Home / Companies / News /  Over 33% recipients of 'Garib Kalayn Rozgar Abhiyan' confined to just 19 districts

NEW DELHI : While India is targeting to offer job opportunities to millions of migrants in 116 districts through a dedicated scheme, over 33% -- one out of every three -- of the migrants are confined in just 19 districts, underlining how some of the rural districts in India are in the quagmire of an acute migration crisis due to lack of employment opportunities.

Of the nearly 6.5 million migrants the government is targeting through the Garib Kalayn Rozgar Abhiyan (GKRA), these 19 districts are now home to over 2.19 million people who have returned to their villages from their workspace due to the covid-19 lockdown, as per official data accessed by Mint.

Of the high density 19 districts, 15 have received more than 100,000 migrants each. Of these 15 districts, eight are in Bihar, three are in Rajasthan, two are in Uttar Pradesh and one each in Odisha and Madhya Pradesh. With 161,796 migrants back home, Uttar Pradesh’s Sidharth Nagar, however is ahead of all the districts in the country. Bihar’s East Champaran district has recorded return of some 153,022 migrants.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to officially unveil the 50,000 crore GKRA scheme from Bihar, where elections to the state assembly is due in October-November. Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman has already said that the government will pool in 25 welfare projects and front load the money available, to offer works to migrants for 125 days.

Experts believe that while demand for rural jobs scheme will go up as there is an oversupply of workers in rural India due to revere migration, the governments at the centre and the states will have to fix the rural economy by helping the rural industries grow.

“Besides agricultural activities, rural economy offers largely informal and casual works. The promotion of formal employment opportunities, hand holding of rural industries and a better supply chain eco-system will be helpful. Reveres migration due to the pandemic and lockdown and income loss has the potential to push people into poverty in the country. But economic migration has its side effects and unless we fix the jobs and income issues at the district level, it won’t stop," said Aroop Mitra, a professor of economics at the Institute of Economic Growth, in New Delhi.

"It may not happen for next few months because of the fear of covid-19, but once the infection is under control, people will move out again," Mitra added.

Other than East Champaran and Sidharth Nagar, districts like Katihar in Bihar, Ganjam in Odisha, Pali and Udaipur -- both in Rajasthan, have witnessed a higher number of natives coming back due to the lockdown.

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