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The Situation of Daily Wage Earners of West Bengal

The daily wage earners are in a precarious situation even after unlocking 4.0 India. This section of the unorganised working class is mainly semi-skilled and unskilled with the lowest education (most of them are just lettered). They are daily commuters to their workplace at city/town/semi-urban area from their resident at villages or outer of the city or town or slum dwellers. After a long period (since 23rd March 2020) local train services have been resumed. It has helped them to commute to their workplaces daily with permissible charges. Before that some of them used to avail other highly charged transport in searching for a job. They passed a hectic situation that time. Unfortunately, they have to return without any job. Their joblessness is becoming their daily life agony.

The pandemic has taught them to follow the statutory norms like wearing of a mask, use of hand sanitizer and so forth. Their nature of jobs is mainly limited within repairing and maintenance of residual flats, gardening, construction work, etc. are not resumed, and they are not getting accepted to rejoin in their work. Firstly, this pandemic has broken the economic prospect and structure or it is in a stagnant position. Now India is in deep recession or technical recession. The present economic survey reveals that the country’s GDP has reached even below zero( -7.3). Secondly the market condition is poor, and a third is the fear of the spread of Coronavirus. Altogether, this pandemic has been changed the social intercourse/ social contact of the people.

The bridges of the relationship among people of all categories have been transformed into a doubtful and unfaithful condition. Nevertheless, the coronavirus is in the same outburst. Only it makes people desperate to handle.The governments (state and central) are mostly not considering the situation of the daily wage earners. There is a no meaningful step to rejuvenate their condition. It has limited its packages within some specified area where these daily wage earners are not falling under. In addition to this, the price hike of daily commonly used commodity and non-availability of local jobs in agriculture and allied sectors is another factor of their worsening condition.

Some of these daily wage earners of remote areas of South 24 Parganas shared, “We are coming regularly with the hope of a job at least for that day. But nothing is available, even after reducing of our daily wage. Our employers use to shut their doors. Therefore, we have to return with empty at night. When it would be normal, we do not. How would our families, and we be survived, it is the biggest questions?” Further, strike on 26th November 2020 by the leftist trade unions is significant. It claims slightly for a compensation of these daily wage earners.

Unfortunately, these workers are hardly aware about the purpose of the strike. Their common views are that it will ever meet the demand for which the strike is called. No way would it be beneficial to them urgently to meet their desired needs? The strike has become a tool of political warm up. During the prolonged period of a lockdown, the daily wage earners have become utterly poor. They are eager to re-start their earnings as their ultimate source of survival. Government’s economic boosters are far teaching to the daily wage earners. It should need immediate attention.

The views and opinions expressed by the writer are personal and do not necessarily reflect the official position of VOM.
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Written by Harasankar

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