RAIPUR: Last year’s nationwide lockdown in response to Covid-19 brought much hardship to migrant workers, many of whom struggled without food or pay.
To address their issues and to prepare Chhattisgarh to meet similar challenges in the future, a first-of-its-kind initiative was held in Raipur where migrant workers, acting as a jury, recommended measures to the government to improve their lives. It called on the government to consider them in their plan of action.
Among other recommendations, it requested that everyone get employment from 150 to 200 days under MNREGA so that the need to migrate is reduced. It also suggested that Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana for landless migrant laborers be implemented. Other suggestions include life insurance for all migrant workers and a helpline number catering to them. The jury intended to become an empowering tool for the affected segments of the population to influence the policy-making process for their welfare, sources said.
Seventeen jury members were selected with due diligence and transparent process from around 2.5 lakh migrant workers (gathered from government database) to pronounce the judgment on various issues and concerns faced by migrant labourers.
Open-ended discussions and group meetings among members of the jury, with the support of ‘Friends of the Jury,’ helped them break down complex issues around their employment conditions, livelihood, portability of schemes, various entitlements and their electoral participation.
Discussions were held on a range of issues. The jury heard arguments from representatives of the government, society and industries. The organisers highlighted that the elites make policies without proper consultations with the people.