Ministry for migrant affairs: Study recommends

Subject : Migrants Crisis | Source(s) : The Hindu | Date : 10-Nov-2017

The first-ever comprehensive study of internal migration of labour from other States to Kerala has recommended a Ministry of Migrant Affairs by upgrading the existing Non-Resident Keralites’ Affairs (NoRKA) to address issues faced by non-resident Keralites elsewhere and migrant workers in Kerala. With a diaspora of nearly three million people, Kerala has an almost equal number of migrant workers toiling in various sectors here. “The issues of migrant workers and their families are much beyond the scope of the Department of Labour and Skills…. Kerala needs to realise that it requires migrant labourers more than they require the State. Creating this awareness among key stakeholders is fundamental to developing inclusive policies,” the study, carried out by the Centre for Migration and Inclusive Development with the support of the Thummarukudy Foundation, says in an compendium titled ‘God’s Own Workforce’ and released online. While they receive the best of wages within the country in Kerala, they have alternative choices. But the State’s economy is dependent on the workforce, given the demographic situation, the study says. The future of the now-saturated human development index (HDI) in the State too depends heavily on the inclusion of migrants to the mainstream and their access or lack of it to products and services. There is also an urgent need to bridge the information gap on the workforce for incorporation in the planning process. The study recommends that the State work with source States of these migrants to jointly address the challenges faced by the disparate community. The government, as a facilitator, must catalyse the active involvement of key stakeholders like leaders of industries where these workers are engaged, government officials, local politicians, the media and resident associations for their mainstreaming. It is critical, as there’s still a certain degree of reticence attached to the presence of migrant workers in the neighbourhood. “Although targeted interventions addressing the challenges of migrant workers are imperative in the initial phases, the larger goal should be to make the systems and the services migrant sensitive and inclusive rather than exclusive and discriminatory. Ensuring decent work environment and accommodation, access to quality health care, legal and financial inclusion and inclusive education can be the priorities. Also important is their cultural inclusion,” the study says. The study, conducted by researchers Benoy Peter and Vishnu Narendran, each conversant in at least four Indian languages, found migrants from 194 districts across 25 Indian States and Union Territories working in Kerala. They travelled to the source States and profiled the workers residing in each district in Kerala. “People from the Scheduled Tribes, Scheduled Castes and minority communities from far off regions appear to constitute a majority of the migrant workforce in Kerala. They included single women and girls, senior citizens and families,” it has found. The study has also mapped some 12 major labour corridors that have evolved between Kerala and the labour source States, most of them in east and central India, over the past two decades.

Link : http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/set-up-ministry-for-migrant-affairs-recommends-study/article20004926.ece

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