While giving a critical overview of the Government policy, discuss the major challenges towards social inclusion of internal migrants in India ?

Published: February 19, 2017

Internal migrants make around 1/3rd of total Indian population, comprising of over 400 million people, which is over half of global figure of 740 million. Around 80% of these are women, who migrate due to marriage. Further, as per latest Economic Survey, annual average labour migration in India was close to 9 million between states during 2011-16.
The government policy towards migrants, particularly those who migrate from their states for job and labour, accords very low priority. The major issues which need to be addressed in government policy include portability of food and social security benefits; healthcare and protection against exploitation and unjust working conditions. There are legislative and policy instruments in place for migrants welfare but most of them are limited to papers. For example, keeping in view article 19(1) and article 301, the government of India had enacted a Inter-State Migrant Workmen Act, 1979 to address the unjust working conditions of migrant workers, including the necessity of gaining employment. However, on ground, this law has failed to create a better environment for migrant. Similarly, most government schemes that have to do with migrants needs to be implemented by state governments; and states are notorious in India for poor implementation of schemes. Further, there is lack of inter-state coordination also.
The major challenges which need to be addressed include: Social Inclusion {migrants are seen as outsiders and not regarded as integral part of society}; Lack of access to housing and basic facilities {a large number of migrants in India need to live in slums and face constant threat of displacement}; lack of education {this is a particular problem with seasonal migrants whose children either left behind or drop out of school}; Lack of documentation and identity {Aadhaar tries to solve this problem to great extent, but still portability of social service and protection}.

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