Social security -- need of the hourThe Modi Government, in the past four years, has focussed on a big plan to increase contract and casual labor. One might argue that this increases employment opportunities for the relatively unskilled or untrained labor.
Here is one perfect example. The Government of India has initiated a fairly lousy scheme called NEEM. The scene of action is the Foundry Division of a huge company belonging to the TVS group. This company had employed a huge number of contract labor for several years. Many of them were on contract rolls for more than 18 years. They were given PF, ESI, subsidized canteen food from a separate canteen, bonus, and even gratuity. But they still continued on contract.
A massive strike broke out. Those with 10 or more years of service were absorbed as regular labor with some understanding and promise of good conduct (read total obedience and no dissent at all) and are now being taken care of to some extent. The Management sacked all others on contract up to seven or even eight years of service, to cut down total labor cost.
Now cut to the NEEM scheme. This scheme gives the individual 10th standard pass worker Rs11,900/- per month. But there is no security at all. There is no PF and no Gratuity. If the worker is injured, he is treated in some Government hospital.
The employers are very happy with this scheme. In a country were millions are available for employment, this is blatant exploitation. The PM would do well to revise this scheme and provide for regular permanent employment to such labor at the end of 3 years. The employers should also be generous. Just because the Government itself is backing such a scheme to publish records of increasing employment, they cannot take advantage.
Pity is that there will be huge heartburn when the employee sees another employer after 180 days of training doing a similar job with all perks, including bonus.
Are we not robbing Peter to pay Paul here? To what end is Social Justice?
How can social security flourish in this environment? Well, the Managers own houses. The regular workers happily march to the nearest ATM s to withdraw cash.
But the herds of sheep as they are often called, live miserable lives with limited salary. This is absolutely ridiculous and atrocious.