Arjun Kumar, Ritika Gupta, Sakshi Sharda, Anshula Mehta, Sajili Oberoi

Migrant and Worker Rights are diminishing with no policy response. Keeping the migrant workers issues at center stage and recognizing the social and economic cost of COVID-19 Pandemic IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute , Working Peoples’ Charter and Indian Social Institute organized a Panel Discussion on Migrant Workers, Labour Rights, Policy: Impact and Way Forward. The talk was to engage the panelists views on concerns of social security, livelihood and the impact of Pandemic.

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Setting the tone for the Panel Discussion Dr. Denzil Fernandes, Executive Director, Indian Social Institute, New Delhi and convenor of the panel discussion spoke to the importance of May Day.  It is a day to commemorate the efforts of workers in the development and growth of the nation. This is also the day to recognize worker rights and acknowledge the gaps. In the neoliberal power structure, worker rights are diminishing as the corporates grow. May Day 2021 becomes ever more important as it comes in the middle of a pandemic. 

Academicians have been engaged in discussion migrant rights following the lockdown in May 2020 which saw a huge humanitarian crisis. The government has not been still in this era of turmoil, wherein they have rushed through the passing of the Labour Code Bills 2021. The Niti Ayog has developed its Draft National Migrant Workers’ Policy. 

Worker Rights: Way Forward

The world of work is changing and agreeing with Prof. Jose spoke for the need to develop alternate institutional safeguards. Institutions need to be more inclusive and adaptive to different kinds of work. There is a need to take into consideration womens’ work. It is not just to monetise their work but to include and expand the understanding of labour force itself. Answers cannot be found in labour policies which are exclusive. 

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The various movements providing fertile ground for an alternate political agenda. The Pandemic has added fuel to the fire of inequalities. The glaring inequality of caste and history of migration and informal work marked with patriarchy, caste and colonialism must be developed to build the alternate model. We need to understand the quantum of the concerns which is only possible by transforming methods of data collection.

Youtube Video for Panel Discussion on Migrant Workers, Labour Rights, Policy: Impact and Way Forward IMPRI #WebPolicyTalks