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Tuesday, Jun 23, 2020 13:45 [IST]

Last Update: Tuesday, Jun 23, 2020 08:00 [IST]

And jobs for all

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday launched the ?50,000 crore Garib KalyanRojgarAbhiyaan to provide employment to migrant workers who have returned to their villages after the lockdown. The Prime Minister launched the programme, which will be a “focused campaign” and run in “mission mode” for 125 days across 116 districts in six states to help migrant workers get jobs in their home states, via video conference. The programme, which started from Telihar village of Bihar’s Khagaria district, will cover India’s 116 districts across Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand and Odisha.
The money will be spent on building rural infrastructure. Underlining that migrant workers were always in Centre's thoughts during the lockdown, the Prime Minister said that it is an endeavour of his government that workers get jobs near their home and help in development of villages. Talking about infrastructure development of villages with the help of this scheme, the Prime Minister also said that for the first time Internet was being used more in villages than in cities and now work to increase the speed of Internet was being undertaken.
The scheme that seeks to give means to the migrant workers to earn a living will involve intensified implementation of 25 different types of works which in turn will create rural infrastructure. For the purpose, 25 work areas have been identified. These include housing, the provision of drinking water, community toilets, roads, mandis, cattle sheds and the laying of fibre cables for internet access. PM Modi also mentioned about investment of Rs 1 lakh crore for building cold storage facilities to preserve agricultural produce.
As this job scheme’s broad contours seem similar to those of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee programme started by the United Progressive Alliance government, there has been speculation that the eventual plan is to subsume the jobs guarantee, which Modi had criticized for doling out money without getting much work done. That scheme was seen to have drawn inspiration from the Keynesian advice that if people were paid to dig holes and fill them up, it would serve the purpose of putting money in their hands. The new scheme appears to shift emphasis to the material outcome of the money used. It’s a worthy aim. But with millions of Indians in need of sustenance, let’s hope its result-orientation doesn’t mean slow project approvals and payouts. So long as this does not imply bureaucratic delays on account of local project approvals and clearances, it should work just as well. Millions of workers from rural India have returned to their villages because of the lockdown, and they need employment. There are large numbers of people in urban India, too, who could do with an equivalent scheme in our cities.

Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi