Covid-19: Rajasthan labour dept captures data of 45.98 lakh workers
Jaipur: Rajasthan labour department has captured the data of 45.98 lakh workers, including eight lakh migrants, who are in dire need of jobs, amid the raging coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak that has led to a growing economic crisis in the country.
Earlier, chief minister Ashok Gehlot had announced that an online employment exchange would help migrant workers get jobs and also provide required manpower to industries that are opening up amid the easing of nationwide lockdown restrictions, which were enforced on March 25 to contain the spread of Covid-19 outbreak.
The state labour department has developed an online portal and a mobile-based application, which is undergoing testing, and is likely to be launched by CM Gehlot next week.
So far, an estimated 12 migrant workers have returned to the desert state since the easing of lockdown restrictions. The existing labour force and migrants are staring at an uncertain future, as their sources of income have dried up and many livelihoods are lost. The government has mapped the state’s labour force, which will be provided to the industrial units in line with their requirements.
“We’ve a database of both workers and industry for the online exchange. The exchange will match the availability of labour with the industry’s requirement,” said Niraj Pawan, secretary, labour department, adding that migrants’ skill mapping is a work in progress.
“There are 22 lakh building and other construction workers, 3.5 lakh are registered with Rajasthan State Livelihood Development Corporation, 10.97 lakh are with the employment exchange and 1.5 lakh with ITIs (Industrial Training Institutes) and another eight lakh migrants have returned home,” said Pawan.
The official pointed out there are 45.98 lakh labourers and 7.5 lakh businesses that are registered with the department and have all the relevant details such as their addresses, phone numbers and Aadhaar card numbers.
“The online exchange will act a meeting point for the industry to put out their labour requirement and we’ll provide the manpower. If a company is ready to hire labourers, the latter will be contacted over the mobile phone or via text messages,” he added.
Though Rajasthan’s unemployment rate in April was 17.7% because of the pandemic, it was lower than the corresponding national rate of 23.5%, according to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy’s (CMIE) latest data.
Besides the labour department’s data, another 40 lakh labourers are engaged with the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Generation Scheme (MGNREGS) in the state – the highest since the scheme was launched in 2005.
Dr Prithvi Raj, state finance secretary, has said that Rajasthan’s economy could see a contraction of up to 25% in the current financial year as the gross domestic product (GDP), employment and consumption would decline due to the viral outbreak.
Dr Ranjana Vaishnav, a social worker who works on labour issues, said the online portal is a good initiative, but the government should try to upgrade the skills of workers.
“The 14-day quarantine period can be put to good use to train labourers through online training modules,” she said.
She also urged the state government to push the micro, medium and small-scale enterprises (MSMEs), which have been performing poorly. “Though the state has no dearth of folk arts, they neither have the platform nor the quality to meet global export standards,” she added.
She suggested that the government should strengthen the value chain such as sourcing of raw materials, production, improve quality, marketing and sales in a bid to make them viable and generate employment for the local population.