How many Nepali migrant people are working in India and how many Indian diaspora are working in Nepal at this time?
It is not easy to answer both these questions accurately. Because India and Nepal are bound in a centuries-old relationship, and especially because of the 1950 Peace and Friendship Treaty, people in both countries have been moving without any hindrance.
There is no data on the movement of people and therefore neither India nor Nepal has the right answer to both the above questions.
In such a situation, it became difficult for the Government of Nepal when the Supreme Court of Nepal issued a notice on 10 July asking him why Nepali workers working in India should not be given all the facilities and security, which other Nepali workers working in countries get.
The court has asked the government of Nepal to reply to the notice within 15 days.
The government of Nepal has allowed its citizens to live and work in 170 countries of the world. In recent years, Nepal has signed labor agreements with several countries.
Nepal has also created a Foreign Employment Fund, under which compensation is paid to the families of Nepali nationals working abroad when they are injured or killed.
The Nepalese government also issues foreign employment permits to its workers, through which a worker can insure up to 15 lakh Nepalese rupees.
But all these laws and facilities do not apply to those workers of Nepal who work in India or who are Indian citizens who work in Nepal.
In both countries, such workers are not well known. This has led to the apprehension that these migrant workers will not get safe migration or adequate financial compensation if needed.
Nirmal Kumar Upreti, one of the petitioners in the Supreme Court of Nepal, says that the neglect of the interests of Nepali workers working in India through the Nepalese government is an open violation of Nepal's foreign employment law.
According to Upreti, it is also a violation of the right to protect Nepali migrant workers.
According to the BBC, he said, "For Nepalese migrant workers, India is a foreign country like other countries." But due to no documentation of being a foreign laborer, these Nepali citizens are deprived of any compensation or facilities that Nepali workers working in other countries get. ''
According to Nepalese officials, about 50 lakh Nepalese people work abroad and send money from abroad for the expenses of their family living in Nepal.
During the financial year 2018-19, Nepalese citizens living abroad sent eight billion eight million US dollars to Nepal only through official sources.
It is difficult to tell how much money came to Nepal from unofficial channels like Hundi and Hawala during this time.
According to an assessment made by the World Bank in 2018, Nepalese workers working in India sent more than one billion US dollars in Nepal in a year, while Indian workers working in Nepal at the same time had about one billion 50 One million US dollars was sent to India. In this way, Nepal is a major source of cash flows (remittances) coming to India.
Now you can guess how many Nepalis are working in India and how many Indians are working in Nepal.
According to the 2019 report of the International Organization of Migration (IOM), around 30 to 40 lakh Nepalese workers live and work in India. However, Indian officials estimate that this number is much more than this.
According to the IOM, the number of Indians working in Nepal is around 5-7 lakhs.
Dr. Ganesh Gurung, a former member of Nepal's National Planning Commission and an in-depth study on Nepali workers working abroad, says, "The border is open and the workers have complete freedom of movement, so it is very difficult to tell the exact number . Many workers crossing the Indo-Nepal border visit each other only during special seasons. For example, Nepali laborers living in the Terai-Madhes region visit Punjab and Haryana at harvest time and many laborers from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh visit Nepal during this period. Many laborers of Nepal go to India to work in special weather."
While the freedom of movement on the Indo-Nepal border has many benefits, it also has some harmful aspects.
People aware of the pitiable condition of such unsafe and unregistered workers say that because of working in the unorganized sector, they are always at risk that they can be injured, abused and They can be exploited, but they have no way to avoid them.
Balakrishna Pandey, chairman of the Nepali Public Relations Committee and Friendship India, an organization that helps Nepalis living and working in India, says thinking about measures to protect Nepali workers is an issue that has been ignored for decades.
Balkrishna Pandey moved to India from Nepal at the age of 17. "He says, since 1990, I have been raising the issue that the poor laborers coming to India from Nepal need to be given some kind of registration and protection." Many Prime Ministers have visited. Many Nepalese leaders stayed here with migrant workers when they came to India, but when they came to power, the migrant Nepalis forgot. ''
According to Pandey, nearly six lakh Nepalese migrant workers have migrated from India to Nepal since the outbreak of the Corona epidemic. These include some Nepali women trapped in Manipur who were being trafficked from India to the Gulf countries, but were rescued with the help of a non-governmental organization.
Nepal's workers have been coming to India for centuries through the Indo-Nepal 1880 km border. Nepali officials say they are aware of the troubles of Nepali workers, they also know that Nepali women and children are trafficked.
Suman Ghimire, spokesman for Nepal's Ministry of Labor and Social Security, says that he and his colleagues are always discussing the safety of Nepalese migrant workers.
He says, "After the Corona epidemic, Nepal's local bodies have started registering all the people coming to India from Nepal. This is the first step in protecting the Nepali migrant laborers working in India. We need to do more and we are serious about it. ''
Welcoming the steps being taken to improve the situation of Nepal's migrants, Dr. Ganesh Gurung, a former member of the Nepal Planning Commission, says, "Extremely those who cross the Indo-Nepal border to work or do seasonal work Are poor people They are always at risk, they should be protected at all costs. ''
After the coming of Narendra Modi's government in India, many efforts were made to improve the relationship between the two countries, including the movement of workers.
The Committee Eminent Persons Group (EPG), formed in 2016 to review the 1950 peace treaty, made several suggestions about the movement of people across the border. After several meetings, the committee has completed its report but neither government has accepted the report of the committee yet.
Experts say that the EPG report can be an essential basis on which measures can be suggested to improve and protect the rules of migrant workers of both countries.
During the year 2009-10 when Dr. Ganesh Gurung was a member of the Planning Commission, he made some proposals for the protection of the workers going to India but according to him, "My proposals created a ruckus in the Planning Commission. In the three-year plan It was somehow included but no action was taken on the ground.
Welcoming the Supreme Court's decision of 10 July, he says, "This is the best time to start reforms".
Suresh Raj, a Delhi-based Nepali journalist, says that both countries should take immediate steps to protect their migrant workers, register them and issue them a certificate.
Suresh Raj says, "Who is crossing the border once the officials start registering it will then make it a little easier for the officials of the Nepalese Embassy in Delhi to ensure the safety of Nepali workers working in India."
But a Nepalese embassy official says that both countries will have to work very carefully.
He says, "If we start issuing foreign employment permits to our workers, who have been crossing the border without interruption for centuries, it will affect the relations between India and Nepal." We need to be very careful. But regular and controlled migration of workers is very important.
Given such labor relations between India and Nepal, it is difficult to say how and what will the Government of Nepal respond to the notice of the Supreme Court in a few days?
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