In the recent return of the migrant population, focus of the news is often on the states that are facilitating the return of migrants using the transport facilities that the Central government made available. We know how state governments like Maharashtra have not made any effort to address the concerns of the migrant laborers who steered the cities with their sweat and blood in normal days.
But what about the state which is at the receiving end in this tough time? Mostly, it is the state of Uttar Pradesh. The state government has been absorbing all the reverse migration influx, and has been providing medical and financial support without making much fuss about it.
What is noteworthy perhaps is that beyond this temporary response, UP government is evidently putting the efforts to provide livelihood for the large number of people in the state itself. At a time when the Congress is making tall claims about helping the migrants without much substance, Yogi Adityanath’s government in Uttar Pradesh seems to be decisive in addressing the issue.
Accommodating & Serving the Migrants Who Have Returned
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath gave some numbers while apprising the media about the situation. One needs to see how great an effort this has been. He briefed the media and said, “between March 27th & 29th more than 6.5 lakhs migrant workers were brought back. The administration made arrangements for their medical care and food. In the second phase, in the last 3 days, more than 50,000 migrant workers have been brought back.”
— CM Office, GoUP (@CMOfficeUP) May 5, 2020
The Chief Minister also briefed the media about how the vulnerable sections are being taken care of by implementing the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana. He said that a sum of ₹1,630 crore has been deposited in the Jan Dhan accounts of 3.26 crores women in the state in April as well May. He said that two instalments of ₹2,000 each have been deposited in the accounts of 2.34 crore farmers in UP.
Ever since the Corona crisis started playing out, the Yogi government quickly adopted some measures to have a head-start in the battle against Corona. Giving financial assistance to daily wage workers, taking strict actions against those who don’t cooperate with the health workers, placing strict hygiene practices in the public places are some of the measures that got implemented swiftly, the details of which you may read in our earlier article.
Efforts to Provide Permanent Livelihood Within the State
The state governments like one in Maharashtra or the one in Delhi, who washed off their hands when the crisis struck, may repent in future since people who migrated back may not return once the normalcy comes back. The Yogi government is leaving no stone unturned to create a huge opportunity for all these people with various projects.
This interview in The New Indian Express gives an idea as to why the Uttar Pradesh government is confident about giving as many as 15 lakh migrant workers with jobs in the future. Sample these:
- When the crisis started, doorstep delivery arrangements all over the state have been made during lockdown. According to the CM, it provided direct and indirect employment to more than 1.5 lakh people. MNREGA, MSME, ODOP (one district one product) and voluntary organizations are options through which they can give further employments.
- Construction work on Purvanchal, Bundelkhand and Gorakhpur link expressways is going on in full swing. The mega project needs the labour force.
The FirstPost article on April 29, 2020 also shed light on how the UP government is turning the challenge of return of migrants into an opportunity. It noted, “the Uttar Pradesh government has already distributed ₹280 crore as maintenance allowance to 27,78,000 workers of the state. Around ₹525 crore was paid to 36,000 industrial units and over 6,603 closed units were restarted.”
Companies Shifting from China to UP?
It is widely reported that many companies are shifting their base from China and the process may fasten post-Corona. Uttar Pradesh is making an all-out effort to accommodate such manufacturing units in the state. Even if the state achieves a partial success in this bid, a large number of labour force in the state can secure their future in the home state itself.
Thus, this Corona crisis while throwing a very hard challenge to the most populous state, may have also ended up in giving a rare opportunity to script a new story in the light of new realities.