JAMMU Dec 30: “The SRO-520 of 2017 issued by the state government recently, is nothing but eyewash and a meager relief to the casual, seasonal and daily rated workers, who have been waiting for regularization with all service benefits for years together. However, instead of treating them as full-fledged government employees, these workers are expected to be designated as Government Service Assistants (GSAs), while in reality they have to work as contractual workers with category wise wages and without full service benefits.
Even the State Finance Minister, in his last Budget speech had affirmed that on moral and humanitarian grounds, the regularization case of the casual workers is quite genuine and as such, had promised that 61000 casual workers waiting for the positive government decision would be regularized with full benefits as enjoyed by other govt. employees. But the SRO-520 does not fulfill the expectations of the casuals who have been struggling for their rights for decades together. The SRO, only refers to “regular engagement” of various categories of daily wagers with, a rather zigzag and confusing mechanism and stringent conditions. As such, it is not genuine regularization but mere relief and a half hearted measure to overcome the crisis. In fact it is an open attack on the job security of the working class.
The fact is that only a bare minimum guarantee has been given to these workers by allowing them the payment of a fixed sum of money and that too after 10 years of regular service, as such this is sheer exploitation of the working class and is in essence the capitalistic model of contractualisation of jobs in a new form. It is nothing but to snatch away the employee’s right to job security. Keeping in view the government promise, the prospective regularized ,casual labourers, seasonal workers etc, should have been treated at par with government employees with all the benefits.
Grant of minimum wages is even otherwise the right of every worker and no special favour or incentive has been extended by the government in this regard. As per the SRO, the casual and seasonal workers are to be treated at par with the daily wagers and there is no difference in the nature of the jobs and duties to be performed by the daily, casual and seasonal workers.
A daily rated worker who has been engaged prior to 2010 is entitled for regularization under the Act, while the one who has been engaged after 2010 has not been deemed entitled to regularization, while he should also have been assured of regularization and the consequent benefits. Again there is no provision for the appointment on compassionate grounds of the next of kin of a daily wager who passes away in harness.
The job assurance to hundreds of families in lieu of the land ceded by them to the government for various schemes, has also proved a hoax. Several departments have acquired small tracts of farm land of marginal growers in various parts of the state with the promise of providing employment to one of the family members, but SRO 520 envisages the provision of job only to those land owners who have yielded not less than one kanal. This condition will disable hundreds of those poor farmers who have ceded to the government a little bit less than the prescribed area and have been waiting for the promised jobs as mere subsistence. Another condition of considering the cases of only those families who have ceded the land before 31-12-2001 is detrimental to the interests of these unfortunate families who feel deceived by the government.
Keeping the above lacunas of the SRO in view, only a small section of the casual and seasonal workers will get benefitted, even though, they have been fighting and struggling for years together, facing lathi charges, tear gas shells and detentions.”
He impressed upon the government to revise the SRO, remove anomalies and make it worker friendly.