Govt Paves Way For Implementation Of Minimum Wages Act

Representational Photo

Srinagar: In a significant step towards upliftment of the part-time workers, the Jammu & Kashmir administration on Monday sought details of the unskilled workers along with financial implication for the implementation of much awaited Minimum Wages Act, 1948.

In an order number, HD-NG-K/57/2021-0202, the Health & Medical Education Department directed the seven listed heads of various departments “to furnish the details of the unskilled workers along with financial implication for the implementation of Minimum Wages Act,1948”.

Addressing the order, the Under Secretary to the Government, Javaid Ahmad Malik asked the seven entities to treat the matter as “Most Urgent” and directed them to furnish the demanded details of unskilled workers (part-time workers/consolidated safaiwallas/helpers) within a week’s time.

“So, that the matter may be taken up with the Finance Department for their concurrence.” reads the order, a copy of which lies with Kashmir Observer.

Pertinently, the order came into action three days after Kashmir Observer highlighted the issue in its weekly Inkishaf program titled, “Covid Warriors or Bonded Labourers?”

The report highlighted how J&K government was violating its own Minimum Wages Act, 1948 that provides a minimum wage to the labourers working in the organised sector and bars their exploitation. The report had also highlighted how the J&K Government was paying a monthly wage of Rs 200 per month to the unskilled workers.

Notably, in 2017, the labour and employment department of the J&K government had issued an SRO-460 which clearly notified that the monthly wages of the unskilled workers should not be less than 6,750 per month.

It is pertinent to mention here that the sweepers who have been working in the sub-centres, primary health centres (PHCs), sub-district hospitals (SDHs), and district hospitals in almost all the districts of J&K, particularly in the Valley, have had the same fate where the minimum wages per month were not more than Rs 300.

In 2016, the Health Department, civil secretariat [Communication No: HD/NG/06/2011 dated 4 August 2016] recommended a hike in the wages of the consolidated health workers.

Workers being paid Rs. 100 were supposed to get Rs. 500 per month and those who were paid Rs. 500 a month were recommended wages of Rs.1,000 per month and a wage of Rs. 1,500 was fixed for the workers who were already being paid Rs. 1,000 per month. The maximum wages were fixed at Rs. 3,000 a month, which would be paid to only a handful of drivers.

However, the increase till now hasn’t been implemented by the government, except for a handful of drivers who now receive a salary of Rs.3000 per month.

The communication has been forwarded to several office bearers including Director general, family Welfare, MCH & Immunization, Principal Govt. Dental College (Jammu/Srinagar), Director Health Services, Jammu, Managing Director, medical Supplies Corporation LTD, Principal GMC (Srinagar/Jammu/Anantnag/Baramulla/Rajouri/Kathua/Doda, Project Director, AIDS controls society J&K and State Drug Controller.

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Zaid Bin Shabir

Zaid Bin Shabir is a special correspondent at Kashmir Observer. He tweets @Zaidbinshabir

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