Initiatives by State Govts. for providing livelihood to migrant labourers under Atma Nirbhar Bharat Scheme
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General Studies 2:
- Governance; Welfare schemes
General Studies 3:
- Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.
Background: The Covid-19 lockdown left 45-60 million migrant labourers in the lurch across cities. Faced with lives and livelihood challenges, a large number of them began to leave in hordes to their native places, many on foot; it was a human tragedy.
Besides offering a stimulus package to support the economy, the government utilised Covid-19 as an opportunity to attempt at structural reforms covering agriculture, core sectors, MSME and so on; and introduced short-term relief measures for migrants, including free food grains for three months, employment under MGNREGA, one-time payment under Jan-Dhan and easy loans under Mudra Yojana to migrants at their native places. Medium-term measures include ‘One Nation, One Ration Card’ and housing facilities.
As an add on, the Prime Minister, during ‘Mann Ki Baat’, announced the setting up of a Migration Commission for the employment of migrant labourers after mapping out their skill matrix. He also emphasised the need for creating opportunities for self-employment and setting up of small-scale industries in villages.
On June 22, the Prime Minister launched a new package of `50,000 crore—the Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyan (GKRA).
Gareeb Kalyan Rozgar Abhiyaan
It is a Rs 50,000 crore dedicated programme to create jobs for millions of migrant workers who returned home during the coronavirus-induced lockdown across the country.
The GKRA would be implemented in a mission mode to provide jobs and livelihood opportunities for 125 days for more than 6 million migrants, and would cover the ones who returned to 116 districts of six states—Bihar (32 districts), Uttar Pradesh (31), Madhya Pradesh (24), Rajasthan (22), Odisha (4) and Jharkhand (3). These 116 districts also include 27 aspirational districts as identified by the NITI Aayog.
- Provide livelihood opportunity to returning migrants and similarly affected rural citizens
- Saturate villages with public infrastructure and create livelihood opportunities viz. Roads, Housing, Anganwadis, Panchayat Bhavans, various livelihood assets and Community Complexes among others
- The basket of a wide variety of works will ensure that each migrant worker is able to get an opportunity of employment according to his skill, in the coming 125 days. The Program will also prepare for expansion and development of livelihoods over a longer term.
- Abhiyaan focuses on durable rural infrastructure and providing modern facilities like internet in the villages
- Skill mapping of the rural migrant labour being done to help them work closer home
- 25 work areas have been identified for employment in villages, for development of various works. These 25 works or projects are related to meet the needs of the villages like rural housing for the poor, Plantations, provision of drinking water through Jal Jeevan mission, Panchayat Bhavans, community toilets, rural mandis, rural roads, other infrastructure like Cattle Sheds, Anganwadi Bhavans etc.
- High speed and cheap internet be provided in every rural household to help the youth and children. Hence the laying of fibre cable and provision of internet are also made a part of the Abhiyan.
- Farmers are being directly linked to the market and that the Government has provided an investment of Rs 1,00,000 Crore for linkages like cold storage etc. This Abhiyaan of 125 days, will work in mission mode, will involve focused implementation of 25 categories of works/ activities in 116 districts, each with a large concentration of returnee migrant workers in 6 states of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand and Odisha. Public works to be undertaken during this campaign will have a resource envelope of Rs. 50,000 crores.
Uttar Pradesh, along with Bihar, where the scheme was first launched last week, have been hit the most due to reverse migration over the last three months. Of the 116 worst affected districts chosen by the Centre for the flagship programme, 31 districts are from Uttar Pradesh.
Atma Nirbhar Uttar Pradesh Rozgar Abhiyan
- The scheme seeks to promote local entrepreneurship and create partnership with industrial associations to provide employment opportunities to 1.25 crore migrant workers who lost their jobs during the Covid-19 pandemic. The state government has already mapped the skill of the workers so that they can be provided employment as per their expertise.
- Uttar Pradesh has increased the scope of Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyan Yojana. While the scheme started by the Centre had 25 programmes under it, the Uttar Pradesh government has not only added more schemes but it has made quantitative and qualitative improvement.
- The state government is expected to employ 1.25 crore people under these schemes, out of which 60 lakh will get employment in rural areas, and 40 lakh under micro-small and medium enterprises (MSMEs)
Atma Nirbhar Gujarat Sahay Yojana
- For those who wish to avail guarantee-free loans of Rs 1 lakh from banks at 2 per cent annual interest
- The state, with this scheme, aims to help small businessmen, skilled labours, workers, electricians, auto-rickshaw owners and others whose livelihood has been impacted by COVID 19.
The Way Forward
- The government should seize this opportunity to build a database of migrant workers that could be used in the future to create a social security system for them.
- Migration Commission could play an important role. It should be given the mandate to prepare an appropriate social protection and welfare system for migrant workers.
- Existing schemes like MGNREGA should be adequately funded to provide employment to migrants for at least the remaining months of this year.
- Include more state under its ambit. Since it would be implemented only in 116 districts of six states, it is discriminatory in that states such as Chhattisgarh and West Bengal are outside its ambit. Further, Odisha and Jharkhand even with large migrant workers got less allocation in terms of the number of districts. Some analysts have highlighted that this scheme will cover only two-thirds of migrant workers who have returned, and one-third fall outside its coverage. This has given a rise to the suspicion that it is politically-driven.
- Need to derive more clarity on how different stakeholders—ministries/departments, district administrations, banking systems—will coordinate on things such as timely payments to the workers. There is a need to bring all the stakeholders on a single IT-based platform, especially when the government is facilitating the role of an aggregator.
Do you know?
- The Ministry of Rural Development is the nodal Ministry for this campaign and the campaign will be implemented in close coordination with the State Governments. Central Nodal Officers of the rank of Joint Secretary and above will be appointed to oversee the effective and timely implementation of various schemes in the identified districts.
- The Railways decided to generate 8 lakh man-days of employment in various infrastructure projects till October 2020 as part of “Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan”.
Connecting the Dots:
- Will the Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan prove to be a sustainable scheme in the long run? Discuss.
- India is not ready to deal with another migration crisis. Examine.
- Essay: The Economics of Migration