Daily Wage, Permanent Relief

Farzana Mumtaz

“Our govt will be regularizing 60,000 daily wagers & casual labourers working in various departments in J&K to provide sustainable livelihoods to those who need it the most,” tweeted Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti few days back, which many have seen a big stride towards solving this complicated and serious issue .

Daily Wagers and Casual Labourers have become symbols of agitation over the past few decades owing to their unfulfilled demands.



Some years back the state Finance ministry stated that 61,446 casual/seasonal /need-based employees were engaged in as many as 31 government departments.The reply added that at present wage rate of such workers was Rs 150 per day however in someDepartments,

The need-based and part-time workers were being paid consolidated wages at varying rates.

Importantly, this  reply also contained  department-wise number of such employees with Public Health Engineering-Irrigation and

Flood control (PHE/I&FC) department alone employing 23711

followed by Forest Department (7171), R&B (6692), Agricultureproduction (4383) and Housing and Urban Development(3922). In a worrying development despite the  state government imposing  a blanket ban on appointment of daily wagers on several instances, these people were engaged by various departments under different names such as casual workers and need-based workers.

After the State was burdened with huge appointments of daily wagers by polity that lacked foresight , what followed was the Lack of concrete policy on daily wagers, no regularization policy, huge delay in payment of salaries has defined the plight of daily wagers. With crisis growing into a disaster Daily Wager issue was among the  serious issue that has been surfacing as a very big headache  for the state administration and successive governments.

Importantly, The panel headed by Chief Secretary BB Vyas submitted its report to the finance department in October, stating that the total number of workers engaged in 31 departments under 15 different categories, including casual labourers and seasonal workers, was 1,00,501.

Syed Mohammad Haadi, an expert voice on it stated  “We should all welcome the decision of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti to regularize the daily wagers as agitation was becoming only means for these daily wagers over past many years .The daily wagers have faced great number of serious issues mainly due to very meager amount paid and that too after much delays .One is hopeful that the recent policy decision from the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti will be implemented in letter and spirit. Once the daily wage issue is solved with great vision and pragmatics it will take state to new level of transparency.’’

One hopes there would be light at the end of dark tunnel on byDaily wage issue with announcement on daily wage issue by CM.