India is an aspiring global super-power nation or rather it is already one, as per some. Media is awash with how Indians are dominating the world and all, and that is what we like to believe and talk about. Just that nearer home, I come across few jobs that nobody should be doing – either the job itself or the manner in which, currently the job is being executed.
Ragpickers: Is this a job at all in the first place? Who are these people and why should they be doing this task? Their numbers are estimated between 15 lacs to 40 lacs (Source: http://www.indiaspend.com/cover-story/why-ragpickers-unrecognised-and-unpaid-are-critical-for-waste-management-in-india-43164). Would there be any government data on these people or any government support or for that matter, any support? A task is done with no dignity of labour, full of health hazards and abuse; yet prospering and thriving.
Sewer cleaners: Another job with no dignity, yet continuing in all the major cities and towns. I suppose there would be machines to do this task, yet majorly it gets done by some humans, them and not us. There would be some news here and there about some workers died due to asphyxiation and that would be it. Some State Governments have banned manual sewer cleaning, which remains on paper. A non-comparison, yet hard-hitting article – https://qz.com/1074911/more-indians-die-cleaning-sewers-than-fighting-terrorists-in-kashmir/
Manual scavengers: In 1993, India prohibited the employment of people as manual scavengers. As per the Socio-Economic Caste Census data released in 2015, India still has 1,80,657 households that make a living from manual scavenging (Source: http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/India%E2%80%99s-invisible-manual-scavengers/article14504840.ece). Another one, http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/shravanabelagola-latrines-run-afoul-of-manual-scavenging-law/article22537499.ece; I am sure that none of us has met these people; they continue to earn their livelihood in this modern India.
Beggars: India has over 4 lakh beggars. There are 4,13,670 beggars – 2.2 lakh males and 1.91 lakh females – in the country, Minister of State for Social Justice Vijay Sampla said in a written reply in Rajya Sabha on August 13, 2015. In reality, the number would be more; but the numbers are not the purpose. Which country can allow her citizens to do this task (which is again banned by law)?
Marginal Farmers: As per Agriculture Census 2010-11, 67.1% of the number of operational farm holdings belonged to marginal farmers. This means 67.1% of 138.35 million farm holdings = 92.83 million farms are less than 2.5 acres / 1 hectare. They cultivate 22.5% of 159.59 million hectare = 35.91 million hectares. As per above numbers, an average marginal farmer cultivates 0.97 acres. Now, how can a family survive on a farming land below an acre and we have 9 Crore + families, as such, doing this task. Agriculture is a profession with dignity but not for these farmers. We will have endless discussion about farmers as a whole but nothing about marginal farmers in particular. So much for Big Data.
Loaders: I worked in a hypermarket retail chain earlier and never understood the requirement of 4-8-12 loaders per Store to unload the stocks. It did give employment to these people but what is that stops from using trolleys or forklifts or any other machine to reduce the manual labour, which actually exists in each industry. So much for automation.
Cycle Rickshaw: There is a lot of debate going on about Electric Vehicles in India. The government of India has stated to move to 100% of EVs by 2030, the deadline has now been pushed to 2047, though. Cycle rickshaws or hand-pulled rickshaws do not lead to pollution in any manner whatsoever, but is it the dignity of labour? It is not a question to the cycle rickshaw drivers or even the passengers, but to the society as a whole. So much for next-generation technology.
Painting the building from outside: Large skyscrapers and commercial buildings with big glass facades do employ people with necessary safety gear, but ever thought about what happens to the 4-5 storied residential buildings? Have a look at the image on the blog, the person is painting between the third and the fourth floor with no safety apparatus whatsoever. A fall means either death or permanent disability and yet the job continues. So much for caring about human lives
Sleeping on the footpath: This is not a job, per se. But why would our pavements be filled with people sleeping over it in the night and be run over by drunk drivers? A person after a hard day’s work has to sleep on the footpath with no guarantee that he/she will be able to see the next day (Source: https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/man-sleeping-on-footpath-crushed-to-death-by-car-driven-by-19-year-old-in-hyderabad/story-hZfFRxdJKdYwrIxYsOQsJJ.html). So much for dignity in death.
Welding in the public areas: This is, of course, a job with dignity, just the manner in which it gets done is questionable. Near my residence, there is a locality which has about 100-125 welding shops on the busy main road with welding jobs going on in full public view throughout the day. The welder wears the mandatory black glasses but what about the other people? I pass through the road every week with my twin daughters, and I find it to be very risky to the eyes of the young girls. This is, of course, a very low priority, rather no priority at all in comparison to the list above.
Please feel free to add to the list above.
You might feel that I am either nit-picking or looking at the different side of the coin altogether. That the things are improving or rather, things to do not exist at all as I perceive them to be.
Few of the above jobs have already been banned by the Government yet continue. And few of the jobs, though required, need to have change in the methodology.
Can any political leader be up to the task?