New campaign seeks RWA role in improving the lot of domestic workers

March 11, 2013 03:55 pm | Updated 03:55 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

Nidan, a social development organisation working for informal workers’ rights and entitlements, and the National Alliance for Social Security (NASS) on Sunday launched a campaign for immediate and proper inclusion of domestic workers in government programmes and schemes. The campaign also called upon the residents’ welfare associations (RWAs) to enable the domestic workers to avail of the benefits of the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana.

Stepping up the campaign, Nidan organised a consultation at Constitution Club here in which a large number of domestic workers and their leaders interacted with top labour and welfare officials, RWA functionaries and urban governance executives on key issues.

The theme of the consultation was “Towards Inclusion of Domestic Workers: Building Partnership with RWAs in Accessing the RSBY”.

Addressing the consultation after hearing voices and testimonies of domestic workers, Labour and Welfare Director-General Anil Swarup said it was indeed ironic that despite being the critical lifeline of urban life, domestic workers face numerous problems and lead a life of wretchedness. They work long hours for low wages, and usually have no maternity leave, health-care or pension provision.

Mr. Swarup acknowledged that the implementation of the RSBY in Delhi had not been up to the mark. “The camp mode enrolment of domestic workers for the RSBY is the need of the hour and it can only be realised through building partnerships with the informal workers’ organisations and the RWAs,” he said.

Additional Labour Commissioner of Delhi Piyush Sharma made a presentation on challenges coming in the way of implementing the RSBY for domestic workers. He assured that his department would collaborate with organisations like Nidan to reach out to domestic workers.

Earlier, Nidan director Arbind Singh said the inclusion of domestic workers was important in urban India. For the government to reach out to domestic workers, it needs a common platform to disseminate information and to implement the scheme properly.

“Nidan aims to facilitate this process through building partnership with the RWAs and other stakeholders,” Mr. Singh said, adding, “We consider the RWAs an important stakeholder in the process as they play a very critical role in every community of city life.”

Others who addressed the consultation included Divisional Commissioner Dharam Pal, Nidan Delhi head Sangeeta Singh, programme manager Mukut Sarma and NASS programme executive Sadaf Farooq.

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