CHALLENGES OF INTER-STATE MIGRANT DURING LOCKDOWN

Abstract

This paper presents the problem of inter-state migrants during the lockdown by the government of India. Moreover there are reports coming up that migrant labourers who are returning to their home or to their states are carrying deadly coronavirus. It is now very important for the government to provide basic facilities to all these migrants to revive their source of income. So, an improved action plan should be there with government and a list of work done since lockdown began.

Introduction

India, a federal form of government involves labour as its constituent element and a subject in the concurrent list of the Constitution of India, and the laws relating to labour and employment comes under the broad ambit of Industrial laws.

Labourers can be divided into two parts i.e. Organised and Non-organised labourers where organised labourersin India refers to licensed organizations, that is, those who are registered. The term ‘organised’ is generally used to refer enterprises or employees in which 10 or more employees work together and unorganised sector on the other hand, is that part of as the workforce who have not been able to organise in pursuit of a common objective because of constraints such as (a) casual nature of employment, (b) ignorance and illiteracy and (c) scattered nature of establishments.[1]

All the unorganised labourers lack adequate protection and due to which many laws are made in this respect. Unorganised sector comprises with manycategories of workers including: who are migrating for seeking employment as migrant worker and more specifically the workers who migrate from state to state i.e. specifically from a rural area to a urban area on a temporary basis to earn a better living without becoming the permanent residents of the state are termed as Inter State migrant workers.

Unorganised labourers lack adequate protection and many laws are made in this respect The unorganised sector comprises the various categories of workers including those who are migrating for seeking employment as migrant worker and more specifically the workers who migrate from state to state i.e. specifically from a rural area to a urban area on a temporary basis to earn a better living without becoming the permanent residents of the state are termed as Inter State migrant workers.

The list of largest migrant origin countries and territories are more than 40% of all migrants worldwide in 2019-2020 were born in Asia, which are primarily originating from India.[2]Migration in developing country like India is still viewed as a survival strategy. In India, both poverty and prosperity are responsible for inducing migration. Moreover, the poverty is the most important factor for a migrant to inter change his state in a developing countries and the latter kind of migration is found in developed countries.[3]

Besides, government is trying to allow migration with some restriction and proper screening of a person. State governments trying to keep a strict vigil at borders, allowing only essential services, and moreover coordinate with each state to ensure safe passage to the thousands of people and students stranded across the country.The states must agree to movement only after the people are screened properly and not found to be infected, also states should organize sanitized buses.

The lockdown imposed by government is a challenge for migrants to accept, because they will unable to work and earn for their living. More than half a million people have left cities since the lockdown announced with bags on their heads and children in their arms, walking down the highways in a attempt to return to their villages which are hundreds of miles away. The government never expected such reaction on the 14 days lockdown. Officials issued orders to seal inter-state borders and to keep distance from others so the virus could not spread by the migrants.

There has been much exploitation to the workers as they are not provided proper facilities i.e. food, shelter and transport. Their working and living conditions and habits make them suffer from a number of diseases, causing them to face the problem of social integration and thus poses violation of the human rights of the migrant workers.As every Indians have Freedom to move freely throughout the territory of India and to practise any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business,[4]such type of exploitation is totally illegal, immoral and against  the interest of the nation.

Taking this into consideration, the Indian Parliament enacted “The Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1979”,[5]to regulate the employment of inter-State migrant workmen and to provide for their conditions of service and for matters connected therewith.

At the international level, there are several measures to protect the interests of inter-State migrant workers. The Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families,[6] recognizes that “the States Parties concerned shall as appropriate consult and co-operate with a view to promoting sound, equitable and humane conditions in connection with international migration of workers and members of their families. In this respect, due regard shall be paid not only to labour needs and resources, but also to the social, economic, cultural and other needs of migrant workers and members of their families involved, as well as to the consequences of such migration for the communities concerned.”

Conclusion

In the present case too, there is a great urge for the State to recognise their duties regarding the inter-state migrant workers following the rights embedded under the Inter-State Migration Workmen Act, 1979, respecting the human rights of the migrant workers, as otherwise in some it could led to strikes and chaotic situation created by the inter-state migrant labourers when the needs for them were not fulfilled it resulted in a complete chaos.

And thus the state must ensure their responsibilities towards the migrant workers effectively which would in turn impact the state’s economy only as then the migrant workers would be motivated which would in turn help in increasing the GDP and per capita income of the country.

References

  1. Report of the First National Commission on Labour, Government of India, Ministry of Labour And Employment And Rehabilitation 1969, p.417,https://casi.sas.upenn.edu/sites/default/files/iit/National%20Commission%20on%20Labour%20Report.pdf
  2. Charlotte Edmond, Global migration, by the numbers: who migrates, where they go and why, World Economic Forum, (Jan 10 2020), https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/01/iom-global-migration-report-international-migrants-2020/
  3. Kailash C. Das and SubhasisSaha, Inter-state migration and regional disparities in India, https://iussp.org/sites/default/files/event_call_for_papers/Inter-state%20migration_IUSSP13.pdf
  4. India Const. art. 19 cl. 1.
  5. The Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1979, No. 30, Acts of Parliament, 1979.
  6. General Assembly resolution 45/158 of 18 December 1990, This Convention came into force on 1st July 2003. Total Number of Signatories-31 (up to 30 March 2011).

[1]Report of the First National Commission on Labour, Government of India, Ministry Of Labour And Employment And Rehabilitation 1969, p.417, https://casi.sas.upenn.edu/sites/default/files/iit/National%20Commission%20on%20Labour%20Report.pdf

[2] Charlotte Edmond, Global migration, by the numbers: who migrates, where they go and why, World Economic Forum, (Jan 10 2020), https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/01/iom-global-migration-report-international-migrants-2020/

[3] Kailash C. Das and SubhasisSaha, Inter-state migration and regional disparities in India, https://iussp.org/sites/default/files/event_call_for_papers/Inter-state%20migration_IUSSP13.pdf

[4]India Const. art. 19 cl. 1.

[5]The Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1979, No. 30, Acts of Parliament, 1979.

[6]General Assembly resolution 45/158 of 18 December 1990, This Convention came into force on 1st July 2003. Total Number of Signatories-31 (up to 30 March 2011).