Gujarat govt praises NREGA: ‘lifesaver’ for migrants who came back after lockdown

In a file launched by means of Chief Minister Vijay Rupani remaining week, the state govt has hailed the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) as a “lifesaver” for migrant staff who had to go back to their villages in Gujarat following the Covid-19 lockdown remaining yr.

The file additionally says that agriculture “cushioned” migrant staff, and the federal government will have to “prioritise agriculture” as a strategy to the disaster.

Citing explicit examples from villages within the predominantly tribal district of Dahod amongst others, the file says the state govt will have to “re-strategise MGNREGA” — a scheme introduced by means of the former Congress-led UPA govt in 2006 — as an answer for post-Covid rural restoration, and will have to “include skill-mapping, long-term risk coverage and income assurances”.

The file, Implications of Covid-19 on Gujarat on power, emissions, local weather and developmental views, has been “prepared by the (state government’s) climate change department and supported by the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad and the Indian Institute of Technology-Gandhinagar”.

According to the file, following the Covid-19 lockdown remaining yr, “approximately one lakh” migrant staff returned to their villages in Dahod. Stating that “the government is working towards generating employment opportunities”, it says “MGNREGA has been a lifesaver for labourers compelled to return to their homes”.

In Dhara Dongri village of Dahod, migrant staff with small land holdings and no irrigation amenities enrolled themselves beneath MGNREGA, it says. “Although in comparison to what they were earning in cities, the wages under MGNREGA are minimum (Rs 224 per day), but they still consider it to be sufficient to sustain their families during such a crisis situation induced by Covid-19,” says the file.

Citing the instance of a contractual employee from the similar village, the file narrates how MGNREGA performed a “positive role”. He cultivated maize on his small farm, which was once enough to feed his circle of relatives, and enrolled himself beneath MGNREGA.

Another couple from Pavdi village in Dahod discovered “income support” in MGNREGA after coming back from Surat, the place they had been hired in a tile production unit, it says.

Citing a file in The Indian Express, it says that Dahod has the best possible labour engagement beneath MGNREGA in Gujarat (2.38 lakh), adopted by means of Bhavnagar (77,659) and Narmada (59,208).

“Agriculture has been able to cushion migrant workers from the Covid crisis by providing them with some subsistence earnings. Return of migrants to villages also helped in managing shortage of agricultural labourers,” says the file.

Citing the instance of migrant staff in Saurashtra, it says: “These migrants were mostly engaged with the diamond sector in Surat, and those migrant households with land holdings in villages have opted for land tilling activities, while others engaged themselves as agricultural labourers.”

Over 12 lakh diamond staff in Surat are from Saurashtra and North Gujarat.

The file says the federal government will have to “prioritise agriculture” as a part of an answer for migration. There is a “need for long-term strategy that takes into account underlying causes of migration including the links between agricultural policies and causes of migration,” it says.

Speaking to The Indian Express on situation of anonymity, an legitimate from the local weather exchange division mentioned: “It is felt that MGNREGA received enormous stimulus under the AatmaNirbhar Bharat Abhiyan… Enrolment under the scheme increased enormously during the pandemic, and especially during the lockdown. Dahod district reported the highest labour engagement under MGNREGA, with most of them employed under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana and Sujalam Sufalam Jal Sanchay Yojana… 12,378 households were employed in April and 77,429 in May. With increase in daily wages from Rs 198 to Rs 224, they managed to sustain their livelihood.”

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