By | Ravi Santhanam | Executive Coach – Leaders & Teams
A glimmer of light, is now visible, at the end of the tunnel! Yes, that is right. The prospects for our economy to re-engage with Migrant Workers, this time in a more just and equitable way, now seems probable. Migrant Workers and their families, who have hitherto been viewed only with sympathy, are now beginning to be viewed with empathy too!
In an earlier in the article “What do migrant workers need, sympathy or empathy” (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/what-do-migrant-workers-need-sympathy-empathy-ravi-santhanam), I had described the pivotal role Migrant Workers pay in our economy and had gone on to suggest Three Empathetic Actions. A set of actions that would redress the structural gaps, and help realise the full potential of the courage, determination and spirit of enterprise, Migrant Workers bring to the table. Two recent Press Reports suggest we may be on the way to realising these!
Press Report 1: “After 41 yrs, Centre set to redefine migrant workers”.
The article with the above headline reports, Learning from the ongoing migrant crisis, the government is set to redefine “migrant workers” after 41 years and plans to register them to enable access to social security and health benefits under the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation. …. A key element of the plan is to allot unorganised sector Worker Identification Number (U-WIN) … You can read the full article at https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/after-41-yrs-centre-set-to-redefine-migrant-workers/articleshow/76050073.cms.
Interestingly, the same article goes on to list out initiatives by State Government and Enterprises, in five different states to attract and retain Migrant Workers by increasing their compensation and benefits; in one instance by a full 100%.
This is a great beginning. Let us hope, in the interest of our economic recovery and prosperity, this initiatives is taken to its logical end.
Press Report 2: “States Can’t Hire Workers From UP Without Permission”
This article reports, “If some other state wants this manpower, we will give them insurance and social security. But that state will not be able to take people from here without our permission because of the way our people have been treated in other states…..We will stand with migrant workers wherever they go”. You can read the full article at https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/states-need-permission-to-employ-people-from-up-says-yogi-adityanath-2234756.
I would interpret the bit about permission, as an expression of concern and responsibility rather than as a throw back to Licence Raj. The key inference is the political system, in the home state, is now taking cognisance of Migrant Workers, who travel great distances to earn their livelihood and remit monies home. Isn’t this just the way our political system has always viewed, with pride and fondness, NRI’s who remit money home? It also make me wonder, can the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas for Migrant Workers, be far behind?
ONE BIG HOPE – Wherewithal to VOTE
What we all should now look forward to, is for the Election Commission and others, to come up with a system for Migrant Workers, to vote, either postally or digitally, in Central, State and Local elections. In a democracy like ours, the ability to vote, is key to fair and just treatment. Migrant workers, inter-state and intra-state combined, are a large and important part of our economic system. It is in our collective self interest, to ensure that they actively participate in our democracy and receive fair and just rewards.