Treatment Extended to Domestic Workers, Home or Abroad, is Despicable!

  • Despite mind-blowing advancements that are categorized as the modern-day world as we witness it presently, some of the anachronistic practices, beliefs, traditions, cultures, class, and caste considerations are still widely prevalent in the Indian context. This phenomenon which has been so deep-rooted since times immemorial hasn’t undergone much of a change in the way we conduct ourselves whether in India or while we immigrate overseas. Remember the famous saying, you can take Indians out of India but cannot take India out of Indians. Despite such a rich legacy of culture and tradition bestowed upon us, we continue to be plagued by some of the despicable practices that make us feel embarrassed when they come out in the open.

Domestic Workers

PC: The Mint

  • Every Indian is made aware of the caste right at the beginning of the individual’s comprehension abilities. The widespread caste considerations prevalent at every stage of our growth are perpetually exploited by the political class too. The caste conundrum signifying our political narration is ample proof showcasing how our society is formed based on these lines. Sadly, caste-based existence is an inalienable part of the daily routine that has been established. And treatment meted out to domestic workers from lower castes is appalling too. As reported recently, Britain’s wealthiest family, the Hindujas are in the news for appealing a Swiss Court’s ruling, which found them guilty of exploiting domestic help from India, raising two important issues.
  • First, domestic workers who go abroad for work are a vulnerable category. Second, the huge cohort of domestic workers in India continues to face exploitation because there’s no legal protection and social safety net. In the Hindujas case, the family is accused of underpaying workers, keeping them on call without proper breaks, confiscating their passports, and paying them in Indian currency. While the family has denied these charges, it’s a reality that domestic workers working abroad often face similar employment conditions. GOI has launched a consular grievances redressal system called MADAD. It’s a measure of the challenge that top FAQs on MADAD cover non-payment of dues, termination or absence of employment contracts, and repatriation.


PC: Wiego

  • Of course, the conditions of domestic workers in India aren’t better either. According to govt data, total number of domestic workers in the country was 28mn in July 2023. The actual number is likely to be more than twice as much. GOI did enact four labor codes in 2020 aimed at providing decent working conditions and wages. But they don’t specifically cover domestic workers. Plus, despite most state governments adding domestic work to the list of scheduled employment, they haven’t implemented this on the ground. Only Kerala is moving ahead with a specific law for the welfare of domestic workers that will fix minimum wages, and working hours, and ensure a safe work environment. India must enact a standalone law covering domestic workers on priority.