[Editorial Analysis] An emigration Bill that does not go far enough

Mains Paper 2: Governance
Prelims level: Emigration Bill 2021
Mains level: Issues related to Public Policies

Context:

• In this article, the author highlights the provisions of the new Emigration Bill 2021 and its lacunae in various aspects.
• Emigration refers to leaving one’s native country or region and living in another country.

Why was the new bill introduced?

• Currently, Emigration is governed by the Emigration Act 1983.
• The Emigration Bill 2021 is an improvement over the 1983 Act in terms of
1. Launching new emigration policy division.
2. Establishing help desks and welfare committees.
3. requiring manpower agencies to conduct pre¬-departure briefings for migrants, and
4. Increases accountability of brokers and other intermediaries who are also involved in labour hiring.

What are the problems being faced by the emigrant workers?

• Large recruitment charges,
• Contract substitution,
• Deception and retention of passports,
• Non¬payment or underpayment of wages,
• Poor living conditions,
• Discrimination and other forms.

Setbacks in the current bill:

• Lacks a human rights framework aimed at securing the rights of migrants and their families.
• Permits the manpower agencies to charge workers’ service fees, and even allows agents to set their limits.
• As per the International Labour Organization (ILO) convention, it is the employers, not workers who should bear recruitment payments in contrast bill proposes to charge worker’s service fees.
• It permits government authorities to punish workers by cancelling or suspending their passports and imposing fines for violating any of Bill’s provisions.
• Bill does not also adequately reflect the gender dimensions of labour migration where they are more likely to be employed in marginalized and informal sectors.

Way forward:

• The Ministry of External affairs must draft a policy that explicitly recognizes the contributions of Indian workers and the challenges faced by them.
• The draft should uphold the dignity and human rights of migrants and their families.

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Prelims Questions:

Q.1) With reference to the Rock phosphates, consider the following statements:
1. About 80% phosphate production in the world is derived from phosphate rocks (phosphorite).
2. India is the largest producer of Rock phosphates in the world.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2
Answer: A

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