States should be proactive to protect migrants` interest: Panel
New Delhi: A group formed to examine a legislation governing migrant labourers has suggested "strengthening" the enforcement machinery by the states which should be proactive towards watching the interest of such workers and having "checks and control" on employers.
"The enforcement machinery in the states may in addition to keeping a vigil on the implementation of the Act and rules, should also interact with workers to know the
grass root problems being faced by them," the group said.
The group was constituted to examine the provisions of the Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Services) Act 1979 as a follow up to the recommendations made in the Indian Labour conference in 2009.
The need to re-examine the Act was felt as the conference was of the view that workers` interest was being undermined and Minimum Wages Act was being overlooked by
employers, said an official in the Labour and Employment Ministry.
As per the 2001 census, 314.54 million persons moved for various reasons within the country, out of which 29.90 million migrated for employment purposes.
Stating that proper guidance and assistance in registering themselves within the government will help the migrant workers derive benefits intended for them, the
group has emphasised that the state governments should come forward in this direction.
"The government should persuade the workers for appropriate procedures," the group said in its report. There is also a need for creating healthy atmosphere at work place for the migrant workers as they may be under the fear of local contractors or employers and are under pressure because families are with them at the workplace, the group said.
"There is a need to have a check and control on the employers/contractors so that these migrant workers are not denied their legitimate benefits," the group suggested.
The workers also need to be educated towards their legitimate rights and persuaded to approach the local enforcement machinery.
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