The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Wednesday stressed on the need to focus on education, health and social security of the women and children of migrant workers.
Chairing an open-house discussion in hybrid mode regarding the outcome of two research projects commissioned by it on migrant workers in 2019-20, NHRC Chairperson Justice Arun Mishra said the migrant workers were forced to leave their abode in search of better opportunities. Attention should be given on timely payment of their minimum wages and occupational safety, besides fulfilling the requirement of food, potable water, health, safe accommodation and effective implementation of the Public Distribution System under One Nation One Ration Card Scheme.
The State machinery also needs to gear up to meet any challenges, as were faced by the migrant workers during the Covid-induced lockdowns, he added.
The debate was organised by the Commission to discuss two research projects. These are ‘Identifying Human Rights Issues and Problems and Developing Policy Framework for Providing Social Security and Healthcare to Migrant Workers’ by Dr. R. Kasilingam from the Pondicherry University and ‘Unheard Voices of Silent Growing Majority: An Assessment of Social Security and Health Risks among women migrant workers of Rajasthan’ by Dr. Shaizy Ahmed from the Central University of Rajasthan.
Justice Mishra said the migrant workers contributed immensely to the economy of the country. The steps taken to reach out to them through various digital modes and portals were appreciable. However, the digital divide should be taken care of.
The NHRC Chairperson asked the participants to send their suggestions to the Commission in writing, so that all the inputs are considered by it to finalise recommendations, which may be sent to the Government(s) for implementation.
Earlier, triggering the discussions, NHRC Secretary General D.K. Singh said the migrant workers add value to the economic development of the country. He said that economic and social empowerment of migrant workers will directly benefit the development of the country.
The discussion was moderated by NHRC Joint Secretary H.C. Chaudhary. The participants included NHRC Members – Justice M.M. Kumar, Dr. D.M. Mulay and Rajiv Jain, besides DG (I) Manoj Yadava, Registrar (Law) Surajit Dey and Joint Secretary Anita Sinha, among other senior officers of the Commission, besides the two researchers.
Inputs were also given by the representatives of the Union Ministries of Education, Consumer Affairs, Women and Child Development, and Labour and Employment. Besides, the governments of Karnataka and Rajasthan, experts from the National Law School of Indian University (NLSIU), Bangalore; Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai; Indian Council of Medical Research and V. V. Giri National Labour Institute, Noida gave their inputs.