The government on Wednesday said there are 14 crore migrant labourers in the country based on the 2001 census emphasising that the question was not of the numbers but welfare.
Replying to a half-an-hour discussion on migration of workers, Labour Minister Mallikarjun Kharge said the government endorsed views of the members about migrant workers.
"There are 14 crore migrant labourers in the country as per the 2001 census...The real issue is not the numbers but the welfare of the labourers," he said.
Initiating the discussion, Rajiv Pratap Rudy from the BJP wanted to know whether it was correct that 2 crore people migrate from Maharashtra to work in other states.
He also wanted to know the number of illegal Chinese and Bangladeshi migrants in the country. The BJP member also wanted to know the exact numbers of Kashmiri migrants and their living conditions.
R C Khuntia from Congress wanted the protection of migrant labourers saying that six lakh such workers are engaged in construction work related to Commonwealth Games and Metro.
Mohammed Amin from CPI-M gave the example of West Bengal saying that wherever land reforms have taken place, migration is minimised.
Kharge said the figures of 14 crore was based on the 2001 census and the figures of 2 crore for Maharashtra included inter-district and intra-district migration along with migration to cities and foreign countries.
He said a tripartite group was formed comprising representatives from migrant labourers, employees' and those from the government to look into the issue.
"The group has submitted its report. Government will examine it and has already initiated action," he said.