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India: Impact of Lockdown on the life of Domestic workers: Sample Survey Analysis and Demands for redressal from the Government

India: Impact of Lockdown on the life of Domestic workers: Sample Survey Analysis and Demands for redressal from the Government

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by IDWFED published Sep 12, 2020 12:00 AM
The National Domestic Workers Movement (NDWM) Maharashtra made a sample survey to assess the impact of covid crisis on Domestic Workers. The analysis report and our demands were presented to the press during the Press Conference organised by the State Platform for Domestic Workers. We have launched signature campaign in the areas. The signature will be submitted by the delegation to all the District Collectors and the Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) where NDWM Maharashtra is operating.

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Two third domestic workers unable to pay their children upcoming tuition fees.
NDWM Maharashtra demands for welfare fund

The National Domestic Workers Movement (NDWM) Maharashtra made a sample survey to assess the impact of covid crisis on Domestic Workers. The analysis report and our demands were presented to the  press during the Press Conference organised by the State Platform for Domestic Workers. We have launched signature campaign in the areas. The signature will be submitted by the delegation to all the District Collectors and the Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) where NDWM Maharashtra is operating.

National Domestic Workers Welfare Trust operates in 10 districts of Maharashtra to organize domestic workers, identify their problems and find solutions. In order to face the crisis of covid-19 pandemic, the Central Government declared a country wide lockdown on 16th March 2020, as a preventive measure. All industries, businesses, schools, colleges, government offices, banks and in some places private dispensaries were closed down. Social distancing was mandated and meeting others or going to their residence was considered an offence. Shops were closed, and only dairy and grain stores were kept open for few hours in morning. Roads became no man’s land and housing societies and buildings restricted outsiders’ entry. 

Thousands of domestic workers who were working for years with certain families like family members became strangers with the lockdown. They were not allowed to enter the buildings and lost their jobs. They could not even get their wages for past work. Overnight they lost their income source and jobs. Though they were willing to work, it became impossible for them either because buses, railways and other transport facilities were closed down, or the households they were working for did not allow them due to restrictions on entry of outsiders  Some of the employers had lost their own jobs so they no longer wanted domestic workers to work in their house.

Whatever the reason, thousands of domestic workers lost their jobs and their only income source for an indefinite period. Their little savings were sufficient to survive only for a few days. Many of them, especially the migrants did not have ration cards. NDWM   involved in relief activities distributed food materials and other required items to these domestic workers. We decided to conduct a sample survey to know more about the impact of the lockdown on the lives of these domestic workers.

Accordingly, a sample survey was conducted with some representative domestic workers in Mumbai, Thane, Pune, Sangli, Kolhapur, Ahmadnagar and Nagpur with the help of Maharashtra State Domestic Workers Union.

The District wise findings of this survey are as follows:

Analysis :

1) Domestic workers of 7 districts, namely Mumbai, Thane, Pune, Sangli, Kolhapur, Ahmednagar and Nagpur participated in this sample survey.

2) A total of 5578 domestic workers were interviewed in this survey.

3) This survey was conducted to collect information about the number of domestic workers who lost their jobs partly/fully due to lockdown, number of senior citizens among domestic workers, numbers facing housing problems, or those losing food or health security and facing problems in educating their children. It also highlighted numbers of domestic workers who were the sole earning members of their families.

The statistics reveal the following information:

4) Among 5578 domestic workers 3475 i.e. 62% domestic workers lost their jobs partly during this lockdown.

5) Among 5578 domestic workers 1349 i.e. 24% domestic workers lost their jobs fully.

6) Among 5578 domestic workers, only 754 i.e. 14% domestic workers’ jobs were retained.

7) 1840 of 5578 domestic workers i.e.33% had completed 60 years and were still forced to work for their livelihood.

8) 2580 of 5578 domestic workers i.e. 46% are not having their own houses or are staying in rental houses and face housing problems due to lockdown.

9) 43% of 5578 i.e. 2393 domestic workers do not have ration cards. Hence they could not get rations during this lockdown and lost their food security during this period.

10) 3688 of 5578 i.e. 66% domestic workers are facing problems in continuing the education of their children as they are unable to pay the fees required to get them enrolled in their next academic year during this lockdown period.

11) Public transport being totally closed increased the problems of almost all the domestic workers. As domestic workers could not afford the expenditure of treatment in private clinics or hospitals, they could not reach public hospitals due to lack of transport facility and all the 100% lost their health security during these days.

12) 2710 of 5578 i.e. 49% of domestic workers are the only earning members of their family. Therefore these 2710 families face a dark future.

Demands:

1) The domestic workers’ welfare board should undertake a state wide survey and start the work of registering domestic workers immediately.

2) All domestic workers registered with Domestic Workers Welfare Board should get Rs 10,000 per month as compensation from the Domestic workers welfare fund until the lockdown is lifted.

3) All domestic workers who are not yet registered with Domestic workers welfare Board should get Rs 10,000 per month, from the respective collector’s office, until the complete unlocking of their respective districts.

4) Government should pass an order instructing all schools and colleges to give enrolment to the children of domestic workers in the next academic year and provide them required educational material, without demanding fees from them.

5) Government should give instructions to all ration shops to issue free ration to those domestic workers who do not have ration cards until the complete unlocking of their respective districts.

6) Domestic workers are forced to go to private hospitals due to unavailability of public transport to reach public hospitals. Therefore government should issue directives to all private hospitals to give free treatment to all domestic workers and their family members until the reopening of public transport including railways.

7) Domestic workers who have completed the age of 60 years are forced to work due to unavailability of other sources of income for their livelihood. Government should declare pension for such domestic workers immediately.

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