Consultation Workshop on project SWABHIMAN at XISS

Network for Enterprise Enhancement and Development Support (NEEDS) organized a One-day Consultation Workshop on project SWABHIMAN “Alliance for Dignity, Employment and Pride for Migrants in Jharkhand in collaboration with Rural Management Programme of Xavier Institute of Social Service (XISS), Ranchi, sponsored by European Union. The program was organised in the friendly company of migrant workers and with representatives of numerous civil organisations operating in the state in XISS Campus.

Dr Joseph Marianus Kujur SJ, Director, XISS, in his inaugural speech appreciated the initiative and highlighted how the pandemic forced the migrant workers for reverse migration and XISS worked for them by setting up shelter homes for them in several districts of the State in coordination with the district administration. He also mentioned that during his interaction with these migrant workers, he felt a sense of pride and self-esteem missing amongst them which is needed to be restored. He concluded saying that soft loans, preferences in opening Small or Medium scale Enterprises (SMEs), pension fund and contingency fund are areas which can be implemented to help them re-established in their new settings.

Mr Murari Mohan Choudhury, Executive Director, NEEDS, during his presentation on the project discussed that there is a major migrant issue in Jharkhand, where more than 90,000 people move from Deoghar to Howrah each year and have been identified as the top routine migration in eastern India and showed distress migrant issues in Jharkhand like 42% migrant workers engagement in construction sector which is maximum. Then he further talked about the objective and strategy of the SWABHIMAN project, how a migration registered system can be created at panchayat level; to strengthen and ensure convergence with the PRD department, activities under the SWABHIMAN project which targeted outreach 1,00,000 in informal workers 10,000 returnee migrants, 1,000 employers, 100 CSOs, and also stressed over the KAMDHAM android app where all the workers will be registered by MRCs and Internet Sathis.

Dr Swati Jha, Program Director - Learning and Migration Program, American India Foundation, spoke on migration and their challenges. She talked about the mission and vision of AIF. She discussed distress migration, challenges of education migrants, goal to make 1000 ultra poor villages child migration free and providing access to quality education and improving the community; learning resource centers – Hub and Spoke Model are the responsibilities of Digimitra.

Mr A. K. Singh, Director, LEADS, during his speech stressed over State Government interventions for safe migration – Safe and Responsible Migration Intiative (SRMI) to safeguard the interests of migrant workers as state government figures. He mentioned that during the coronovirus – induced lockdown about 8 lakh workers had returned to Jharkhand. He further talked about how to deal with this problem, importance of training of labour workers, access to migrant’s workers children’s education, develop infrastructure about 4 KGBV in each block of Jharkhand and create opportunities to their employment.

In the first session of the workshop, the panelists shared their suggestions on ‘Policy gaps in Jharkhand regarding safe migration and state support in case of emergency’ and ‘How the labour department and CSOs should collaborate for the benefit of migrant workers, who make up a significant portion of Jharkhand's labour force.’

In the second session the topic of discussion was ‘Role of Government and other stakeholders to ensure collaborative approach to reduce distressed migration and create local livelihood opportunities.’

Understanding the existing social, economic, and job status of migrant and unorganized labourers was the consultation workshop's primary goal.