Rajasthan passed a new reform bringing the domestic maids under the purview of state laws. Question is when would Indian state learn to stop passing laws that it cannot enforce and which can only increase harassment by inspectors. The below picture gives the summary of the reform as published in Times of India.
Why this law is another addition to the junk that we already have?
- From the implementation perspective:
- Large number of domestic maids and households. How is the state going to inspect everyone?
- Courts are already over-burdened. Now we want to burden them more by take them away from real decision making.
- Most maids are paid in cash and work without a written contract. In such a scenario, how will anyone prosecute anybody except engaging in “he said/she said” style of arguments.
- Govt. cannot even ensure implementation of labour laws, how can it add to the already existing laundry list?
- From the economic perspective:
- Why can’t it come under existing minimum wage? When will the fetish for new law for every new situation end?
- No tax gain for the government
- The only gainers would be state inspectors who can harass middle class for bribes citing some imaginative violation
- What about domestic workers who want to work more than eight hours out of their free will?
Given its law enforcement capability, the Indian state should focus on more constructive law making and stop poking their nose in every small business activity. Domestic maids are free to choose their employers, which ensures that there is enough mobility and competitive wages determined by local conditions. The government would have done much better by spending the implementation cost of this law on educating the maids about using financial services like saving and pensions. In the long run, financial education would have paid back much more than creating further hassles for employment.