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Domestic workers to protest for wages

Scores of domestic workers will hold demonstrations on June 17 -- International Domestic Workers’ Day -- to press for minimum wages, issuance of identity cards, insurance cover and constitution of a Social Welfare Board.

india Updated: Jun 13, 2013 15:29 IST
Hindustan Times

Members of the domestic workers’ union, Indore Gharelu Kaam Kaaji Sangathan, also want proper implementation of the Gharelu Kaamkaaji Mahila Kalyana Yojana, a welfare scheme announced by the chief minister in 2009.

Outlining the programme before media persons at the Indore Press Club on Wednesday, union vice-president Nirmala Devre said every time they approached the authorities to inquire about the Rashtriya Swastha Bima Yojana ( National Health Insurance Scheme) they were told “it is in the pipeline”.

“The Narmada pipeline breaks so often. Why can’t they break this pipeline and implement the scheme,” she queried to loud laughs from the gathered mediapersons.

In response to a question, Devre said the scheme would extend health insurance benefits to all domestic workers, regardless of whether or not they possessed a below poverty line (BPL) card.

"It has been launched in small towns but not in Indore which has the largest number of domestic workers," she claimed.

Devre said identity- cards issued under the CM’s welfare scheme, which is being implemented by the district urban development agency (DUDA), would remain valid only till the end of 2013. But no attempts were being made to issue fresh cards.

"If the CM makes an announcement then the benefits must reach the people for whom it is meant," she pointed out.

The domestic workers also slammed the authorities for delay in setting up a Social Welfare Board, part of the International Labour Organisations’ C- 189 programme which India has signed but not yet implemented.

"They say there are no funds for the board. If there are no funds then why was it ( the board) announced," queried the union vice-president.

Indore Gharelu Kaam Kaaji Sangathan works under the auspices of the Pavitra Atma Sevika Sangh (Sisters of the Holy Spirit) spearheaded locally by Sister Rosily, a fifty-something Catholic nun. It has helped the once unorganised "bais" coalesce into the Domestic Workers’ Solidarity union with 3,000 enrolled members of which 500 are registered.

First Published: Jun 13, 2013 15:15 IST