As migrant labourers return home, state governments prepare job opportunities

New Delhi: States such as Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh are preparing to create more work opportunities for returning migrant labourers, who are headed for their homes now that the restrictions on their travel imposed in the wake of Covid-19 have been eased.

“Those who are coming back are not likely to return (to their workplaces) till Chhath Puja in winter,” Bihar’s deputy CM Sushil Modi told ET. “Anywhere between five and 10 lakh people would come back to Bihar.”

In the coming two-three days, 112 trains from Telangana and seven from Gujarat will be run for Gujarat for this purpose.

“We have started making new MGNREGA cards to add to the existing list of 32 lakh active cards. We would offer work for everyone who enrols under MNREGA. A lot of construction activities have already started,” said Modi. Construction of 1.4 million houses under PM Awas Scheme has resumed in Bihar to offer work to the people.

The state government feels this time Bihar will not face a shortage of farm labour which used to be the case during the paddy season.

MP too is working to increase MGNREGA work. At the beginning of April, there were 57,536 workers enrolled in the state under the Centre’s flagship rural jobs scheme. The number increased to 1,985,166 by the end of April. As on date, 1,125, 893 people are getting employment every day in the state.

In the urban areas, the state is registering women to provide them work like mask making.

Jharkhand government has launched new schemes to create job opportunities. “We are committed to offer jobs to everyone who returns,” CM Hemant Soren said. “We will generate 10 crore man-days this financial year, against the approved labour budget for eight crore man-days.”

In Chhattisgarh the state government has pinned its hopes on MGNREGA to provide employment to people. “We estimate around 1.5-1.7 lakh people to return to Chhattisgarh and are preparing accordingly,” TS Singh Deo, rural development minister, told ET. “We will start making job cards of these people coming from outside during their quarantine period.”

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