The pandemic has exponentially magnified the issues faced by migrants and we are now in need of diverse solutions with new perspectives.
Hypothesizing Solutions for Migrant Workers
Make-A-Thon for Migrant Workers
The Make-a-thon was a 15 day online journey for students and young professionals interested in creating innovative solutions. It began with a workshop that set out the socio-legal landscape of migrant workers in India and the approach to designing effective solutions to their challenges. Following this, participants formed teams and developed solutions with the support of experienced mentors and domain experts from the Aajeevika Bureau community.
See below for the ideas pitched by the teams!
Represented by: Paayas Kucheria, Nikitha K, Nirosha Sureshbabu, Somnath Kapoor
Migrant workers often depend on informal networks for housing and often do not find accommodation easily.
Team Mavericks comprising of Paayas Kucheria, Nikitha K, Nirosha Sureshbabu, Somnath Kapoor suggested counteracting the lack of housing available to migrant workers by using old unused govt buildings and public transport buses and converting them into homes. They even spoke to officials within the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) to collaborate with for building such housing units and they received a positive response from KSRTC.
As per their research 7.5 per cent government buildings are vacant which along with KSRTC buses would serve as homes for workers from different states. They sought to fund this venture based on a PPP model and would also receive CSR donations
Paayas, Nikitha, Nirosha, Somanth shared a design for converting KSRTC buses into dormitories, each bus housing sixteen workers.Facilities within these dormitories included beds, electricity supply, kitchen, washroom, potable water and personal lockers.
Represented by: Manav Sony, Aliza Tarique, Vaishnavi Ramesh, Akshay Poudel and Omkar Rajesh.
Lack of affordable basic housing for migrant workers.
The team came up with the plan to upcycle scrap material and containers -especially those used for exporting large goods and converting them into temporary on-site housing facilities for construction workers.
As given in the picture, Beds, common toilet, living area and a kitchen along with few safety exits. The housing units would be powered through solar panels and would have sloped roofs for better insulation.
Basic Housing Amenities
Represented by: Eunisa PT, Kirti Singh, Debanjana Bhattacharya and Vachanamrutha RV.
How to provide an accessible and affordable housing for migrant workers with basic amenities ?
To make affordable housing in old buses etc, similar to trailer Houses, and to work on cutting the affordability in reaching from residence to place of work for Migrant workers. Affordable housing similar to ‘apna ghar project’ by Kerala govt, which even Karnataka govt is adopting.
Already the government provided housing for them far from the workplace, workers are willing to occupy permanent housing.
Worker Welfare Ideas
Represented by: Harshika Kapoor, Himadri Das, Aman Verma & Abhinav Verma
How do we help migrant workers calculate wages, so that they can demand what they’re entitled to?
The team sought to solve this problem through the formation of Bhartiya Majdoor Sahayak Kendra (BMSK) to be also known as the all India labour welfare house. BMSK will be done where an office will be set up with required machinery to register labourers. The welfare house will cover a vast variety of issues related to migrant workers.
There were several assumptions made by the team including:
- Willingness of workers to form another union
- Availability of documentation with workers
- Financial records
Represented by: Sanjana Ramnath, Viraj Aditya, Shishir Mani Tripathi, Lithin Thomas & Madhur Bhatt
How do we help migrant workers to record their attendance at work ?
To counteract the problem faced by migrant workers when recording their attendance, team 5 proposed a scrapbook with stickers to mark attendance. The pages would also have an electronic trace by ensuring workers take a photograph and upload it onto the app designed by Lithin Thomas, Madhur Bhatt, Shishir Mani Tripathi, Sanjana Ramnath, Viraj Aditya Team 5 designed a website that would be accessible through a QR code that is available on each page of the scrapbook.
Prototype of app page can be seen in Images
Represented by: Meenal Hemant Chandwaskar and Astha Kumari
How to stop wage exploitation of workers/labourers/migrants?
The team came up with idea to formulate an agency to find suitable work, ensure proportionate wage, give legal aid, counselling for mental health, awareness about available govt schemes.
Team proposed to establish and register an agency. One that works on collaboration and marketing as well as building technical support for migrant workers. As a start, they seek to reach out to workers and employers to sensitize them about labour issues.
Awareness & Education Ideas
Welfare schemes awareness
Represented by: Sushmita Sen, Sneha Rao, Rohit Sharma & Saiyed Kamil.
How to increase awareness and access to the E-shram portal among Migrant workers ?
The team of 3 lawyers set out to inform migrants of their rights and entitlements. They seek to connect workers to the existing government database for unorganised workers in order to receive social security benefits. Their mission is to bring awareness, aid in registration and sensitize workers on different government schemes for their benefit.
They envisaged a three fold system – first : bringing about awareness, second: Aid in Registration; and third preparing a customised checklist of eligible entitlements.
Vaccination awareness drive
Represented by: Varshini R, Anugra Anna Shaju, Rimjhim Gupta & Anupam Verma
Mechanism for vaccination of children of migrant workers aged 0-6 years, lack of awareness, unwillingness to get vaccinated, language barrier etc are few roadblocks in such an initiative.
Creation of an informal network where employers/contractors work with workers on their health benefits and are aware about vaccination and other benefits. Contractor has to influence people to get their kid vaccinated, awareness programs etc will also be done via multimedia for better outreach. Employers are rarely registered in the unorganised sector. Hence the network has to be of informal nature between workers and employers for better understanding. Employers and workers both need job security, hence they will be willing to work on this approach.