Labour Migration to Kerala: Challenges and Solutions

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1 Labour Migration to Kerala: Challenges and Solutions Benoy Peter, Ph.D. Executive Director Centre for Migration and Inclusive Development. Meeting of the Working Group on Labour Migration to Kerala Kerala State Planning Board Thiruvananthapuram, 21 October 2016

2 In-migration to Kerala: Challenges before the Govt. Lack of rigorous estimates Limited information on source areas Undocumented Bangladeshis Limitations of registration Public health challenges Human rights violations Challenges in social protection Perceived surge of crimes Exploitations/discriminations Rising Resentment from host community

3 Migrant Workers in Kerala No robust estimate of circular migrants in the state Source: India Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Odisha, Assam, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand. Bangladesh Nepal GIFT Study million migrant workers in Kerala?

4 Migrant Workers in Kerala Tamil Nadu Families, men, women Northern/Eastern India- young,single male, rural, backward communities; now women and families too Naka Labour Type Sectors- construction and infrastructure, plywood, other manufacturing, hospitality, fishing, mining, agriculture now near universal Informal employee Captive Labour

5 Driven largely by social networks

6 Some of the Newest Migration Corridors in India Evolved over the past two decades Eastern India-Southern India Western Odisha (Odisha)-Ernakulam (Kerala) Murshidabad (Bengal) Ernakulam (Kerala) Nagaon (Assam) Ernakulam (Kerala)

7 Migrant Workers in Kerala Moved out due to : irregular work, low wages Moved in due to: better wages, employment opportunities, working conditions, presence of significant others Work for 10 hours or more, most of the days in a week Engaged in low skilled jobs Switches jobs/places frequently within destination Visits native place at least once in a year

8 Challenges of Migrant Workers

9 Work Absence of social protection measures ESI GPF Leave Creche Other benefits Exploitation/ Harassment by employers/contractors Lack of protective wears Fluid wages, lower than local workers Dependent on contractor/employer Limited negotiation skills

10 Empowerment & Social networking Not collectivised Membership in political parties/trade Unions Membership in employee unions Limited membership/association in local cultural/recreational fora Constraints in communication Limited mobility beyond work settings Limited interaction with host community

11 Access to health/treatment Vulnerable to work and life related health issues - accidents/injuries, skin diseases, TB, etc Limited awareness about preventive measures Lack of IEC measures in migrant lingos Constraints in communication Long working hours preventing access to doctors Availability of other providers (chemists) Unavailability of peers to accompany to the doctor Public health facilities insensitive to migrant requirements Limited health interventions by Govt/NGOs/employer

12 Financial Inclusion Lack of empirical evidence on FI Poor financial literacy Limited access to banking KYC related challenges Challenges in securing money/wages Informal networks for remittance Limited access to formal credit/insurance Poor utilisation of available services

13 Challenges in keeping the accumulating wages Work timings restrict access to formal banking Limited availability of Banking Facilitators Few CDMs/Poor access/don t know how to use Keeping Money with friends/relatives/employers/significant others Risk of theft/cheating

14 Banking and Insurance Transactions Significant number of migrants with Bank Accounts? Availability of CDMs only in urban centres Internet money transfer arrangements at shops Formal banking services yet to be migrant friendly Existence of informal remittance mechanisms Limited access to formal credit and savings Absence of interventions by NGOs/MFIs Insurance Poor insurance literacy Limited access to insurance Products not tailor made to requirements Complicated procedures for enrolment/claims

15 Accommodation Free accommodation-makeshift/permanent worker camps Congested living No separate kitchen Own accommodation- depends on ability to pay Advance payments, no proof of payment, high rent Limited access to sanitation/safe drinking water Flooded toilets-disposal of septage a challenge

16 Exploitations Train tickets - middlemen charge exorbitantly Local travel- autos charge higher rates Market- Charges higher prices from migrants Violence: employer, contractor, natives, fellow workers Exorbitant rents Commission by contractors Limited access to Police/labour welfare officer Sporadic sexual exploitations

17 Education Invisible students (in class but not enrolled) Challenges in enrolling older children Bridging the language gap Curriculum related challenges Teacher related constraints Discriminations by schools/natives Illiterate parents Retention of kids Child labour

18 Issues of women and children Children vulnerable from 7-10am & 4-7pm Malnutrition Access to RCH Immunisation Trafficking Sexual exploitations

19 National Security Undocumented emigrant workers Bangladesh Repatriation challenges Convicts/interest groups using as hideout

20 Limited or No Social Protection Maternity Unemployment Poor housing Unavailability of subsidised food Disability Accidents & injuries Limited scope for continued education of children Limited access to quality health services Death Sickness Limited access to formal banking and financial services Limited access to legal aid

21 Policies/Regulations on Social Protection for Migrant Workers Interstate Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1979 Right to Education Act 2009 Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY).

22 Unorganised Workers Social Security Act 2008 National Social Security Board constituted in 2009 National Social Security Fund 2011 Kerala State Social Security Rules 2010 Kerala State Social Security Board Yet to see results

23 Policy Challenges Govt Schemes Limited Portability of entitlements Lack of identity/local address proof at destination to avail benefits Complex processes and procedures inherent in delivery of benefits Poor implementation mechanisms Absence of an internal migration policy

24 Advantages of migrants in Kerala Better wages Sustained work opportunities Relatively pleasant weather Better accommodation/work environment compared to source Limited discriminations/exploitations based on ethnicity Limited trouble from host community Presence of strong social network

25 Some initiatives by the state Inter-state Migrant Welfare Scheme 2010 Kerala State Social Security Board Study of Labour Migration 2013 Inspections-use of tobacco/drugs Ad hoc Health camps, campaigns Capacity Building Initiatives through KILE Shelters for Migrants Insurance on the anvil Working Group 13 th Plan

26 What could be done? Need more empirical evidence to understand migrant workers better Macro and micro studies, sourcedestination studies Need serious deliberations on the issue (Workshops, consultations..) State Migration Policy Department of Migrant affairs

27 What could be done Involve migrant workers/representatives in planning Involve private sector/industries Corridor based interventions Proactive steps from trade Unions

28 What could be done? Active involvement of NGOs on the implementation front of migrant welfare programmes Source destination Govt/NGO collaborations Kerala Social Security Mission should also take up migrant issues Proactive efforts by PRIs Sensitise media Entitlement promotion campaigns among migrants Migrant sensitive banking and health facilities Migrant facilitation centres at major arrival points/nerve centres

29 Where could be done? Sensitising financial institutions/stakeholders Involvement of employers and migrant workers Proactive steps by Govt./NGOs/MFIs/Other stakeholders Establishing CBOs including cooperatives Corridor based interventions

30 What could be done? Financial/insurance literacy programmes Entitlement promotion campaigns Developing migrant sensitive financial products Enhancing access to financial services Leveraging Govt. Schemes Leveraging technology Setting up grievance redressal mechanisms

31 What could be done? Train ticket booking centres at migrant hubs Accreditation of contractors/employers for compliance of labour welfare measures Accreditation of facilities given on rent to migrants Formation of CBOs among migrant workers Enhancing recreational opportunities Sensitising host community on the role of migrants in the local economy

32 Centre for Migration and Inclusive Development P.M.C. V/223A, Thuruthiparambu, Perumbavoor Ernakulam District, Kerala, India Phone: ,

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