In India, jobs don't come to people. People go to jobs -- some states have the supply of labour while other states the demand. The textiles industry underlines this phenomena. Workers from many eastern states of India migrate to the south to work in garment factories. However, attrition is very high, particularly among the women workforce, because the country lacks decent worker housing. The blue-collar workforce is often pushed to staying in slums.
Industry body FICCI, last week, came up with suggestions for a fresh "Worker Housing Scheme for Textiles and Garment Workers".
Female employment in the garment industry, the scheme document states, is the highest in India compared to other sectors and it stands at 70 per cent of total workforce. "Migration brings its own problems like separation from families, new environment, new cities, new culture and food habits, safety and security arising out of lack of proper accommodation etc. Although many would wish to continue their jobs in metros, they soon give up and return back to their roots. It results in heavy attrition of 8 to 10 per cent per month and industry and country has to bear heavy cost by losing skilled workforce," the document adds.
FICCI's suggestions on worker housing include financial and operating models. Here are a few highlights:
1. Financing construction of the worker hostel could be shared between three parties - the central government, the states and union territories, and the implementing agencies (firms in garment/apparel sector). That sharing ratio could be 70:15:15. For the North Eastern and Himalayan States, the ratio suggested is 80:10:10.
2. The Ministry of Textiles must be made responsible for budgetary control and administration of the scheme at the central level. The ministry may transfer the funds to the consolidated funds of the state governments. Funds could be released in three instalments, in the ratio of 50:40:10 based on the progress of the construction.
3. Workers entitled to accommodation/hostel facilities ideally shouldn't have gross income that exceeds Rs. 30,000/- consolidated per month. The period of stay could be specified by the operator or the garment industry but should not be more than five years.
4. In case the industry has land, higher FAR for worker housing/hostel could be granted. When the industry doesn't hold land, the local administration involved in the project may be requested to offer suitable land or the gram panchayat land within the vicinity of 10 Kms of metro periphery.
5. Hostels with 500 to 1000 beds could be constructed with the help of the PWD Department. Post construction, the hostel could be handed over to an industry body or an NGO for running it on a no-profit basis.