Government’s Apathy towards Migrant communities

Synopsis: The government is not showing any Apathy towards Migrant communities to address the challenges faced by them. It is despite their increased vulnerability to the shocks in the economy.

Background
  • The second wave of the Pandemic has once again led to the enforcement of Strict to moderate lockdowns in states.
  • This has resulted in a loss of jobs for Informal workers employed in many industries. Majority of the migrants work in the informal sector.
  • Despite their increased vulnerability in the informal sector, government efforts to support them through policymaking have been inadequate.
About Migrants
  • Migrants are ‘mobile by default’, They are a product of growing rural distress and inadequate official policies failing to support the ailing rural economy.
  • They benefit the urban economy by providing cheap labor to manufacturing units and cheap services to households.
What are the challenges faced by the migrant population?
  • Unemployment in urban areas due to Pandemic induced Economic distress.
  • Lack of access to accommodation.
  • A lack of sustainable income and savings to ensure food due to near insolvency.
  • Reverse migration by paying exorbitant costs for travel.
  • Falling victim to COVID-19.
  • Lack of livelihood opportunities in their hometowns in the rural economies.
  • Lack of new job opportunities, due to shrinking National Rural Employment Guarantee Act allotments by the government.
  • Lastly, Lack of legal status as a working population.
What needs to be done?

The recent official announcement of a free ration of 5 kg cereals to 80 crore families is the only benefit visible so far. However, it is not sufficient;

  • Government should strive to calculate the official estimate of migrant workers, either incoming or reverse. This will help in objective policy planning.
  • Need to alleviate rural distress by providing support to the ailing agriculture economy.
  • There is a need to provide some short-term relief for migrant workers and their families to support their livelihood during the Pandemic.
  • Migrant workers should be provided with legal backing.
  • Modifications  in the Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020 are required to strengthen the health and safety conditions of workers in establishments

Source: The Hindu

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