Janta ka Faisla Day 1
Govt reaches public’s doorsteps
The progamme Janta Ka Faisla dedicated to the serve the interests of migrant labourers started at the Pastoral Centre Hall, Byron Bazar, Raipur as per the schedule on Monday. In the beginning of the session, the citizen’s jury of migrant workers asked burning and genuine questions to the experts, civil society and representatives of the government. The jury’s questions are mentioned below:
– People used to migrate for jobs for two reasons. First, for their own interest and second, under distress and financial compulsions also known as distressed migration. The people who migrate under distress are vulnerable to external forces and require positive interventions such as skill training, laws for protection and others. These services should ideally be provided by the government. Unfortunately, these are missing on the ground. Why?
– If large corporate houses like Ambani- Adani take over lands in the villages, where will we go?
– Workers registration should happen at the works place. Even essential permission like Gumasta is missing. When worker is not able to submit the application to the relevant department, what should he or she do?
– In MGNREGS, workers don’t get the correct wage rate and for the right number of days. It is announced that workers will get housing but why don’t the workers get access to it easily?
– Many workers in the village are landless or marginal landholders which doesn’t support them for the whole year. Where to make the pond? We migrate outside because we don’t get jobs in the village. Even if we get jobs, we don’t get sufficient wages for a decent living. So, what should we do if we don’t migrate?
– The workers situation deteriorated sharply during the lockdown, yet why did the government fail to help them in the crises.
– There were many such genuine questions that the jury of migrant worker posed to the expert witnesses.
In the session, Sudhir Katiyar (CLRA) informed the jury that there is an attempt to keep a record of the unorganized workers. According to the Inter-State Migrant Workmen Act, the labour department should keep the records of migrant workers. Under the Shramev Jayate Yojana, there is a provision to give unique IDs to unorganized workers. Workers should get facilities like PF, Insurance and employer registration.
Pramathesh Ambasta (BRLF) said that MNREGS can help in reducing the need of migration. Livelihood expert, Namita Mishra (FES) said that while 56 lakh households are connected with MNREGS, there are only 42 lakh job card holders and just 35 lakh card holders are active. There is a need to improve its implementation.
Advisor to the Chief Minister, Rajesh Tiwari, explained to the jury the schemes of the government that were useful for the migrant workers. He also tried to explain the thinking of the government to the jury. He said that the state government wants to halt the migration and that local residents should get livelihood near their villages.
In addition, there were other members from the civil society : Rajesh Upadhyay (Jan Sahas), Mohan Bhai (Mendha Lekha), Amitabh Behar (Oxfam India), Ved Arya (RCRC) who presented to the jury with relevant facts and figures about livelihoods of migrant workers.