Throughout his career Rajiv Khandelwal has remained on the forefront of one of the most pressing issues facing contemporary India: internal migration and migrant workers. His organization, the Ajeevika bureau is demonstrating the most effective ways to manage internal migration, through the creation of a supportive ecosystem for migrant populations.
Rajiv is doing this through a network of field based Shramik Sahayata evam Sandarbh Kendra-s (3SK’s). These targeted resource centers are at the heart of Rajiv’s strategy for documenting and improving internal migration. These centers provide a range of services to migrants and their households, including registration with photo identification, skill training and placement, legal aid and collectivisation, social security, financial services, family support and health-care services. From field research Rajiv recognized that it is crucial to have 3SK locations at both the source of migration as well as the destination to fully understand internal migration, its causes and consequences. The knowledge built through 3SK’s on this under-researched area has helped the Bureau work with the government to design and deliver new services and interventions in these areas for migrant groups.
Rajiv’s initiatives have shown significant results that have helped him implement major policy change. To date 100,000 migrant workers have acquired identity cards and 5,000 have received skill training. 1,138 cases have been resolved through mediation, with close to Rs 20 million settled in favour of the workers. In response to demands for formalization, Aajeevika has promoted 34 workers collectives and three registered trade unions with membership of around 15,000 workers. Finally, Aajeevika Bureau has empowered over 4,000 migrant households by providing financial services through the Rajasthan Shram Sarathi Association (RSSA). Having built strong evidence for Rajiv’s advocacy regarding migrant workers, Rajiv is now pushing for the measurement of inter-state labour mobility from southern Rajasthan and the creation of new policy agenda for the state.
Aajeevika Bureau has successfully established a model which is proliferating in other geographies within India. The Migration Resource Center (now known as Centre for Migration and Labour Solutions) set up in November 2009 by Aajeevika Bureau, provides resources for incubating migration services in its partner organizations. As of now, a total of 30 organisations, spread across 9 states of India, are implementing the migration program based on Aajeevika Bureau’s operational model. Rajiv combines a targeted approach with advocacy to innovate India’s policy and integrate smart migration management programs.
Note: This was updated in June, 2014. Read on for the ELECTION profile.