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).
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.