Express News Service

NEW DELHI:  Nine weeks since its inception, the Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyan (GKRA) has generated a total of around 24 crore mandays of employments at a cost of around Rs 19,000 crore, data from the rural development ministry revealed.

The scheme has helped undertake the construction of over 85,000 water conservation structures, over 2.6 lakh rural houses under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Gramin, over 12,000 farm ponds and around 4,200 community sanitary complexes, among other works, in six states.

The Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyan was launched on June 20 with an aim to provide employment to migrant workers who returned to their home towns due to the coronavirus. The project was launched in 116 districts of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Jharkhand.

“The Abhiyaan’s success so far can be seen as convergent efforts of 12 ministries/departments and state governments, which are giving higher quantum of benefits to the migrant workers and rural communities. The stage is set for longer term initiative for jobs and livelihoods for those who choose to stay back,” a statement from the rural development ministry stated.

Experts say if true, the figures could be a sign green shoots in the economy. “The figures need to be verified. If true, it shows the migrant workers are getting some work in their home towns. This is a boost to the demand-supply model ensuring that the purchasing power of the citizens is being restored, an important step in the economic revival,” a former NITI Aayog member said.

Some others had a different view. “It is good to hear migrants are getting work in their home towns. This means they would be less inclined to go back to the cities, thus leaving a big vacuum in the labour force of the cities. A shortage of labour in the long term would be disastrous for many sectors, especially construction and service,” a research scholar at the National Institute of Rural Development said.

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