Uttarakhand’s Rural Development and Migration Commission has submitted a 14-point report to Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, suggesting focussed measures to facilitate the economic rehabilitation of migrants returning home due to the lockdown and to boost rural development and socio-economic indices of the hill districts.
The report also looks at the problem of outmigration by suggesting to create self-employment opportunities for migrant workers and fill infrastructure gaps through schemes. The government must take steps to convince migrant workers to stay after the curbs are lifted, the report suggests.
Rawat has asked officials to make an action plan on the basis of the report, which was prepared after interactions with returning migrants and submitted Wednesday by the commission’s vice-chairman Sharad Singh Negi.
GDP of hill districts may decrease due to decline in the income of families that depend on the earnings of migrant workers, due to the lockdown, it states.
“When asked specifically about what prevents them from settling in the hill districts, most pointed towards the lack of livelihood opportunities, infrastructure, education and health facilities. Other constraints cited by them were lack of awareness of government schemes, distant banks etc.,” the report states.
Negi said the commission has also recommended that tax rebate, interest-free loans and domestic electricity rates need to be considered for sectors like hospitality and ecotourism. Additional allocations can be made for schemes such as PMRSY, MSME and Veer Chandra Singh Garhwali to create employment opportunities.
It suggested a focus on agricultural, horticulture and animal husbandry as well as non-agricultural options.
As per the report, among the 59,360 returnees, the maximum (12,039) are in Pauri district followed by Almora (9,303), Tehri (8,782), Champawat (5,707), Pithoragarh (5,035), Nainital (4,771), Uttarkashi (4,721), Rudraprayag (4,247), Chamoli (3,214) and Bageshwar (1,541).
More than 60 per cent have returned from other states, around three to five per cent from abroad, while the remaining have moved within the state. Around 30 per cent indicate willingness to stay in the state, as per the report.