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What is Interstate Migrant labour

Introduction

The Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1979 was an Act of the Parliament of India enacted to regulate the condition of service of inter-state labourers in Indian labour law.

What is the Act all about

The Act’s purpose was to protect workers whose services are requisitioned outside their native states in India. Whenever an employer faces a shortage of skills among the locally available workers, the act created a provision to employ better-skilled workers available outside the state. The act was replaced by the Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020.

Why the Act was Introduced?

The employment system of interstate migrant labour was an exploitative system prevalent more or less all over India. It was institutionalized in Orissa and in some other states. In Orissa, the migrant labour contractors or agents are sent for work outside the state in large construction projects. This system lends itself to various abuses. They were promised at a piece rate but the wage was not given properly. To ensure that Interstate labours are protected, this act was rolled out. The recommendations of the compact committee had been examined in consultation with the state governments and the relevant central ministries, Interstate Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1979 was passed by both houses of Parliament and the President of India gave his assent on 11-06-1979.

The recommendations of the compact committee had been examined in consultation with the state governments and the relevant central ministries, Interstate Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1979 was passed by both houses of Parliament and the President of India gave his assent on 11-06-1979.

Role of Interstate Contractors

The Registration of all contractors who employ or employed five or more Interstate Migrant Workmen on any day in the 12 months of the year should hold or provide the following details:

  • Furnish the details of workmen periodically in such forms as prescribed by the state government.
  • Maintain the registers indicating the details of interstate workers and make them available for scrutiny by the statutory authorities.
  • Issue of passbook affixed with a passport-sized photograph of the workman indicating the name and the place of the establishment where the worker is employed, the period of employment, rates of wages, etc. to every inter-state migrant workman.
  • Reporting by the contractor the incidence of a fatal accident or serious injury of such workman to the specified authorities of both the States and also the next of kin of the workman.
  • Liable for the prescribed punishments for violations committed under this Act.

Rights of interstate workers

In addition to the general labour laws applicable to all workers, the interstate workers are entitled with

  • Equal or better wages for the similar nature & duration of work applicable for the local workmen or stipulated minimum wages under the Minimum Wages Act, 1948 whichever is more,
  • displacement allowance (Section 14),
  • home journey allowance (Section 15) including payment of wages during the period of the journey,
  • suitable residential accommodation and medical facilities free of charge on a mandatory basis.
  • Termination of employment after the contract period without any liability.
  • Right to lodge a complaint with the authorities within three months of any incident, accident, etc.