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Proper employment of migrant labourers under MGNREGA

New Delhi: A properly crafted policy is required to employ migrant labourers, who have returned back to their home state, under the MGNREGA, said a SBI Ecowrap report on Wednesday.

As per the report, the maximum number of migrant labourers have reached Uttar Pradesh (23.2 lakh), Bihar (20.7 lakh), Jharkhand (2.7 lakh), Odisha (2.6 lakh) and West Bengal (2.2 lakh).

The primary objective of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act is to enhance livelihood security in rural areas, along with creating of durable assets such as building roads and canals.

Accordingly, the report said that new initiatives under the scheme are required to fully employ the migrant labourers.

It details that a comprehensive database of migrant workers needs to be compiled as a first step to formulate new initiatives.

The report said that extending livelihood jobs to job card holders by banks could lead to more money in the hands of the poor and marginalised.

“The banks can advance, say, 40 per cent of the eligible amount to the MGNREGA cardholders based on a simplified application form with the caveat that the interest on such livelihood loans can be guaranteed by the Government, the cost of which is minimal at around Rs 4,000 crore,” the report said.

“Effectively, this loan will be self-liquidated when the MGNREGA cardholder contributes labour and pays off debt. With a Rs 40,000 crore additional push and assuming a marginal propensity to consume of 0.7 (based on our savings rate of 30 per cent and empirical evidence of MPC increasing significantly during crisis for households) this should result in a consumption boost of Rs 1.33 trillion.” Furthermore, the report pointed out that MGNREGA is no longer linked to the Minimum Wages Act. “We suggest a relook at such norms even for a temporary period.

“We also suggest improvement in worksite facilities (drinking water, first-aid kit, shade for rest, creche for children below six years of age and notice board) and setting up a grievance redressal mechanism under MGNREGA,” the report said.

“Fifth, develop a cluster based approach in Rural Bharat, where villages should come under a cluster based on certain specific skills and map the migrant labourers analogous to such skills. This will create a better market in rural hinterland for Indian manufacturing sector.” According to the report, till June 3, with the help of 4,197 “Shramik Special” trains, more than 58 lakh migrants have been transported in 34 days.

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