INTER-STATE MIGRANT WORKMEN ACT, 1979
13, May 2020
Prelims level : Governance Mains level : GS-II Government Policies and Interventions for Development in Various Sectors and Issues Arising out of their Design and Implementation.
Why in News?
- The unprecedented distress and misery faced by migrant workers due to the current lockdown has drawn attention to a beneficial legislation dedicated to their welfare.
Inter-State Migrant Workmen Act, 1979:
- Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1979 seeks to regulate the employment of inter-State migrants and their conditions of service.
- It is applicable to every establishment that employs five or more migrant workmen from other States; or if it had employed five or more such workmen on any day in the preceding 12 months.
- It is also applicable to contractors who employed a similar number of inter-State workmen.
- The Act would apply regardless of whether the five or more workmen were in addition to others employed in the establishment or by the contractors.
- It envisages a system of registration of such establishments.
- The principal employer is prohibited from employing inter-State workmen without a certificate of registration from the relevant authority.
- The law also lays down that every contractor who recruits workmen from one State for deployment in another State should obtain a licence to do so.
- The wage rates, holidays, hours of work and other conditions of service of an inter-State migrant workmen shall be the same as those extended to other workmen in the same establishment, if the nature of their work is similar.
- In other cases, it would be as prescribed by the Appropriate Government.
- In no case, shall the wages be lower than what is prescribed under the Minimum Wages Act.
Beneficial Provisions for Inter-State Migrants:
- The provision for registration of establishments employing inter-State workers creates a system of accountability.
- It acts as the first layer of formalising the utilisation of their labour.
- It helps the government keep track of the number of workers employed and provides a legal basis for regulating their conditions of service.
- As part of the licensing process, contractors are bound by certain conditions.
- These include committing them to providing terms and conditions of the agreement or any other arrangement on the basis of which they recruit workers.
- These terms include the remuneration payable, hours of work, fixation of wages and other essential amenities in respect of the inter-State migrant workmen.