Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir government has started the process of regularization of the daily wage workers engaged in various departments since 1994.
Officials said that the Finance department has prepared the SRO under which the daily wage workers will be regularized in a phased manner.
“We have sent the SRO to Law department for approval. It will be okayed in next few days,” a senior official in Finance department said.
While the government is not clear about the number of temporary workers, the sources say it was thought to be nearly 60,000 but later through an Adhaar based biometric identification it jumped to over one lakh.
Without framing wage policy for the workers, the previous governments have engaged these workers for vote bank under 15 different categories including casual labours, seasonal workers, and without wages workers, the official said.
As per the report submitted before the Cabinet on October 23, the total number of workers engaged in 31 departments under 15 different categories including casual laborers and seasonal workers has gone up to 100501.
The PHE department has engaged the highest number of workers, 30190, followed by PDD 13412, education department 12646, irrigation department 8395 and forest department 8317.
Official said the policy enshrined in SRO-64 of 1994 for regularization of daily rated workers, work-charged employees engaged prior to cut off date of January 31, 1994 is already in place from the date of issuance of the SRO-64.
They said government would first regularise the services of daily wagers engaged in 1994. “Once the 1994 batch is regularized, then we will take up further batches as per their seniority,” the officials said.
As per the mechanism finalized by the government, the workers will be categorized as skilled and non-skilled for the purposes of regularization on the basis of their educational, technical and professional profile, said a senior official in Finance department.
He said the remuneration of these workers would be determined on the basis of the skills and the length of engagement.
“Following the intervention of the Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, the government has already approved the roadmap for the regularisation of the daily wagers and the formal SRO in this regard will be issued by the Finance Department within a couple of days,” he said.
He said the categories of workers who will benefit by this important decision include Daily Rated, Casual, Seasonal, Hospital Development Fund and Local Fund Workers, NYCs, Land Donors, SPOs and Adhoc/Contractual appointees left-out under the J&K Civil Services (Special Provisions) Act-2010 for want of eligibility criteria.
Initially, the regularization will be made against consolidated remuneration depending on the skills and length of engagement of a worker, he said.
However, the workers will be entitled to all the financial and service benefits including annual pay hike of 3 percent, National Pension Scheme (NPS), leave and medical reimbursement, periodical hike in remuneration and maintenance of service records.
“They (workers) will be covered under work, conduct and discipline rules including retirement,” he said.
Official said that although skilled and unskilled workers are to be put in different scales of remuneration, it will correspondingly increase on the basis of length of engagement.
“There will be three categories of remuneration each in skilled and unskilled categories starting from 10 to 15 years of engagement, between 16 to 20 years and more than 20 years,” he said.
Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu had during the last budget session made a commitment on the floor of the house that the process for regularization of casual workers of various categories will start from the next financial year in terms of the set guidelines and criteria.
The state cabinet had on October 23 this year accepted the roadmap prepared by the high-level committee headed by the Chief Secretary for absorption, regularization of Casual, Seasonal Labourers and Daily Rated Workers to ensure sustainable livelihood to hundreds of such workers engaged over a period of several years.
The cabinet had asked the Finance Department to draft and issue the formal orders for operationalization of the roadmap.
Officials said the policy enshrined in SRO-64 of 1994 for regularization of daily rated workers, work-charged employees engaged prior to cut off date of January 31, 1994 is already in place from the date of issuance of the SRO-64.
They said the Empowered Committee is meeting at regular intervals and will continue to meet till last one of the adhoc/contractual appointee, eligible and registered with the Finance Department is cleared for regularization, if eligible, in terms of the J&K Civil Services (Special Provisions) Act-2010.
Finance officials said the government is also taking a holistic review of SRO-202 issued on 30 June 2015 as per which the appointees in non-gazetted cadre are entitled to basic minimum pay and grade pay during the first five years of the service.