Welfare programmes chalked out as part of the strategy

The State government has finalised an action plan to prevent distress migration from the State and improve quality of life of migrant workers and their children at destination points.

The strategy was finalised basing on the inputs provided by UNICEF and Aide et Action, a voluntary organisation, at a high-level meeting chaired by Chief Secretary Bijay Kumar Patnaik here recently.

The government is working on a mechanism for giving assurance through advance work orders to these families in the month of August prior to the start of the migration season. Besides, identified families would be provided 150 days of work (100 days by Union government and 50 by State government) to prevent migration. “We are expecting that more than 1,50,000 migrant workers will be returning to their native villages from other States from July onwards.

They will be in acute need of works between the months July and September. If migrant families lived through this critical phase without going to private money lender, migration could be checked to a great extent,” said Umi Daniel, head of Migration Thematic Unit of Aide et Action South Asia.

Mr. Daniel said, “apart from giving job assurance, if the government can think of making advance payment for the work under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, it will prevent poor people from being pushed into the vicious cycle of migration.”

The State government has also chalked out a plan converging welfare programme under various departments to address the issue of migration.

Sources said efforts would be made to link self-help groups with the National Rural Livelihood Mission for provision of small loans to migrant households. Besides, Water Resource Department had been asked to take steps to provide irrigation facilities to the migration-prone districts as this would be the best form of ensuring livelihood security at the source.

Children of migrant SC & ST families would be put in residential schools being managed by SC&ST Development Department. Despite all efforts, migration may not be prevented. It has been proposed to make life of migrant workers ‘hospitable’ at workplace. Labour officials would initiate dialogue with owners of brick kiln, stone quarries and construction works for developing minimum habitation standards.

Composite card

Moreover, the State government may soon work on one composite card (multipurpose portable card) for migrant workers which would enable them to take advantage of development programmes such as Integrated Child Development Scheme, Public Distribution System, education and Rastriya Swasthya Bima Yojna irrespective of places they work at.

Lakhs of poor villagers from districts like Bolangir, Bargarh, Kalahandi, and Nuapada migrate to work in brick kilns of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. These workers take advance money from brokers and work in very inhospitable conditions to repay the loan.

  • The plan prepared based on the inputs by UNICEF and a voluntary organisation

  • Steps to be taken to provide small loans to migrant households