“The focus of Government with regard to labour migration, has been a perpetual phenomenon in all major countries, should be to protect the migrants and their labour rights and not about managing migrants, which the government does,” said Bernard D’ Sami, Associate professor, Department of History, Loyola College during a speech on ‘Labour Migration: Past, Present – Issues and challenges’ in Chennai on Thursday.
According to him, the migration from India to other countries has been increasing; the trend of migration which started during the colonial era on a large scale continues even today. He also explained the four phases of migration that has taken place over all these years, since 18th century along with the issues and challenges associated with them.
“Tamil Nadu and Kerala no longer remain forefront in migrations to other countries, like the Gulf. These days we find that there is a lot migration happening from states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Migration has become a dynamic issue,” he said.
He also added that the migrants who have been sending huge money back home, to our country, have been helping our economy to a great extent, which make migration inevitable to avoid.
“A recent study suggests that the Indian government receives nearly 60 billion US dollars as remittance, which is not a small amount. This is not the money that Indian people send from countries like the US, this is “blood money” sent by people working in extreme heat conditions in gulf countries. They do not enjoy any freedom, they work hard there to see their families happy here, but the harsh reality is that the families want their mother or father back here instead of money,” he said, urging the need for the government to consider the social cost of migration.
He also insisted on collection of data and surveying, which is very much needed to have control over the issue without affecting the development of the country. Kerala, a state from where a large number of people migrate to gulf countries has been at the forefront in maintaining migrant data. He suggested that the state government should also initiate such data compilation in Tamil Nadu. In fact, talks are on and a committee is working closely with the government to ensure that it is implemented, he added.