NEW DELHI: The four worst affected states by reverse migration of labourers have started taking initial steps to try and create job opportunities and social safety net for more than 6.5 million such workers.
The move is politically significant as the lakhs of migrants that have returned to their home states are potential vote banks.
Uttar Pradesh has recorded the return of 2.5 million migrant labourers, while Bihar has seen 2 million people making their way back to the state so far. Madhya Pradesh is expecting up to 1.3 million to return, while nearly 1 million migrants workers have contacted the Jharkhand government to arrange for their return.
The collection of data and skill mapping of these migrant labourers is interesting because this exercise is happening at such scale for the first time in the country and state government would have some estimates on the number of people who migrate to find work and the kind of work or sectors these migrant labourers are engaged in.
"This is an important data for us because when the migration of these labourers started two months ago, we had no estimates to know how many people had left the state and how many could probably possibly return to the state," said a senior cabinet minister in Bihar government.
"The idea of creation of a nodal agency to collect information of migrant labourers would not only help us in job creation but it would also help the state government know what kind of work these migrants were involved in different states. This data will help us estimate the number of migrant labourers."
So far Bihar has managed to complete skill mapping of at least 5 lakh migrant labourers who have returned to the state.
Interestingly, the first big test for this strategy would be the upcoming elections in the state scheduled to take place in less than five months now.
Uttar Pradesh, meanwhile, has announced the creation of a Migration Commission and another commission for the welfare of migrant labourers. According to the initial data collected by the Uttar Pradesh government, the worst affected sectors have been real state, carpenters, painters, electricians and artisans involved in handicraft related work.
"We so far have some good result of our work. Uttar Pradesh government had asked all industries to give us information of their demand of skilled and unskilled workers. The state government has received request for 5 lakh skilled workers from different industries within the state. The process is continuing and the state government is confident that it would be able to provide jobs to migrant workers," said a cabinet minister in the Uttar Pradesh government. The state government has promised to provide jobs to 20 lakh migrant labourers in the state.
On Wednesday, Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan reviewed the situation started the ‘Shram Siddhi Abhiyan’ which is aimed at providing employment to unskilled labourers. The state will form a skill register of migrant labourers panchayat wise, in which information related to their skills and related inputs will be recorded.
Opposition ruled states too are looking to tap similar skill mapping exercise.
"We have a control room where we are taking down details of all migrant labourers who are getting in touch with us. The idea is to note down what their skill set is so they can be employed gainfully in the future. We are getting a diverse range of occupation including several migrants from Jharkhand who go out to work for handicrafts, industrial and construction sector as as well as farm labourers who work in sugarcane fields of Uttar Pradesh," a senior official from the labour department of Jharkhand said requesting anonymity.