Expedite setting up of migrant commission in state, says Yogi
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath said on Monday that measures to set up a migration commission should be expedited to provide jobs to migrant workers coming back to the state due to the Covid-19 lockdown.
The chief minister gave the directives at a meeting of his Team-11 convened to review the lockdown situation in the state.
“Yes, chief minister Yogi Adityanath has asked for making efforts on a war-footing to set up the migration commission. The commission will be set up in the next few days in accordance with the existing provisions of law,” said chief secretary RK Tiwari.
The announcement came amid a growing controversy over the chief minister’s assertion last week that states will need to obtain permission if they wanted to use Uttar Pradesh’s manpower.
In response on Monday, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray demanded that Maharashtra should allow only “bonafide” migrants and they should submit all details to the authorities.”Any migrant entering Maharashtra too, would need to take permissions from us, the Maharashtra government and the state police. The Maharashtra government needs to look into this matter seriously,” said Thackeray.
Official estimates say about one million migrants have left Maharashtra and gone back to their respective home states since the Covid-19 pandemic began. A majority of these workers belong to Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa, Jharkhand and West Bengal.
The controversy has alarmed business associations who say any move to curtail the flow of workers would be detrimental to the economy.“These statements like registration will only scare away the migrant labour and will impede the growth of an industrialised state like Maharashtra,” said Mohan Gurnani, chairman of the Chamber of Associations of Maharashtra Industry and Trade. “There is also apprehensions of how much migrants will come back as many sectors are dependent on migrant labour,” he added.
At a webinar on Sunday, the chief minister had said his government would set up the migration commission in the interest of workers. “The migration commission will work in the interest of the migrant workers. If any other state wants UP’s manpower, they cannot take them away just like that. Those states will have to do it with the consent and permission of the UP government. The way our migrant workers were ill-treated in those states, the UP government will take their insurance, social security in its hands now. The UP government will stand with them wherever they work, whether in Uttar Pradesh, other states or other countries,” he had said.
Asked if the state government would study the Centre’s Inter State Migrant Workmen Act or go for enacting a new law to set up the commission, Tiwari said, “Our basic objective is to watch the welfare of migrant labourers and ensure that they get their wages.”
The state government’s move about prior permission for jobs in other states may, however, has to stand legal scrutiny with experts saying there can’t be any restriction on doing business in any part of the country. “The Constitution of India provides a fundamental right allowing every citizen free movement and the right to do business anywhere in India. The state government can enact any law for welfare of migrant labourers. It, however, cannot restrict these rights,” said former advisor to governor and legal expert CB Pandey.
About 2.5 million migrant labourers have already reached the state. The state government is carrying out an exercise for skill mapping of the migrant labourers. An official spokesman said the skill mapping so far has indicated that 151,492 migrant workers belong to the real estate sector.