The ongoing pandemic has direct as well indirect effects. Vaccines will eventually make the disease go away, but the shock to the economy will stay around for longer. Migrants have suffered more than most: they don’t have a voter card in the destination states, their children can’t go to anganwadis and language is often a problem.
Back home, migrants lose connection with their communities, resulting in loss of state and social benefits. Their names start getting omitted from ration cards and if they are out for long, their land is captured by others, since they don’t get a patta. While these challenges existed before COVID19 ravaged India, a shrinking economy with scarce resources makes them worse. We believe migrant voices should be heard by the government at all levels; their needs should be considered in policies and laws with special provision in govt schemes that accommodates delays, lack of documents etc.
The Janta Ka Faisla (JKF) is a platform for deliberative democracy that seeks to address the needs of migrant workers and represents them as full citizens of India. It offers migrants an opportunity to participate in a jury that addresses the challenges of Indian society, whether they are from Samaaj, Sarkaar or Bazaar. Chaupal, in partnership with Socratus Foundation and National Foundation for India (NFI), is organising the first Janta ka Faisla in Raipur from July 11th – 14th that will place migrant workers at the centre stage, drawn from different occupations and regions from Chhattisgarh.
The jury will hear from a range of experts on topics such as employment conditions at destination, i.e., wage rates, timely payments, workers’ health and safety, and alternatively, local livelihoods in agriculture and non-agricultural industries, livelihoods based on the commons, including forests and inland fisheries; migrants’ entitlements to food security and health and how government schemes such as the PDS can deliver those entitlements in both source and destination states. The schedule of the JKF is given below