The Uttar Pradesh government on Saturday announced that it was formulating a policy to provide employment to the 20 lakh migrant workers expected to return to the state amid the ongoing lockdown imposed to curb the spread of Covid-19. Many of them are already back in the state.
In a statement issued after Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s meeting with officials, the state government said, “A policy is being framed to provide jobs to 20 lakh migrant workers through labour reforms in their villages and towns. Directions are given to officials to prepare data from quarantine centres regarding skills of workers. With jobs, guarantee of a minimum salary of Rs 15,000 and guarantee regarding their work hours and security [will be provided].”
Not only new enterprises, the workers will be recruited for existing units too, the government said. “Along with the readymade garment industry, a policy for perfumes, incense sticks, agricultural products, food packaging, cow-related rural products, flower-based products, and compost and fertiliser business is being formulated by the government,” said the statement.
Women workers would also be provided employment through self-help groups, the government said. “The state government is working to make UP’s small and medium enterprises better than those in China, Bangladesh, Vietnam etc,” it added.
Principal Secretary (MSME and Export Promotion) Navneet Sehgal told The Sunday Express that with the relaxation of labour laws, new Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) were expected to be formed.
“At least five-lakh new jobs will be created through the new MSMEs that will be established following the relaxation of labour laws in the state,” said Sehgal. “Under the ‘One District One Product’ scheme, loans will be given to entrepreneurs for self-employment and we are expecting that each of them will at least provide jobs to four to five people in their new establishments.”
At a press briefing, Additional Chief Secretary Awanish Kumar Awasthi said 97 trains carrying migrant workers from various states had arrived, and 17 more were on the way.
“Over 1.2 lakh migrant workers will return to the state by tonight,” he said.
Awasthi said 98 more trains had been allowed to run from three states to Uttar Pradesh in the next two days.
On Wednesday, the UP Cabinet had approved a draft ordinance for providing temporary relief to industries from some clauses of labour laws with conditions. Under the proposed law, certain exemptions would be given in different labour laws for three years to bring industries back on track. But laws on bonded labour, deployment of women and children and timely payment of salaries will not be relaxed under the proposed ordinance, it was announced.
State Labour Minister Swami Prasad Maurya said laws giving basic rights to labourers have not been touched.