Shri Narendra Modi
Prime Minister,
Government of India,
North Block,
New Delhi.

September 05, 2017

Dear Sir

Suggestion No 02

This is further to my last communication. Here with my second suggestion to you.

a) Instruct all Government Departments, Institutions, Undertakings and PSUs  to offer the following “Working Hours” OPTION to full time women employees.

 

1.They can work from 1100 to 1630 hours (with ½ hour lunch break) instead of the standard and prevalent 0930 to 1800 hours (with ½ hour lunch break).

2. This means their working time will reduce to 5 hours, instead of the earlier 8 hours. This represents a cut of 37.5 % cut in Working Hours.

b) For those who choose this “reduced working hour option, there will be a 33.33% cut in Wages on CTC basis. To illustrate, if someone’s Gross Salary (taking all elements like various allowances and retirement benefits into account) is Rs. 12,000/- per month, the same will now reduce to Rs. 8,000/- per month.

 

RATIONALE & PURPOSE OF THE ABOVE SUGGESTION

c) Most working women (by which I am referring to women employed in full-time, salaried jobs) play the dual role of home-maker and employee. This leads to a tremendous amount of stress on a daily basis, be it getting ready and attending to children in the morning or coming back from work and arranging dinner at night, after a tiring day at the office.

d) In trying to manage the above situation, many small mishaps, and/or missteps happen which raises the stress level further and damages their health.

e) Alternatively, these services are sought to be provided by using hired help, which is extremely expensive and sometimes neither reliable nor even safe.

f) If the above “Reduced Working Hour Option” is exercised, the lady of the house will be able to leave home for work very comfortably after attending to her children and such other necessary home-work without any stress or pressure. She need not wake up at unearthly hours (thus not even getting full sleep).

g) She will also return home in good time to be available for the children who come back for school, take care of their evening snacks/ meals, attend to the “litany of demands they invariably bring back from school”, oversee and check their homework and generally be available as a companion to them.

Today, the children often return to an empty home and have to make do with waiting for their parents or playing around with the hired help or generally making a nuisance of themselves in the neighbourhood.

h) This availability of the “working mother” to their children “for longer hours than at present” will be a big boon in their proper development and quick corrective guidance if they are going deviant because of non-supervision of parents.

It is well-known fact that children of working parents often engage in undesirable behavior that is morally and socially unacceptable, simply because of lack of regular inter-action and supervision by the parents due to their busy work schedules. When they finally come to know “what their child has been up to”, matters have already taken a serious turn.

It is also true that children feel helpless, stressed and “uncared for” when their parents do not spend sufficient time with them or do not appear to be interested in listening to their problems or solving them. This gets exaggerated with children of “working parents” for obvious logistic reasons.

It is hoped that this “reduced working hours” for the mother will substantially reduce such problems, though it must be underlined that the father has an equal responsibility and cannot pass of all these to the mother.

i) Another concomitant, but important benefit, would be that ladies will now be travelling both ways during relatively “off hours” and will therefore have a more comfortable journey in any public transport, be it train, bus or auto. This is equally important from their health point of view as it would mean a significant reduction in travel fatigue.

HOW TO MAKE UP FOR THE ABSENCE OF STAFF DUE TO PROPOSED REDUCED WORKING HOURS FOR WOMEN

a) As mentioned earlier, the proposed reduction is of 37.5% working hours for the ladies. For illustration purpose, let us assume (simply my guesstimate) that women comprise 30% of the work force in Central Government Undertakings /Departments/ PSUs. This means that there will be a net reduction of 11.25 % (0.375 x 0.30) working hours availability for work.

b) It is proposed that 5 percentage points of the above shortage should be made up by additional recruitment and 6.25 percentage points should be made up by more efficient working by existing staff. This is not only “not difficult” but eminently “doable”, considering the huge amount of “slack” and “under-employment” that exists in the system.

c) In this way, while there will be a definite “manpower cost increase of 5%”, it is important to understand that this also means generation of 5% additional employment which will address a huge complaint, that exists today, of “jobless growth”.

HOW TO IMPLEMENT

a) Announce this is as a “contemplated option” for all women employees and give time of 45 days to register for it. If 15% or more of the women employees in each physical establishment (not Company or entire Unit) say Yes, implement it from the start of the immediate next month.

b) This being  an entirely voluntary option, no one can have any complaint about it being forced or unfair– the terms of the scheme are spelt out right in the beginning, including the proposed wage cut and anyone who decides to opt for it will do so weighing carefully the advantages of “managing one’s time” vis-à-vis the salary cut being taken.

Kind regards.
(Hemendra K. Varma)

cc: Shri Nripendra Mishra, Principal Secretary to PM

Shri Pradeep Kumar Sinha, Cabinet Secretary

Smt. Maneka Gandhi, Minister for Women & Child Development