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Inter State Migrant Workers Act: A Critical Analysis

The labour laws regulate the procedure and employment for the workers engaged in an organisation. There are laws which apply to both organised and unorganised sector. The unorganised sector consists of workers who are migrated from one state to another for the need of employment. The large number of workmen falls under the category of unorganised sector.

The migrant workers are known as those workers who move from one state to another in need for employment and they are not a permanent resident at the place they work. There are various laws or regulations and rules which regulate the functioning of the migrant workers i.e.

Inter-state migrant workers act,1979, the bonded labour act,1976 and contract labour (regulation and abolition) act,1970. The interstate migrant workers are considered as bonded labour because they are contract labour coming from various States. There are large numbers of workers coming from other state and working as a bonded labour.

For the better understanding of the Inter State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Condition of Service) Act, 1979, it is required to take into consideration other laws which deals with their leaves and benefits of the migrant worker.

Apart from the inter-state migrant law, there are various other laws which are applicable to the migrant workers[1]
  1. Employees Compensation Act
  2. Payment of wages Act
  3. Industrial Disputes Act
  4. Employees State Insurance Act
  5. Employees Provident fund and Maternity Relief Act.
Hence, it is necessary to understand it with the provisions of the act. . Under section-21 of the Inter State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Condition of Service) Act, 1979, it is required that the date of employment will be considered as a date of recruitment therefore the worker will be entitled to the benefits of the provisions the enactment specified in the Act.
  • Employees compensation act, 1923

    This act provide for the compensation arising out of the accident during employment to an industrial worker. This site is a beneficiary act. The act applies to unorganised sector. But there are certain limitations to the interstate workmen. The event resulting into death for any bodily injury would not get noticed as a result of which the interstate workmen compensation act cast a duty upon the contractor to report the incident to the authority of both the state and the centre.

    The major problem in claiming the compensation is the language barrier. they are not acquainted with the language of the state they are working as a result of which they are unable to understand the court procedures full stop in reality the report are not even been given to the concerned authority, they are given by the co-workers.

    The next problem is the filing of compensation claim will be filed at the commissioner's office of the host state. Because of the defendant being away from the host state they have to file it in the commission's office of the home state stop the commissioner of home state will transfer it today the commissioner's office of host state where cause of action arose. At the evidence are induced, witnesses are produced. Because of the poor condition or the illiteracy they are not capable of fight for their claim and their hard work will go in vain.

    The amendment in the employees compensation act made it possible for the dependent of the deceased to file for claim for compensation in the commissioner office of the home state[2]. The host state it will have to transfer the case to the commissioner office of form state for stock the amendment provide justice to the migrant workers in the sense that when the accident occur they do not have to file a suit for claim of compensation in the commissioner office of host state instead it is possible that they can file a case in their home state. It will save the time and efforts of the dependent of the deceased and help the poor families.

  • Payment of wages act, 1936 and the minimum wages act, 1948

    The act is a statutory law applicable to every organisation full stop it is necessary to mention that these that provide for the fixation of minimum wages for the workers and their payment at a specified date and time. State migrant workers at abide by the provisions of these act, the act provides that the contractor has an obligation to fix the minimum wage for the workers, define the methods of payment of wages and specify the deductions which are to be made. The contractor has a duty to pay the workers equally irrespective of their gender. It is said that the contractor should pay to the workers in front of the principal employer. In case, if there is no payment of wages by the contractor, the principal employer is responsible for the payment of the wages.

  • Industrial dispute act, 1947

    This act provides the procedure for the settlement of disputes. The inter-state migrant workers act provides the provision under which the migrant workers can raise dispute to the appropriate authority or the concerned Government. The inter-state migrant workers act grants the migrant worker to file 800 even at his home state only after the completion of his tenure. The workers 10 approach and take the help of industrial disputes act can take the help of medium mentioned under section- 22 of interstate migrant workers act.

  • Employees provident fund act, 1952

    Decide provides the benefits to the workers engaged in an industries or establishments. It provides retirement benefits, pension benefits etc. This act is applicable to establishment where there are twenty or more persons who are employed. The migrant workers under the act are entitled to the provident fund from the date of his / her recruitment to the establishment.

  • Maternity benefit act, 1961

    This act specifically deals with women workers engage in an establishment. This act provides Maternity benefits to the women. The act is introduced so that the rights of the women can be protected before and after the birth of the child. According to this act, the Maternity woman has to work at least 80 days in 12 months immediately preceding the date of her delivery. The inter-state migrant women worker has been given freedom to enjoy the Maternity benefits under the maternity act. But she can avail the benefits only after the date of her recruitment.

Kerala case study[3]

Kerala is a state situated in the south west region of India. The state has a rich cultural heritage and high literacy rate. Due to this high literacy rate the people in Kerala are less engage in the low grade work like construction sanitization sewage work full stop this like to the influence of large number of inter-state migrant workers from the parts of West Bengal, Bihar, Orissa and North eastern states of India full stop according to the data there are at least eight percent of migrant population in the Kerala there is less involvement of the native citizens in the construction work. The inter-state migrant workers are generally those workers who have or are considered agriculture is the only source of income which sustains only limited requirements.

As a result of which due to less experience there to move out from their places and move towards the state. The inter-state migrant workers are paid less as they are illiterate and they do not have much experience with the work.

Their social and economic conditions in Kerala are put at stake. Due to less experience an unskilled workers are being paid less. Because of which the living conditions of the interstate migrant workers are very bad or poor they live in unhygienic place.

Poverty and economic background force the inter-state migrant workers to live in a bad place having no sanitization facilities and no facility of good drinking water. Most of interstate migrant workers leave in small residents having 9 to 10 workers in one room which leads to congestion. Therefore this created over burning of infrastructure and degradation of land. Due to unhygienic conditions it leads to various diseases like malaria typhoid dengue viral.

  1. Inter-State Migrants State Migrants State Migrants The Law and Judiciary, available at: (last visited on: 18 April,2020)
  2. Secstion-21 of the Employees Compensation act
  3. Shruthi Ashok, Prof. Neena Thomas , A study on issues of inter - state migrant labourers in India, International Journal of Scientific & Engineering Research, ISSN 2229-5518

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