Two days after Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray called on the “sons of the soil” to grab employment opportunities in industrial units as lakhs of migrant workers return home, the state government has decided to set up an industrial employment bureau to meet the labour shortfall.
This government-run bureau will give priority local labourers, said state Industries Minister Subhash Desai. An official announcement will soon be made, he added.
On Monday, with lakhs of migrant workers going back to their states, Uddhav had urged local workers to start working in industrial units. “With migrant workers going back to their states, there is a shortage of labour in the state. I want to specially urge the sons of the soil to come forward to grab employment opportunities in the industries in green zones to rebuild Maharashtra,” he had said.
On Tuesday, the government reclassified its lockdown zones, limiting the red zones to Mumbai and 17 other municipal corporation areas. The rest of the state has now been classified as “non-red zones”, where all economic activities have been permitted from May 22.
Desai said the bureau will involve a collaboration of three departments—industries, labour and skill development. Tailored to suit the needs of the industries, it will enroll workers in skilled, semi-skilled, and unskilled segments.
“The coronavirus crisis has seen an exodus of migrant workers. We can safely assume that some of them won’t return since their own states will come up with schemes to retain them. The whole idea behind setting up a new employment bureau is a create a new workforce to meet the shortfall in both skilled and unskilled segments,” said Desai. “The crisis has also given us an opportunity to give more employment to local Maharashtrians. They will be given priority.”
A senior official said a blueprint on the functioning of the bureau has been readied after discussions with industry players, trade unions and experts. Based on inputs of the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation and the Labour Commissionerate, the state information technology department is currently designing the proposed bureau’s web portal, which will be used to enrol eligible workers.
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