Indian domestic workers may soon head for the United Kingdom or West Asia courtesy of the central government, which has drawn up a plan to provide skill development as well as facilitate overseas placement of the vast and largely unorganized workforce of maids, cooks and babysitters, among others.
The idea is not just to skill domestic workers to international standards but also help them fetch better wages and make them more employable, said senior government official. “The government has adopted a twin-pronged strategy to train domestic workers to international standards and simultaneously enter into agreements with prospective countries where these people from India are in huge demand,” the official said.
Domestic help in India comprises nearly 20 million workers, the majority being women whose services mostly go unrecognized, whether working in the lower middle class households in the villages or the most affluent ones in the metropolitan cities. Most of these domestic workers function as “lifelines” to households, render multiple types of services through full-time or part time, live-in or live-out arrangements. However, these jobs are unregulated and often entail completely unacceptable working conditions, partly because domestic workers have not yet acquired the status of a profession or a trade.
National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) under Rajiv Pratap Rudy-led skills development ministry approved a sector skill council (SSC) for domestic workers for creation of standards for skill training of domestic workers going abroad. Subsequently, the council has identified 19 job roles which include housekeeping, child care taker, babysitter, elderly caretaker, cook, prenatal and post natal, nanny or governess, among others.
“The idea is to train the existing domestic helpers as well as the new entrants and connect them to overseas placement agencies through government-to-government arrangement so that they can be placed in a dignified manner and ensured social security, safety and wages,” said Amodh Kanth, chairman of the Domestic Workers Sector Skill Council (DWSSC).
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