‘You cannot build a skilled society on low-cost labour’


At the inaugural Indian Express Thinc Migration sequence offered by Omidyar Network India, moderated by Udit Misra, deputy affiliate editor, panelists mentioned the disaster in India’s inner migration.

On migration patterns

S Irudaya Rajan: In the 2011 census, India had 450 million migrants. We have insurance policies within the nation to extend migration, and policymakers and economists, who consider urbanisation will result in financial progress. This is mirrored within the Smart Cities Mission; 100 cities are being promoted. There are three kinds of migrants — one which strikes between the states, then inside districts after which inside the state. If you place that quantity at 600 million, now we have 140 million as inter-district migrants, 400 million are intra-district, and 60 million are inter-state. Urban mobility is 40 per cent. With rising urbanisation, we’re going to have extra migration.

On Covid and migrants

Ravi S Srivastava: The pandemic didn’t hit everybody, however it hit round migrants.They are susceptible due to their place within the job market — whether or not they work on each day wages or are self-employed. They work in cities however nonetheless have a foothold in rural areas. In 2004-05, nearly half of the casual workforce within the non-agricultural areas consisted of round migrants. By 2017-18, each three out of 4 such staff consisted of those migrants. The pandemic was a multifaceted shock (for them). It was a well being shock, it was an financial shock, and it induced meals insecurity. The influence was not solely on their lives as they moved again to the agricultural areas, but in addition on the economic and concrete economies that noticed an enormous hole. The migrant staff right this moment do the dirtiest, most harmful and troublesome work in any business. Do we take a look at them solely as an affordable supply of labour or as a productive asset in our society?

pic 19 Ravi S Srivastava

On coverage and lack of knowledge

Alex Paul Menon: I’ve knowledge for six.5 lakh migrant labourers who’ve come again to Chhattisgarh. Of these, nearly 40 per cent had moved to Uttar Pradesh searching for work, 23 per cent to Maharashtra and about 14 per cent to Telangana and so forth. The largest chunk have been really in constructing and building, and round 50,000 in brick kilns. When it involves numbers, now we have plenty of fancy graphs, however it’s time for us to move from the quantity sport to the identify sport. The present methodology for gathering knowledge begins from the census after which now we have, the NSSO. We even have a labour bureau which collects knowledge, however all of it’s samples statistics, we don’t actually observe migrants. There is a migration register, which is obligatory on the panchayat stage, however there isn’t a mechanism to do the identical within the city areas. Without credible knowledge, all of our insurance policies lack any hyperlink to any proof and, due to this fact, are susceptible to fail.

With the big presence of IT techniques throughout the nation, I don’t suppose it is vitally troublesome to principally put an institutionalised mechanism system and accumulate knowledge of each labourer.

On empowering the workforce

Rahul Katyal: We consider building staff as weaker, however they’re really the workforce of India. If we don’t empower them, I don’t suppose any growth exercise can occur in our nation. It’s time to take a look at two issues. One is the necessity to speed up ability growth. The workforce must be skilled to make use of the most recent applied sciences. And the opposite vital factor is to control the sort of services we offer them. If we first appropriate the basics, present higher lodging, sanitation, and meals, it’ll elevate and enhance the scenario of our workforce in India. This might be solely regulated by very sturdy insurance policies from the federal government.

pic 20 Rahul Katyal

On coverage imperatives

Srivastava: In India, it’s not solely inter-household and inter-class disparities, but in addition regional inequalities which have grown tremendously, particularly the hole between progress centres and the sort of lack of livelihoods in rural areas. The different factors have been made within the report of the National Commission for Enterprises within the Unorganised Sector (NCEUS), which talked of common registration, and common social safety, at the least at a minimal stage, to be ensured collectively by the Central and state governments. You can not construct a talented society on the again of low-cost labour. We have to rethink our labour insurance policies.

Rajan: Data is absolutely vital. Something on the India Migration Service must be completed at the least for the subsequent three years. The second level is political participation. You’re speaking about ‘One Nation, One Ration Card’, however why are migrants not in a position to vote throughout elections? Finally, you’re at all times speaking about migration as some sort of legal responsibility. We should eliminate that (thought).What is the migrants’ contribution to the earnings of the states of vacation spot. How how a lot do they contribute to Mumbai’s metropolis earnings, as an illustration? Similarly, the remittances which they ship to say Bihar or Rajasthan or UP, what’s their contribution to the state economic system there? They are migrants, however they’re Indians. They are invisible now, however now we have to make them seen.

The full dialog is on the market on YouTube