Fifty-three days after the lockdown was announced and migrants hit the road to reach home, the Centre has announced a portal that will have a national database on stranded migrants in a bid to streamline their movement.
Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla Saturday wrote to all states, informing them of a National Migrant Information System (NMIS), an online dashboard developed by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).
It will not only help states access real-time information on how many migrant workers are stranded where, but also help plan future arrivals. With mobile numbers of migrant labourers being fed in the database, the government also intends to use it for contact tracing, keeping the worker informed of when and how he/she can travel home, reverse migration and even update migrants on when and where they can find work in the future.
“The portal will maintain a central repository and help the sending as well as receiving State/district to ask for and give their acceptance in an online format seamlessly. This system will help in speedy communication between states without creating additional work at the level of the field officers,” Bhalla’s letter said.
The development comes against the backdrop of migrants walking home hundreds of miles away and several incidents in which they have lost their lives.
According to the MHA, the system has been designed in a manner that states can upload a batch file of individual data on the portal. As many states have already collected data on migrants, this can be integrated through Application Programming Interface, MHA has said.
It said the key data pertaining to the migrating persons — such as name, age, mobile no, originating station, destination district, date of travel etc — has been standardised for uploading. The portal will generate a unique ID for each migrant.
In a note, NDMA has said NMIS is a geo-spatial platform developed as a decision support system for the current pandemic situation. Allaying any fears of central overreach, NDMA has said, “It may be noted that the system may not require any substantive additional work on part of the field officials. It will also not take away the governance power from the state government, within the overall guidelines of MHA.”
NDMA has said the system will enable destination states to plan logistics much more effectively as they would have exact numbers before the migrants arrive. “Origin states will also have all the data at one place for transportation as well as future planning,” it said.