Explained: What is the Draft National Policy on Migrant Workers by NITI Aayog?
Why in News?
Millions of migrant workers suffered during the time of the first wave of COVID -19 and migration happened in India on a grand scale. When asked about the number of migrant workers, the Government was silent when asked about the loss of migrant workers death rate is affected migrant workers during COVID - 19 lockdown.
What is Migration and its cause?
- Movement of people from their hometown to another city, state or country for a job, living or some other reasons is called migration.
- Both Push factors and Pull factors are involved in the migration process.
- Employment opportunities are the most common cause of migration.
- Apart from this, lack of opportunities, better education, construction of dams, globalization, natural disasters like floods and droughts and sometimes crop failure are among miscellaneous reasons.
National Commission for Migrant Labours:
- NITI Ayog has constituted a sub-group for preparation of National Action Plan for Migrant Workers.
- The group comprises the members from various ministries of Government of India, subject experts, NGOs and Civil society organizations to prepare a tangible action plan to address the issues related to migrant workers.
- Information was provided by Santosh Kumar Gangwar in a written reply in Rajya Sabha.
- The act that was earlier governing the migrant workers issues was Inter State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1979.
- This act was subsumed in the Occupational Safety Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020.
- It provides for proper working conditions, minimum wages, grievances redressal mechanisms, protection from abuse and exploitation, enhancement of the skills and ensures social security to the labourers.
- As per the migration draft, "“should be acknowledged as an integral part of development”, and “government policies should not hinder but…seek to facilitate internal migration”.
NITI Aayog’s Approaches
There were two approaches put forward by NITI Aayog
i) Handout Approach- This means usage of all the facilities provided by the Indian Government to migrants
ii) Rights based approach- This approach means the rights must be ensured in all states
This policy would include the migrant into the political system too.
As per NITI Aayog, the Government's goal must be to provide a limited approach. This means 'Don't give the boy a fish, rather teach him fishing'. The Government must not provide permanent or social aids to migrant workers rather create opportunities for them.
Migration must be acknowledged as a process and integral part of development. Moreover Government policies must be such that they do not hinder migration.
Creation of a nodal agency:
NITI Aayog has recommended the creation of a nodal Ministry. The Ministry of Labour and Employment must be the nodal agency which must create a special unit to help converge the activities of other Ministries.
Create Migration Resource Centres (MRCs):
NITI Aayog has recommended creating Migration Resource Centres in high migration zones, creation of National Labour helpline, interstate migration management bodies which must be coordinated by a special unit.
Identification of Migration Corridors:
- The states where the migration happens must be regulated both at source and destination
- Labour Offices from source states would be in destination states to help their labourers.
- The role of Panchayats would be crucial in providing the rights to the labourers who have migrated. The Panchayat must issue the workers with ID Cards, passbooks, training, placements etc.
- The states have been asked to raise the minimum wages to bring a major shift in the migration pattern and thus stem migration.
- In this the Community Building Organizations or CBOs and administrative staff has been asked to control the push factors. These along with the Panchayats must bring more pro-poor development strategies.
- Migrants should be the target of Disaster Risk Reduction (DDR) programmers in urban centres.
Central Database Creation:
- The draft has called to create a central database to help the employers to fill the gap between demand and supply and to ensure the benefits of various social welfare schemes reaches everyone.
- The definition of migrants needs to be certified by the Government on National level.
- Separate survey on migration has been asked to be carried out.
The Aayog has also asked the National Legal Services Authority and the Ministry of Labour to set up Grievance Handling Cells and fastrack the response systems for human trafficking, minimum wage violations and abuses at workplace for migrants.