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Draft National Migrant Labour Policy

Topics Covered: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

Draft National Migrant Labour Policy:


NITI Aayog, along with a working subgroup of officials and members of civil society, had prepared a draft National Migrant Labour policy.

  • The Policy is a clear statement of intent to better recognise migrants’ contribution to the economy and support them in their endeavours.

Highlights of the Draft- key Recommendations:

  • Facilitate Migration: Migration should be acknowledged as an integral part of development, and government policies should not hinder but seek to facilitate internal migration.
  • Increase Wages: The draft asks source states to raise minimum wages to bring major shifts in local livelihood of tribals which may result in stemming migration to some extent.
  • A central database should be created to help employers “fill the gap between demand and supply” and ensure “maximum benefit of social welfare schemes”.
  • Grievance Handling Cells: The National Legal Services authority (NALSA) and Ministry of Labour should set up grievance handling cells and fast track legal responses for trafficking, minimum wage violations, and workplace abuses and accidents for migrant workers.
  • It also proposes a new National Migration Policy and the formation of a special unit within the Ministry of Labour and Employment to work closely with other ministries

What ails the policy?

  • The policy does not delve deeper into the causes underlying the poor implementation of labour laws that are linked to the political economy of recruitment and placement.
  • There is a reference to unfair recruitment practices in the document, but virtually no analysis of why the system persists and how it is enabled by the employment structure of businesses and enterprises.
  • It does not address gender differences in employment.


The latest government data on migration comes from the 2011 Census. As per the Census, India had 45.6 crore migrants in 2011 (38% of the population) compared to 31.5 crore migrants in 2001 (31% of the population).


Prelims Link:

  1. Data on internal and external migration.
  2. About the Inter State Migrant Workers Act, 1979.
  3. Overview of the Draft.

Mains Link:

Comment on NITI Aayog’s Draft Migrant Labour Policy.

Sources: Indian Express.