Domestic workers will get Rs 1,000 as pension

Will also get a health cover of Rs 30,000 per annum that will include their families and scholarships for deserving children
With the implementation of progressive plans that will cover health and pension benefits, over four lakh domestic workers in Mumbai, who can easily be defined as the backbone of the working class, finally have a reason to smile.

The state government plans that were initiated way back in 2006, are now on the verge of becoming a reality, as it has been observed that domestic workers have started queuing up outside State Welfare Offices for registration and submission of forms. In addition, the benefits offered, also include accident/death cover, along with scholarships for the deserving children of the domestic helps.

Registration must
"As soon as the news of the benefits broke out, in the last ten days, over a thousand forms have been collected by us. The welfare scheme will now give each member a health cover of Rs 30,000 per annum, including the domestic worker and its family," informed Babli Raut, president of Gharkam Molkarni Sanghatan, a wing of All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC).

She further informed that all those domestic helps, below the age of 30, would be entitled for a pension of Rs 1,000 per month in the next 20 years. "To avail of the benefit, a domestic help must first register with the Labour Welfare Board, a government body, by paying a nominal sum of Rs 90. Subsequently they'll have to deposit a thousand rupees per year into an account and the government will deposit an equivalent sum. After 20 years, the domestic help would be entitled for a lifelong pension of Rs 1,000 per month.

Pros and cons
Chanda Aigole, a domestic help from Western suburbs, sees this scheme as something that would benefit her two children in the long run.

With her medical bills being taken care of by the government, Aigole said that now she can at least save for her future, after retirement.

On the flipside, Raut added that keeping in mind the ever-growing cost of living in the city, the pension amount is not enough. Moreover, the scheme is not applicable to those domestic helps who have already crossed the permissible age limit (30). "One of our members, Nandita Shete (64), who lost her husband at an early age of 20, lives in Dombivli and for the last 30 years, has been travelling to Andheri to work as a cook-cum-maid. She has single-handedly raised and educated her daughter, who is currently married and works at a diamond factory. Who is going to look after her, when she attains an age, where she is no longer able to earn her livelihood?" questioned Raut.

Official word
Confirming the latest development, Dr Kavita Gupta, principal secretary, Labour Department, said, "We estimate that these schemes will reach out to nearly 15 lakh domestic workers in the state, out of which four lakh are from Mumbai. I have personally met the government officials of National Pension Fund, New Delhi, as the scheme has to function on a common pool of finances and governed by guidelines."

4 lakh
Domestic workers in Mumbai will benefit from the welfare scheme

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