A policy aimed at rectifying service conditions and mirroring government employee benefits for contract workers in 38 state departments appears to remain confined to paper. Six months since its announcement, contractual employees are yet to receive the envisaged benefits slated for July 2023.
Contrary to the outlined contract policy, a concerning trend has emerged. Contractual workers, instead of the guaranteed annual contract renewals, faced abrupt terminations in Sheopur, Ujjain, Agar, and Raisen districts. Crucially, these employees remain excluded from the National Pension Scheme, leaving them without essential retirement coverage.
Unmet Entitlements and Varied Taxation Practices
Expected privileges, including health insurance, compassionate appointments, and gratuity at retirement, continue to elude the contractual workforce. Moreover, disparities in professional tax deductions have surfaced. While some districts like Dhar, Indore, Dewas, and Burhanpur waive this tax for employees earning below Rs 2.25 lakh, others such as Raisen, Sagar, and several in the Women and Child Development Department impose this levy unfairly.
Vinod Kumar, while talking to Dainik Bhaskar affirmed the General Administration Department's preparation of the policy, and shifted the onus of implementation to individual departments. However, this decentralization has led to a lack of uniformity and delayed execution. Notably, the promised reservation of 50 per cent of regular posts for contractual workers remains unaddressed due to the absence of amended recruitment rules across departments.
Adding to the grievances, contractual women employees face discrepancies in maternity leave compared to their regular counterparts. The policy's failure to provide parity in this regard exacerbates the unequal treatment experienced by these workers.
The Void Between Policy and Practice
While the contractual policy stands as a beacon of hope for thousands of employees engaged in state departments, its translation into actionable benefits and protections remains a distant reality. The gap between intent and execution, compounded by dismissals, pension exclusions, taxation inconsistencies, and unaddressed recruitment modifications, paints a stark picture of administrative inefficiency and unfulfilled promises.
Amidst these challenges, the plight of contractual workers in various districts of the state persists, highlighting the urgency for swift and effective implementation. As stakeholders debate accountability, the pressing need to bridge this chasm between policy formulation and on-ground realities is paramount to ensure equitable treatment and safeguard the rights of contractual employees across the state.