|Table of contents|
|Explain India's migrant policy ; describe the status of unorganized laborers during the pandemic.|
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A nationwide migrant labor policy has been developed by NITI Aayog in collaboration with government representatives and members of civil society in response to the evacuation of 10 million migrants from major cities during the Covid-19 lockdown. The need to do this has evidently been caused by the enormous suffering endured by the country’s migrants, those who migrate short term primarily to earn and remit money back home during the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) lockdown in 2020. It acknowledges that circular migrants are the backbone of our economy and contribute at least 10 per cent of India’s gross domestic product. Yet, tens of millions are employed in uncertain jobs in the informal sector without contracts or documents to prove their identity, and claim state support in the event of a crisis.
The draft policy is clear in highlighting the vulnerability of migrants to such crises and describes the experience of migrants during the lockdown as a “humanitarian and economic crisis”. The draft policy tries to integrate several sectoral issues surrounding migration, such as social protection, housing, health, and education.The draft mentions the need for convergence across different line departments and proposes the establishment of a special unit at the Ministry of Labour and Employment which will work closely with other ministries. It proposes new management bodies for interstate migration and stresses the need to improve the data on migration, especially data on seasonal and circular migration. All of these steps promise to create a policy environment that can better support migration and one that is based on sound data. The policy's scope is broad, and it aims to include even the most marginalised populations.