Kerala

Efforts to restore lost employment of women in State

Planning Board assesses that their two months’ income loss in MGNREGS itself is ₹177 crore

The State Planning Board, in its preliminary assessment of losses to the State’s economy as a result of COVID-19, has come up with a few suggestions to restore employment of women. Among the suggestions in its report are an income support scheme to regenerate self-employment activities, incentivising MSME employers to hire women, providing members of Kudumbashree neighbourhood groups an opportunity to withdraw from their thrift amount in banks, and paying domestic workers lost wages.

The report, which estimates a loss of ₹80,000 crore in the first quarter of the current fiscal, says the pandemic has had a bruising impact on employment across sectors. A large chunk of this is informal employment, of which women form a significant part.

No contracts, benefits

Women form 16.4% of the State’s workforce as per the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS). A large proportion of women are employed at the bottom of the informal employment pyramid – as part-time, contract, unregistered, or home-based workers. Employed without contracts, worker benefits, or social protection, they do not enter official data.

The Planning Board is of the opinion that the number of women in the self-employed and casual worker category is grossly underestimated.

Most women work for ₹200 to ₹291 under the MGNREGS, ₹400 to ₹500 in fish vending or domestic work, to a bit higher in beauty parlours.

With MGNREGS work stalled during the first phase of the lockdown, its women workers have been dealt a blow. During the lockdown, about 50 lakh persondays have been lost, and the total loss for March and April is ₹177 crore. In Kudumbashree, the total loss to 28,083 microenterprises comes to ₹50 crore.

Service sector

The service sector employs almost 60% of women workers, 9% of whom are in household services, including domestic work. As per the SEWA Union, if ₹475 is taken as the average daily wage, each domestic worker has lost almost ₹12,000 in a month. Women fish vendors have lost ₹12,500 in a month, those in traditional work such as reed, bamboo, and handloom have lost ₹7,000, sales girls in shops ₹8,000, and cashew workers ₹7,350.

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Printable version | Jun 1, 2020 1:29:13 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/efforts-to-restore-lost-employment-of-women-in-state/article31609434.ece

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