WRITTEN BY MR. VARUN KUMAR
In the past years, there have been numerous debates that India needs to have a National Policy for the welfare of the Domestic Workers. As we know that as of now, there’s no National Policy for Domestic Workers in India.
The Ministry of Labour & Employment is bearing in mind to formulate a National Policy on Domestic Workers and the same has been made clear in the recent official press releases of the Ministry. As of now, this National Policy is in draft stage.
The Central Government has already implemented an Act titled ‘Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Act, 2008, for the Social Security and Welfare of the unorganised workers. But, it is to be noted that this Act is not sufficient to protect the interest of the Unorganised Workers , therefore, a bill (The Unorganised Workers’ Social Security (Amendment) Bill, 2010) was introduced in the Rajya Sabha to amend the principal Act as on 05/08/2011 and it is still pending.
II. WHY IT IS IMPORTANT TO HAVE A NATIONAL POLICY FOR DOMESTIC WORKERS?
Domestic workers can be regarded as the weaker section of our society and in order to uplift their living standard and to provide them with more social protection, a National Policy is needed. A National Policy will help the domestic workers in numerous ways. It will also protect them against the exploitation by the upper layer of the society. It can also be said that a National Policy will set out a certain basic rights for the welfare of the domestic workers and all the States will have to keep that basic rights in their mind while formulating any policy for the domestic workers at the State level.
III. THE MAIN FEATURES OF THE PROPOSED NATIONAL POLICY ARE LISTED BELOW:
The utmost feature of this proposed National Policy is to provide protection to the Unorganised Workers. The Ministry is trying to include all the features in this policy which have not been incorporated in the ‘Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Act, 2008.
The main features of this policy are listed below:
a) The proposed policy will help the domestic workers to form their associations and unions. This feature has not been incorporated in the ‘Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Act, 2008. This feature of forming unions will allow them to have a body or authority which can put their common demands in front of the government. These unions can also raise the voice on behalf of other domestic workers.
b) This policy will also allow the inclusion of the domestic workers in the existing legislation. As of now, there’s no inclusion of domestic workers in the existing legislation except a few schemes framed for the domestic workers. The inclusion of domestic workers in the existing legislation will bring stability in the unorganised sector.
c) The planned policy is aimed at providing protection to domestic workers against unnecessary exploitation. The policy suggests framing strict rules against the same.
d) The policy provides a chance for the workers employed in the unorganised sector to enhance their skills. National Policy is planning to provide some basic programmes for the enhancement of the skills.
e) The policy is suggesting the inclusion of some provisions which will allow the workers employed in the unorganised sector to approach the Courts, Tribunals and other agencies for the protection of their rights. This feature will enhance this social protection of the workers employed in the unorganised sector.
f) The policy recommends the inclusion of the provisions relating to minimum wages to the workers employed in the unorganised sector. As per this feature, every employer who is willing to employ any employee in the unorganised sector is bound to pay minimum wages. This will ensure financial stability in the unorganised sector up to an extent.
In nutshell, it can be concluded that this policy is a good move of the concerned Ministry and it will help the Ministry to ensure social protection for the employees employed in the unorganised sector. The present policy is trying to eliminate all the drawbacks presented in the ‘Unorganised Workers’ Social Security Act, 2008. The policy, if drafted properly, will definitely bring stability in the unorganised sector.
 National Policy for Domestic Workers, available at http://pib.nic.in/newsite/pmreleases.aspx?mincode=21.
 The Unorganised Workers’ Social Security (Amendment) Bill, 2010, available at http://188.8.131.52/BillsTexts/RSBillTexts/Asintroduced/Unorg.pdf.