Migrant Labourers often face discrimination by their employers and the police, who use the workers’ lack of identification to justify unfair treatment of them, both at home and at the workplace. To combat this discrimination, Rajasthan’s Labour Department began issuing identification cards to migrant labourers, which provide them with both a formal photo ID and proof of their registration with the government. Jan-Daksha Trust has collabourated with the Labour Department since 2007 to facilitate the distribution of identification cards among migrant labourers. To date, the provision of ID cards is the largest service our organization provides, with over 22,913 labourers registered.
ID cards, along with the government registration they entail, grant migrant labourers many benefits. Firstly, the cards allow workers to bargain for higher wages with their employers, who are more likely to view them as legitimate employees due to their association with the government. If, conversely, ID-holding labourers are unable to secure a fair wage—or safe working conditions—they are better equipped to present a legal case against their employers, given their formal employment records. Secondly, ID cards can deter the harassment of migrant labourers by police, who often accuse workers of being thieves or squatters because they lack the paperwork that justifies their presence in a particular area. Lastly, migrant labourers can use their ID card to register for pension and social security schemes, further improving their financial situation.