How can we transform lives of domestic workers

Ruchi Anand and Associates, internal auditor in India provides best taxation solutions.

There are so many people who wanted to help those who support them in their daily lives. There are

ways which are required to encourage domestic helps, elevator operators, security guards, hotel operators who need financial inclusion.

Most of them struggle to secure a steady income and also manage periods of unemployment. That’s why most of them prefer to work with same employers at low wages for an extended period of time. It is time to invest in them and to create bright future for them and their family.

It is an advantage living in a large city to take a toll on domestic workers. It is difficult for them to limit expenses and save. They want to provide their children everything from education to better lives so that in future they can lead peaceful lives and will stretch their resources to do that. In small cities also, illness can throw these people off balance.

Formal financial facilities are not available to many. They mainly depend upon money-lenders, pawn brokers and chit funds to manage their needs. If we really want to help these people, it is mandatory to see ourselves as mentors, lenders, managers and service providers. We tend to opt different techniques in order to achieve this goal:

First, enable better liquidity and cash flow management. Incomes of domestic workers are mainly low so that they tend to take advances. They take hand loans, informal high-cost loans, or contribute to chit funds among friends, to tide over these issues.

Create opportunities to earn overtime from specific additional tasks, help them enhance their skills, and spend some time working with them. There are so many employers who are exploitative in their approach of handling their employees. They ask hefty charges and pay paltry sums to their employees in return. Be a fair employer who is willing to pay market rates.

Second, get them an Aadhar card and PAN, and help them open a zero-balance bank account according to Prime Minister Jan Dhan Yojana. Use your relationships with banks to get the paperwork going. Use this account to manage their investments and savings. You need to hide access of these accounts to them, lest they spend the money in it. Keep custody of the ATM card and Internet banking passwords and provide your email and mobile for correspondence.

Third thing is to gift them life and health insurance as a Diwali or long-service bonus. Use your bank or your financial adviser to complete the paperwork, and choose plans that will provide a decent cover for the family. Create an informal pool of money among friends to take care of unexpected medical emergencies in your neighbourhood. If someone gets ill, there should be generous givers to make the unexpected payment.

Fourth, it is good to take a loan with some interest and tax rather than to pay usurious interest to money lenders. Suppose your driver’s child needs coaching classes to prepare for the chartered accountant in India examination.  He is too proud to accept a donation and likes to fund it himself.

Last, we need to make them understand the investment products that can offer them an opportunity to build long-term wealth. Government announces pension schemes, health schemes, life insurance schemes that target lower income groups. Mutual funds offer micro-SIPs and products that require lower investment amounts. Help them make sensible decisions.

By taking these little steps we can transform their lives. It requires only determination.


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