Thousands of people wait for their turn | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
Thousands of people wait for their turn | Photo: Manisha Mondal | ThePrint
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Lucknow: The Yogi Adityanath government has managed to complete the skill-mapping of over 23.5 lakh migrant workers who have returned to Uttar Pradesh since the nationwide Covid-19 lockdown was enforced in March.

As of 2 June, over 18 lakh of these workers, or 77 per cent, want to stay back and work in Uttar Pradesh, said a survey by the relief cell of the state’s revenue department. ThePrint has seen the survey document.

The survey, to identify the core skills of the returning workers under 94 labour categories, comes as the Adityanath government looks to ensure their employment by connecting them with the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) sector. The survey was done via telephonic interactions.

UP has seen the return of close to 32 lakh migrant workers, according to government data.

Graphic: Soham Sen/ThePrint
Graphic: Soham Sen/ThePrint

What the government says

Speaking to ThePrint, Siddharth Nath Singh, the minister for MSME, Investment & Export, Textile, Khadi & Gram Udyog in the UP government, said skill-mapping aims to create a database related to skills of the returning workers. He said efforts to provide them employment will be made on the basis of this data.

Singh said millions of new jobs can be created through MSMEs. The Yogi Adityanath government’s ‘One District One Product’ scheme, which is for the production and promotion of famous items, might be the best for workers in their native districts. For instance, native workers can be linked with chikankari work in Lucknow, or with perfume manufacturing in Kannauj.

Several companies from other countries have already expressed their desire to invest in the state’s MSME sector, he said last week.


Also read: Lockdown flattened the wrong curve — GDP instead of Covid: Rajiv Bajaj tells Rahul Gandhi


5 lakh workers don’t want jobs in UP

Of the 23.5 lakh workers who have returned, 16.6 lakh are unskilled labourers who quit their jobs in other states.

Of the remaining skilled labourers, 2.26 lakh are construction workers, another 43,000 are associated with painting, POP (Plaster of Paris) work, etc., and 32,000 are engaged in additional/associated jobs in the factories.

Graphic: Soham Sen/ThePrint
Graphic: Soham Sen/ThePrint

Some of the other categories under which labourers have registered themselves are: carpenter (30,450), tailoring, stitching and embroidery work (21,365), driver (15,415), agricultural labour (10,257), plumber (10,047), cook (8,289), electrician (7,843), child caretaker (6,736), factory worker (5,892), computer, laptop, mobile repair and networking (5,363), and security guard (5,311).

Over 5 lakh workers, including 4.8 lakh unskilled labourers, are unwilling to be employed in Uttar Pradesh.

According to a government official, many workers have received calls from the states where they were previously employed. The owners of their factories and shops have assured them to clear outstanding dues if they return to work. The government is expecting many of these workers to return to their old jobs as and when the situation becomes normal.

As markets, factories and shops are opening up in south India and the National Capital Region (NCR), the demand for UP’s workers in these areas is also rising.


Also read: Glitches, poor coverage: India’s digital payment failing labourers when they need it most


New opportunities due to outflow of migrant labourers

The Uttar Pradesh government is also looking at filling up the gaps that have been created due to the outflow of thousands of workers in the state who have returned to their home states of Bihar, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh among others.

These workers used to be employed in factories in UP’s industrial cities, including Kanpur and Ghaziabad. As confusion prevails about when or if they will return, local factory owners are facing a major labour crisis.

Many of them have started to look for replacements with labourers from UP. Various entrepreneurs and businessmen are in touch with the government via their own organisations, said a second government official who didn’t wish to be named.

Last week, the UP government signed agreements with the Indian Industry Association, Laghu Udyog Bharati, National Real Estate Development Council and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) to provide employment to the labourers. This memorandum of understanding (MoU) is expected to benefit 11.5 lakh workers and craftsmen from the state.

According to the MoUs, the real estate sector will employ around 2.5 lakh labourers. Industry associations will accommodate another 5 lakh labourers while 2 lakh will get jobs in the small scale industry. The CII will arrange jobs for another 2 lakh workers.

The Adityanath government is also providing loans, ranging from Rs 1.5 to 2 lakh, to migrant workers so that they can attain self-employment in their own villages itself. These loans will be given as part of Baba Saheb Ambedkar Employment Promotion Scheme at a subsidy ranging between 35 and 50 per cent. According to the norms, at least 50 per cent beneficiaries will be from the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. The government has made a monetary provision of Rs 50 crore to fund this scheme.


Also read: States tackled Covid crisis on their own for 2 months, Modi govt should help now: Ashok Gehlot


 

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