- GS-2: Governance
- GS-2: Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections
Niti Aayog’s draft Migrant Labour Policy
Spurred by the exodus of 10 million migrants (as per government estimates) from big cities during the Covid-19 lockdown, NITI Aayog, along with a working subgroup of officials and members of civil society, has prepared a Draft National Migrant Labour policy.
Positives of Draft Policy
- Due Recognition: Intent to better recognise migrants’ contribution to the economy and support them in their endeavours.
- Radical Ideas: It puts forward several radical ideas, including the adoption of a rights-based approach and establishing an additional layer of institutions to create a more enabling policy environment for migrants.
- Dedicated Unit: It proposes a new National Migration Policy and the formation of a special unit within the Labour Ministry to work closely with other ministries.
- Helps bring Convergence across departments: The new structure would bring about much-needed convergence across line departments and would be a huge step towards a universal understanding of the causes and effects of migration as well as the interventions needed.
- Focus on implementation: The draft policy calls for improving the record on the implementation of the country’s many labour laws that have, by and large, failed to make a difference to the lives of labour migrants.
- Multiple laws considered: It discusses at length the provisions under the Equal Remuneration Act, The Bonded Labour Act, the Building and Other Construction Workers Act and the Interstate Migrant Workmen Act, among others.
- International Responsibilities addressed: It invokes the ILO’s Decent Work Agenda as well as the Sustainable Development Goals which aim to protect labour rights.
- Significance of data realized: It acknowledges the challenges of welfare provision to a highly fragmented migrant workforce due to recruitment patterns and the lack of data. It refers to the importance of collective action and unions and there are detailed plans for improving the data on short-term migration, especially seasonal and circular migration.
- The policy does not delve deeper into the causes underlying the poor implementation of labour laws that are linked to the political economy of recruitment and placement.
- It does not talk about gender differences in employment.
- Domestic workers are one of the most important occupations for migrant women. They have been ignored.
- Controlling tribal migration goes against the objective of recognising migrant agency to help tribal migrants to access the opportunities offered by migration.