NRC to hit unorganised sector hard

NRC to hit unorganised sector hard

Migrant labourers. (DH Photo)

It's not yet clear how and when the National Register of Citizens (NRC) will be implemented, but its rollout will hit the unorganised labour sector the most, according to trade union representatives and advocates.

Since the workers — comprising mostly Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes — don't have a permanent residential address, school or birth certificates, lakhs of them will be at a loss just in Karnataka, as they find it difficult to even secure voter IDs and Aadhaar numbers. Many are unable to draw their provident fund because of this. With the mandate of having to secure another proof of citizenship, their livelihoods will be at stake.

The government is yet to officially provide clarity on whether Aadhaar and voter IDs will suffice as proof of citizenship. While some say these are adequate, there are contradictory reports attributed to government sources which say they will not suffice.

Even if the government does not insist on parents' documents to implement NRC in the rest of the country, unlike in Assam, the unorganised working sector will be adversely affected. Garment Labour Union president Rukmini V P pointed out that several women are still finding it difficult to secure Aadhaar. "They ask for more than one document for address proof. Migrants often find it difficult to produce them, as their homes are in other states," she said, urging the government to stop imposing multiple citizenship proofs.

A majority of daily wagers are from Backward Classes and Scheduled Castes who have been historically kept away from education and property ownership. The NRC will affect all those people, said city-based advocate S Balan, who has extensively worked for the welfare of pourakarmikas and daily wage labourers.

"At the APMC (Agricultural Produce Market Committee) in Bengaluru, over 3,000 headloaders do not have any documents, including voter IDs. There are an estimated two crore workers in the unorganised sector in the state. They stay in godowns or sleepover in shops. There are pourakarmikas living in slums without documents. There are quarry workers who migrate from place to place with no residential proof to provide," he said.