60 per cent of migrant workers in Tamil Nadu lose out on govt benefits
Study by NGO network on 361 migrant labourers in 4 dists finds majority of them are yet to register on e-Shram portal
CHENNAI: A study on migrant labourers has revealed that over 60% of unorganised migrant workers are not registered on e-Shram portal and continue to face difficulties in accessing government schemes. The study, conducted by Tamil Nadu Alliance, a network of NGOs working for the welfare of migrant labourers, covered a total of 361 unorganised migrant workers in Namakkal, Erode, Dindigul and Virudhunagar.
Although the portal was launched in 2021 to establish a database of unorganised workers, the NGO members said the government should offer incentives to encourage more workers to register. The study recommended that registration on the portal should automatically enrol unorganised workers for insurance schemes such as Suraksha Bima Yojana, Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana and Ayushman Bharat.
These schemes provide coverage of up to `2 lakh and help protect the families and children of unorganised migrant workers from falling victim to bonded labour and trafficking in case of untoward events. The study also suggested the implementation of a system allowing migrant workers to receive treatment under Ayushman Bharat in states like Tamil Nadu where there is a separate CM insurance scheme.
The NGO members noted that many migrants also face challenges in accessing ration through the PDS. Additionally, when only a portion of a migrant labourer’s family relocates, they face difficulties in obtaining their share of ration. The study recommended the establishment of migrant resource centres in all districts of the state to tackle these problems. While the state government has taken steps to set up these centres in Coimbatore, Tiruppur, Chengalpattu, Kancheepuram and Chennai, it is yet to be implemented, the members added.
The study revealed that 20.6% of children in the 5-14 age group and belonging to migrant workers family in TN, were either not attending school or had dropped out. Additionally, only 32.4% of migrant children have access to Anganwadi centres. The lack of data on children of migrant workers at both state and Central government level should be addressed to ensure their proper education under the Right to Education Act, the study emphasised.
It also highlighted the poor working conditions faced by migrant workers. It said 37.7% of workers lacked proper sanitation facilities at their workplace, 23.1% experienced health issues due to working conditions, 43.8% reported absence of safety committees at their workplace, and 27.6% did not have any day off during the week.
What the study says
Migrants face challenges in accessing ration through PDS
Establishment of migrant resource centres in all districts needed
20.6% of kids in 5-14 age group either not attending school or have dropped out
Only 32.4% of migrant children have access to Anganwadi centres