The COVID 19 vaccine is here, but where is India on the second pandemic? #LetsTalkLabour

3 min read

India being a nation that houses over 30.7 crore labourers has been battling two pandemics simultaneously. Back when it all started, when the average urban Indians stocked up on essentials, labourers began escaping to their hometowns from the broken system and ignorance towards their well-being in order to seek shelter and safety.  The Indian Leadership Forum Against Trafficking (ILFAT) in collaboration with Tafteesh has launched the #Let’sTalkLabour Awareness Campaign with the vision to start a conversation around the state of labour in India and address various concerns including but not limited to the migrant crisis, trafficking, sex work, adverse effects of COVID-19 and on the said community and seeding more awareness and conversations around the different challenges faced by the Indian labours.

Towards a potential solution: ILFAT’s approach:

Initially raising over 23 lakh rupees through a crowdfunding round for distressed migrant worker relief during the peak of the lockdown, this campaign is now the need of the hour with a vision to get the average urban Indian connected to the ground realities that labourers have to face and open conversation to the OSH Code along with the fragile labour laws of the nation. 

In conversation with the ILFAT member, Atmaram expressed, “The labour laws placed may be for our welfare but the ones that need to abide by them are not working towards our welfare”. Hailing from a small district in Chhattisgarh and having recently lost his father in 2017, who was a victim to the gruesome reality of the way labourers are treated, he further stated, “Bonded Labour has been wide spread and surprisingly accepted throughout the nation. If all were to truly understand its repercussions and raise their voices against it, nobody would be able to take undue advantage of labourers and their honest work”.

 “The biggest change in labour reforms has been the introduction of the four labour codes that are meant to regulate labour laws and have essentially replaced 39 existing laws. However, on speaking to several workers, I’ve come to understand that these laws are actually further diluting the provisions of the earlier laws that actually provided them with a greater protected mechanism” says an expert analysis, psychologist and Manager of Sanjog, Ms.Pompi Banergee. On further analysis of the OSH quotes, she emphasis, “There are certain gaps that fail to mention how to ensure safe inter-state migration that include conflicts on advance payments, standard of living, etc. So overall it seems that the labour law reforms are made more to make it easy for industrialization and the owners of the business at the cost of the labourers.” 

Let’s talk labour with ILFAT and Tafteesh:

As much as there are laws there are loopholes and what makes the laws vulnerable isn’t what’s already in it but what isn’t included. Combating this very affair and bringing it to the forefront, the #LetsTalkLabour campaign is being superheaded by Rumit Gambhir, the founder and CEO of Mojojojo Marketing. He adds, “Both ILFAT and Tafteesh are groups that aim to uplift, empower, and give voices to those who deserve to be heard. With the core focus being on working with survivors of trafficking, a lot of issues like labour, migration, and trafficking are heavily intertwined!”

Labourers have been the constant backbone of India and continue to be the bloodline of a developing nation along with its economy. While they tirelessly work towards our nations welfare, its about time we pay heed to their welfare. To know more about #LetsTalkLabour and add value to the work they do, follow them on Twitter and Instagram!

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