Calls for implementation of Minimum Wages Act; removal of pay anomalies
New Delhi, Jan 24: National Conference (NC) Member of Parliament from Anantnag Justice (Retd) Hasnain Masoodi on Monday sought regularization and removal of pay anomalies of daily-wager and contractual employees in J&K.
In a letter addressed to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Masoodi as per a statement issued to the news agency highlighted the grave problems faced by daily rated, temporary, casual, contractual, need based, seasonal and other workers serving in different government departments, local bodies, public sector undertakings and other government institutions in Jammu and Kashmir.
Expressing his satisfaction over the concerned ministry’s action following his repeated pleas on the issue, Masoodi said, “It is satisfying that the issue raised by me during Zero Hour on 01.12.2021 prompted the Government of India to write to the J & K administration seeking necessary information/inputs. The relevant details are expected to have been submitted by now. The plight of more than 61000 daily rated, temporary, casual, need based, seasonal, local fund, contractual, contingency paid and other workers is of grave concern,” he said.
The phenomenon of engaging employees on contractual basis, Masoodi noted was not unique to Jammu and Kashmir. “The role of the State as a welfare State has with the advent of time widened to new areas unknown to a police State. It became a key service provider, manufacturer of goods and even a partner in trade and commerce. The multifarious roles assumed made it necessary to hire extra hands. This explains the large number of daily rated, temporary and casual workers,” he added.
Masoodi further contended that those engaged have continued for decades together and have been serving people with dedication and commitment and in most of the cases are sole breadwinners of their families. “The State cannot be unmindful of obligation to secure social and economic justice to this literally exploited segment of society,” he added.
Highlighting the problems faced by this important component of administration, Masoodi said, “Regularization of 61000 daily rated workers and other workers have been waiting for decades. With delay in regularization they are deprived of a number of benefits like pay scale, grade pay, HRA, education allowance etc available to their colleagues in a pay scale performing similar and in some cases less onerous duties. The scheme devised to provide for regularization must give due consideration to the length of service and not the date of release of wages and also provide for all the benefits available to the regular employees. The long pending problem calls for speedy and hassle free justice,” he said.
Referring to the implementation of minimum wages act in Jammu and Kashmir, Masoodi said, “The Code on Wages 2019 was expected to convey urgency in implementation of Minimum Wages law pending the National Floor Level Minimum Wages (NFLMW). Jammu and Kashmir presents a depressing scenario. A large number of temporary, casual, seasonal, need based, local fund workers are denied Minimum Wages. In some cases like Hospital Fund Workers and Health Workers wages paid are only a fraction of Minimum Wages,” he noted.
Alluding to the delay in payment of wages, he pleaded, was the worst hardship faced by the daily, casual and other workers. “The workers are forced to come to the streets to demand release of hard earned wages,” he said.
In view of the underway preparations for the Union Budget and yearly Budgetary allocations for Jammu and Kashmir, Masoodi implored the Union Finance Minister to provide sufficient funds in Jammu and Kashmir Budget for regularization of 61000 daily rated, temporary and other workers, release of minimum Wages to all the workers pending their regularization and timely release of all arrears and current wages