Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Rozgar Abhiyan: Well thought but exposed to further exploitation

first_imgOf late, the headlines of main media on job schemes of migrant workers were in a hit-and-run mode. These employment programs are meant for those who have returned from other States during the lockdown periods due to COVID 19. At the national level, Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Rozgar Abhiyan intended for 125 days’ employment for migrants of 116 districts of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand and Odisha. And again Atma Nirbhar Rozgar Abhiyan from Uttar Pradesh State for providing jobs to 1.25 crore migrant workers has been announced without many details. This trend may continue for the rest of the states. These initiatives of job schemes are well and good, especially in the midst of migrant workers’ catastrophe. However, it has been observed that all these programs would not be able to give sure-fire job for repatriating migrants of the states. This sceptic arises because of obvious objection due to the scheme’s exclusive nature of the designs, unclear implementation strategy and more than that the suspended period of labour laws in most of the states where migrant job guarantee seems to be executed. The exclusive nature of scheme design is very clear from the limiting of target groups of the scheme. That is 67 lakhs migrant people in six states based on the data collated by the Union Skill Development Ministry. Then what about left-out migrants in the country? The World Bank has itself stated that 40 million internal migrants have been returned to the homeland from urban centres due to COVID 19 impact. On May 1st, Home Ministry has said out of four crore migrant labourers in the country 75 lakh migrants have returned from different parts of the country and further arrangement of 2,600 ‘Shramik’ trains have been announced for migrant workers to travel back home. Selection of districts for the implementation of the scheme is very clear, showing the narrow approach of concern of migrants’ issues from the part of Government. It is because, for the schemes’ implementation, only six states were being chosen out of 29 States and 7 Union territories. Even the districts are high densities of returning migrant workers, like West Bengal, Chhattisgarh and Punjab were out of the scheme purview. Another interesting factor is, the implementation system of the scheme has been suggested a convergence method. It would be a programme of 12 departments of different ministries except for Ministries of Labour & Employment, Skill Development& Entrepreneurship which are even so much connected with employment matters. However, from the all past experience most of the convergence missions had always proven as a failed effort being a ‘ no one’s child’. Likewise, these employment schemes’ implementation system still remain in an unclear state. As it’s known, this scheme would work out through the panchayats, village-level governing bodies where migrant workers are supposed to be registered. At the same time, Skill Development & Entrepreneurship has claimed that 75 lakh migrant got trained with special skills and made them employable. However, according to an official document, it has been brought to the knowledge that these data were collected by a private agency with the help of ‘Shramik’ trains records. As such till today Government does not have any official records of inter-state migration based on The Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act of 1979, besides census data. Actually, it is a matter of fact that all the work which have been listed in the central migrant schemes are only a routine kind of works of different ministries and departments as a part of the extension, development and even maintenance based on different tenders cum contracts. The works have been listed under the schemes are building community sanitation complex, construction of Gram Panchayat Bhawan, Works if it comes under finance commission funds, works of National Highways, Work-related with water conservation & harvesting, Construction of wells in Plantations (including through CAMPA funds), work in the horticulture sector, Work of Railway, Work which comes under Shyama Prasad Mukherjee RURBAN mission, PM KUSUM works. Work of laying of fibre optic cable under Bharat net, Works under Jal Jeevan Mission, Employment connected with Anganwadi Center, Rural housing (PMAY-Gramin) project, work of Rural Connectivity (PMGSY) & Border road, Training under KVKs for livelihoods 18. Works in PM Urja Ganga project, Works through the District Mineral Fund, Work of Solid and liquid waste management, Construction of Farm ponds, Cattle sheep, Goat shed, Poultry shed and Vermicomposting program. For all aforementioned programs, the Government has been granted Rs. 50,000 crores from the fund collected through Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, 2016 (PMGKY) based on the Income declaration scheme, 2016, apart from the allotted amount of about Rs 1,001,231 crore in the budget of 2020 – 2021. The tenders cum contracts based work would only be able to give unorganised sector work, especially in the states like Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh where all the labour laws have been suspended for three years and 1,000 days respectively, and increased working hours from 8 to 12 in a day and 72 hours from 48 hrs a week. The suspension of labour laws especially the Industrial Disputes Acts and the Shop and Industrial Establishment Act (Standing Order) is a massive block of industrial dispute resolutions between the employer and employees. It seems that the settlement facilities of industrial disputes become a rudiment in these States and even there is a high chance to underestimate the Minimum Wage and Equal Payment Acts. All these provisions would take away workers’ rights under new migrant employment schemes. And again, the states which are going to implement recent migrant job schemes would have easy opportunities to receive a takeout position of the welfare provisions under the Factory Act and the Building and Other Construction Act. So the employers come under migrant employment schemes are not bound to make the facilities of safety and securities of workers, cleanliness at the workplace, disposal of waste, lighting, drinking water, canteens, restroom, crèches and wages during the leave period and even construction firms won’t contribute to Board of Construction Workers the cess fund. In India there has been an increase in unemployment rate day by day, that was highlighted in 2019 as the first time in India’s history employment collapsed by 9 million in six years. And again in the Covid 19 lockdown crisis, one out of four lost the jobs as per Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy report IE employment fell by 114 million. As a result, today in India the availability of outsized numbers of low-cost labourers are easy to be contracted and also being exploited in the high-level forms. In this situation, the employers are easy to hire employees through temporary employment agencies which would be disappeared after recruitment and leave their workers in the lurch. All this means that the job scheme which proposed is short term and indecent one. Taking the experience from MGNREGS, being an Act and scheme based program, India needs a long-term and protected with a review of national regulatory and institutional concerns in resettlement and rehabilitation of migrant labourers. At present they are undocumented, largely unskilled, have no union protection and representation to be guaranteed their rights. Mainly they were daily wagers in construction sectors, agricultural fields and farms, workers in small factories or service sector, or shops or in dhabas, or in tea stalls, they were also car cleaners, truck washers, domestic helpers who sweep, swab, cook Qand clean, for multiple households in urban India. However, they are skilled workers with the potential to be beneficially utilised in the forthcoming fourth industrial revolution era’s technology and strategy.last_img

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