Importance of making labor migration in India safe, regular and decent

On 11th October 2018, AWO International’s partner NEEDS Nepal successfully organized a “Round table discussion with the provincial stakeholders” in province no. 7.  The topic was focused on “Nepal-India labor migration: problems, issues and way forward” Dhangadhi Kailali district. Around 60 participants, including the major stakeholders of the province namely ministry of social development, members of parliament, chief of municipalities, civil societies, journalists, joined the discussion.

The objectives of the event was to share facts and finding of labor migration in India and explore possible ways out to make cross-border migration more safe, regular and decent. Three concept papers were presented by three organizations: NEEDS Nepal, Helvetas-Swiss Development Cooperation & Prime Minister Agriculture Management project (PAMP) and national network for safe migration (NNSM). The first presentation focused on the issues, problems of labor migration to India. The second presentation concerned about national and international instruments to govern migration. The third input’s focus was placed on provincial agro-products, employment and it’s relation to migration.

AWO International has been supporting NEEDS Nepal to make the labor migration, especially to India, safe and decent. Labor migration to and in India has been taking up since the 60th. Although it is has repeatedly being reported that migration to India comes along with severe human rights violations, not enough effort has been paid to regulate migration and to protect those who migrate. One major problem is that migration happens undocumented and thus, the governments are unable to help those who are suffering. Estimations shows a huge number of population (3.5 to 4 million) Nepali who are working as labor in India but not recorded anywhere.

In the newly changed political structure of the country, the local governments are nowadays responsible for mainstreaming such overlooked issues. And as such, the round table meeting was very relevant and fruitful to draw attention of the provincial government struggles and actions.

The meeting was inaugurated by the Minister of Social Development of province 7. The program coordinator of AWO International welcomed all the participants of the meeting and shared the importance of the meetings. In between of the meeting two of project beneficiaries shared their touchy experiences of their family members while went to work in India: one has fatal case and another went missing for the last 4 years. This raised a big question among the policy makers of the province. These are common stories of families resident in province 7.