Yogi wants migration commission set up on war footing, even as Raj Thackeray fumes over his proposal

The state government says the migration commission’s main objective is to ensure migrant workers get jobs and wages.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s statement on migrant workers ill-treatment in other states has started a political controversy.(ANI Photo)
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s statement on migrant workers ill-treatment in other states has started a political controversy.(ANI Photo)
Updated on May 25, 2020 07:20 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Lucknow | ByUmesh Raghuvanshi | Edited by Abhinav Sahay

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath on Monday has asked state officials to expedite the setting up of the migration commission meant to provide jobs to migrant workers returning to Uttar Pradesh due to the ongoing lockdown in the country and to safeguard their rights.

The instruction comes amid a brewing political controversy that saw Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray shoot a sharp retort to Adityanath’s claim made on Sunday that workers from UP were ill treated in other states, which, he added, will now have to obtain UP government’s permission to hire manpower from the state.

“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.

Following up on his assertion, Yogi issued the directives to constitute the commission on Monday at a meeting of his Team-11 convened to review the lockdown situation here.

“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.

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.”

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The state government’s proposal mandating prior permission for jobs in other states may, however, face 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.

UP CM’s proposal has also not gone down well with Raj Thackeray who said Maharashtra should also allow entry only to a restricted group of workers from UP that register with the state.

“...If such is the case, then any migrant entering Maharashtra too would need to take permissions from us, from the Maharashtra state, our police force. Shri Adityanath needs to take cognizance of this,” one of Thackeray’s tweets on the issue stated on Sunday.

Thackeray added that such workers should also be denied voting rights in Maharashtra.

“Also, the migrant workers from UP will have voting rights only in UP. As per rules laid down, a voter can only vote from one place and cannot exercise their voting rights in two places. This fact needs to be realised by CM Adityanath, by Maharashtra and other states too,” he said in another tweet.

About 25 lakh migrant labourers have already returned to UP. 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 the largest number of 1,51,492 migrant workers have come from the real estate development sector.

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Wednesday, January 26, 2022