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Jharkhand: Safe migration campaign launched in state

Ranchi: Chief minister Hemant Soren launched special project named ‘Safe and Responsible Migration Initiative (SRMI)’, a 18 month policy initiative focusing on migrant workers which will be run by the state labour department. State labour department minister Satyanand Bhokta, chief secretary Sukhdev Singh among others were present on the occasion.

SRMI is supported by the Omidyar Network India and implemented by a consortium of – the Policy and Development Advisory Group (PDAG), Partnering Hope Into Action Foundation (PHIA), the Center for Migration and Inclusive Development (CMID) and the Bharti Institute of Public Policy at the Indian School of Business (ISB). SRMI is looking at positively impacting the issue of migration at scale, through rigorous evidence- based and data driven policy making.

Soren said, “While labourers have long been migrating to different places from out state to earn livelihood, but government aims to ensure that they do so in proper manner. The last year’s lockdown and migrant crisis exposed us with host of problems faced by the migrants. Hence, government is working to address those issues.” He also said that they are setting up special corpus fund in every district. “In case of death of any migrant worker anywhere, district administration will ensure that the bodies are brought respectfully,” he said.

Dr. Benoy Peter, executive director, Center for Migration and Inclusive Development (CMID) said, “Migration offers a world of opportunities to rural households in India and helps them better adapt and be resilient. It has a positive impact on not just the households but entire village economies. However, we need to move from the current state of migration which is precarious, to one which is safe and responsible. In addition, migration should not be out of distress and people who do not wish to migrate should have ample livelihood opportunities at their native places.”

Johnson Topno, the regional head for PHIA echoed the sentiment and brought it in certain ongoing contexts by stating, “The Covid pandemic and lockdown has had a huge impact on migrant workers and their well-being. It requires a systemic response in order to make their life and work safer wherever they move. SRMI is an initiative of the government and consortium partners to have better coordination and management of migrant workers’ mobility and well-being at both Source and Destination points.”

The consortium will work closely with the state government. The project will initially be rolled out on pilot basis in Gumla, West Singbhum and Dumka.