Identifying 116 districts where at least 25,000 workers have returned in each district, the government has decided to provide employment to migrant workers for 125 days by bringing together nearly 25 schemes and frontloading the work and money allotted for the whole year.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday, at the curtain raiser conference for the launch of the Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan, said 116 districts were identified across six states and skillsets of workers have been mapped including skilled, partially skilled and unskilled workers.
“Approximately 116 districts have received large numbers spread over six states. Largely the 116 districts we have identified have received substantial numbers. In those districts, both states and central government have very meticulously mapped the skillsets, whether they are totally unskilled, or partly skilled. Largely those who have worked in construction and in such areas in urban centres where they were and so on … this Abhiyan will within 125 days … nearly 25 schemes of the government are going to be brought together and within those 125 days, we shall reach saturation levels for each of those schemes,” she said.
Under the scheme, having an outlay of Rs 50,000 crore, the work to be provided to returned migrant workers will be related to 25 areas including construction of wells, community sanitation, national highways, water conservation, rural housing among others.
The scheme would be launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi through the virtual mode in Bihar’s Khagaria district on Saturday. Among the list of 116 districts selected under the scheme, Bihar tops the list with 32 districts, followed by Uttar Pradesh with 31 districts, Madhya Pradesh with 24 districts and Rajasthan with 22 districts.
District-wise split of the data on returned migrants shows that the selected 32 districts in Bihar account for 37.2 per cent, or 23.6 lakh workers, out of the total 63.5 lakh returned migrants for whom skillsets have been mapped, with East Champaran district recording the highest number of returned migrants at 1.53 lakh.
Uttar Pradesh is second in the list, with 17.47 lakh returned workers, accounting for 27.5 per cent of the total.
The priority is to deal with the immediate requirement of those workers who have gone back to their respective districts, the FM said. “120 days translates to four months. At least for the next four months we are giving them a clear, concrete blueprint with which they will be engaged. As we go along, we will have to see how many of them would want to be there, how many want to go back,” Sitharaman said. She added it’s too early to comment on the impact on manufacturing.
She said she has been engaging with industry associations on how they are planning resumption of work and many are working at 40-45 per cent of capacity as of last week and it needs to be seen how industry will draw them back or respond in another way.