ShramIN Blog: steps-to-improve-state-of-blue-collar-workers-during-covid

Steps to improve the state of the blue-collar workers during Covid-19


One thing that the Covid-19 pandemic has made the country realise is the importance of the labour force, the blue-collar workers. How the economy came to a standstill position, as the migrant workers departed from the cities and walked back to their home state amid lockdown. They had no option but to move back, as they were left with no source of income or means to support even their basic food necessity in the city. The incident left the entire country to question the state of migrant labour.


And this subject has come into the spotlight, which until remained invisible to the urban population. Clearly, the real backbone of the urban cities is migrant workers. The white-collar sector's existence is built upon the workforce of the blue-collar sector. So now, it is equally important to think about the working class of the state.

Below mentioned are some of the initiatives or steps by different institutions to focus on the well being of migrant labours:

The Central Government:


The employment scheme, Gareeb Kalyan Yojana was launched for migrant workers during the coronavirus pandemic. The scheme outlaid fifty thousand crores for the scheme, a mission to give 125 days employment in six states. Including the states that are the origin of a maximum number of migrant workers - Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, and M.P. The idea was to look at the situation as an opportunity, in which the talent that has returned from cities to villages, will now boost the rural area development.

The State Governments:


Various state governments came up with different policies and initiatives to support migrant workers and small businesses, which got affected at the same time.


Uttar Pradesh:


The UP government launched CM’s Pravasi Rozgar Yojana to offer social security and livelihood to lakhs of migrant workers. The aim is that migrant workers should get employment and self-employment opportunities. By contributing only 5 per cent of the total cost, the workers can start their own enterprise. Skilled workers like electricians, plumbers, drivers, tailors etc can set up their own units of up to 50 Lakhs.


The government also planned to announce a scheme of financial assistance to industrial units which give employment to migrant workers. A budget of Rs 629 crore has been proposed by the MSME department for the scheme.


Kerala:


The Kerala government under the initiative of ‘kudumbashree’ facilitated loans worth two thousand crores to those impacted by Covid-19. Village employment assurance programmes also got initiated under this government. A 100 days action plan was also announced by the government to help the state to recover the affected economy. The emphasis is on giving quality employment, health and social safety and education. The target is to create over 77000 jobs.


Delhi:


The Delhi government took initiative to pay salaries to all contractual workers during the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. And from the fair price shops, 7.2 million people in Delhi got ration amid pandemic.


Himachal Pradesh:


The state government announced a Rs 500 crore relief package for the poor and 30 crores for construction workers. One time relief scheme to provide Rs 2000 was initiated for the building and construction worker.


Haryana:


Under the Mukhya Mantri Parivar Samridhi scheme, construction workers were provided relief of Rs 4000 per month. All Below the Poverty Line people come under the eligibility bracket. All daily wage workers, including labourers and street vendors, are focused groups.

These were some of the examples, various other states had also made relief action plans for the working class in their states.


Supreme Court:


Knowing the miseries and vulnerabilities of the workers of the unorganised sector, the apex court took radical judgement to reduce their human suffering. They ordered to do away with paperwork in accessing welfare schemes. The lack of IDs or documentation can not be taken as an excuse to deny scheme benefits to the people during pandemics. However, the long term goal is to get all migrant workers registered as early as possible in the national database of the Ministry of Labour and Employment.


Private Enterprises:


The pandemic forced the corporate companies to shut during the lockdown. It did chock the Indian economy during the period. Many enterprises managed their daily routine by adopting work from home strategy. But the idea remained limited to the white-collar sector. Unlike them, the blue and grey collar workforce can’t be imagined in the same way. Still, a lot of modifications, like Hybrid culture took place to manage the production and supply chain. Along with this, various companies continued to support their labour force while their staff was at home amid lockdown. Anuradha Razdan, Hr of HUL, shared about how their company took the ownership of 12000 plus blue-collar employees of the company. Made sure the workers and their families were safe while they were contacted once a week.


Along with this, companies have taken the initiative to provide digital training, learning and development for blue-collar workers, even after having the digital gap. Adoption of technology for upskilling has increased by 50 to 60 per cent in the manufacturing unit. And the initiative is seen as a positive step for the future economy, as the increasing demand of skilled labourers needs to have good knowledge of technology.


Not for profit organisation:


Hundreds of organisations are working for the poor in India. Many have exclusively worked for the labourers who got affected during the period of the pandemic. For instance, Aajeevika Bureau is closely working with migrant workers. A member-based organisation of waste pickers, Hasiru Dala, expressed the need to improve the labour standards of the labour class. They shared the opinion to not look at labourers as an invisible workforce but as skilled staff, who can also start their own business. It is important to look at the blue-collar worker as a critical part of the companies and organisations.


Therefore, many companies and multinational companies need to upgrade their human capital standards for informal workers. The welfare of workers is a way to have a sustainable business, as it can come as a lesson for all in the period of pandemics. Future can no longer treat this sector as invisible.


To make the blue-collar worker more resilient, ShramIN is taking the step forward by providing an employment platform for them. It is solely dedicated to a blue-collar worker community. A site for employers and candidates to get connected directly for employment purposes. Visit it on www.shramin.com