Order by MHA to support Labour workers during Covid-19 lockdown
According to government order dated 29 March 2020 issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, a number of things with economic implications have been said. Apart from the regular bit about supporting migrant Labour and state governments to ensure adequate food and provision of temporary shelters government has also announced two important things for Labour.
The first one says that all employers whether in factories or in shops or in any form of commercial establishments will have to pay wages to their workers on the due date. This amount cannot have any reduction owing to the closure of the workplace. This payment is not the minimum wage but at the pre-decided wage rate.
The second important announcement could have far-reaching effects. While it mentions that wherever the workers are living in rented accommodation landlords of those properties shall not demand rent for a period of a month. This is not just for my grades but for all workers, this means that anybody who works has a possible one-month free accommodation. This is similar to the sort of provisions made in France. This is a major step to ensure that migrant Labour does not move out of cities. It will also lessen the burden on the working class in India, most of which, station rental accommodation at least those in the first and second generation.
One key thing to note here is that this order has been issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs. They have mentioned that it shall be the duty of the district magistrate, Superintendent of Police or the Deputy Commissioner of Police to enforce this and they shall be personally liable for the implementation of the same. These orders still need to be passed by the states at their respective levels. Given our federal structure, this notification is more of an advisory. In theory, a state can decide to not follow it. However, in these difficult times, India is showing great utility and resilience by standing together and working for people, especially those at the bottom of the pyramid.