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The coronavirus pandemic and the lockdown hit migrant workers hard with no source of livelihood to sustain themselves in the cities, leaving them no option but to walk back to their native places. (AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A.)
The coronavirus pandemic and the lockdown hit migrant workers hard with no source of livelihood to sustain themselves in the cities, leaving them no option but to walk back to their native places. (AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A.)

Labour panel to meet Friday to examine govt welfare schemes for migrant workers

  • The Centre had announced free distribution of food grains and pulses to 8 crore migrant labourers not covered under the NFSA or the PDS at 5kg per person per month for two months, which was later extended

NEW DELHI: The parliamentary panel on labour is likely to scrutinise the decisions taken by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government aimed at helping migrant workers who had to leave for their native places because of lack of jobs in urban centres following the pandemic and the ensuing lockdown.

In a meeting scheduled for 7 August, lawmakers will take up the 20 lakh crore package announced by the Centre, the housing scheme for financially weaker sections both in the urban and rural areas, and other schemes announced for the poor. The meeting will be held in two rounds, with representatives of ministries of urban development, rural development, skill development and entrepreneurship and consumer affairs, and food and public distribution, in attendance.

“We want to understand the decisions of the union government and preparedness of each ministry after the announcement was made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. We want to understand the Garib Kalyan Yojana scheme and also the progress of housing for poor in cities and rural areas," said a senior member of the committee.

The committee will also look into the alleged delay in the release of food grains to the poor by states.

The Centre had announced free distribution of food grains and pulses to 8 crore migrant labourers not covered under the National Food Security Act or the public distribution scheme (PDS) at 5kg per person per month for two months, which was later extended. It had also announced an affordable housing scheme, expected to benefit about 300,000 workers initially, according to the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.

Food minister Ram Vilas Paswan had particularly blamed governments of Delhi, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal and also pointed fingers at Chhattisgarh, Assam, Chandigarh, Odisha, and Rajasthan for not taking adequate steps to provide food to the poor.

"Since the minister himself had pointed out that state governments were not doing enough to provide food to the poor, we would like to understand the situation now...We would also like to understand how the ministry was managing to coordinate with different state government," said the member.

“As far as labour issues are concerned, right now the most crucial topic is migrant workers and their plight. After the submission of draft report on social security code, the focus of the committee is on what the government is doing with respect to provisions particularly related to inter-state migrant workers (ISMWs)," another member of the committee said requesting anonymity.

Last week, the labour committee had batted for universal social protection for workers in the unorganised sector and proposed a blueprint to include gig-economy workers, while submitting its recommendations in the report for Code On Social Security, 2019.

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