Skip to main content

Govt of India's labour governance framework in a state of paralysis, stakeholders 'ignored'

Counterview Desk 

The advocacy group Working Peoples’ Coalition's (WPC's) national secretariat has said in a statement that India's migrant workforce "continues to toil" even two years after the Covid-19 lockdowns, yet state apathy continues.
After the lockdown, said the group, informal workers in India suffered a 22.6% fall in wages, even as formal sector employees had their salaries cut by 3.6% on an average. Even before the pandemic, the growth of the informal sector was sluggish due to demonetisation; however, the pandemic spelt disaster for the informal sector, it added.

Text:

If the deaf is to hear, the sound must be loud and clear... Remembering these powerful words of Shaheed Bhagat Singh on the 91st death anniversary, who along with Sukhdev and Rajguru, stood firm for the cause of our country.
Today, the Working Peoples’ Coalition (WPC) agonizingly marks the second anniversary as a ‘Remembrance Day’ of the government's failure in addressing the lockdown-caused crisis of the migrant population.
Beyond promises for state elections and big-ticket pronouncements, we insist that this dark anniversary be used to ask difficult questions that seem to once again be leaving our minds as the pandemic recedes.
The WPC is not limited to any symbolism of just remembering the millions of migrant workers and their families who walked barefoot hundreds of miles on the national highways but also is committed to striving for a meaningful resolution to the issues which gave rise to those precarious conditions in the first place.
The WPC firmly stands up to the injustice and enforced violence on the working people despite repeated attempts to systematically veil and bury the toil of billions in the national growth. The WPC would continue to keep reminding those in power and authority – whether in the government, in the market or the society – that the apathy towards working people cannot be allowed to endure.
The government, especially one that propagates repeatedly in various electoral platforms of caring and protecting the working people, is obligated to provide emphatic answers, especially to the migrant workers who are the backbone of the national economy and responsible for the country’s economic growth.
The simple truth is that we have failed the workers on whose behalf we felt empathy and outrage when they became visible on our highways, refuting the images of India’s growth story. It is the abrogation of Directive Principles of State Policy, the denial of fundamental rights, human dignity, and socio-economic justice to working people of India -- which is truly ‘anti-national’.
The state has to take special care of those who are at the margins and belong to historically disadvantaged communities. Leave aside provisioning welfare, the government has completely robbed the working classes of whatever little dignity they had- through the lockdown and the two years after.
The WPC condemns the continuing apathy of working people and calls upon the union and the federal governments for immediate responses to the deteriorating condition of the working people across India.
After the lockdown, informal workers in India suffered a 22.6% fall in wages, even as formal sector employees had their salaries cut by 3.6% on an average, according to a report by the International Labour Organisation (ILO). Even before the pandemic, the growth of the informal sector was sluggish due to demonetisation, however, the pandemic spelt disaster for the informal sector.
  • No state has progressed beyond publishing Draft Rules under the four labour codes passed in 2019 and 2020, and the Central government is yet to finalise its Draft Rules and notify the Codes too. At a crucial time for workers, labour governance architecture is in a state of paralysis right now with stakeholders not clear as to what laws to institute and abide by.
  • Many draft policy documents highlighted the work conditions and lack of justice for migrant workers, including NITI Aayog's draft policy on migrant workers, but they are still waiting to see the light of the day.
  • Affordable Rental Housing Complex (ARHC) was announced on 20th July 2020 as a relief measure to the mass exodus of migrants from urban centres. Close to two years into the implementation of the scheme the performance is a dismal 6.55%.
  • Programmes such as the public distribution system (PDS), specific relief schemes, or crisis cash transfers, proved to be inadequate or excluded many informal workers either because they weren’t recognised as workers or because of their interstate movement. Most of the workers had received assistance from civil society and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), either directly or through workers’ unions. A telling empiric is that even after receiving the government cash transfers, a large majority of households had to take further debt to meet the expenses.
The Union government in collaboration with federal state governments must urgently address all the issues, demands and concerns mentioned above. WPC calls upon all the worker organisations, citizens’ forums, and other civil society organisations to stand with migrant citizens.
The Working Peoples’ Coalition (WPC) stands as a collective voice of informal workers in India who are demanding equity, social justice, and dignity. The WPC would persevere with an unflinching commitment to the ideals of this Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic. The WPC is the united front of the historically marginalized – but - inevitable future of this country – the working people.
---
Click here for WPC's analysis of the informal sector economy

Comments

TRENDING

'Enough evidence': Covid vaccines impacted women's reproductive health

By Deepika*  In 2024, the news outlets have suddenly started reporting about covid vaccine side effects in a very extensive manner. Sadly, the damage is already done.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Dadi, poti discuss 'injustice' under 10 yr Modi rule: Video campaign goes viral

By Our Representative  Watan Ki Raah Mein, a civil society campaign of the Samvidhan Bachao Nagrik Abhiyan, has released a short video conversation on social media of an exchange of letters between a dadi and her poti discussing poverty, unemployment, corruption and women’s safety. The letters also raise the question of  suppression of our fundamental rights of speech, expression and justice. 

US 'frustrated' with India’s discomfort: Maritime exercise in South China Sea

By Vijay Prashad*  In early April 2024, the navies of four countries -- Australia, Japan, the Philippines, and the United States -- held a maritime exercise in the South China Sea. Australia’s Warramunga, Japan’s Akebono, the Philippines’ Antonio Luna, and the United States’ Mobile worked together in these waters to strengthen their joint abilities and -- as they said in a joint statement  -- to “uphold the right to freedom of navigation and overflight and respect for maritime rights under international law.” 

WHO move can 'enable' India to detain citizens, restrict freedom, control media

Counterview Desk  In an an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with copies to concerned Cabinet ministers, bureaucrats and MPs,  health rights network  People’s Alliance for Public Health (PAPH alias JanSwasthya Morcha), has urged that India should not be a signatory to the World Health Organization ( WHO) Pandemic Agreement and Amendments to the  International Health Regulations (IHR) 2005  to be adopted at the 77th World Health Assembly in Geneva from 27th May to 1st June, 2024.

'Uncertainty in Iran': Raisi brokered crucial Chabahar Port deal with India

By Pranjal Pandey*  Ebrahim Raisi, the Iranian President, and the country’s foreign minister were tragically found deceased on May 20, 2024, shortly after their helicopter crashed in foggy conditions. In response, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei swiftly appointed a relatively unknown vice president as the interim leader.

Informal, outdoor workers 'excluded': Govt of India's excessive heat policies

Counterview Desk  Top civil rights network, National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), has demanded urgent government action to protect millions of outdoor workers from extreme heat and heatwaves, insisting declaration of heatwaves as climatic disaster.