With the Supreme Court set July 31 deadline for the launch of a national portal for migrant workers looming large, the central government has roped in the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology’s (MeitY) special purpose vehicle Common Services Centre (CSC) and its village level entrepreneurs (VLE) as well as the postal department to register the migrant workers in their respective villages, sources in the know of the development told The Indian Express.
“CSC and Department of Posts will be working as enrollment agencies because they have a well developed structure and network at the ground level. So they will be one of the partners for carrying out the registrations,” a Labour Ministry official said.
The portal, however, is unlikely to go for a full-fledged launch on July 31 despite test runs being conducted as all the data from different databases such as Mahatma National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and One Nation, One Ration Card, along with data from Employees’ State Insurance Corporation and Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation is yet to be collated at one place as envisaged earlier, the sources said.
Mails sent to the NIC as well as the Labour and Employment Ministry on what was the status of the portal and whether it could be launched by July 31, remained unanswered. The VLEs and CSC, apart from registering the migrant workers on the portal, are also likely to be entrusted with updating data such as the month and date on which a migrant worker leaves their native village and reaches another city or state seeking work, or if the worker changes their residential address in the urban area, one of the sources said.
If needed, private players who can register and update data of seasonal and migrant workers in the unorganised sector will also be roped in through a public-private-partnership mode. Apart from this, CSCs will also look at worker registration model adopted by various states and how best to collate data from there, an official said. Some states such as Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh have their own portals, they are functioning separately. “We will see how we can collate and merge that database at national level on our portal,” the official said.
The Labour and Employment Ministry had in December sought help from other ministries to build a new database for migrant workers and others in the unorganised sector, which it had then hope to operationalise by this June. It had then tasked the National Informatics Centre with the design and building of the portal.
On June 29, however, after the delay in completion of the portal, the Supreme Court pulled up the Centre and said that “the apathy and lackadaisical attitude by the Ministry of Labour and Employment” was “unpardonable”.
“There was urgency in the portal to be finalised and implemented looking (at) the pandemic and dire need of unorganised workers to receive the benefit,” a Supreme Court Bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and M R Shah had then said, while hearing a suo-motu case concerning the welfare of migrant workers amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
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