Faced with the challenge of providing employment to returning migrants in the wake of Covid-19, the Centre will launch a Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyan (GKRA), under which public works worth Rs 50,000 crore will be carried out.
The campaign, to “empower and provide livelihood opportunities” to the returnee migrant workers and rural citizens, will be launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi through a video-conference, from village Telihar in the district of Khagaria in Bihar on June 20.
“This campaign of 125 days, which will work in mission mode, will involve intensified and focused implementation of 25 different types of works to provide employment to the migrant workers on one hand and create infrastructure in the rural regions of the country on the other hand, with a resource envelope of Rs. 50,000 crore,” the government said in an official statement.
“A total of 116 districts with more than 25,000 returnee migrant workers across six states, namely Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand and Odisha have been chosen for the campaign which includes 27 aspirational districts. These districts are estimated to cover about 2/3 of such migrant workers,” it added. “The campaign will create durable infrastructure along with boosting employment opportunities.”
The move has come at a time when lakhs of migrants have returned to villages in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak and the demand for employment has gone up in rural areas. The number of households working under MGNREGA had reached a new high in May 2020.
The choice of launching the programme from a remote village in Bihar, is also important as the state will face elections later this year.
While the chief minister and deputy chief minister of Bihar will be present at the venue during the launch of the programme, the chief ministers of the other five states and Union ministers of concerned ministries will also participate in the virtual launch.
A dozen central ministries and departments — Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, Road Transport & Highways, Mines, Drinking Water & Sanitation, Environment, Railways, Petroleum & Natural Gas, New & Renewable Energy, Border Roads, Telecom and Agriculture — are involved in the campaign.
“The villages across 116 districts in the six states will join this programme through the Common Service Centres and Krishi Vigyan Kendras, maintaining the norms of social distancing in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic,” the statement said.
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