Govt temp staff surges by 72 lakh in 2 years

Tags: News
Temp staffing in the government and public sector undertakings is on the rise, with a significant surge of 72 lakh from 2011 to 2013. They work without formal contracts and have no grievance redressal mechanism.

According to the Indian Staffing Federation (ISF), 1.23 crore temporary workers are already employed in the government sector, constituting over 43 per cent of the 2.8 crore temporary staff. The total formal sector workforce in India is an estimated 4.97 crore.

In government jobs, the temps enable quick ramping up of services, resulting in increase in temporisation. PSUs using temps can deal better with business cycles and uncertainties, says Rituparna Cha-kraborty, ISF president.

Over 1.05 crore casual workers are employed without any formal job contract, mainly in professions like craft and trades, plant and machine operations and elementary occupations. Only 14 lakh employees are fixed short-term written job contract-holders deployed primarily in professions requiring relatively more skill such as teaching in schools and clerical work in offices.

“We believe that various professional flexi-staffing companies can engage closely with the government sector in a transparent and flexible manner to provide formal employment to millions and also provide access to an effective matching platform, thereby addressing the acute skill and manpower shortage in this sector,” she adds.

A considerable number of these temporary workers dependent on the government for livelihood are deprived of a decent work environment. A large number do not even receive the minimum wage, says Mohit Gupta, director and co-founder of TeamLease.

According to T Muralidharan, executive chairman of TMI Services: “The unfair terms of employment in manufacturing (such as poor salary) and in infrastructure ma­kes the youth avoid these sectors.” There’s a need to revise minimum wages and insist on fair employment terms, if the skill movement is to succeed.”

The share of permanent employees in total central government regular civilian employees declined to 93.4 per cent and 93.6 per cent in 1991 and 2001, respectively. It further came down to 88.45 per cent in 2009. India is ranked among the top five nations in terms of the absolute size of the flexi staffing industry but has only 0.43 per cent penetration of the labour force.

To overcome these problems, ISF suggests that organised flexi staffing players be allowed to provide temporary workforce to the government sector. The recognition of flexi staffing as a legal mode of hiring is imperative to set apt standards in contracting and hiring – a written contract between the agency and the tripartite worker specifying the nature of job, salary, benefits, terms and conditions – will help improve employability.

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