A sizeable 43 per cent of the Government-dependent workforce is engaged in temporary jobs, with most new entrants working without even any written job contract, says a study by the Indian Staffing Federation (ISF), an umbrella of over 40 flexi-staffing companies.

The study Flexi-Staffing in Government and Public Sector said 10.5 million casual workers without any formal job contracts were engaged mainly in craft and related trades, as plant and machine operators and in ‘elementary’ occupations such as mining, construction and fisheries.

The next biggest chunk of 6.9 million work in child, health and rural welfare schemes, including anganwadi workers, helpers and ASHA workers (community health activists), none of whom are even recognised as Government employees.

The primary and middle education sectors, which require higher skill sets, had 1.4 million temporary workers with fixed short-term job contracts. This category includes teachers, lab assistants, clerks and protective service staff among others.

In addition, outsourcing of work has lead to at least three million Government jobs moving to the private sector, both in the Centre and in the States. For instance, UIDAI, which carries out enrolment for the Aadhaar programme, has hired at least 200 graduates as secretarial assistants, data entry operators and receptionists; another 100 computer-literate youth as manual de-duplication engineers and a huger number of project managers and software developers.

This temporary workforce (holding contracts of less than three years or no contract at all) has contributed to organisations and companies ramping up their services and dealing with business uncertainties. However, none of these people enjoy any benefits of social or job security or even a decent work environment, said Rituparna Chakraborty, President ISF. She said ISF was seeking to engage with the Government and public sector to help provide these workers with a “better alternative” to a casual, contractual or honorary job.

ISF, which is pitching for flexi-staffing to be recognised as a ‘legal hiring mode’, claimed its model could be a win-win for employers as well as employees. Employers can get manpower flexibility as well as the required skill sets while employees will get written job contracts and benefits, Chakraborty said.

The study was based on an analysis of data from the National Sample Survey Organisation, the Economic Survey and Indicus as well after interactions with Central and State Governments and public sector officials.

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