NITI Aayog’s “draft national policy on migrant workers”?

What is the News?

NITI Aayog has prepared a Draft National policy on Migrant workers.

Issues with the Existing Law on Migrants:

Inter-State Migrant Workers Act, 1979

  • It was designed to protect labourers from exploitation by contractors. It safeguards their right to non-discriminatory wages, travel and displacement allowances, and suitable working conditions.
  • However, this law covers only labourers migrating through a contractor. It does not cover independent migrants.

About the Draft Policy on Migrant Workers:

Approach: The draft policy describes two approaches to policy design:

  • Handout Approach: It focuses on cash transfers, special quotas, and reservations. It also means providing aids instead of skills.
  • Rights-Based Approach: It enhances the agency and capability of the community. Thereby, it promotes an individual’s own natural ability to thrive.

The Draft policy rejected the Handout approach and opted for a rights-based approach.

Salient features of the Draft Policy:

  • Implementation by: Ministry of Labour and Employment should be the nodal Ministry for implementation.
  • Special Unit: Ministry should create a special unit to help converge the activities of other Ministries. This unit would manage migration resource centres in high migration zones.
  • Central Database: The policy calls for the creation of a central database of migrant labours.
  • Role of Panchayats:  Panchayats should maintain a database of migrant workers. It would issue identity cards and passbooks to workers. Moreover, it would also provide migration management and governance through training, placement and social-security benefit assurance.
  • Inter-state migration management bodies should be set up to cover the nation’s key migration corridors: Uttar Pradesh and Mumbai; Bihar and Delhi; Western Odisha and Andhra Pradesh; Rajasthan and Gujarat, and Odisha and Gujarat.
  • Migrants Workers Section: Labour Departments in Each state should establish a migrant workers section. labour officers of source states and destination states should work collectively.
  • Migrants Children Education: The Ministry of Education should take measures for migrant children’s education. It should map migrant children and provide local-language teachers in migrant destinations.
  • Housing for Migrants: The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs should address issues of night shelters, short-stay homes and seasonal accommodation for migrants in cities.
  • Grievance Cells: The National Legal Services authority(NALSA) and Ministry of Labour should set up grievance handling cells and fast track legal responses. It should work on issues like trafficking, minimum wage violations, and workplace abuses and accidents for migrant workers.
  • Migrants should be the target of Disaster Risk Reduction(DDR) programmers in urban centres.

Source: Indian Express

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