October 15, 2020 12:20:02 am
Hisar administration has stepped forward to help female domestic helpers who have lost jobs during the pandemic.
The administration is preparing a database of the domestic helpers by conducting a survey in the town. Hisar Deputy Commissioner Dr Priyanka Soni told The Indian Express that the administration will try to help these workers get alternate employment by arranging skill training in tailoring apart from organising camps to make them aware about their rights.
“Loans can be availed for start-ups which will be facilitated by district administration. They may also form self help groups to start self-employment avenues,” she added.
Soni said the initiative, which has been named as “Mission Chahak”, was launched in September and till Wednesday the data of 2,500 women workers has been collected under the campaign.
Under the initiative, domestic workers will be made aware about their legal rights available under domestic violence Act. They will also be told regarding legal provisions meant to check sexual harassment at workplace, laws for equal wages and minimum wages. The issues related to health problems, hygiene, corona virus precautions, child marriage prevention and trafficking of women will also be discussed during the camps organised under the campaign. They will also be guided regarding government schemes including Jan Dhan Yojana, PM Suraksha Bima Yojana, PM Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana, Ujjwala scheme, Atal pension scheme and various pension schemes.
The social activists in Hisar believe over 20 per cent of the domestic helpers are still unemployed.
“In a survey conducted for 500 domestic workers in April-May this year, we had found as many as 350 of them had turned unemployed because of Covid-19,” says a woman activist from Hisar, Babli Lamba, a former municipal councillor.
“After losing their jobs, they had to take loans to arrange food for family members. In few cases, the house owners asked them to vacate their premises when they failed to give rent for the same. Their wards could not continue their online studies properly in the absence of smartphones. They even faced difficulties in paying their school fees. Not only this, the corona phase even affected their physical and mental health too,” added Lamba, who is district secretary of All India Democratic Women Association (AIDWA).
On August 25, the domestic workers had gathered in Hisar to stage a demonstration demanding financial help of Rs 7,500 for each of them to cope up with the losses they suffered during the corona times.
On administration’s latest initiative, Lamba suggested the activists of women’s organisations should also be associated with the campaign “Mission Chahak” so that they can give feedback to the officers regarding the ground realities.
Welcoming the initiative, a Hisar-based lawyer, Vikram Mittal, said, “The PGs (paying guests) are still closed because school, college and coaching centres are not functional completely till now. So, the workers, who were working in these PGs and other institutions, are still unemployed. They are ready to go to distant places to look for the jobs in the town.”
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