The Jharkhand government has made migrants, who returned to the state during Covid but are now keen to stay back, a major focus in the development policy.
Through civil society group, many of the migrants have been conveying to the authorities their desire to stay back in the state and help make it a manufacturing hub, replicating the success of various hubs across the country where they had been working for many years.
“We are giving a lot of employment to the migrants who have returned in sectors like textiles, footwear, food processing and electronic manufacturing as these are sectors where we would like our labour and our skilled manpower who have come back from the western and southern region to stay and contribute. Thus the priority is to encourage their employment in the new and expanding projects,” Secretary Industries Pooja Singhal told Outlook.
According to a senior official, migrants were initially given job cards to help them find employment under NREGA while a separate monitoring cell was set up to find out how many of the returned migrants had been given jobs in one day.
Most of the migrants who have returned to the state are unskilled. But there many among migrants who have returned from cities like Mumbai and Surat who are skilled having worked in different trades like hotel business, factories, etc. So a skill mapping was done to find out the trade they had been working in before integrating them into the skill development mission. The selected people are being provided adequate training in tie-up with banks. The unskilled migrants who have opted not to work in other states are also being offered a chance to get trained in various vocations.
“Skilled workers who do not want to migrate again will be given priority in employment particularly in the new projects where Jharkhand hopes to see new investment inflow over the next three to five years,” the senior official stated.
The official clarified that a major challenge in the implementation of the scheme is that while jobs are available and more will be created soon, the wage rate in Jharkhand is low compared to those in many cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Surat, etc. The difference is over Rs 300 per day in many cases “that is something that compels them to take a reverse journey for better prospects compared to what are available in Jharkhand,” he clarified.
Thereby it is now a scenario of migration for better prospects and not distress migration, the official clarified. “The government can’t intervene beyond a point as it is a demand and supply situation,” he clarified. The state government is however continuing to work on a three pronged strategy – focus on rural employment, skill development mission and creating employment opportunities in the new manufacturing units coming up even as it grapples with the sensitive issue of making wages more attractive to prevent talent outflow.