By Malavika Rangarajan
November 2, 2021
Sudam Kumar, who used to be a farmer in Bihar, decided to leave his hometown with his family when he turned 18, so that he could find a better livelihood in the big city. He arrived in Noida in 2014 as a migrant worker, and eventually found work in the construction industry. When the COVID-19 lockdown was enforced in 2020, Sudam’s family moved back to their village. He stayed back in Uttar Pradesh to earn a livelihood and support the education of his son, who is continuing his schooling in Bihar.
As a construction worker working at an ATS Infrastructure Limited site, Sudam was missing a labour card that validated his employment in the construction industry for four years. A Building and Other Construction Workers (BOCW) card becomes a worker’s entry point to a multitude of government schemes that s/he could benefit from.
In early February 2021, the REVIVE Alliance team visited the ATS site where Sudam worked in Noida to facilitate social protection scheme linkages for construction workers. Sudam chose to apply not just for a labour card, but also a PAN card. “I realised that creating a PAN card creates value for us,” said Sudam.
Interactions with the REVIVE team contributed to his choice. Reflecting on those conversations, he said, “I realised that if I ever change my workplace, this form of identity documentation would be very helpful.” A PAN card, for a construction worker, acts as a critical KYC (Know Your Customer) document and serves as the basis for Direct Benefit Transfers (DBT) from the government. It is also very useful for processing other scheme applications.
“I’m so glad the REVIVE and ATS team took the effort to nudge me and my co-workers to apply for these documents. They will aid our development in the long-run,” says Sudam. He is one among countless migrant construction workers across the country — unlike Sudam, most of them are yet to gain access to basic identity documents. The REVIVE Alliance strives to bridge this gap through its holistic intervention tools for livelihood recovery.