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Memorandum to protect state migrant workers' rights

25 February 2013 - Times of India. The ministry of labour and employment on Thursday signed a memorandum of understanding with four states - Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand - on inter-state co-ordination to help prevent exploitation of migrant workers, especially those who work in brick kilns.
Ammi Kumari

RANCHI: The ministry of labour and employment on Thursday signed a memorandum of understanding with four states - Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand - on inter-state co-ordination to help prevent exploitation of migrant workers, especially those who work in brick kilns.

A pilot project, jointly organized by the ministry and the International Labour Organization(ILO) on 'reducing vulnerability of bonded labourers in India through promotion of decent work', was recently launched in 2011 in Tamil Nadu. The model is being replicated in other states as well. In 2012, the ministry signed MoUs with the Odisha and the Andhra Pradesh governments

A high-level committee will supervise operations of the inter-state co-ordination cell in each of the four states. They will also develop and approve method of registration of migrant workers and lay down guidelines for recruitment at brick kilns, keeping middlemen out of the system. The cell in each state will maintain database of workers and share information with respective states.

Some focus areas are registration of eligible group in schemes like Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) and many other state and national level schemes, ensuring access to children of these labourers through Sarva Sikhsha Abhiyan (SSA) and education department, establish migrant workers facilitation cells, undertake efforts to promote livelihood opportunities, registration of the labour agents or contractors.

Vijay Kumar, advisor to the governor, said it's a poignant moment for all as the MoU is for the legitimate rights of the downtrodden and the suppressed.

A k Garg, registrar (Law), National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) said despite existence of many laws the exploitation of labour still persists. There have been many complaints received by the labourers or organizations working on their behalf in which the number of complaints received by Jharkhand was six, five in Chhattisgarh, 44 in Bihar and 1517 in Uttar Pradesh.

"The less number of complaints doesn't mean people do not have any problems in Jharkhand but maybe people living in rural areas are less aware of their rights," said Garg stressing on identification, rescue and rehabilitation of these workers as the pace is very slow in many states.

Sunil Kumar, labour commissioner, department of labour, Jharkhand said strict monitoring is definitely required to know the reality at the grass root level. The tracking of the workers at the Panchayat level has already begun in the state with the names being registered with the panchayat sewak.

Source: http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-02-22/ranchi/37240813_1_migrant-workers-labour-commissioner-brick-kilns

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