20th July – Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyan

Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyan

Lately, the Prime Minister launched a new package of Rs 50,000 crore—the Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyan (GKRA). It aims at creating livelihood opportunities for the returned migrants, and while doing so it is expected to create durable infrastructure in rural areas.

How will it be implemented?

  • The GKRA would be implemented in a mission mode to provide jobs and livelihood opportunities for 125 days for more than 6 million migrants, and would cover the ones who returned to 116 districts of six states—Bihar (32 districts), Uttar Pradesh (31), Madhya Pradesh (24), Rajasthan (22), Odisha (4) and Jharkhand (3).
  • These 116 districts also include 27 aspirational districts as identified by the NITI Aayog. This is an umbrella scheme that has brought under it 25 different government schemes of 12 ministries/departments.
  • Some employment opportunities offered under the original schemes include building gram panchayat bhawans, anganwadi centres, national highway works, railway works and water conservation projects. This will provide immediate relief to families of migrant workers while creating infrastructure in rural areas, and help generate rural demand.

What are the concerns?

  • The government will not spend additional money on this new scheme. Instead, it will merely aggregate the funds already allocated under the 12 ministries.
  • Second, to the extent that it would be implemented only in 116 districts of six states, it is discriminatory in that states such as Chhattisgarh and West Bengal are outside its ambit. Further, Odisha and Jharkhand even with large migrant workers got less allocation in terms of the number of districts. Some analysts have highlighted that this scheme will cover only two-thirds of migrant workers who have returned, and one-third fall outside its coverage. This has given a rise to the suspicion that it is politically-driven.
  • Third, it is not yet clear how different stakeholders—ministries/departments, district administrations, banking systems—will coordinate on things such as timely payments to the workers. To that extent, the scheme will face implementation challenges.

Way forward –

  • There could be a way forward by bringing all the stakeholders on a single IT-based platform, especially when the government is facilitating the role of an aggregator.
  • The government should seize this opportunity to build a database of migrant workers that could be used in the future to create a social security system for them.
  • The bottom line of this crisis is that most of the migrant workers’ families need immediate relief in terms of cash for survival. Also, existing schemes like MGNREGA should be adequately funded to provide employment to migrants for at least the remaining months of this year.
  • States with older population would require younger labour, which states with younger population could supply. In a unified economy it would be growth and welfare enhancing to ensure free movement of labour and capital. In such a situation, what is important is to create an imaginative social protection and security system for migrant labourers. It is here that the Migration Commission could play an important role. It should be given the mandate to prepare an appropriate social protection and welfare system for migrant workers.

SourceFinancial Express

QUESTION – Discuss the recently launched ‘Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyan’. What are the concerns attached to it. What needs to be done?

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