Protection of Migrant’s Rights and Improved Accessibility to Government Schemes: Exploring the Process of Seasonal Labour Migration in Rural India

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 10:45
Oral Presentation
Shilpi smita PANDA, National Institute of Technology, Rourkela, Odisha, India, India
Seasonal labour migration is a complex phenomenon, which involves long working hours, poor living and working conditions, social isolation and poor accessibility to basic amenities. Most of the migration goes undocumented, and the lack of regulation compounds vulnerability. This exploratory study aimed to examine various social networks which promote seasonal migration every year from the districts. It also explored the working and living conditions of migrant workers at the destination and the role of various stakeholders in the protection of migrant’s rights and their access to various government sponsored schemes in origin and destination. The paper draws heavily on primary data collected from three migration prone districts of India. The paper is based on in-depth interviews with the migrant workers, government officials, migration brokers and owners of brick manufacturing industries and representatives of civil society working among the migrant labourers. The extensive field work reveals that the structural poverty, impoverished livelihood, geo-climatic conditions and seasonal cultivation and unavailability of alternative livelihood sources led to large scale seasonal migration from the districts to the brick manufacturing industries every year. This form of undocumented migration takes place through a social network comprising of the migration brokers either from same locality or from neighboring locality. Migration brokers distribute advances among the migrants before the start of the migration cycle. In return, they receive commission from the owners of the establishment. The migrant workers migrated with their family members who are capable to earn and work in the brick kilns till the advances are settled. In this process, migrants lack the access to the benefits of the government sponsored schemes in the origin. They can’t claim the same benefits at the destination Seasonal migrants have a different set of needs, which requires provision of special schemes for protecting their rights and accessibility to benefits.