Officials at the signing of the MoU in Ranchi on Thursday. Picture by Hardeep Singh
Ranchi, Feb. 21: The Centre today inked a memorandum of understand (MoU) with four states including Jharkhand to improve conditions of migrant labourers, particularly those engaged in brick kilns.
The MoU _ Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Uttar Pradesh are the other signatories _ necessitates constitution of an inter-state coordination committee to be headed by the national director general of labourer welfare with secretaries of labour departments and labour commissioners as members.
As per the agreement, each state would also set up an intra-state committee headed by the state labour commissioner to work for the welfare, rights and safety of the migrant labourers.
The intra-state committee would create a data-base of labourers through house- to-house surveys and through registration of labourers. It would also devise a mechanism to weed out middlemen and contractors.
The inter-state coordination committee on the other hand would meet at least once in six months and review labour welfare and safety measures carried out by the member states. Trade unions would be roped in to train labourers on their rights and help them form organisations for collective bargaining to improve their working and living conditions.
“The aim of the MoU is to improve working and living conditions of labourers, particularly those who migrate within the state or from one state to another. The inter-state and intra-state committees would also work to eliminate child labourer,” said Anil Swarup, director general of labour welfare, government of India.
Swarup also suggested that state officials first try and convince contractors to act humanely towards labourers, before using legal provisions against them so that a participatory approach was adopted towards solving issues.
He also asked states to improve economic conditions of labourers and their families through micro-finance.
The signing ceremony was attended by state labour secretary Vishnu Kumar, UP labour commissioner Gurdeep Singh, Bihar deputy labour commissioner Amarkant Singh, Odisha deputy labour commissioner Bhaskar Panda and others. Governor’s advisor K. Vijay Kumar was also present.
“Migrant labourers are the poorest among the poor in society. This MoU will ensure that their legitimate rights are protected,” Kumar said while addressing the gathering.