Three day long International Conference on Labour and Sustainable Development in Asia: Opportunities, Challenges, and Way Forward organized in Mumbai, India

Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], June 2: Today, The South Asia Centre for Labour Mobility and Migrants (SALAM) at the International Institute for Population Science (IIPS) in Mumbai inaugurated its first International Conference on “Labour and Sustainable Development in Asia: Opportunities, Challenges, and Way Forward”. The Centre was conceived by the three UN agencies along with one leading institution from each of the seven countries like Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India, the USA, and the Netherlands. The inauguration ceremony was attended by several dignitaries from the government of India, leading institutes, and organizations from India and abroad. Prof. K. C. Das, Convener, SALAM, and Head of the Department of Migration & Urban Studies, IIPS welcomed the dignitaries and briefed about the SALAM and the structure of the conference in terms of different plenary (three), poster(one), and technical (fourteen) sessions. Then the event was formally inaugurated with the welcome address of Prof. K.S. James, Director and Senior Professor, IIPS, Mumbai, and all the dignitaries lightened the lamp. He said scholars have studied migration through different perspectives like demography, sociology, history, and economics. However, he emphasized the need to study labour migration through a multi-disciplinary approach. Prof. James also elaborated that such a conference is relevant and timely when rapid changes is happening not only in demography but also in the field of labour migration.

Mr. Dino Corell, Labour Migration Specialist, ILO, delivered the keynote address and appreciated the SALAM Centre for bringing together experts, researchers, and academicians to present and disseminate knowledge and promote evidence-based migration governance in the South Asian region. Mr. Corell pointed out that labour migration leads to risks and challenges regarding displacement, forced migration, trafficking, health hazards, and other decent work deficits. However, it can be dealt with through the proper framework of governance, and the SALAM Centre is working in this direction. Sri J. K. Banthia (IAS), former Chief Secretary, Govt. of Maharashtra, chief guest, emphasized that South Asia always needed a Centre like SALAM, which can enhance capacity building to formulate evidence-based policy to protect migrants’ rights in South Asia. He mentioned how Mumbai city has evolved with the considerable contribution of migrants. He also emphasised to see the historical background of the country to understand the migration trajectories.

Mr. Banthia further elaborated that various efforts have been taken post COVID-19 by both center and state governments, and eShram is the best example. According to him, the issue of identity is always critical to migrants, and they lack documents. In this direction, the government has taken a few steps and achieved some relief. Although, it may take some time to resolve the entire problem related to the documentation of migrants. Many other dignitaries who joined the inaugural session were Prof. C.R. Abrar (RMMRU), Mr. Amish Karki (ILO), Dr. Bilesha Weerarante (IPS), Dr. Kashisf Salik (SDPI), Mr. Deepak Thapa (CESLAM), Dr. Shireen J Jejeebhoy (IIPS), Prof. S. Irudaya Rajan (IIMAD), Ms. Nansiri Iamsuks (UN Women), Prof. Sayeed Unisa (IIPS), Dr. Bhaswati Das (JNU), Prof. D.P. Singh (TISS), etc. Over 120 researchers will present their papers on different themes from various states of India and countries worldwide during these three days.

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By Muskan Singh

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