A skill development initiative with DWSSC, Delhi hopes to lift millions of domestic workers out of poverty

Union Minister for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Shri Rajiv Pratap Rudy, announced the commencement of the International Migration Centre project for Domestic Workers undertaken by Prayas JAC, in New Delhi on Tuesday. This programme coincides with the Indo-British Collaboration for the training and placements of Indian Trained Housekeepers abroad. A team of eminent trainers and service providers from UK and India joined the programme to demonstrate and present the road map.

The aim of the International Migration Centre and the related project is to train personnel to work in the UK and other countries through Capacity Building for Skilling, Occupational Standards, Assessment Processes, Certification, Service Conditions, Safe Migration and Dignity of Profession for Housekeepers through Indo British Collaboration.

Rudy mentioned the key reasons that created the need of such training by saying that there is usually a lack of proper education in today’s domestic workers. Some of them have only primary level education. They don’t get recognition which often leads to lack of decent wages, ill-working conditions, undefined working time, lack of weekly offs, loneliness (separated from family and friends, and children), poor career growth and skill development and sometime victimization at the workplace.

Shri Rudy also announced that they have recently set up a Domestic Workers Sector Skill Council (DWSSC) which will spread awareness and create an ecosystem by involving each and every stakeholder to motivate domestic workers to take up the training and encourage employers to participate in the training. The SSC will adopt a strategy for marketing campaigns to increase awareness among stakeholders. This will ensure that the people get the best trained domestic workers and domestic workers get the deserved remunerations, he further added. The DWSSC will ensure the workers to get skill development training so that they may get better wages, dignified service conditions, good human treatment besides, their interests to be protected through safe migration, resettlement and placements and to bridge the gap between the demand and supply of the skilled designated workforce. Some of the approved QP-NOSs pertaining to domestic help sector are General Housekeeper, Housekeeper cum Cook, Child Caretaker and Elderly Caretaker (Non-medical).

The Government of India is keen to facilitate this process through the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) and Ministry of Skill Development Entrepreneurship(MSDE) in partnerships with Training and service Providers in India and abroad.

By 2025-26, the DWSSC aims to accredit 400-500 Training Providers and provide certifications to an almost 2.5 million (25 Lac) trained workforce in the country. It is proposed to train and place over one million youth in 10 years. The domestic workers sector is perhaps the largest among the unorganized sectors in the country and will cater to the most marginalized and needy.

Although legislation protecting domestic workers is in place in India, the record on enforcement has been uneven. The sector and its participants are mostly unregulated and domestic workers are often subject to serious abuse, including low/ non-payment of wages, long work hours, and bad working conditions, mistreatment by employers and even instances of slavery and trafficking of minors. Most domestic workers are from weak socio-economic backgrounds from the economically backward states and take up employment within the sector to escape from abject poverty; a large number of them become migrant workers in Tier 1 and 2 cities, taking up work facilitated by a dis-aggregated set of intermediaries/ contractors. Low levels of education, lack of access to training, low or no career progression, low understanding of their rights and weak bargaining power lead to the impairment of their professional and economic development.

Education along with training to this segment of society will make them more aware of their surroundings and also at the same time give them better opportunities along with respect to their work.

The program was graced by Ashok Agarwal, IAS Additional Secretary CEO, Food Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI), Santosh Matthews, Director Ministry of Rural Development, Gayatri Kalia, Chief of Operations Deen Dayal Upadhyay Grameen Kaushal Yojana, Shashi Kiran, Consultant SQA National Skill Development Corporation, Sunita Reddy, Assistant Professor Centre of Medicine and Community Health Jawahar Lal Nehru University and representatives from Skill Development Organizations like Empower Pragati, Get Domestic Help and Be-Able

Rudy also unveiled the Practice Handbook; A Trainees Guide on House Keeper-cum Cook which was developed by Domestic Worker Sector Skill Council, National Skill Development Corporation and Skill India.

The sector will soon see partnerships with State Governments and various Agencies, Training Providers and Assessing Agencies that are being identified for affiliations, and the programs being developed in a mission mode to convert this entire sector in its content, approach and character.

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