CPI (M) leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami Monday said that COVID-19 lockdown has made the survival of daily earners, like artisans, who have been almost without any work since last August, difficult and urged the J&K administration to immediately cash transfer Rs 7500 to all artisans in J&K and distribute free food grains to them.
In this regard, he sent a communication to the Lt Governor G C Murmu which reads, “ At a time when lockdown to contain coronavirus has shattered the livelihood means of millions of people across the country, the situation in Jammu and Kashmir is no different. The lockdown has made the survival of daily earners, like artisans, difficult. Since almost the last one year, they are facing a huge crisis. The artisans’ working in J&K constitute a considerable percentage of total employment in the Union Territory (UT).”
“On account of their unorganized nature, these artisans’ do not get adequate social security. Despite the implementation of some schemes for their welfare, there is a huge deficit in the coverage of artisans’ in the matter of labour protection and social security measures ensuring their welfare and well-being. Under these circumstances, the government must immediately cash transfer of Rs 7500 to all artisans in J&K and distribute free food grains to them,” said Tarigami.
“In the long-term, the government should make social security board for handicrafts workers on the pattern of J&K Building and other Construction Workers Welfare Board, so that the poor artisans will be covered under social security benefits. The proposed Board can provide social security and welfare of the artisans’. For the social security board, the government should charge one percent cess from those individuals and firms who are in the export business of handicrafts. This step can make the social security board for artisans sustainable,” he said.
“The government should also provide financial assistance to artisans for constructing one room for carrying out handicraft activity because most of the workers don’t have a proper place for carrying out their activities. The government should make a raw material bank for artisans so that they don’t face any shortage while carrying out their work,” he added.
“The government should also provide market support to the artisans so that the role of middleman will be reduced and the benefit of hard work goes to the artisan directly. Also the process for registration of artisans should be made easier so that everyone in the trade could get registered. And on an immediate basis, the artisans must be provided financial assistance on the pattern of registered construction workers of the Union Territory of J&K so that they can survive during the prevailing lockdown,” said Tarigami.