[Answered] To make rapid economic progress, India needs to improve the well-being of the workforce that migrates to cities. Discuss the measures that can be taken for the welfare of the migrants and vulnerable sections of urban areas.

Introduction: Contextual introduction.
Body: Explain some measures that can be taken for the welfare of the migrants and vulnerable sections of urban areas.Conclusion: Write a way forward.

Social protection-related registration of informal workers has increased but the nature of opportunities continues to be insecure. The migrants in search of livelihoods are going to increase. Half of India is expected to urbanise by 2030 and at least half of that population could be such migrants.

Measures for the welfare of the migrants and vulnerable sections of urban areas:

  • There is a need to initiate elected leadership in urban local bodies at the basti or slum cluster level.
  • Access to public services: There is a need to establish identity markers based on the National Food Security Act (NFSA) list as well as record the deprived households who may have been left out of this list.
  • Community connect campaigns: To ensure access to social welfare schemes related to LPG connection, bank accounts, life and accident insurance, and healthcare programmes like Ayushman Bharat, employment schemes and drinking water, electricity, sanitation etc.
  • Migration Support Centres: To make the arrival process of migrants less traumatic. Support for the destitute and the homeless must be made a priority.
  • Governance reforms: Municipal bodies have lost revenues after the introduction of GST as entry tax and octroi are no longer with them. Stamp duty is not directly available to local bodies. The financing of local bodies requires professionals with specialised skill sets.
  • Enforce minimum wages: Labour contractors very often disburse lower than the minimum wages. There should be employment opportunities for people with care-giving skills.
  • Skilling, upskilling, and re-skilling opportunities must be readily available for poor households in ways that enable them to combine work with skill upgradation. Apprenticeships to the eligible will also help.
  • Improvement of schools, health facility expansion, and anganwadis will go a long way in connecting deprived households to human development requirements.

Contrary to B R Ambedkar’s hope that urbanisation will break caste hierarchies, our large cities are among the most segregated. Master Plans must factor in the housing and welfare needs of the working class. The well-being of the urban poor cannot be neglected.

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