Exploited and Vulnerable

Exploited and Vulnerable
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Much as politicians and powers that be in the administration pay lip service to the laboring classes in the unorganized sector, the prosaic fact is and remains that this class of people remain at the receiving end of society in almost every sense. Mostly or often times, these people are daily wagers. That is, they make their living on a daily basis. Given the conditions that obtain in Kashmir, politically and climactically, this means that a pall of uncertainty hangs over these laboring classes of Kashmir. Even if, discounting the politics and weather induced uncertainty that affects the incomes of our laboring classes, another disturbing factor is the volatility of their earnings. Moreover, almost invariably, people working in the unorganized sector are not part of the formal banking sector. This means that they are unbankable which, in turn, means that their savings, if at all they say, are also volatile. All these factors and reasons, by no means exhaustive, should concentrate the minds of powers that be and, generally, society, at large, to come to the aid and succor of this vulnerable section of society. But, instead of this, what is observed is self serving lip service by politicians, or even exploitation of this class for political reasons, on account of patronage based politics. If and when people are sensitized about the plight of this vulnerable class what, the question is, can be done to assist them? The answer is as obvious as can be. The first step would or should be attempts to bring them into the organized sector, with a fixed minimum wage structure and ceilings. The minimum wages should be of a nature and kind which accord a decent and dignified living. Second, the people working in the unorganized sector must be made bankable. This would allow them not only to take recourse to savings but also access to finance capital, if and when they want to commence and run small businesses. There should also be a social safety net for this class; in the event of an illness, debility, accident, this net would help them cope up and ride the rough times. The poor, to conclude, are not poor by choice but, on account of structural reasons that has nothing to do with them and, of course, their location, birth and fate. It is then incumbent upon society to look the poor compassionately and devise means and mechanisms that allow them to a live a decent, dignified life.

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