On Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched an employment scheme for migrant workers who returned to villages from cities and towns due to the nationwide lockdown in March-April to curb the spread of coronavirus. Launching the 'Garib Kalyan Rozgar Abhiyaan', the prime minister said that during the lockdown talent from cities returned to villages and it will now give a boost to development in rural areas.
Modi said there are some people who might not appreciate efforts of villagers in the fight against coronavirus but he applauds them for their efforts. The way villages have fought coronavirus has taught a big lesson to the cities, he added.
Talent has returned from cities during the lockdown, those whose labour and skills were behind the rapid growth of cities will now boost the development of villages with the help of this scheme, he said.
The scheme was launched by PM Modi via video conference in Katihar village in Bihar in the presence of chief ministers of five states Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand and a minister of Odisha.
At the beginning of his speech, Modi paid homage to soldiers of Bihar regiment who lost their lives in a violent clash at LAC in eastern Ladakh.
On Thursday, FM Sitharaman providing details on the PM Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan said that 116 districts with more than 25,000 returnee migrant workers across six states, namely Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand and Odisha have been chosen for the campaign which includes 27 aspirational districts. These districts are estimated to cover about 2/3 of such migrant workers.
The public work scheme worth Rs 50,000 crore will provide 125 days of employment in their own state. In the first instalment, jobs will be provided for four months. "As we go ahead, we have to see how this works out for migrants and central government", said FM Sitharaman.
There will be 25 different kinds of works: construction of wells, plantation, horticulture, Anganwadi centres, rural housing, rural connectivity and border road works, railway works, Shyama Prasad Mukherjee RURBAN mission, PM KUSUM works, laying of fibre optic cable under Bharat Net, works under Jal Jeevan mission, community sanitation complex, Gram panchayat Bhawan, works under finance commission funds, national highways works, water conservation and harvesting work.
First priority will be to provide a livelihood to those who have returned to villages.
The new scheme launch comes after existing MGNRE scheme (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme) that allows for 100 days of work for members of rural households recently saw record enrolments in rural areas after the lockdown.