AFTER registering details of 22 lakh stranded migrant workers in shelters amid the ongoing lockdown to counter the COVID-19 pandemic, the government plans to collaborate with the industry to find the migrant workers employment by mapping their skill sets to meet the requirement for jobs on the ground.
The process had hit a roadblock as the database for migrant workers registered so far in many states was limited to identification details — name, bank accounts, mobile number, Aadhaar, Ujjwala registration — but lacked details of their skill sets and immediate preceding work experience. This information is critical for the industry to meaningfully map the skills and qualifications of workers with the available work opportunities in areas near the shelters.
Attempts are being made to fill up this crucial information gap to feed the available worker pool to nearby industrial units after the requisite testing regimen. “Government has collected information for the migrant workers. But a better approximation of where those workers can fit in can be done only if we have data on their skill sets and where they were employed before they came to stay in the shelter. These questions need to be added to make it a workable dataset,” an industry source said.
Industry representatives said the details so far are more from the identification perspective and might help in any proposed transfer of benefits by the government, but more granular details will help in getting the workers employed.
Industry chambers such as the Confederation of Indian Industry are already working on a proposal to conduct a snapshot survey across the country to assess the potential work opportunities for these migrant workers after partial relaxation was granted to industry for resumption of work beginning April 20. A senior Labour Ministry official said data has been collected for 22 lakh workers and more work is being done to update the database.
On Wednesday, addressing a FICCI webinar, Labour Secretary Heeralal Samariya had said that the Centre has collected the data of migrant workers from states as well as districts. “… we are trying if there’s work available with factories, builders, how to do matching so that they can be provided employment in nearby places so that work can start in factories … we are on job, issuing instructions to concerned district administration so that work and relief material can be given,” he had said.
As per the status report submitted by the Home Ministry to the Supreme Court in March end, states and union territories had set up 21,064 relief camps for food or shelter, with the governments having provided shelter to 6,66,291 persons and food to 22,88,279 persons. This dataset includes details of poor and destitute, stranded migrant workers, workers who need access to food, or workers who reached their destination but were needed to be quarantined.
Though there’s a countrywide lockdown in force till May 3, the government had allowed partial resumption of some industries from April 20. The Centre had also allowed movement of migrant labour between districts within a state, primarily to facilitate the movement of available skill sets to areas where they would be needed if factories and industrial units are to start. The movement of labour between states, however, remains prohibited.
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