(GIST OF YOJANA) Harnessing Skills of Incoming Migrants
Harnessing Skills of Incoming Migrants
- India’s pandemic response was to the introduce COVTD-19 a lockdown, under which business closures drove hundreds of thousands of migrants to return home to Bihar.
- According to recent statistics from the Bihar State Disaster Management Department (BSDMD), the state received more than 1.5 million returnees in the state’s quarantine centres (BSDMD, 2020), and numbers are expected to increase in the coming weeks as public transportation options become available.
- These returning migrants would require employment opportunities in short-term and long-term. Most of these returnees were forced to migrate in the past due to very limited employment opportunities available year-round. Many of these migrants will return to their employers as industrial and other economic activities pick up in their states of employment. Therefore, time is key factor in responding to their needs and balancing other priorities.
- The Government of Bihar has a two-pronged strategy to leverage this suddenly available manpower towards developing the state. In the short-term, the state wants to recruit manpower for waged labour for existing social development schemes.
- In the longer-term, the state wants to lay down an ecosystem that supports establishing large and decentralised industrial opportunities within the state, in part to hold on to the manpower available.
Therefore, the state’s government is working to:
1. Map skillsets of all incoming migrants:
- At the district level, skill mapping is conducted for all incoming migrants to understand what supply exists to meet demands, and estimate employment needs. The skill set will be classified to match if they can be engaged in currently undergoing development activities. Initial data, as per government notes, suggests that approximately 50-70 per cent of the returnees were working in construction industry.
2. Develop comprehensive district employment plan:
- The Government of Bihar is working on developing district employment plans which would include details of both wage employment and self-employment opportunity both under the State Rural Livelihood Mission and other development projects. It is also seeking to entice industries to set up in Bihar by providing concessions and promotions under its new Industrial Investment Promotion Policy.
Engaging Migrants Labour in Existing Developmental Activities:
- The Government of Bihar has large projects which have accrue benefits for population in the form of better hygiene, lower morbidity, availability of tap water at home, increased availability of soil moisture and an overall greener environment.
- Jal Jeevan Hariyali (JJH) with consolidated allocation of Rs. 24,524 crore for next three years envisions a disaster-resilient Bihar by investing in environment sustainability through afforestation, to revival of water bodies, and rainwater harvesting.
- Lohiya Swachh Bihar Abhiyan (LSBA) has potential of providing opportunities for employment of skilled labourers. At national level it is estimated that, by 2023-24, construction of SBM infrastructure (retrofitting, solid waste management, etc.) and information, education and communication (1EC) activities would create an additional 5.63 million Full Time Employment (FTE) jobs.
- The Bihar government is also engaged change activities, under the LSBA, which is likely to sustain the toilet usage. This regular toilet use by all members of the household would encourage households to invest in keeping toilet functional and upgrade it at some point. Some of these potential latent employment opportunities can be harnessed by the state towards enterprise development in long run. An estimate done for toilet built under SBM in Bihar, indicated need of Rs. 23,308 million for retrofitting in coining years.
- The Government of Bihar is also implementing the ambitious scheme Har Ghar Nal Ka Jal - under the national umbrella of the Jal Jeevan Mission (J.1M), in order to provide functional household tap connections (FHTC) to all households in the state. This requires setting up of more than one lakh mini-water supply schemes across the state. These village and town level schemes require trained plumbers and mechanics available to keep them functional.
- These schemes therefore provide the perfect opportunity for skilled and returning plumbers and mechanics to find jobs closer to home and potentially set up small businesses that can align their activities with JJM’s goals.
- This provides potential opportunity for skilled returning plumbers to get engaged and possibly create small business around annual maintenance of these schemes on decentralised basis.
- The government has earmarked Rs. 12,000 per scheme per year. Similarly, the state government’s flagship programme, Jeevika, the state’s rural livelihood mission, has a membership of more than 10 million households. One activity promoted under it is businesses established by women fanners and producers; these businesses deal in farm produce, processing, and marketing.
Development of Industrial Clusters:
- As part of the 2016 policy to develop local and sustained industries, the state identified four high priority sectors with potential for significant gainful employment:
- Food Processing
- Information Technology, Information Technology Enabled Services, and Electronics System Design and Manufacturing.
- There is already a pool of supply as some returning migrants had been previously employed by export houses in other states dealing in textile and leather. The Bihar government, after identifying their skills, is working to connect them with initial capital sourced from scheme such as Mudra Yojana, and provide them with better transportation access so that they can connect their products from anywhere in the state to the bigger consumer pools in cities. Operationalisation of airports in northern part of the state, specially in Darbhanga and Purnia can be done on priority basis under UDAN (Ministry of Civil Aviation, 2016). Bihar having lower overhead costs and cost of living can potentially offset the cost of starting business in the state, given the greater affordability of resources and manpower.
- Bihar, like the rest of India, has a large proportion of youth and young adult populations-which is favourable for building a community of entrepreneurs and businesses, which in turn can increase availability of jobs in the stale. Therefore, while the State already has a mapped policy for investing in industrial development, the state can also explore the space for developing complementary policies that cater to the livelihood needs of skilled migrants coming home indefinitely.
- The prospect for making Bihar more self-reliant going forward is in reach, given that all stakeholders government, civil society organisations, private players-work together to offer migrants an enabling ecosystem that is competitively positioned.
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