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Opinion

Providing work to migrants | HT Editorial – Editorials

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch the Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan (GKRA), a mission mode scheme designed to assist migrant workers, on Saturday. The massive public work scheme, the details of which were first reported in this newspaper, is worth Rs. Rs 50 billion and aims to provide job opportunities to returned migrant workers in 116 districts of key migrant origin states (Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand and Odisha) for 125 days; merge 25 existing state programs; and create durable infrastructure. The decision to opt for a construction-focused job was made after a skills mapping of migrants showed that more than two-thirds worked in this sector.

The blockade led to an unprecedented humanitarian crisis, with millions of workers and their families frantically trying to return from their host states, predominantly in western and southern India, and key urban centers such as Delhi and Mumbai, to their villages in the states. north and east. In May, the Center increased the allocation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Plan (MGNREGS) by Rs 40,000 crore, bringing the total allocation under the scheme to Rs 1.01,500 crore. But it was clear that MGNREGS was not enough, and the Center would have to present another comprehensive plan to deal with the crisis. GKRA, if properly implemented, can provide help to migrants, many of them landless, without savings and who depend on informal rural financial ecosystems, to support themselves and their families for the next few months.

The movement of workers will also have a major impact on labor markets. The industry is feeling the pinch of labor shortages. But getting migrant workers back will not be easy because the experience of the coronavirus pandemic, the lack of a social safety net in host states, and the lack of support at a critical moment has broken trust between workers and their employers, and between workers and the State. It is essential to rebuild that trust, and to do so, the State must build a registry of migrants; accelerate the scheme of a nation, a ration card; ensure adequate housing, sanitation and medical facilities; invest in your skill; and ensure that labor laws stimulate industrial growth but also provide basic protection for workers. Without these steps, the migrant worker crisis will continue to unfold and will have a debilitating effect on the economy, state resources, and people’s lives.

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