The ‘Working Group on Migration’ headed by Partha Mukhopadhay on 1 March 2017 submitted its report to the union government. The panel appointed by the Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation (HUPA) in 2015 had suggested necessary legal and policy framework should be brought to protect the interests of the migrants in the country.
The panel said the migrant population makes a substantial contribution to economic growth and their constitutional rights should be secured.
Highlights/Recommendations of the Working Group on Migration report
• It suggests that the protocols of the registrar general of India should be amended to enable caste-based enumeration of migrants. This will help them to avail the attendant benefits in the states to which the migration takes place.
• Migrants should be enabled to avail benefits of public distribution system (PDS) in the destined state by providing interstate operability of PDS.
• To promote rental housing and working Women Hostels for the benefit of migrants, the panel has suggested the use of the underutilised construction workers welfare cess fund.
• To end any discrimination in work and employment, the states should be encouraged to eliminate the requirement of domicile status. For this, the panel talks about the constitutional right of freedom of movement and residence in any part of the territory of India.
• It suggests that the state government should be asked to include migrant children in the Annual Work Plans under the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA) to uphold their Right to Education.
• It suggests that banks should be enabled to adhere to the RBI guidelines regarding the Know Your Customer (KYC) norms while opening the bank accounts of the migrants. It should not ask for documents that are not required.
• The working group also suggested that the vast network of post offices should be made effective as it will help in reducing the cost of transfer of money to avoid informal remittances.
According to the latest economic survey, the annual migration in the country has increased to 90 lakh in 2016 from 33 lakh in 2011. The group said that as per data of National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) and Census 2011 migrants constitute about 30 per cent of the country’s population and the total working force.
Urban development Minister Venkaiah Naidu has asked Ministry officials to send the report to all concerned ministries and convene a meeting on further course of action.
About the Working Group
It was an 18-member working group/panel headed by Partha Mukhopadhay of the Centre for Policy Research. Other members of the Working Group were representatives of Ministries of Home, Urban Development, Rural Development, HUPA, Labour and Employment, Social Justice & Empowerment, Statistics & Programme Implementation, Women & Child Development, NITI Ayog, Registrar General of India, TATA Trust, Indian Institute for Human Settlements, UNESCO and Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research.