The city fares poorly when it comes to registering domestic help with state authorities, a procedure recommended not only for security purposes, but also to give workers from the unorganised sector access to welfare schemes.
Of the 1.04 lakh domestic help across the state registered with the Maharashtra State Domestic Workers Welfare Board, only 10,000 are from Mumbai. In comparison, cities such as Pune, Aurangabad and Nagpur fare much better when it comes to registering their house help. Pune tops the list with 46,235 registered workers, followed by Aurangabad (27,881) and Nagpur (27,403).
With a view to aid domestic workers, the state government started a scheme whereby they could be registered. This would also help build a database with information about them.
The state formed the Domestic Workers Welfare Board (DWWB) in 2011, and started collecting workers' biometric data. Under the scheme, workers are required to submit proof of age, residence, three photographs and a certificate from their employers, in order to register with the board. Registered members are then eligible for welfare schemes.
In Mumbai, the biometric registration of domestic help began last month. "The process of biometric registration is conducted across the state, so that the right member gets the benefits of government schemes such as insurance, scholarships for their students, and the like," said Madhukar Gaikwad, state commissioner, labour.
Benefits such as accident and death insurance, permanent disability insurance, and scholarship for up to two children are awarded to registered workers. However, the state has not made it mandatory for domestic help to register themselves with the board.
"Getting house help registered is important so that some record is maintained. In case of any untoward incident, they could be crosschecked. This would also act as a deterrent for crimes by house help," said Mohammad Afzal, a social activist.