GoM calls for inclusion of migrant workers in formalised economy with host of welfare measures

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The recommendations came in the wake of the migrant crisis unfolding on India’s street, as thousands set off on a risky walk to their native states from the cities they work in.

A group of ministers has called for inclusion of migrant workers in the formalised economy with access to social security protection, standard operating procedures for their safety, a dedicated welfare fund and an employment exchange to ensure better wages and job protection.

The 11-member GoM on Skill Development and Employment Generation in the Covid Crisis has suggested a district-level authority to address their grievances. The report submitted to the PMO on May 14 has recommended framing of an immediate standard operating procedure (SOP) on migrant workers with specific measures for labourers who have stayed back and others who have returned to their homes, reported Economic Times quoting sources who are aware of the matter.  

It is estimated that there are close to 40 million migrant workers in the country’s informal sector and they need to be addressed through a comprehensive SOP with clear short-, medium- and long-term measures, the report is learnt to say.

Giving access to Anganwadis for the children of migrant workers, scholarships for schooling, school uniforms and textbooks, free health checkups, counselling at the work sites by employers in coordination with NGOs, water and sanitation facilities at their place of stay, recreational activities besides opportunities to upskill are among the other proposals included in the report.

The recommendations are currently under examination at the PMO. Some of these, like affordable rental housing and credit facility for street vendors, besides scaling up farmer producer organizations, have already been announced, the ET report said.

Meanwhile, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla asked chief secretaries of all States urging them to ensure migrant labourers are not walking on roads or railway tracks and facilitate their return to home states through special buses or Shramik special trains, Live Law reported.

"Government has allowed the movement of migrant workers by buses and 'Shramik' special trains to enable them to travel to their native places. It is now the responsibility of States and Union Territories to ensure the movement of stranded migrant workers who are willing to go to their home States is facilitated," Ajay Bhalla wrote in the letter (with agency inputs)

Image Credit: National Herald

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