Newly wed Rahul and Shruti Mishra, working in a software company, have just shifted to Delhi.
Rahul’s parents and sister are also staying with them at their flat in Mayur Vihar.
Since Shruti is working, it is impossible to take care of everything at home.
They decide to hire a full-time maid.
She calls up an agency and within two-days an 18-year old girl named Rita joins work.
Shruti explains everything about the important daily chores to her.
Rita’s unwillingness to work is noticeable yet Shruti adjusts with her.
It was until one day, neighbours report to her about Rita’s closeness with a male domestic help working in different block of the same apartment.
Shruti, well aware of how these maids operate, decides to send Rita back to the agency.
Shruti’s cautiousness saved her from a possible unsavoury incident that could have happened to her.
Shruti was lucky but many families have fallen prey to the machinations of the hired helps and the agencies, which of late have been reported to be colluding to take advantage of the vulnerability of the employers.
There have been instances of agencies passing off a semi-skilled or raw domestic worker as skilled and demanding a security deposit of Rs 25,000.
Given the need, families pay up only to find later that they have a liability on their hand.
The domestic help too, unfamiliar with the workings of an urban household, finds it impossible to cope.
The result: Either they stay and learn or call it quits. Some others develop liaisons in the neighbourhood and make off when the opportunity presents itself.
A resident of Rajinder Nagar Neetu Suri was duped by a placement agency which took a deposit of Rs 35,000.
The help took a month’s salary in advance and escaped with Rs 12,000, some expensive artefacts and household items.
Notably, the modus operandi of agency and maids has changed in the last few years.
Rishi Kant, social activist working with Shakti Vahini says, “These girls are brought from tribal areas of Jharkhand, West Bengal and Odisha.The agencies ask for a token amount, ranging from Rs 30,000 to 50,000 from those who need a maid. In such a scenario, if the maid is not able to adjust to the environment, she has no option but to bear it because the agency has already charged the money for her services.”
“However, these days, cases of maids and agency together burgling the employer’s house have come into notice,” says Rishi, evincing concern about the mushrooming of domestic help agencies.
“The demand for domestic helps has been increasing. People don’t bother to cross-check the authenticity of the agency. They even bypass the police verification process, which is a must. Considering the demand, the number of these agencies operating illegally in the City has also increased” says Rishi.
As many of these agencies are not registered, they advertise without fear. They provide their address at a far-flung areas where it is difficult to reach.
Like Rishi ,who is critical of the lackadaisical approach of the government in dealing with the problem, Abhinav Sinha, an entrepreneur in Gurgaon , who has been struggling to get a maid says, “There is a need for strict regulations and registration of these agencies.
The policy should be implemented at the national level because it will create fear among those flouting the norms.”