end here, as they don’t fall under the ambit of the Minimum Wage Act, and don’t enjoy the maternity benefits and other schemes offered to regular government employees.
 

Meagre wage

In a written answer provided by Bharati Pravin Pawar, Minister of Health and Family Welfare, on July 23 this year to the Lok Sabha, it was revealed that ASHA workers receive a fixed monthly incentive of Rs. 2,000 for undertaking routine and recurring activities. Further to incentivise Covid-19 duty, the government decided to add an additional Rs. 1,000 per month under India’s Covid-19 Health System Preparedness and Emergency Response Package.

Different states have different incentives for ASHA workers, but there have been several strikes since the onset of the pandemic demanding sufficient and timely remuneration. For instance, Uttar Pradesh sanctioned Rs. 750 per month from the state budget and the average ASHA payment in the State is Rs. 4,270 per month. CJP’s interaction with hundreds of these women across the state reveals backlogs in payment of wages and often, withholding of payment, too. Bihar provides Rs. 1,000 per month apart from the fixed price fixed by the centre, so ASHAs in Bihar get Rs. 3,000 per month, Himachal Pradesh ASHAs get Rs. 2,000 per month, Uttarakhand ASHAs get Rs. 5,000 per annum and Rs. 1,000 per month.

Besides the range of monetary incentives to the ASHAs, on June 25, 2020, thousands of ASHA workers united, at the call of the All India Coordination Committee of ASHA Workers (CITU), and held a protest at various states, including Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Assam, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala for regularisation as government workers, for adequate Covid kits (gloves, masks, sanitisers), additional incentive of Rs.25,000 per month for all contract and scheme workers, Rs. 50 lakhs insurance cover to all frontline workers, etc.

The same answer provided to the Lok Sabha in July this year also revealed that out of 10,47,324 ASHAs, a total of 109 have died due to Covid-19 till April of this year, across the nation, but the numbers could be arguably higher.

Going by the government records, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Sikkim, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Puducherry, Himachal Pradesh, Ladakh, Lakshadweep, Andamans, Arunachal Pradesh, Dadar and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu and Assam have not recorded a single death of the health activists.  
 

Covid-19 duty risks

In May this year, lakhs of Accredited Social Health Activists across the country reportedly protested and demanded their pending payments and protective gears like PPE kits and masks for themselves. The workers who have efficiently assisted the government in controlling the spread of the virus have raised their voices against inadequate facilities. Some workers have complained that they hadn’t been provided uniforms for the last three years and they are expected to travel door to door to check on home isolated patients but have not been provided for transport, food or water while attending duties and most were yet to be tested for Covid-19. 

According to a NewsClick report, in Karnataka, D. Nagalakshmi, state secretary of the All-India United Trade Union Centre (AIUTUC) backed ASHA Workers’ Union said that the 42,000 workers have been waiting for their “honorarium” – Rs 4,000 – for the past two months.


Justice from the Courts?

The Bombay High Court was one of the first courts to recognise the importance of ASHA workers especially in the fight to combat Covid-19 and had directed the government to pay Rs. 200 per day instead of the fixed Rs. 1,000 per month. The application was filed on behalf of the Nagpur Municipal Corporation Employees Union in Subhash Jainarayan Zanwar Vs. Union of India and others, PIL No.10 of 2020), wherein they brought to the notice of the court the pathetic condition of the Accredited Social Health Activists.

They complained that appropriate remuneration was not being paid to the ASHA workers and the basic equipment for protection/security were not provided and further, even refreshments and tea, as also water from time to time, was not available to them. The insensitive Nagpur Municipal Corporation had gone a step ahead and filed an affidavit in the matter stating that there was no legal provision to provide food and refreshments to the ASHAs!

Justice Manish Pitale had said, “This Court finds that the ASHA workers, who are at the forefront of the war against COVID-19 and who are performing special duties, including door to door survey of houses during such crisis, are being treated in a most unfortunate manner by the Corporation. Even if the amounts of 1000/- per month and 1500/- ₹ 1000/- per month and that ₹ 1000/- per month and that per month i.e. total of 2500/- per month is being paid to ₹ 1000/- per month and that the ASHA workers, it is hardly sufficient for survival of such workers… It is distressing that those at the forefront of the war against COVID-19 are meted out with such treatment by the public authorities including the Corporation.”
 

How far have our courts helped?

Negligent efforts have been taken by the judiciary and the government to recognise the status of ASHAs as workers under the Industrial Act to avail the benefits of the Minimum Wages Act. The Minimum Wage Act that prescribes a minimum amount must be paid to an employee by the employer, as mentioned above, does not apply to ASHA or Anganwadi workers.

A big blow to Anganwadi workers was in 2006, when the Supreme Court Bench of Justices SB Sinha and Markandey Katju had held that Anganwadi workers engaged under the Integrated Child Development Service (ICDS) Programme are not entitled to minimum wages as the Minimum Wages Act is applicable only to ‘workmen’ in the industries. The Bench said the ICDS programme would not constitute an “industry” within the meaning of the Act and Anganwadi workers were not industrial workmen. (State Of Karnataka & Ors vs Ameerbi & Ors, Appeal Civ. No. 4953-4957 of 1998). 

However, in State of Punjab and Others versus Jagjit Singh, Civ. Appeal No. 203 of 2013, the Supreme Court offered some relief for scheme workers where it ruled that all types of temporary workers and daily wagers are entitled to wage parity with the regular workers provided, if they perform similar work. Another important aspect of this judgment was that it had opined that a mere difference in nomenclature should not deprive an employee from being paid a similar wage that a permanent employee gets for the “same amount of work”.

Calling it “exploitative enslavement”, the court had said, “it is fallacious to determine artificial parameters to deny fruits of labour. An employee engaged for the same work, cannot be paid less than another, who performs the same duties and responsibilities. Certainly not, in a welfare state. Such an action besides being demeaning, strikes at the very foundation of human dignity. Any one, who is compelled to work at a lesser wage, does not do so voluntarily. He does so, to provide food and shelter to his family, at the cost of his self-respect and dignity, at the cost of his self-worth, and at the cost of his integrity. For he knows that his dependents would suffer immensely, if he does not accept the lesser wage.” 

Almost 5 years after this judgment, ASHA workers continue to fight for their identity, demanding for a permanent worker status and surely, the pandemic has exacerbated their needs. The 45th session of the Indian Labour Conference (ILC), had also recommended that all scheme workers should be recognised as ‘workers’ and not as ‘volunteers’ or ‘honorary workers’. It was also suggested that the Anganwadi workers and ASHAs be covered under life and health insurance and all necessary amenities should be extended to the women. But the action taken report presented by the government at the 46th meeting of the Standing Labour Committee rejected each and every one of these demands except the demand for insurance scheme coverage.  

In Oxfam’s Commitment to Reducing Inequality Report 2020, India ranked 154 in health spending, (fifth from the bottom). This infrastructurally reflects on the lack of enough amenities for the health workers that have been fighting tooth and nail to contain the pandemic. Despite being hailed as frontline workers and Covid-19 warriors, essential ASHA workers continue to work under unfortunate conditions.

According to ThePrint, a survey was conducted by Oxfam India and its partner organisation in Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Bihar and Chhattisgarh, interviewing a total of 306 ASHA workers. The startling facts that emerged were that just 23 percent workers had received hazmat or bodysuits. 64 percent of them claimed to have received no incentives for the Covid-related responsibilities undertaken by them. Only 43 percent ASHAs had received their monthly honorariums on a regular basis, as of September last year.

Central government’s Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana that was meant to provide an insurance cover of Rs. 50 lakh per person to frontline healthcare workers, sanitation staff, paramedics and nurses, ASHA workers and doctors was known to only 38 percent ASHA workers across the 4 states.

Besides verbal applause and showering petals over hospitals through helicopters to motivate healthcare workers, the government should start with recognising the ASHA workers who have proved to be more than just volunteers, and to not look for interim measures to shore up the crumbling public healthcare system. Subsequently, inhumane working conditions, inadequate staffing, low compensation, unacceptable working, lack of basic amenities should be next on the agenda!

As India begins to recover from 15 months of a social and political crisis unleashed by mis-governance over the handling of the health emergency, will Indians learn lessons and join hands to campaign for better wage security and health conditions for our ASHA workers?
 

Related:

ASHA Workers on Covid-19 duty demand safety gear, healthcare, insurance and better wages
Reports of glaring vacancies of ASHA workers in Covid-19 hotspots, no pay emerge
ASHA activist Ranjana Nirula succumbs to Covid-19

Is India exploiting its ASHA workers?

Successive governments have ignored these baseline health workers who receive low remunerations that are often delayed; they aren’t even given proper Covid kits

Asha WorkersImage from MOHFW Twitter

As part of the government’s National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), a new group of baseline health workers called Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA workers) was formed in 2005 to address health related demands of the rural population, especially women and children, who find it arduous to access basic health services.

The government guidelines laid down several responsibilities of ASHA workers which include creating awareness about health and its social determinants, mobilising the community towards local health planning, and increased utilisation and accountability of existing health services. This 2005 design recruited women as volunteers on honorariums to engage in tasks central to the functioning of the public health infrastructure, and promote good health practices.

Their role became even more critical in the Covid-19 pandemic era as they have been deployed to undertake additional work, like conducting door to door tests, monitoring the migrant workers, ensuring the adherence to Covid-19 protocols, as well as collecting data and reporting to the primary health centres across various states.

But the workload of ASHA workers is not directly proportional to the remuneration they receive, and they continue to be seen merely as volunteer service providers. The enormity of injustice does not end here, as they don’t fall under the ambit of the Minimum Wage Act, and don’t enjoy the maternity benefits and other schemes offered to regular government employees.
 

Meagre wage

In a written answer provided by Bharati Pravin Pawar, Minister of Health and Family Welfare, on July 23 this year to the Lok Sabha, it was revealed that ASHA workers receive a fixed monthly incentive of Rs. 2,000 for undertaking routine and recurring activities. Further to incentivise Covid-19 duty, the government decided to add an additional Rs. 1,000 per month under India’s Covid-19 Health System Preparedness and Emergency Response Package.

Different states have different incentives for ASHA workers, but there have been several strikes since the onset of the pandemic demanding sufficient and timely remuneration. For instance, Uttar Pradesh sanctioned Rs. 750 per month from the state budget and the average ASHA payment in the State is Rs. 4,270 per month. CJP’s interaction with hundreds of these women across the state reveals backlogs in payment of wages and often, withholding of payment, too. Bihar provides Rs. 1,000 per month apart from the fixed price fixed by the centre, so ASHAs in Bihar get Rs. 3,000 per month, Himachal Pradesh ASHAs get Rs. 2,000 per month, Uttarakhand ASHAs get Rs. 5,000 per annum and Rs. 1,000 per month.

Besides the range of monetary incentives to the ASHAs, on June 25, 2020, thousands of ASHA workers united, at the call of the All India Coordination Committee of ASHA Workers (CITU), and held a protest at various states, including Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Assam, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala for regularisation as government workers, for adequate Covid kits (gloves, masks, sanitisers), additional incentive of Rs.25,000 per month for all contract and scheme workers, Rs. 50 lakhs insurance cover to all frontline workers, etc.

The same answer provided to the Lok Sabha in July this year also revealed that out of 10,47,324 ASHAs, a total of 109 have died due to Covid-19 till April of this year, across the nation, but the numbers could be arguably higher.

Going by the government records, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Sikkim, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Puducherry, Himachal Pradesh, Ladakh, Lakshadweep, Andamans, Arunachal Pradesh, Dadar and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu and Assam have not recorded a single death of the health activists.  
 

Covid-19 duty risks

In May this year, lakhs of Accredited Social Health Activists across the country reportedly protested and demanded their pending payments and protective gears like PPE kits and masks for themselves. The workers who have efficiently assisted the government in controlling the spread of the virus have raised their voices against inadequate facilities. Some workers have complained that they hadn’t been provided uniforms for the last three years and they are expected to travel door to door to check on home isolated patients but have not been provided for transport, food or water while attending duties and most were yet to be tested for Covid-19. 

According to a NewsClick report, in Karnataka, D. Nagalakshmi, state secretary of the All-India United Trade Union Centre (AIUTUC) backed ASHA Workers’ Union said that the 42,000 workers have been waiting for their “honorarium” – Rs 4,000 – for the past two months.


Justice from the Courts?

The Bombay High Court was one of the first courts to recognise the importance of ASHA workers especially in the fight to combat Covid-19 and had directed the government to pay Rs. 200 per day instead of the fixed Rs. 1,000 per month. The application was filed on behalf of the Nagpur Municipal Corporation Employees Union in Subhash Jainarayan Zanwar Vs. Union of India and others, PIL No.10 of 2020), wherein they brought to the notice of the court the pathetic condition of the Accredited Social Health Activists.

They complained that appropriate remuneration was not being paid to the ASHA workers and the basic equipment for protection/security were not provided and further, even refreshments and tea, as also water from time to time, was not available to them. The insensitive Nagpur Municipal Corporation had gone a step ahead and filed an affidavit in the matter stating that there was no legal provision to provide food and refreshments to the ASHAs!

Justice Manish Pitale had said, “This Court finds that the ASHA workers, who are at the forefront of the war against COVID-19 and who are performing special duties, including door to door survey of houses during such crisis, are being treated in a most unfortunate manner by the Corporation. Even if the amounts of 1000/- per month and 1500/- ₹ 1000/- per month and that ₹ 1000/- per month and that per month i.e. total of 2500/- per month is being paid to ₹ 1000/- per month and that the ASHA workers, it is hardly sufficient for survival of such workers… It is distressing that those at the forefront of the war against COVID-19 are meted out with such treatment by the public authorities including the Corporation.”
 

How far have our courts helped?

Negligent efforts have been taken by the judiciary and the government to recognise the status of ASHAs as workers under the Industrial Act to avail the benefits of the Minimum Wages Act. The Minimum Wage Act that prescribes a minimum amount must be paid to an employee by the employer, as mentioned above, does not apply to ASHA or Anganwadi workers.

A big blow to Anganwadi workers was in 2006, when the Supreme Court Bench of Justices SB Sinha and Markandey Katju had held that Anganwadi workers engaged under the Integrated Child Development Service (ICDS) Programme are not entitled to minimum wages as the Minimum Wages Act is applicable only to ‘workmen’ in the industries. The Bench said the ICDS programme would not constitute an “industry” within the meaning of the Act and Anganwadi workers were not industrial workmen. (State Of Karnataka & Ors vs Ameerbi & Ors, Appeal Civ. No. 4953-4957 of 1998). 

However, in State of Punjab and Others versus Jagjit Singh, Civ. Appeal No. 203 of 2013, the Supreme Court offered some relief for scheme workers where it ruled that all types of temporary workers and daily wagers are entitled to wage parity with the regular workers provided, if they perform similar work. Another important aspect of this judgment was that it had opined that a mere difference in nomenclature should not deprive an employee from being paid a similar wage that a permanent employee gets for the “same amount of work”.

Calling it “exploitative enslavement”, the court had said, “it is fallacious to determine artificial parameters to deny fruits of labour. An employee engaged for the same work, cannot be paid less than another, who performs the same duties and responsibilities. Certainly not, in a welfare state. Such an action besides being demeaning, strikes at the very foundation of human dignity. Any one, who is compelled to work at a lesser wage, does not do so voluntarily. He does so, to provide food and shelter to his family, at the cost of his self-respect and dignity, at the cost of his self-worth, and at the cost of his integrity. For he knows that his dependents would suffer immensely, if he does not accept the lesser wage.” 

Almost 5 years after this judgment, ASHA workers continue to fight for their identity, demanding for a permanent worker status and surely, the pandemic has exacerbated their needs. The 45th session of the Indian Labour Conference (ILC), had also recommended that all scheme workers should be recognised as ‘workers’ and not as ‘volunteers’ or ‘honorary workers’. It was also suggested that the Anganwadi workers and ASHAs be covered under life and health insurance and all necessary amenities should be extended to the women. But the action taken report presented by the government at the 46th meeting of the Standing Labour Committee rejected each and every one of these demands except the demand for insurance scheme coverage.  

In Oxfam’s Commitment to Reducing Inequality Report 2020, India ranked 154 in health spending, (fifth from the bottom). This infrastructurally reflects on the lack of enough amenities for the health workers that have been fighting tooth and nail to contain the pandemic. Despite being hailed as frontline workers and Covid-19 warriors, essential ASHA workers continue to work under unfortunate conditions.

According to ThePrint, a survey was conducted by Oxfam India and its partner organisation in Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Bihar and Chhattisgarh, interviewing a total of 306 ASHA workers. The startling facts that emerged were that just 23 percent workers had received hazmat or bodysuits. 64 percent of them claimed to have received no incentives for the Covid-related responsibilities undertaken by them. Only 43 percent ASHAs had received their monthly honorariums on a regular basis, as of September last year.

Central government’s Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana that was meant to provide an insurance cover of Rs. 50 lakh per person to frontline healthcare workers, sanitation staff, paramedics and nurses, ASHA workers and doctors was known to only 38 percent ASHA workers across the 4 states.

Besides verbal applause and showering petals over hospitals through helicopters to motivate healthcare workers, the government should start with recognising the ASHA workers who have proved to be more than just volunteers, and to not look for interim measures to shore up the crumbling public healthcare system. Subsequently, inhumane working conditions, inadequate staffing, low compensation, unacceptable working, lack of basic amenities should be next on the agenda!

As India begins to recover from 15 months of a social and political crisis unleashed by mis-governance over the handling of the health emergency, will Indians learn lessons and join hands to campaign for better wage security and health conditions for our ASHA workers?
 

Related:

ASHA Workers on Covid-19 duty demand safety gear, healthcare, insurance and better wages
Reports of glaring vacancies of ASHA workers in Covid-19 hotspots, no pay emerge
ASHA activist Ranjana Nirula succumbs to Covid-19

Related Articles


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Anganwadi agitation: 20 villages in Punjab burn effigies of the government!

Anganwadi workers declare a series of protests until September 30 to show dissent against the state government

14 Sep 2021

Farmer Protest

As many as 20 villages of Muktsar Sahib district, Punjab burnt effigies of the state government on the call of anganwadi workers and helpers on September 14, 2021.

Punjab Anganwadi Employees Union President Hargobind Kaur thanked the 20 villages for participating in the workers’ struggle that will go on till September 30. A state-wide protest will also take place on October 2.

The demonstrations began on September 13 during which villages of Lakhewali, Khokhar, Chautra, Fattanwala, Ramgarh Chunghan, Sirwali, Barkandi, Haraj, Fatui Khera, Dhulkot, Doda, Kotli Ablu, Dabra, Lakkarwala, Ward No. 11 Malout, Kaulianwali, Fatta, Ramnagar, Sheikhu and Chhapianwali showed solidarity.

Anganwadi

Anganwadi workers

Through these protests, employees reiterated their demand to reinstate children between 3 and 6 years, who were transferred from anganwadi centres to primary schools by the state government in 2017.

Further, women demanded that their job designation be promoted to nursery teachers. Earlier, the government promoted EGS volunteers to the same status. Along with this change in status, they demanded that the government offer them honorarium as per the Haryana pattern.

Hargobind Kaur also demanded that workers receive the pending money from Pradhan Mantri Matri Vandana Yojana (PMVY) 2017 – a maternity benefit programme.

Related:

Punjab creche workers announce dharna if state gov’t fails to pay dues
Punjab: Anganwadi workers continue working without food or funds
All-Punjab Anganwadi Workers’ Union to hold a protest march on March 4
Will Anganwadi workers ever get their due?

Anganwadi agitation: 20 villages in Punjab burn effigies of the government!

Anganwadi workers declare a series of protests until September 30 to show dissent against the state government

Farmer Protest

As many as 20 villages of Muktsar Sahib district, Punjab burnt effigies of the state government on the call of anganwadi workers and helpers on September 14, 2021.

Punjab Anganwadi Employees Union President Hargobind Kaur thanked the 20 villages for participating in the workers’ struggle that will go on till September 30. A state-wide protest will also take place on October 2.

The demonstrations began on September 13 during which villages of Lakhewali, Khokhar, Chautra, Fattanwala, Ramgarh Chunghan, Sirwali, Barkandi, Haraj, Fatui Khera, Dhulkot, Doda, Kotli Ablu, Dabra, Lakkarwala, Ward No. 11 Malout, Kaulianwali, Fatta, Ramnagar, Sheikhu and Chhapianwali showed solidarity.

Anganwadi

Anganwadi workers

Through these protests, employees reiterated their demand to reinstate children between 3 and 6 years, who were transferred from anganwadi centres to primary schools by the state government in 2017.

Further, women demanded that their job designation be promoted to nursery teachers. Earlier, the government promoted EGS volunteers to the same status. Along with this change in status, they demanded that the government offer them honorarium as per the Haryana pattern.

Hargobind Kaur also demanded that workers receive the pending money from Pradhan Mantri Matri Vandana Yojana (PMVY) 2017 – a maternity benefit programme.

Related:

Punjab creche workers announce dharna if state gov’t fails to pay dues
Punjab: Anganwadi workers continue working without food or funds
All-Punjab Anganwadi Workers’ Union to hold a protest march on March 4
Will Anganwadi workers ever get their due?

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Eviction notices served to Hindustan Paper Mills units in Assam

Notices were served to officers, workers and employees at the Cachar and Nagaon facilities

07 Sep 2021

Eviction NoticeImage Courtesy:thewire.in

The authority undertaking the auction of the two paper mills belonging to Hindustan Paper Corporation Ltd. (HPCL) in Nagaon and Cachar, has now served an evacuation notice to the mill’s employees in connection with the impending liquidation. The notices addressed to all erstwhile officers, workers and employees, ask them to vacate residential quarters allocated to them.

This heartless act has sent shockwaves across Assam given how it comes amidst a raging Covid-19 pandemic, and also successive floods! As many as 900 people stand to lose their safe havens due to these eviction notices.

SabrangIndia had previously reported on how the workers’ unions had demanded the revival of the paper mills that have been defunct for five years.  Production stopped at the Cachar mill on October 20, 2015 and at the Nagaon mill from March 13, 2017. However, this was done allegedly, without even a proper closure notice! These mills were huge public sector undertakings and when they shut down, it was the end of a stable source of livelihood for hundreds of people.

Meanwhile, the wages of about 1,200 employees of the mill have been suspended for more than 50 months. The factory workers have failed to get their dues despite many protests. According to the mill workers’ union, at least 87 employees have died since the mills stopped functioning; some from anxiety due to the sudden shut down, and some because they were unable to afford medical assistance when they fell ill.

The failure to revive the mills felt like a huge betrayal given how Prime Minister Narendra Modi had himself assured that the mills would be revived. While campaigning for the 2021 Assam assembly elections, Union Minister Amit Shah also promised that the paper mills would be revived.

The liquidation process was initiated under directions from the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) and the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT). This is because HPCL owes Alloys and Metals India about Rs 98 crores that the latter wants to recover. HPCL was also unable to continue operations due to shortage of working capital. However, though the auction was initially set for June 2021, there were delays as no private entity deposited the requisite earnest money of Rs 55 crores by June 15, reported The Hindu. The reserve price was set at Rs 1,139 crores.

Meanwhile associations of officers and employees had moved court challenging the liquidation. At the hearing on June 16, when the court was informed that earnest money had not been received, the court observed that e-auction was not going to take place. 

Manabendra Chakrabarty, president of the Joint Action Committee of Recognised Unions, had told SabrangIndia at the time the liquidation was initiated, that it was not beyond the government’s ability to find a humane solution, saying, “If Kerala government was able to revive the mills in their state, then why not the Assam government? If the state government wants, they can. Let the Chief Minister of the state revive the two mills. He can.”

After the e-auction was cancelled, he told The Hindu, “Now that the e-auctioning is not happening, the government should live up to its promise and revive its wholly-owned mills to end the trauma and torture of the employees who have not been paid their dues for 54 months.”

But it has been almost three months, and far from paying dues to families struggling doubly hard in wake of not just the loss of their steady source of livelihood, but also the Covid-19 pandemic, the liquidator now wants them to vacate their homes!

The eviction notices may be read here:

Related:

Assam paper mill auction: Employees’ unions demand revival

Eviction notices served to Hindustan Paper Mills units in Assam

Notices were served to officers, workers and employees at the Cachar and Nagaon facilities

Eviction NoticeImage Courtesy:thewire.in

The authority undertaking the auction of the two paper mills belonging to Hindustan Paper Corporation Ltd. (HPCL) in Nagaon and Cachar, has now served an evacuation notice to the mill’s employees in connection with the impending liquidation. The notices addressed to all erstwhile officers, workers and employees, ask them to vacate residential quarters allocated to them.

This heartless act has sent shockwaves across Assam given how it comes amidst a raging Covid-19 pandemic, and also successive floods! As many as 900 people stand to lose their safe havens due to these eviction notices.

SabrangIndia had previously reported on how the workers’ unions had demanded the revival of the paper mills that have been defunct for five years.  Production stopped at the Cachar mill on October 20, 2015 and at the Nagaon mill from March 13, 2017. However, this was done allegedly, without even a proper closure notice! These mills were huge public sector undertakings and when they shut down, it was the end of a stable source of livelihood for hundreds of people.

Meanwhile, the wages of about 1,200 employees of the mill have been suspended for more than 50 months. The factory workers have failed to get their dues despite many protests. According to the mill workers’ union, at least 87 employees have died since the mills stopped functioning; some from anxiety due to the sudden shut down, and some because they were unable to afford medical assistance when they fell ill.

The failure to revive the mills felt like a huge betrayal given how Prime Minister Narendra Modi had himself assured that the mills would be revived. While campaigning for the 2021 Assam assembly elections, Union Minister Amit Shah also promised that the paper mills would be revived.

The liquidation process was initiated under directions from the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) and the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT). This is because HPCL owes Alloys and Metals India about Rs 98 crores that the latter wants to recover. HPCL was also unable to continue operations due to shortage of working capital. However, though the auction was initially set for June 2021, there were delays as no private entity deposited the requisite earnest money of Rs 55 crores by June 15, reported The Hindu. The reserve price was set at Rs 1,139 crores.

Meanwhile associations of officers and employees had moved court challenging the liquidation. At the hearing on June 16, when the court was informed that earnest money had not been received, the court observed that e-auction was not going to take place. 

Manabendra Chakrabarty, president of the Joint Action Committee of Recognised Unions, had told SabrangIndia at the time the liquidation was initiated, that it was not beyond the government’s ability to find a humane solution, saying, “If Kerala government was able to revive the mills in their state, then why not the Assam government? If the state government wants, they can. Let the Chief Minister of the state revive the two mills. He can.”

After the e-auction was cancelled, he told The Hindu, “Now that the e-auctioning is not happening, the government should live up to its promise and revive its wholly-owned mills to end the trauma and torture of the employees who have not been paid their dues for 54 months.”

But it has been almost three months, and far from paying dues to families struggling doubly hard in wake of not just the loss of their steady source of livelihood, but also the Covid-19 pandemic, the liquidator now wants them to vacate their homes!

The eviction notices may be read here:

Related:

Assam paper mill auction: Employees’ unions demand revival

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Punjab: Contract employees to march to Vidhan Sabha demanding regularisation

Rejecting the recommendation of the Committee for Regularisation of Contract Employees, employees said they will rally towards the Vidhan Sabha in September

25 Aug 2021

Employee struggle

Members of the Punjab Contract Employees Struggle (PCES) and their families resolved to march to the Vidhan Sabha during sessions on September 7, 2021 to demand regularisation of workers.

Leaders Varinder Singh Momi, Jagroop Singh Lehra, Jagsir Bhangu and others gathered for a meeting on August 25 at the Teacher Home in Bathinda. Members discussed and ultimately rejected the recommendations issued by the Ministerial Committee for Regularisation of Contract Employees in response to their decade-long demands.

“It was decided to intensify the ongoing struggle against these recommendations by burning copies of the document across Punjab on August 26,” said Momi.

Accordingly, members and their families resolved to stage a massive protest march towards the Vidhan Sabha to demand unconditional regularisation of all contract employees including those enlisted, outsourced, contracted and those working under central schemes, companies, etc.

Protesters will hoist black flags to protest the corporatisation, privatisation of the service sector as well. Further, leaders said that zonal conventions would be organised all over Punjab to prepare the workers for the vigorous preparation of this struggle program.

“We asked the Punjab government to give up the service of corporators and regularise contract employees without any delay or face the wrath of the employees. It is up to the government to decide,” said Lehra.

Related:

Punjab: Contract workers put 'No Entry' signs for Ministers who failed employment promises
Contract employees flood Patiala streets, demand regularisation of workers
Labour Codes Issues: Spelling out the ABCs

 

Punjab: Contract employees to march to Vidhan Sabha demanding regularisation

Rejecting the recommendation of the Committee for Regularisation of Contract Employees, employees said they will rally towards the Vidhan Sabha in September

Employee struggle

Members of the Punjab Contract Employees Struggle (PCES) and their families resolved to march to the Vidhan Sabha during sessions on September 7, 2021 to demand regularisation of workers.

Leaders Varinder Singh Momi, Jagroop Singh Lehra, Jagsir Bhangu and others gathered for a meeting on August 25 at the Teacher Home in Bathinda. Members discussed and ultimately rejected the recommendations issued by the Ministerial Committee for Regularisation of Contract Employees in response to their decade-long demands.

“It was decided to intensify the ongoing struggle against these recommendations by burning copies of the document across Punjab on August 26,” said Momi.

Accordingly, members and their families resolved to stage a massive protest march towards the Vidhan Sabha to demand unconditional regularisation of all contract employees including those enlisted, outsourced, contracted and those working under central schemes, companies, etc.

Protesters will hoist black flags to protest the corporatisation, privatisation of the service sector as well. Further, leaders said that zonal conventions would be organised all over Punjab to prepare the workers for the vigorous preparation of this struggle program.

“We asked the Punjab government to give up the service of corporators and regularise contract employees without any delay or face the wrath of the employees. It is up to the government to decide,” said Lehra.

Related:

Punjab: Contract workers put 'No Entry' signs for Ministers who failed employment promises
Contract employees flood Patiala streets, demand regularisation of workers
Labour Codes Issues: Spelling out the ABCs

 

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Livelihood a bigger issue than rations for migrant labourers: MRC

Experts appeal to governments to look into job security and better wages for migrant labourers along with food security

20 Aug 2021

LockdownImage Courtesy:thehindu.com

Following the horrifying events of the second wave of Covid-19 in India, state and concerned authorities are gearing up for a possible third wave of the virus. Even the Supreme Court on June 29, 2021 instructed states to enact an appropriate scheme for distribution of dry ration to migrant labourers using allocation of additional food grains from the central government.

Directing states to ensure the implementation of the One Nation One Ration Card scheme in the suo moto plea regarding the problems and miseries of migrant labourers, judges said, “The State shall consider and bring an appropriate scheme, which may be implemented on or before July 31. Such scheme may be continued and operated till the current pandemic (Covid-19) continues.”

Additionally, they also directed states and union territories to register all establishments and license all contractors under the Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1979. This is to ensure that statutory duty is imposed on contractors to give particulars of migrant workers.

However, grassroot-level initiatives by SabrangIndia’s sister organisation Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) showed that people were more concerned about their livelihood and health rather than rations. During the second wave, the virus seeped into rural areas calling for better medical and economic support for below poverty line families.

Specifically, in the Purvanchal region, CJP volunteers visited the villages of Mau, Jaunpur, Banaras and other districts to distribute mohallah and family kits to people. Members spoke to many people in the weaver and artisan communities, who said their source of livelihood had halted due to the spread of the virus. The lack of awareness about masks, social distancing also added to the chaos.

Migrant Resilience Collaborative (MRC), a not-for-profit collective,has now raised the need for government investment in livelihood opportunities as the first recommendation to address labour migration in the last two years. In its Voices of the Invisible Citizens II report, it said, “Reportage from the beginning of the 2020 lockdown highlighted that reverse migration was a consequence of the sudden disruption in livelihood, the absolute lack of economic security and sense of community at destination locations.”

To address this, the report called for considerable investment in creating livelihood opportunities in cities and villages i.e., the source and destination of the reverse labour migration. The report emphasised that opportunities must focus on women for immediate income generation and to revive the participation of women in the labour force. Further, it called for relaxation in accessibility norms of one-nation-one-ration policies and other crucial schemes. 

Research shows that while digitisation and stringent ID requirements reduce corruption in the Public Distribution System (PDS), it also risks the exclusion of target beneficiaries and increase in transaction costs. “It is hence advisable to stall the digitisation process and relax the ID requirements, particularly related to Aadhar linkage, to prevent any forms of exclusion,” said the report.

Similarly, to ensure coverage of benefits under the Building and Construction Workers (BOCW) Act and other insurance schemes introduced in 2020, the report called for intense registration drives at block or district levels. In this regard, the Supreme Court’s latter direction to establishments and licensed contractors is appreciated. In the same vein, it argued that government stakeholders should combine efforts to monitor incidences of bonded labour and exploitation. “Relevant stakeholders must undertake strategic engagement with contractors and recruiting agencies at destination and source locations to prevent exploitation of migrant workers… This must include registration of contractors across source and destination, awareness generation and orientation of contractors on responsible recruitment,” said the report.

Further, rising unemployment has severely affected migrant workers’ monthly income levels. Experts called upon the government to implement the NITI Aayog recommendation of increasing minimum wage rates and implementing stronger provisions for workers’ grievance redressal in case of wage theft or non-payment of wages.

Moreover, local governing bodies should use the most accessible mediums to disseminate critical information about the pandemic, state responses and social security measures.

Dynamic lockdown regulations at the state and district level also call for the provision of quarantine facilities for labourers. Such facilities will also protect inter-state and inter-district migrant labourers from bearing exorbitant charges for travelling back to their native places.

With regard to vaccinations, the report said employers should work in partnership with local government bodies at worksites to provide marginalised communities with vaccinations. This reduces the risk of contracting the virus and prevents a major exodus like in 2020.

Earlier, the Pune Metro CREDAI President Anil Pharande took several measures to reassure migrant workers about their job security. They provided full wages, accommodation, groceries, medical and sanitation facilities and isolation rooms wherever possible. 

Further, the CREDAI petitioned the government for vaccines for all construction labourers above 21 years, even before the government ordered vaccination for people above 18 years. From May 1 onwards, the company intended to facilitate free mass vaccination across all their construction sites with the help of local governance bodies.

Related:

COVID awareness and Medical Relief for Purvanchal continues
India’s workforce demands fiscal support following the second wave of Covid-19!
92 percent of India’s workforce faces historic and unprecedented crisis: SWAN report

Livelihood a bigger issue than rations for migrant labourers: MRC

Experts appeal to governments to look into job security and better wages for migrant labourers along with food security

LockdownImage Courtesy:thehindu.com

Following the horrifying events of the second wave of Covid-19 in India, state and concerned authorities are gearing up for a possible third wave of the virus. Even the Supreme Court on June 29, 2021 instructed states to enact an appropriate scheme for distribution of dry ration to migrant labourers using allocation of additional food grains from the central government.

Directing states to ensure the implementation of the One Nation One Ration Card scheme in the suo moto plea regarding the problems and miseries of migrant labourers, judges said, “The State shall consider and bring an appropriate scheme, which may be implemented on or before July 31. Such scheme may be continued and operated till the current pandemic (Covid-19) continues.”

Additionally, they also directed states and union territories to register all establishments and license all contractors under the Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1979. This is to ensure that statutory duty is imposed on contractors to give particulars of migrant workers.

However, grassroot-level initiatives by SabrangIndia’s sister organisation Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) showed that people were more concerned about their livelihood and health rather than rations. During the second wave, the virus seeped into rural areas calling for better medical and economic support for below poverty line families.

Specifically, in the Purvanchal region, CJP volunteers visited the villages of Mau, Jaunpur, Banaras and other districts to distribute mohallah and family kits to people. Members spoke to many people in the weaver and artisan communities, who said their source of livelihood had halted due to the spread of the virus. The lack of awareness about masks, social distancing also added to the chaos.

Migrant Resilience Collaborative (MRC), a not-for-profit collective,has now raised the need for government investment in livelihood opportunities as the first recommendation to address labour migration in the last two years. In its Voices of the Invisible Citizens II report, it said, “Reportage from the beginning of the 2020 lockdown highlighted that reverse migration was a consequence of the sudden disruption in livelihood, the absolute lack of economic security and sense of community at destination locations.”

To address this, the report called for considerable investment in creating livelihood opportunities in cities and villages i.e., the source and destination of the reverse labour migration. The report emphasised that opportunities must focus on women for immediate income generation and to revive the participation of women in the labour force. Further, it called for relaxation in accessibility norms of one-nation-one-ration policies and other crucial schemes. 

Research shows that while digitisation and stringent ID requirements reduce corruption in the Public Distribution System (PDS), it also risks the exclusion of target beneficiaries and increase in transaction costs. “It is hence advisable to stall the digitisation process and relax the ID requirements, particularly related to Aadhar linkage, to prevent any forms of exclusion,” said the report.

Similarly, to ensure coverage of benefits under the Building and Construction Workers (BOCW) Act and other insurance schemes introduced in 2020, the report called for intense registration drives at block or district levels. In this regard, the Supreme Court’s latter direction to establishments and licensed contractors is appreciated. In the same vein, it argued that government stakeholders should combine efforts to monitor incidences of bonded labour and exploitation. “Relevant stakeholders must undertake strategic engagement with contractors and recruiting agencies at destination and source locations to prevent exploitation of migrant workers… This must include registration of contractors across source and destination, awareness generation and orientation of contractors on responsible recruitment,” said the report.

Further, rising unemployment has severely affected migrant workers’ monthly income levels. Experts called upon the government to implement the NITI Aayog recommendation of increasing minimum wage rates and implementing stronger provisions for workers’ grievance redressal in case of wage theft or non-payment of wages.

Moreover, local governing bodies should use the most accessible mediums to disseminate critical information about the pandemic, state responses and social security measures.

Dynamic lockdown regulations at the state and district level also call for the provision of quarantine facilities for labourers. Such facilities will also protect inter-state and inter-district migrant labourers from bearing exorbitant charges for travelling back to their native places.

With regard to vaccinations, the report said employers should work in partnership with local government bodies at worksites to provide marginalised communities with vaccinations. This reduces the risk of contracting the virus and prevents a major exodus like in 2020.

Earlier, the Pune Metro CREDAI President Anil Pharande took several measures to reassure migrant workers about their job security. They provided full wages, accommodation, groceries, medical and sanitation facilities and isolation rooms wherever possible. 

Further, the CREDAI petitioned the government for vaccines for all construction labourers above 21 years, even before the government ordered vaccination for people above 18 years. From May 1 onwards, the company intended to facilitate free mass vaccination across all their construction sites with the help of local governance bodies.

Related:

COVID awareness and Medical Relief for Purvanchal continues
India’s workforce demands fiscal support following the second wave of Covid-19!
92 percent of India’s workforce faces historic and unprecedented crisis: SWAN report

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MP: Century Mill workers condemn police brutality on VRS protesters

For the last two days, Century Mill workers have been demanding re-employment; four women workers were injured allegedly due to police action, and one is still in the ICU

05 Aug 2021

VRS protest

Mill workers in Madhya Pradesh’s Magarkhedi, Khargone district have witnessed undue violence in the last two days since August 3, 2021. Protesters have reported manhandling, forced eviction and destruction of tents at protest sites... steps allegedly taken to break the workers’ morale.

On Tuesday alone, more than 400 mill workers, including activist Medha Patkar, were arrested for resisting the take-over of the Centuries Mill owned by the Aditya Birla group. The activist informed SabrangIndia that one woman reportedly ended up in the ICU, allegedly due to violent intervention by the police.

Later on Wednesday, workers formed a human chain as they silently watched JCB machines destroy the protest site outside the company, while the Additional Superintendent of Police allegedly sat inside the premises.

As rationale for their actions, the police said they had earlier sent a notice to protesters warning that any demonstration will be viewed as “an encroachment on public land.” Interestingly, Patkar said that the official notice only cited Section 144 that barred social, political or similar gatherings.

What are mill workers protesting?

August 5 marks Day 1,389 of the Century Mill employment struggle. In this, around 873 mill staff and workers are protesting the forced voluntary retirement imposed on them by the Birla Group at the Century Yarn and Denim company.

Speaking to SabrangIndia, Patkar said that this is the company’s second attempt to sell the Manjit Global and Manjit Cotton mills. However, more devastatingly, this time the new party buying the mills has refused to re-employ people, who were previously working there.

Patkar observed, “The fact that they don’t want to rehire employees indicates that they don’t want to run the mills. Otherwise, why would they dismiss trained people?” She suspects the mills will be used to store cotton using contract labourers.

Trained repression of workers’ dissent

The Tuesday protest was the culmination of a four-year long struggle of over 1,000 workers fighting the forced VRS policy imposition. The human chain on Wednesday protested the administrative oppression.

Those arrested earlier were charged with a personal bond of Rs. 20,000. This included the Shramik Janata Sangh women who condemned the police for pulling women’s sarees, severely scratching and bruising protesters.

Patkar said that four women were sent to the hospital, of whom one woman, Gulab Prajapati, still remains in the ICU ward. Further, her husband said police verbally threatened him at the hospital when he asked, “Will you give us any compensation?”

“Many women were injured after getting inside the police car because of the reckless manner in which the vehicle was driven,” said Patkar.

Further, on Wednesday, protesters and activists witnessed JCB machines digging holes at the protest site and destroying tents. These tents also served as housing for the workers and staff who were forced out of company quarters.

“Some workers and employees are still inside the staff quarters. Even despite the forced VRS, their second instalment payment is pending. Officials say they will give the same once they vacate the premises. This is because they can’t evict workers without an eviction order,” said Patkar.

Workers are to be paid in two instalments as per the VRS. The first instalment paid Rs. 2 lakh to each of the personnel, all of whom have rejected the money. Members questioned the logic in calculating the amount. But more than anything, workers stand firm on their demand for “VRS nahi rojgaar do!” (Give employment, not VRS).

Mill workers’ long battle for employment

Earlier, the Birla Group had tried to sell the same company for Rs. 62 crore. However, the Bombay Court called the deed a fake sale that claimed the property as ‘agricultural land.’ Plots near highways like the mills in question sell at a different rate. The court declared the mills to be a Rs. 426 crore property.

According to Patkar, the Birla Group then offered to sell the mills to the workers. Other unions supported this move. However, when the proposal was submitted, Birlas rescinded their offer. Nowadays, they are once again trying to sell the property.

Meanwhile the High Court on Wednesday declared that the current case requires intervention from the state government. From October 17, 2017 till now, the workers’ protest has continued.

Mill Worker Protest

Related:

Farmers observe special meeting to honour martyrs of the movement
Who is Corrupt: Unravelling the Corruption Bogey

MP: Century Mill workers condemn police brutality on VRS protesters

For the last two days, Century Mill workers have been demanding re-employment; four women workers were injured allegedly due to police action, and one is still in the ICU

VRS protest

Mill workers in Madhya Pradesh’s Magarkhedi, Khargone district have witnessed undue violence in the last two days since August 3, 2021. Protesters have reported manhandling, forced eviction and destruction of tents at protest sites... steps allegedly taken to break the workers’ morale.

On Tuesday alone, more than 400 mill workers, including activist Medha Patkar, were arrested for resisting the take-over of the Centuries Mill owned by the Aditya Birla group. The activist informed SabrangIndia that one woman reportedly ended up in the ICU, allegedly due to violent intervention by the police.

Later on Wednesday, workers formed a human chain as they silently watched JCB machines destroy the protest site outside the company, while the Additional Superintendent of Police allegedly sat inside the premises.

As rationale for their actions, the police said they had earlier sent a notice to protesters warning that any demonstration will be viewed as “an encroachment on public land.” Interestingly, Patkar said that the official notice only cited Section 144 that barred social, political or similar gatherings.

What are mill workers protesting?

August 5 marks Day 1,389 of the Century Mill employment struggle. In this, around 873 mill staff and workers are protesting the forced voluntary retirement imposed on them by the Birla Group at the Century Yarn and Denim company.

Speaking to SabrangIndia, Patkar said that this is the company’s second attempt to sell the Manjit Global and Manjit Cotton mills. However, more devastatingly, this time the new party buying the mills has refused to re-employ people, who were previously working there.

Patkar observed, “The fact that they don’t want to rehire employees indicates that they don’t want to run the mills. Otherwise, why would they dismiss trained people?” She suspects the mills will be used to store cotton using contract labourers.

Trained repression of workers’ dissent

The Tuesday protest was the culmination of a four-year long struggle of over 1,000 workers fighting the forced VRS policy imposition. The human chain on Wednesday protested the administrative oppression.

Those arrested earlier were charged with a personal bond of Rs. 20,000. This included the Shramik Janata Sangh women who condemned the police for pulling women’s sarees, severely scratching and bruising protesters.

Patkar said that four women were sent to the hospital, of whom one woman, Gulab Prajapati, still remains in the ICU ward. Further, her husband said police verbally threatened him at the hospital when he asked, “Will you give us any compensation?”

“Many women were injured after getting inside the police car because of the reckless manner in which the vehicle was driven,” said Patkar.

Further, on Wednesday, protesters and activists witnessed JCB machines digging holes at the protest site and destroying tents. These tents also served as housing for the workers and staff who were forced out of company quarters.

“Some workers and employees are still inside the staff quarters. Even despite the forced VRS, their second instalment payment is pending. Officials say they will give the same once they vacate the premises. This is because they can’t evict workers without an eviction order,” said Patkar.

Workers are to be paid in two instalments as per the VRS. The first instalment paid Rs. 2 lakh to each of the personnel, all of whom have rejected the money. Members questioned the logic in calculating the amount. But more than anything, workers stand firm on their demand for “VRS nahi rojgaar do!” (Give employment, not VRS).

Mill workers’ long battle for employment

Earlier, the Birla Group had tried to sell the same company for Rs. 62 crore. However, the Bombay Court called the deed a fake sale that claimed the property as ‘agricultural land.’ Plots near highways like the mills in question sell at a different rate. The court declared the mills to be a Rs. 426 crore property.

According to Patkar, the Birla Group then offered to sell the mills to the workers. Other unions supported this move. However, when the proposal was submitted, Birlas rescinded their offer. Nowadays, they are once again trying to sell the property.

Meanwhile the High Court on Wednesday declared that the current case requires intervention from the state government. From October 17, 2017 till now, the workers’ protest has continued.

Mill Worker Protest

Related:

Farmers observe special meeting to honour martyrs of the movement
Who is Corrupt: Unravelling the Corruption Bogey

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941 deaths while cleaning sewers, septic tanks: Centre informs Rajya Sabha

However, no reports of death due to manual scavenging have been provided by the Centre

04 Aug 2021

DeathImage Courtesy:newindianexpress.com

While replying to a question tabled in the Rajya Sabha, Minister of Social Justice and Employment, Virendra Kumar, has informed the Parliament that 941 deaths related to cleaning sewers and septic tanks have been recorded across 21 States and Union Territories, but there are no reports of death due to manual scavenging. His response stated that as per the two surveys conducted by the local authorities in 2013 and 2018, as many as 58,098 persons have been identified as manual scavengers.

The Ministry's written answer said, “There is no report of death due to manual scavenging”, but it revealed figures pertaining to deaths of workers while cleaning sewer/septic tanks. The highest number of deaths has been reported from the States of Tamil Nadu (213), followed by Gujarat (153), and then Uttar Pradesh (104).

Centre to Rajya Sabha

In February this year, the government had said that the reported number of manual scavenging deaths stood at 340 across 19 States, with Uttar Pradesh topping the list at 52 deaths, as reported previously by SabrangIndia. However now, the stance seems to have changed. A few days ago, in a written response dated July 28, the Centre said “no such deaths have been reported”. This answer has once again been repeated through this recent response dated August 4.

The response received a backlash on Twitter and other social media platforms, with people calling out the government’s insensitivity to people dying while doing this work, which is illegal under the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013.

Human Rights activist Bezwada Wilson, who is also the national convenor of the Safai Karmachari Andolan, criticised the government for their lack of sensitivity and acknowledgment of the problem. He revealed that about 472 deaths from the year 2016 to 2020, and 26 deaths alone this year had been recorded due to manual scavenging. Further, he added that the details of all such incidents had also been sent to the Centre, but to no avail.

 

Wilson, while speaking to The Hindu, also said, “The statement itself is a very inhuman statement. The practice is inhuman of course, but the statement is very inhuman and cruel. They know that people died, and they reported it in the last Parliament, and now in this Parliament they are saying that nobody died.”

The answer may be read here: 

Related:

Centre claims that nobody died due to manual scavenging reported in the last 5 years!
Manual Scavengers: 340 deaths, yet Centre has no intention to make stricter laws!

941 deaths while cleaning sewers, septic tanks: Centre informs Rajya Sabha

However, no reports of death due to manual scavenging have been provided by the Centre

DeathImage Courtesy:newindianexpress.com

While replying to a question tabled in the Rajya Sabha, Minister of Social Justice and Employment, Virendra Kumar, has informed the Parliament that 941 deaths related to cleaning sewers and septic tanks have been recorded across 21 States and Union Territories, but there are no reports of death due to manual scavenging. His response stated that as per the two surveys conducted by the local authorities in 2013 and 2018, as many as 58,098 persons have been identified as manual scavengers.

The Ministry's written answer said, “There is no report of death due to manual scavenging”, but it revealed figures pertaining to deaths of workers while cleaning sewer/septic tanks. The highest number of deaths has been reported from the States of Tamil Nadu (213), followed by Gujarat (153), and then Uttar Pradesh (104).

Centre to Rajya Sabha

In February this year, the government had said that the reported number of manual scavenging deaths stood at 340 across 19 States, with Uttar Pradesh topping the list at 52 deaths, as reported previously by SabrangIndia. However now, the stance seems to have changed. A few days ago, in a written response dated July 28, the Centre said “no such deaths have been reported”. This answer has once again been repeated through this recent response dated August 4.

The response received a backlash on Twitter and other social media platforms, with people calling out the government’s insensitivity to people dying while doing this work, which is illegal under the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013.

Human Rights activist Bezwada Wilson, who is also the national convenor of the Safai Karmachari Andolan, criticised the government for their lack of sensitivity and acknowledgment of the problem. He revealed that about 472 deaths from the year 2016 to 2020, and 26 deaths alone this year had been recorded due to manual scavenging. Further, he added that the details of all such incidents had also been sent to the Centre, but to no avail.

 

Wilson, while speaking to The Hindu, also said, “The statement itself is a very inhuman statement. The practice is inhuman of course, but the statement is very inhuman and cruel. They know that people died, and they reported it in the last Parliament, and now in this Parliament they are saying that nobody died.”

The answer may be read here: 

Related:

Centre claims that nobody died due to manual scavenging reported in the last 5 years!
Manual Scavengers: 340 deaths, yet Centre has no intention to make stricter laws!

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Child labour still prevalent in India

58,289 children have been rescued or rehabilitated between 2020 to 2021, 770 cases registered under Prohibition of Child Labour Act in 2019

02 Aug 2021

Child LabourImage Courtesy:timesofindia.indiatimes.com

In an admission of a heart-rending reality that even after all these years India has failed to put an end to the scourge of child labour in India, Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Rameswar Teli, informed the Lok Sabha that about 770 cases have been registered under Child and Adolescent Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 during 2019. This was part of his submission during the ongoing Monsoon Session of the Parliament.

Telangana recorded the highest number of cases under the Child Labour Act at 314, followed by Karnataka at 83, and Assam at 68. Surprisingly, the data from 2019 suggests that as many as 15 States and Union Territories have not reported any case involving child or adolescent labour. Those States/Union Territories are- Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha, Sikkim, Tripura, Chandigarh, Daman and Diu, Andaman and Nicobar Island, Lakshadweep and Puducherry.

The 770 figure also seems unbelievable against the whopping number of children rescued/ withdrawn from work, rehabilitated and mainstreamed under National Child Labour Project (NCLP) Scheme. Between 2020 to 2021, as many as 58,289 children have been rescued or rehabilitated excluding the states of Bihar, Haryana, Rajasthan, Nagaland and Uttarakhand. Except Nagaland, all these states have had cases registered under the Prohibition of Child Labour Act up until 2019.

Number of children rescued/withdrawn from work, rehabilitated and mainstreamed under National Child Labour Project (NCLP) Scheme, year wise is as follows:

Year

Children rescued from labour

2017-2018

47,635

2018-2019

50,284

2019-2020

54,894

The written answer dated August 2 may be read here:

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) report titled Measuring Children’s Work in South Asia says that in India, over 12.9 million children between 7 to 17 years old, 5.1 percent of the total, are in employment, primarily working in agriculture and unpaid family work. The employment ratio for children in India more than doubles when they go from 12 to 14 years old, and doubles again when they grow from 14 to 15 years old.

Further, approximately 56.5 percent of 7-to 14-year-olds and 51.6 percent of 15- to 17-year-olds in employment work in agriculture, with manufacturing representing the next largest sector of employment for both age groups. The report also says, “Over 5.7 million children in India in the 5 to 17 years age group are engaged in child labour. More than 2.5 million of 15–17-year-old children are engaged in hazardous labour. Among all 5–17-year-olds, boys are more than three times as likely to be engaged in child labour as girls, and urban children are more likely to be child labourers than rural children.”

The entire report may be read here: 

The findings of the ILO report Child Labour: Global Estimates 2020: Trends and the Road Forward are more haunting that has predicted an additional 9 million children globally, who are at risk of being pushed into child labour by the end of 2022 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

This report may be read here: 

Related:

SC seeks data on migrant children from all states
375 million Indian children to suffer after-effects of Covid-19 pandemic: State of India’s Environment 2021 report
Fewer Children Out Of School, But Basic Skills Stay Out Of Reach: New Study
Over 1.4 crore children in Bihar don’t have access to digital devices: Centre in LS

Child labour still prevalent in India

58,289 children have been rescued or rehabilitated between 2020 to 2021, 770 cases registered under Prohibition of Child Labour Act in 2019

Child LabourImage Courtesy:timesofindia.indiatimes.com

In an admission of a heart-rending reality that even after all these years India has failed to put an end to the scourge of child labour in India, Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Rameswar Teli, informed the Lok Sabha that about 770 cases have been registered under Child and Adolescent Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986 during 2019. This was part of his submission during the ongoing Monsoon Session of the Parliament.

Telangana recorded the highest number of cases under the Child Labour Act at 314, followed by Karnataka at 83, and Assam at 68. Surprisingly, the data from 2019 suggests that as many as 15 States and Union Territories have not reported any case involving child or adolescent labour. Those States/Union Territories are- Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha, Sikkim, Tripura, Chandigarh, Daman and Diu, Andaman and Nicobar Island, Lakshadweep and Puducherry.

The 770 figure also seems unbelievable against the whopping number of children rescued/ withdrawn from work, rehabilitated and mainstreamed under National Child Labour Project (NCLP) Scheme. Between 2020 to 2021, as many as 58,289 children have been rescued or rehabilitated excluding the states of Bihar, Haryana, Rajasthan, Nagaland and Uttarakhand. Except Nagaland, all these states have had cases registered under the Prohibition of Child Labour Act up until 2019.

Number of children rescued/withdrawn from work, rehabilitated and mainstreamed under National Child Labour Project (NCLP) Scheme, year wise is as follows:

Year

Children rescued from labour

2017-2018

47,635

2018-2019

50,284

2019-2020

54,894

The written answer dated August 2 may be read here:

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) report titled Measuring Children’s Work in South Asia says that in India, over 12.9 million children between 7 to 17 years old, 5.1 percent of the total, are in employment, primarily working in agriculture and unpaid family work. The employment ratio for children in India more than doubles when they go from 12 to 14 years old, and doubles again when they grow from 14 to 15 years old.

Further, approximately 56.5 percent of 7-to 14-year-olds and 51.6 percent of 15- to 17-year-olds in employment work in agriculture, with manufacturing representing the next largest sector of employment for both age groups. The report also says, “Over 5.7 million children in India in the 5 to 17 years age group are engaged in child labour. More than 2.5 million of 15–17-year-old children are engaged in hazardous labour. Among all 5–17-year-olds, boys are more than three times as likely to be engaged in child labour as girls, and urban children are more likely to be child labourers than rural children.”

The entire report may be read here: 

The findings of the ILO report Child Labour: Global Estimates 2020: Trends and the Road Forward are more haunting that has predicted an additional 9 million children globally, who are at risk of being pushed into child labour by the end of 2022 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

This report may be read here: 

Related:

SC seeks data on migrant children from all states
375 million Indian children to suffer after-effects of Covid-19 pandemic: State of India’s Environment 2021 report
Fewer Children Out Of School, But Basic Skills Stay Out Of Reach: New Study
Over 1.4 crore children in Bihar don’t have access to digital devices: Centre in LS

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Centre claims that nobody died due to manual scavenging reported in the last 5 years!

In a written response submitted to the Rajya Sabha, Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry admits that the inhuman practice of manual scavenging is still prevalent in India with over 60,000 manual scavengers identified across the country

29 Jul 2021

No DeathImage Courtesy:newindianexpress.com

Ramdas Athawale, the Social Justice and Empowerment Minister has informed the Rajya Sabha through his written answer on July 28, that no deaths pertaining to manual scavenging has been reported in the last five years. Interestingly, this answer by Ramesh Athawale contradicts his own written reply dated February 2, 2021, where he had stated that the reported number of deaths stood at 340 across 19 States, with Uttar Pradesh topping the list at 52 deaths, as reported previously by SabrangIndia.

Therefore, this tone-deaf response of the Centre is nothing less than an insulting slap in the face of people, especially those hailing from the marginalised communities who are forced into doing this dehumanising work, despite it being banned under the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013. 

The Ministry has also provided state wise details of the total number of manual scavengers in the country which stands at 66,692. The state with the highest number of workers is Uttar Pradesh (37,379) and the lowest figure comes from Chhattisgarh (3). The data provided by the Centre is incomplete as it covers merely 17 states. Some more figures are as follows:

SabrangIndia has extensively reported on the issue of manual scavenging and deaths caused due to this inhuman practice.

In April this year, the Odisha High Court in a suo motu case related to the death of two young men in Cuttack, during manual scavenging, very strongly observed that, “The shameful practice of making persons belonging to the underprivileged and poorest sections of Indian society undertake the hazardous manual cleaning of sewers and septic tanks continues unabated notwithstanding the enactment of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013. It shocks the judicial conscience, as it should the society’s collective conscience.”

The Karnataka High Court has also been seized with this matter related to the death and rehabilitation of scavengers. In one of the hearings of a petition filed by All India Council of Trade Unions (AICTU) and High Court Legal Services Committee in March this year, the High Court took note of the grim situation and opined that it had become ‘crystal clear’ that the manual scavenging act has not been implemented properly in the state, as we had previously reported. The Division Bench headed by the Chief Justice AS Oka of the Karnataka High Court had also held that the practice of manual scavenging is inhuman and that it infringes the fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 21.

Two people died of asphyxiation on February 26, 2021 while cleaning a sewage tank in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, bringing the total death toll due to manual scavenging to six in just the month of February! Earlier, on February 14, three persons had died in Kancheepuram district due to the same reason, followed by yet another death of a worker cleaning sewage from a 30-feet deep well in Chennai on February 17.

More damning evidence of gov't apathy

Another question was posed to the minister with respect to assistance provided to manual scavengers over the last 5 years. In the year 2020 to 2021, only 14,692 workers out of the overwhelming number of 66,692 have received a one-time cash assistance of Rs.40,000 for rehabilitation. This number was even less between 2019 to 2020 wherein only 13, 246 workers received financial assistance. Between 2020 to 2021, states like Bihar, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh and Kerala offered no assistance.  

Furthermore, the numbers are even more shockingly low in 2017-2018 at just 1,171 workers, and in 2016-2017 at 1,357 workers. In the year 2018-2019, as many as 18,709 manual scavengers received one time assistance, but this number also remained shockingly low in comparison to the total number of manual scavengers in the country. Arguably, the total number of manual scavengers is way more than what has been projected, taking all states and Union Territories into account.

Last year on World Toilet Day (November 19), the Government of India had announced their aim to eliminate manual scavenging across the country by August 2021. Launching the Safaimitra Suraksha Challenge at a webinar in New Delhi, Shri Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister of State, Independent Charge, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, had said, “We are today setting another milestone by launching the Safaimitra Suraksha Challenge which aims to ensure that no life of any sewer or septic tank cleaner is ever lost again owing to the issue of hazardous cleaning.”

But we are far from solving the problem as the Centre with this response, refuses to even accept that there is a problem. Despite Indian laws deeming manual scavenging illegal, it remains to do very little for the workers and most importantly their safety.

The answer may be read here: 

Related:

Shocks the judicial conscience: Odisha HC on death of four manual scavengers
Two manual scavengers die in Chennai, death toll at six for this month alone!
Manual Scavengers: 340 deaths, yet Centre has no intention to make stricter laws!
Govt aims to eliminate manual scavenging by August 2021
Death of manual scavengers: Karnataka HC takes note of the grim situation
Death by excreta: The cursed lives of India's manual scavengers

Centre claims that nobody died due to manual scavenging reported in the last 5 years!

In a written response submitted to the Rajya Sabha, Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry admits that the inhuman practice of manual scavenging is still prevalent in India with over 60,000 manual scavengers identified across the country

No DeathImage Courtesy:newindianexpress.com

Ramdas Athawale, the Social Justice and Empowerment Minister has informed the Rajya Sabha through his written answer on July 28, that no deaths pertaining to manual scavenging has been reported in the last five years. Interestingly, this answer by Ramesh Athawale contradicts his own written reply dated February 2, 2021, where he had stated that the reported number of deaths stood at 340 across 19 States, with Uttar Pradesh topping the list at 52 deaths, as reported previously by SabrangIndia.

Therefore, this tone-deaf response of the Centre is nothing less than an insulting slap in the face of people, especially those hailing from the marginalised communities who are forced into doing this dehumanising work, despite it being banned under the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013. 

The Ministry has also provided state wise details of the total number of manual scavengers in the country which stands at 66,692. The state with the highest number of workers is Uttar Pradesh (37,379) and the lowest figure comes from Chhattisgarh (3). The data provided by the Centre is incomplete as it covers merely 17 states. Some more figures are as follows:

SabrangIndia has extensively reported on the issue of manual scavenging and deaths caused due to this inhuman practice.

In April this year, the Odisha High Court in a suo motu case related to the death of two young men in Cuttack, during manual scavenging, very strongly observed that, “The shameful practice of making persons belonging to the underprivileged and poorest sections of Indian society undertake the hazardous manual cleaning of sewers and septic tanks continues unabated notwithstanding the enactment of the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013. It shocks the judicial conscience, as it should the society’s collective conscience.”

The Karnataka High Court has also been seized with this matter related to the death and rehabilitation of scavengers. In one of the hearings of a petition filed by All India Council of Trade Unions (AICTU) and High Court Legal Services Committee in March this year, the High Court took note of the grim situation and opined that it had become ‘crystal clear’ that the manual scavenging act has not been implemented properly in the state, as we had previously reported. The Division Bench headed by the Chief Justice AS Oka of the Karnataka High Court had also held that the practice of manual scavenging is inhuman and that it infringes the fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 21.

Two people died of asphyxiation on February 26, 2021 while cleaning a sewage tank in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, bringing the total death toll due to manual scavenging to six in just the month of February! Earlier, on February 14, three persons had died in Kancheepuram district due to the same reason, followed by yet another death of a worker cleaning sewage from a 30-feet deep well in Chennai on February 17.

More damning evidence of gov't apathy

Another question was posed to the minister with respect to assistance provided to manual scavengers over the last 5 years. In the year 2020 to 2021, only 14,692 workers out of the overwhelming number of 66,692 have received a one-time cash assistance of Rs.40,000 for rehabilitation. This number was even less between 2019 to 2020 wherein only 13, 246 workers received financial assistance. Between 2020 to 2021, states like Bihar, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh and Kerala offered no assistance.  

Furthermore, the numbers are even more shockingly low in 2017-2018 at just 1,171 workers, and in 2016-2017 at 1,357 workers. In the year 2018-2019, as many as 18,709 manual scavengers received one time assistance, but this number also remained shockingly low in comparison to the total number of manual scavengers in the country. Arguably, the total number of manual scavengers is way more than what has been projected, taking all states and Union Territories into account.

Last year on World Toilet Day (November 19), the Government of India had announced their aim to eliminate manual scavenging across the country by August 2021. Launching the Safaimitra Suraksha Challenge at a webinar in New Delhi, Shri Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister of State, Independent Charge, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, had said, “We are today setting another milestone by launching the Safaimitra Suraksha Challenge which aims to ensure that no life of any sewer or septic tank cleaner is ever lost again owing to the issue of hazardous cleaning.”

But we are far from solving the problem as the Centre with this response, refuses to even accept that there is a problem. Despite Indian laws deeming manual scavenging illegal, it remains to do very little for the workers and most importantly their safety.

The answer may be read here: 

Related:

Shocks the judicial conscience: Odisha HC on death of four manual scavengers
Two manual scavengers die in Chennai, death toll at six for this month alone!
Manual Scavengers: 340 deaths, yet Centre has no intention to make stricter laws!
Govt aims to eliminate manual scavenging by August 2021
Death of manual scavengers: Karnataka HC takes note of the grim situation
Death by excreta: The cursed lives of India's manual scavengers

Related Articles


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