Uttarakhand offers loan subsidy to retain migrants but most may return after situation improves
According to a survey conducted by the migration commission of Uttarakhand, most of the migrant workforce that has returned to the state are skilled unlike migrants from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.Updated: May 25, 2020 23:00 IST
Uttarakhand has introduced a slew of measures to provide employment to the migrants who have returned from other states amid lockdown in an effort to make them stay back. However, if the officials of state rural development and migration commission (SRDMC) are to be believed, most of the migrants are in constant touch with their employers and are likely to return once the situation normalises.
According to the state government, so far over 1.54 lakh migrants have returned to the state. Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat had said that the government will turn the reverse migration into an opportunity for employment in the state making the migrants stay back. In that direction, the state announced Mukhyamantri Swarojgar Yojana or CM Self-employment Programme, especially for the migrants in the hill districts to provide a considerable loan subsidy for any migrant looking to set up any small business in their home district only.
In another step, Rawat also directed the SRDMC to analyse the situation and suggest measures to the government on providing livelihood opportunities to the migrants within the state only.
On the basis of the commission’s ground analysis, SS Negi, vice chairman SRDMC said, “Most of the migrants who have returned to the state are skilled and semi-skilled people and not labourers. They have significant skill set and experience, and are in constant touch with their employers so as to return as soon as situation normalises. This was found while speaking to them in our analysis.”
Negi said unlike migrants from other states like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand, those from Uttarakhand are “mostly in blue-collared jobs.”
“Many of them are from IT, hospitality, and BPO sectors with a particular skill set and experience of working in big cities. They cannot be asked to construct road under MGNREGA in their home districts here. They have to be provided employment according to their skill set if the government wants to retain them. Also, their employers are sending a particular amount to them while they are here in an effort to retain them because they have also invested their resources and time in training them and would not want to lose a trained employee,” said Negi.
The vice-chairman of the commission also spoke about the migrants’ educational qualification.
“Their minimum education qualification is metric pass while most of them are graduates. They are a trained workforce with considerable experience. The government measures are commendable but they need to mentor the migrants at every level to make them stay back.”
The government however claims it is ready to help them in every possible way in the state if they are willing to start something of their own.
Madan Kaushik, state Cabinet minister and government spokesperson said, “Our government had first said that it is fully committed to bringing all the migrants back who want to return. After that our CM had said that the state will help them in earning their livelihood here only by providing them employment opportunities so that they stay back. We have already started working in that direction with a slew of measures. Some migrants may be in touch, but we are trying that maximum of them stay back and help in the development of Uttarakhand.”
State increases vigil on migrants after spike in cases
After a spurt in cases of Covid-19 in the last few days, the state government has now increased its vigil to ensure that the migrants are following the mandatory quarantine without posing a danger to health safety of their families and others.
Till Monday afternoon, the total number of coronavirus cases in Uttarakhand was 332 including 267 active cases and 58 recovered.
Utpal Kumar Singh, chief secretary of Uttarakhand said, “We are making sure that the quarantine is followed and if anyone is found violating it, then they would be dealt with in a stringent manner. No violation would be tolerated whatsoever.”
He added that as per the procedure, the concerned district administration and village bodies are informed about migrant arrival in their area so as to “ensure their quarantine.”