Uttarakhand: Women health workers asked to take pregnancy tests to get contract renewed
10 April 2018: The Chief Medical Officer of the Pithoragarh district of Uttarakhand issued an order that all contractual women health workers employed under the National Health Mission (NHM) must undertake pregnancy tests and submit the reports with the office to get their annual contract renewed.
The move is aimed at denying maternity leave benefits as ensures under the Maternity Benefit Act, 2017 to pregnant women by not renewing their work contract. Uttarakhand’s health schemes are dependent on the workforce of around 1400 contract women workers who have been demanding fair wages and regularisation of contract.
150 contract NHS workers have gone on strike demanding that the order be revoked.
Migrant workers being welcomed in Kerala: The Economic Survey of the Kerala State Planning Board, published in January, points out that the decadal growth rate of Kerala’s population as per the 2011 Census was 4.9%, the lowest among States. Shortage of local labour and heavy migration of skilled and semi-skilled labourers, mainly to the Gulf countries, have stimulated the demand for Inter-State Migrant (ISM) workers.
The Kerala government has started unique schemes like the AAWAS Insurance scheme, Apna Ghar and Janani housing for the social security of ISM workers. The AAWAS insurance provides life coverage of Rs 2 lakh and free medical treatment up to Rs 15,000 in the government and State’s empanelled private hospitals. Some 1.6 lakh workers have already registered under this scheme. The Apna Ghar project provides decent hostel accommodation with basic facilities at Rs 800 a month. The pilot project at Kanjikode, Palakkad, will accommodate 620 male workers, is spread over an area of 44,000 sft, and has lawns, volleyball courts, resting spaces.
The Assam agitation that started in the 1980s raised the issue of nationality of Bengalis living in Assam. The Assam government’s present effort to prepare the National Register of Citizens (NRC) is persecuting Bengali muslims to flee their home and find employment in Kerala. 17% of the ISMs in Kerala are from Assam.
75% of the 37000 crore collected as labour cess remains unspent
30 April 2018: An RTI query has brought to fore that the state governments in the country collected Rs 37,482 crore till June 2017 under the Building and Other Construction Workers Cess. However, only Rs 9,491 crore was spent on workers’ welfare.
Around 2.77 crore workers are enrolled with various state labour welfare boards, of which only Kerala has spent a 100% of its funds on worker’s welfare. West Bengal, Mizoram, Manipur and Puducherry have spent close to 50% of cess collected, while overall more than 75% of the cess money lies unutilised with the state boards.