The COVID-19 crisis was the most unprecedented humanitarian challenge of the century, a nationwide lockdown brought almost all economic activities to an abrupt halt and created a precarious situation for millions of migrant workers across the country. Them being stranded away from home and eager to return to their native towns and villages resulted in hordes of migrants returning towards the countryside without proper means available. Jharkhand being a migrant exporting state was reeling under the pressure of thousands of migrants who were trying to return back from cities. When the Department of Labour, Employment, Training and Skill Development, the Government of Jharkhand initiated an intervention to bring back stranded migrants, PHIA Foundation along with its large civil society network, and individuals started working in tandem to ensure safe returns for thousands of migrants.
Post the first lockdown, this initiative was further institutionalised with many organisations joining and supporting this one of kind Gov-CSO collab, the State Migration Control Room (SMCR) assumed greater responsibility and has since diversified its function in order to support migrants from issues ranging from maintaining databases of migrants working outside to ensuring entitlements for them, facilitating compensation and repatriation to help migrants get proper identification, from helping in with cases of human trafficking and exploitative labour to facilitating employment within the state by mapping skills of migrants. The SMCR & its 24*7 helpline is becoming the epitome of effectively managing not only humanitarian crises but also how Gov-CSO collaboration can help better the lives and restore the dignity of migrants in the state.
To build a society in which migrants and all workers are entitled to secure dignified life, access to fair, decent and safe employment through improved labour standards, wages, greater access to social security safety net and working conditions at source and in destination states.
- To diversify the work of the Migrant Labour Control Room (MLCR) and strengthen it to take the additional responsibility of managing the COVID Helpline 104
- To reach out to stranded labourers/needy persons to accelerate relief works
- To develop a monitoring and tracking structure through evidence-based mapping and family-based livelihood profiling of the workers
- To empower communities with knowledge, information and skills to exercise their rights and entitlements for safe and dignified lives
- To strengthen implementation of Interstate Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Services) Act, 1979 or the relevant Law enforceable to promote safe and responsible migration, reduce distress migration, improve resilience and empower them to exercise rights and entitlements for advancement of living standard
- To conceive long-term sustainable economic development plans for migrant workers through multi- departmental convergence
- To ensure interstate coordination between source and destination states to secure access to social security for workers of Jharkhand and provide optimal support to them in terms of safeguarding policies, wages and related benefits, gender equality, social security and other public schemes
- To support the state government in further planning and on policy level decisions on the issue of migrants
Tracked 10,78,662 stranded migrant workers from Jharkhand at various locations around the country from 27 March till 16 August 2021.
Approx 5.8 crores INR of due payments of the migrants/labourers has been released.
2500+ migrants have been linked with textile construction industries for employment
2964 migrants have been rescued from extreme distress situations
16, 52, 390 migrants have been registered under the Jharkhand migrant helpdesk
Story of Change
Returning Home to Opportunities
Uma Kumari from Ranchi was working at a textile company in Tiruppur, Tamil Nadu, when the pandemic hit. Made to work long hours at low wages, Uma and her fellow colleagues from Jharkhand were desperate to return home but were receiving no help from their Factory Manager. SMCR got in touch with them and helped them return home in October, 2020. SMCR also helped Uma and 2500 other migrant workers, especially women who were working in the textile sector in southern India during the pandemic, get jobs in textile units in Jharkhand.
“Everyone’s parents were extremely happy that their daughters had returned home. We were informed that we would be given jobs in Ormanjhi – at Kishore Exports. It has now been almost two years that we have been working here. The pay is good and we are staying in Jharkhand itself and now, there is no need for us to migrate.” – Uma Kumari
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