Draft National Policy on Migrant Workers - Daily Current Affair Article


Recently a draft National Policy on Migrant Workers has been proposed by NITI Aayog.


  • A "migrant worker" is a person who migrates to work either within his country or outside it. Migrant workers generally do not intend to live permanently in the country or region in which they work. During the COVID-19 lockdown, there were about 10 million migrations (according to government estimates) from major cities with the maximum migrant workers.
  • During this migration, migrant workers had to suffer in many ways. A National Migrant Labor Policy has been drafted by NITI Aayog with a working group of officials and members of civil society to diagnose the problem of migrant workers and protect them from future crises.

Why Need a new policy ?

  • In 2019, the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs had stated that there was no policy related to migration in India while presenting its stand on issues including legal structure and efficiency development initiatives for migrant workers. This makes India unable to utilize the capabilities of its citizens in the international labor market.
  • The 2017 labor-related report called the Special Protection Act for migrant workers unnecessary. The report favored keeping migrant workers with other workers so that any type of scheme could gain a broader dimension.
  • The report discussed the limitations of The Inter-State Migrant Workers Act - 1979, enacted to protect workers from exploitation by contractors by protecting their right to non-discriminatory pay, travel and displacement allowances, and appropriate working conditions. However, this law was created only to protect the workers under contractors and left the independent ones.
  • The 2017 report questioned the approach of The Inter-State Migrant Workers Act-1979, given the size of the unorganized sector of the country. It called for the enactment of a comprehensive law for all workers, which would create a legal basis for the social security of all workers. This was in line with the recommendations of the 2007 report by the National Enterprise Commission in the unorganized sector under the Ministry of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises.
  • But in 2019, the Corona crisis made it clear that general laborers and migrant laborers are two different classes and some situations require separate legislation for these two classes.

Problems of migrant workers during corona

  • During the Corona migrant workers working in the so-called smart cities have faced different crises as described below:
  • During this time all the states continued to protect their citizens, but the migrant workers who normally work in the state are not citizens of that state, so the migrant workers could not get facilities in the state where they worked. Under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, migrant workers residing in any other state were not getting the benefits.
  • Many odd situations came in front of migrant workers from their workplace to their place of residence. The laborers' families traveled the mile on foot. Lack of food and water on the way was causing a double crisis on them.
  • Many workers had to leave their jobs and migrated during Corona and after the lockdown they faced a livelihood crisis.
  • The situation of Indian workers working abroad became more vulnerable during the Corona period.
  • Along with these problems, migrant workers suffer from many problems like forced labor, exploitation at the workplace, low wages. These problems make it clear that a separate policy is necessary for migrant workers.

Key recommendations of Draft

  • The draft policy formulation is based on two approaches. The first approach relates to a cash transfer, special quota, and reservation, while the other approach is based on attempts to address institutional deficiencies. Thus, this policy promotes a rights-based approach to migrant workers.
  • This draft calls upon the Ministries of Panchayati Raj, Rural Development and Housing and Urban Affairs to recommend the creation of a migration resource center in high migration areas. It calls upon the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship to focus on skill-building in these centers.
  • This draft calls on the Ministry of Education to have the policy to benefit migrant children under the Right to Education Act.
  • The draft recommends the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs to resolve issues related to night shelters, seasonal housing for migrants in cities.
  • The National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) and the Ministry of Labor should establish a grievance redressal cell and fast-track legal process for trafficking, minimum wage violations, and abuse and accidents at the workplace for migrant workers.

Profit on the draft application

  • There will be full utilization of capacity in the international labor market
  • Promotion of a rights-based approach in this draft will reduce the confidence deficit among migrant workers which will help in enhancing the unity of the nation.
  • It will reduce the vulnerability of migrant workers in times of crisis like Corona.
  • After this draft, inclusive development of migrant workers is possible which will further reduce inequality.

The conclusion

In this policy, various organizations have been asked for welfare for migrant workers, so that it is possible to include errors of error and exclusion. But this policy will give the social security of migrant workers a legal basis and will promote the targeted welfare of migrant workers. With this, international and inter-state migrant workers will get connected to the mainstream of society.

General Studies Paper 1 & 2
  • Indian Society and Social Justice
  • Population and allied issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems, and their safeguards.
  • Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions, and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

Mains Question:-

  • Recently National Policy on Migrant Workers was drafted by NITI Aayog. Discuss the need for this draft? Do you agree that this draft will reduce the vulnerability of migrant workers?