By Anvitha Parvathareddy
With the exodus of 10 million migrants from India’s big cities as reported by Santosh Gangwar, Minister of State Labour and Employment to the parliament, NITI Ayog planned to release a National Policy for Migrant Workers. The plan is specifically prepared for the migrant workers with instructions for some amendments and many other policies and inclusions which will help in the upliftment of migrant workers.
NITI Ayog came up with two approaches namely Handout approach and Right-based approach. In the first approach, all the facilities provided by the government relating to welfare of migrant workers will be fully used and in the second approach all the rights of these workers must be protected at any cost. The government’s aim here is not to make the workers dependents rather make them self-reliant by providing them various opportunities and benefits. The policy draft has made it clear that any sort of restrictions on migrant workers would be uplifted and total freedom will be given to them to protect them unfair practises and exploitive contractors.
The plan also seeks to make certain amendments in the existing Inter-state Migrant workmen act,1979 as it has certain flaws with respect to the documentation of migrant workers and wages section. The policy seeks to give extra attention to tribal migrant workers as they are being treated as outcasts. The policy mentions to increase the minimum wages of these workers. Besides, according to the policy, documentation should also be made flexible and should not pose any restrictions to migrant workers when they shift to other places. A special nodal cell or unit will be created in every ministry to coordinate with their activities. Migrant Resource Centre should be created at all crucial places through migrant workers corridors wherein migrant workers will be given legal help. The Panchayats should be actively involved in providing awareness, documentation, etc.
The policy also states that government should give utmost attention to the migrant workers and should make their movement flexible as they contribute to the economy a lot. A central database will be created including the information of migrant workers thereby enhancing supply and demand of migrant workers. Furthermore, the definition of migrant workers will officially be certified by the Govt of India. National Legal Services Authority and Ministry of Labour will set up grievance cells and quick response systems for human trafficking, abuse of migrant workers at workplaces, violation of minimum wages, etc.
The nation’s policy for migrant workers as designed by NITI Ayog should hopefully solve the crisis the migrant workers are facing and make them self-reliant and capable although it might seem difficult while implementing.
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Tandon. T (2021). “ Explained: What is the Draft National Policy on Migrant Workers by NITI Aayog?” retrieved from https://www.jagranjosh.com/general-knowledge/explained-what-is-the-draft-national-policy-on-migrant-workers-by-niti-aayog-1614608201-1.