Uttarakhand estimates two-thirds of migrants have returned to places of work
Migrants are choosing to go back to their jobs as there was a sense of security, steady income and a lifestyle they have gotten used to, said a top official of the Migration Commission.Updated: Oct 26, 2020, 07:36 IST
Despite massive efforts to ensure reverse migration by Uttarakhand government and give employment to migrants who had returned to the state amid the Covid-19 pandemic, officials from the state migration commission have said two-thirds of the migrants have possibly returned to their jobs as the Unlock process continues.
Officials say that most opportunities are self-employment schemes which involve a considerable amount of risk which not everyone is willing to take.
SS Negi, vice chairman Uttarakhand Rural Development and Migration Commission said that after speaking to a lot of migrants, they have learnt that many are going back to their previous jobs.
“We have started working on a survey to find out how many of the migrants have gone back and what the remaining ones are doing. We started this survey after learning that many of migrants who returned to the state were from the hospitality sector and with the Unlock process they have started going back,” said Negi.
The findings of the survey will be used to formulate strategies on how to economically help the ones who have stayed back in the state and what policy changes can be made.
He said that after speaking to many migrants personally, he has learnt that almost two-thirds are likely to have gone back.
“While talking to the migrants, I learnt that some have applied for loans under state government employment schemes or under Centre’s schemes. The number of loans approved till last month was around 1,400 per district but disbursement is less. Loans are approved by the district administration but the disbursement of the amount happens on the process followed by banks, which may take time and by the time they get the amount, many are being called back by their employers,” said Negi.
He added that the migrants are choosing to go back to their jobs as there was a sense of security, steady income and “they got used to a lifestyle which is different from living in villages in hilly areas.”
“Most people who came back were from salaried class, but it is not just about income. There are other factors involved like their children being used to city lifestyles, studying in better schools. The migrants had their children still enrolled in schools in the cities, and they prefer to go back to that lifestyle,” added Negi.
Kedar Singh, a resident from a village in Tharali block of Chamoli district who returned to the state with over 20 others from Pune in May said that he has been sitting idle since he came back home.
“I used to work in a hotel in Pune where I earned Rs 22,000 per month. When lockdown was imposed, we were left jobless all of a sudden. We somehow managed to collect money, booked a bus and came back to the state but since then I have been jobless. Living in the village, day-to-day survival is taken care of through agriculture or other odd jobs, but I do not have secure source of earning,” said Singh.
When asked if he tried applying for any of the employment schemes started by the government, Singh said, “I did try to apply for the self-employment schemes, but every time the officials said an initial deposit of Rs 4,000 or Rs 5,000 has to be made after which we can proceed further. When I have been jobless for so many months, how will I afford these charges? I am in touch with my employers and they have been asking me to come back…I will be going back in another month or two.”
Data released by the Uttarakhand migration commission in July mentioned that over 2.15 lakh people had returned to their homes in Uttarakhand during the Covid-19 epidemic.
In May this year, as a strategy to retain the migrants who returned to the state during the lockdown, chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat had inaugurated Mukhyamantri Swarojgar Yojana (MSY), aimed at providing self-employment opportunities to youth and ensuring reverse migration. It was launched with a focus on the thousands of migrants who returned to their homes in the state during lockdown so as to provide them with a livelihood by providing them subsidised loans for starting their own venture under MSME sector. There are about 150 works that have been included under the programme by the government which includes starting a restaurant to animal farming.
In July, another data released by the state government revealed that 58% of over 2.15 lakh migrants who returned to their homes are skilled people.
Speaking on migrants returning to their jobs, Madan Kaushik, cabinet minister and officials spokesperson for the Uttarakhand government said, “We have started many initiatives for self-employment and we are getting a good response but it takes time for the results to show. We are continuously monitoring the initiatives and improvising them as per the feedback that we are receiving from the ground.”