Daily Answer Writing
26 April 2021

QUE) The employment crisis induced as a repercussion of the migration in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be simply solved by traditional employment generation programs. Analyze the nature of skill sets of the migrant workers in India and suggest measures to meaningfully re-employ such people in this regard. (250 Words)

Source <https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/second-wave-covid-19-lockdown-migrant-workers-mgnrega-informal-sector-7288881/>

GS 3: Employment

Approach Answer:

Introduction: The COVID-19 Pandemic has led the nation into a migration crisis, in which labours have headed back from the industrial states such as Maharashtra, Gujarat and Delhi to rural areas of eastern Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh. A big chunk of these jobs lost are not replicable, and might even create chronic unemployment. Thus, the government in the Union Budget 2021-22 had been of the view that avenues must be explored for the labours to get employed in their home states.


The Traditional employment programs are of two types:

              1. Wage employment programs: Ex: National Food For work Program(2004), MGNREGS

              2. Self Employment generation:  Swarnajayanti Swarozgar Yojana, Mudra Scheme etc.


However, these may not be enough to employ the migrant workers who have skills different from what these programs require in the context of rural economy.


Different skill sets of Migrant labours:

              1. Semi-skilled Construction workers: Many of the labors worked in the construction projects in the Sub-urban and urban areas of large urban conlomerates like Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad etc.

              2. Manufacturing labours: From the urban centres of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Western UP.

              3. Service Providers: Such as barbers, Autorickshaw drivers, technicians, or truck drivers.

              4. Vendors: Such as vegetable vendors, stall owners  etc.

              5. Unskilled labours: Loaders and unloaders etc.


It is difficult to provide employment under pan-India schemes like MGREGA.


Way forward to employ labors such a varied skill set.

              1. Incentivisation of Industry in backward areas: Schemes like Production linked incentive should favour backward areas with higher potential more.

              2. Agri-value chain optimization: Investment and incentivisation of Agri-value chain business to utilized skilled manpower of the migrant workers.

              3. Logistics infrastructure: In order to support the industry, easy and cheap logistics would be required. Evacuation time for the goods must be reduced.

              4. Better digital connectivity: Digitalization of government records, optical fibre connectivity to all government building and assured electricity supply.

              5. Urbanization: To attract labor with good skill sets, better service delivery and governance shall be required. This is easily possible with urbanization.

              6. Acceleration of rural infrastructure development: Constructions under Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, PM Gram Sadak Yojana, Saubhagya Scheme, Har Ghar Nal, Bharat Net etc. must be accelerated for dual benefit of rural development and employment generation.

              7. Localized Approach: A localized approach after analyzing each region's potential shall be better than pan-India schemes.

              8. Universal Basic Income: For survival of the Migrants during the time of frictional unemployment, UBI can be an effective way.


Conclusion: The reverse migration has come as a crisis. However there is a one-time opportunity hidden underneath. The skilled workers provide for the first time adequate skills for the industry in the hitherto underdeveloped areas for the development of skills. If the industry is adequately incentivized, this can lead to industrialization of backward areas of the country.

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