Kerala planning legislation to address migrant labourers issue

Wednesday, Jul 15, 2015,21:31 IST By metro vaartha A A A

Thiruvananthapuram | The Kerala government today said it is mulling a new legislation to address the issue of migrant labourers in the wake of their huge influx to the state in search of unskilled jobs. Labour Minister Shibu Baby John informed the assembly here that the draft of the Kerala Migrant Workers Social Security Bill is almost complete and more discussions are needed before giving a final shape to it.
The Kerala Migrant Workers Social Security Bill is under the active consideration of the state government. The draft of the bill is ready. But we need more discussion on it before finalising it, he said to a question by CPI’s C Divakaran. Seeking to provide migrant labourers, mainly from north and north-eastern part of the country, better lodging facility, the government would soon open the state’s first official labour camp for them in Palakkad district, he said.
The labour camp programme, which will be drawn on the lines of those in the Gulf countries for labourers, would be expanded to other districts in the next phase, he said. The department also plans to start kiosks and call centres with people proficient in Hindi as staff, to interact with the migrant labourers and understand their problems, he added.
To a question on possibilities of mandatory registration for such labourers, the minister said the state government could not compel them to register for getting jobs as it was against various constitutional norms. Though there are about 25 lakh migrant labourers, mostly from West Bengal, Bihar and Assam in the state according to a rough estimate, only below 50,000 of them had so far registered under the labour department.
There is a general tendency in the state to view migrant labourers as second grade citizens. This attitude should be changed and we should accept the fact that they are very much part of our life now, Shibu Baby John said, adding, though sporadic incidents of crimes involved by migrant labourers had been reported in the state, most of them are peace-loving.
Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala said the state police was showing strict vigil on the issue of migrant labourers and regular monitoring and interactions were being ensured in areas where their presence is high.

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