Collate data on migrant workers, House panel tells Centre, States

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on February 11, 2021

The Labour Standing Committee of Parliament, headed by senior BJD leader Bhartruhari Mahtab, expressed deep anguish at the pathetic plight of the migrant labourers during the lockdown. In a report on ‘Social Security and Welfare Measures for Migrant Workers’, the panel urged the Centre to collate data on migrant workers across the country and work towards improving their lives.

The Ministry told the panel that as on July 9, 2020, 86,14,785 migrant workers returned home and 1,90,054 migrant workers stayed back. There are 88,04,839 migrant workers in various States. The Committee noted that there are no reliable or authentic data on the total number of Inter-State migrant workers.

“The figures on the number of migrant workers who returned to their home State following the outbreak of the pandemic as furnished to the Committee are based on the information received by the Ministry from the States concerned. Further, as per the data furnished by the Ministry, an estimated 2.58 crore workers are reportedly registered as building and other construction workers with various State governments, a majority of them being migrant workers,” the report said.

The committee appreciated initiatives launched by the government for the migrant labourers. It, however, said neither any guidelines were issued nor enforced for distribution of relief materials to stranded migrant labourers during the lockdown. “Also, there has been no element of social audit prescribed. The absence of reliable and authentic data/information on the numbers of migrant workforce and their movement back to their home State following the outbreak of the pandemic has impacted the relief and rehabilitation measures. There has also been a need for enhanced transparency in the modalities and procedures involved in the distribution of relief material to migrant labour and prescription of an element of audit both at the Department level and social audit by the stakeholders,” it said and added that without identification and collation of data of the inter-State migrant workers no social security scheme can be effectively extended to them. It asked the Centre and States to identify, collect and periodically update the record of such workers.

The committee also appreciated the work done by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare as also the Health Departments in States towards providing specific healthcare and easy access to diagnostics and medicines for migrant workers. “The committee hope that the initiatives taken are earnestly carried forward with fervour in the coming times so as to strengthen the health care system available for the unorganised sector workers and migrant labourers, who are from the weaker sections,” the report said.

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Published on February 11, 2021
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