Online Courses (English)
This just in:

State PCS

Daily Updates

Social Justice

Woes of Migrants Amid Covid-19

  • 22 Apr 2020
  • 4 min read

Why in News

The Covid-19 pandemic and the imposition of lockdown in order to curb it has brought the perils of migrant workers into the light.


  • Most of the migrant workers are not routed through licensed contractors so a huge number is excluded from getting any benefit out of the Inter-State Migrant Workmen (ISMW) Act, 1979.
    • According to ISMW Act, an inter-State migrant worker is any person who is recruited by or through a licensed contractor.
      • The ISMW Act was drawn up after repealing the Orissa Dadan Labour Act, 1975.
  • The Act is only applicable to any establishment which has five or more inter-State migrant workers as employees which again leaves a significant number of workers.
    • In reality, a small proportion of migrant workmen are placed under such establishments.
    • Migrants from establishments with less than five migrant employees also cease to be migrants, legally.
  • The ISMW Act is also not legally enforceable.
  • Coronavirus crisis has exposed the inadequacy of the ISMW Act highlighting needs for legal safeguards and welfare measures for migrants.


  • Repealing of the ISMW Act, 1979 and replacing it with a new Act, or by enlarging the scope of Unorganised Workers’ Social Security (UWSS) Act, 2008 to include legal entitlements, to define the migrant workman as a subset, to provide for contingencies of livelihood loss and to make the Act legally enforceable.
  • Universalisation of registration and issuance of Aadhaar-based Unique Worker’s Identification Number (UWIN).
  • Schemes like MGNREGA, Public Distribution Scheme (PDS) and Ujjwala need to be made portable and extensive.
  • Geofencing of different benefits enabling a migrant worker to choose location-wise benefits.
  • Preparing a comprehensive database of the migrant workers’ source and destination, demography, employment patterns and skill sets.
    • It will help in skill development, providing social security benefits, planning for mass transit of migrant labour and preparing for any contingency plan in emergency situations.
  • Empowering the Inter-State Council, set up under Article 263 of the Constitution to effectively and comprehensively deal with larger issues related to migrant workers.
    • Migrant worker issues have complex Centre-State and inter-State dimensions.

Steps Taken by Government

  • The UWSS Act, 2008: It provides for social security and welfare of unorganised workers.
    • The UWSS Act defines unorganised workers as home-based worker, self-employed worker or wage worker in the unorganised sector.
    • It has two features:
      • Registration of unorganised workers.
      • Portable smart I-card with a UWIN.
  • Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maan-dhan Yojana: To ensure old age protection for unorganised workers.
  • Atal Pension Yojana: It is a social security scheme launched under the National Pension System (NPS) and aims at providing a steady stream of income after the age of 60 to all citizens of India including the migrants and labourers.
  • Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana and Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (under the Gram Swaraj Abhiyan): Both of the schemes provide for life insurance and accident insurance respectively to the migrants and labourers.
  • Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (Ayushman Bharat): It aims at providing health cover to protect the migrants among others against the financial risk arising out of catastrophic health episodes.

Source: TH

SMS Alerts

Please login or register to view note list


Please login or register to list article as bookmarked


Please login or register to make your note


Please login or register to list article as progressed


Please login or register to list article as bookmarked