India gov't strives to generate employment for migrant labourers at their doorsteps

The government of India has chalked out a plan to provide livelihood to the migrant labourers who had returned to their homes under difficult circumstances amid COVID-19 outbreak, confirmed a centre government official.

The future of these migrant labourers continues to remain uncertain even as the country's economy is slowly reopening with minimal job opportunities in major cities where they found employment all these years.

Means of earning livelihood would be provided at their native places, under various central government schemes.

According to the official, as many as 116 districts have been identified in six states across the country where majority of the migrant labourers had returned during the lockdown, imposed by the centre government to fight COVID-19 outbreak.

Millions of migrant labourers had returned to their homes in states like Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh after the lockdown was imposed on March 25.

In the initial days of the lockdown, with no transport facilities available, most migrant labourers chose to walk down long distances, in some cases up to 2000 km, to their homes.

These workers returned from major cities like Delhi and the surrounding National Capital Region (NCR), Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, etc., as they faced uncertainty and joblessness with all manufacturing and economic activities coming to a grinding halt amid the lockdown.

A complete roadmap is learnt to have been prepared for the rehabilitation and employment of these millions of migrant workers who returned to their states and villages during the lockdown.

Social welfare and direct benefit schemes of the central government will be run in these 116 districts. The objective is to ensure the benefit of livelihood, employment, skill development and poor welfare facilities for the returned migrants, confirmed the official.

These districts will work in mission mode under other central government schemes, including the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA), Skill India, Jan Dhan Yojana (Public Money Scheme), Kisan Kalyan Yojana (Farmers Welfare Scheme), Food Security Scheme, Prime Minister Awas Yojana (Prime Minister Housing Scheme).

The federal ministries have also been asked to prepare proposals for the schemes keeping these districts in mind in two weeks and send them to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO).

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