You have announced the formation of a migration commission. What is the mandate of this new body?
Workers who are returning from other states might be considered as workers there, but they are assets for Uttar Pradesh. These migrants have strengthened the economy of many states through their hard work. But after the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, those states neglected these workers. The governments there left them to fend for themselves and also misbehaved with them. Taking cognisance, we have decided that the state government will take the guarantee of social security of these workers. In the light of this, we decided to set up a Labour (Employment Exchange and Jobs) Welfare Commission. Under this, along with providing employment to all workers of the state, social security will also be guaranteed. We are skill-mapping the manpower in the state. More than 93 categories have been created under it and so far more than 18 lakh such workers have been identified. After skill-mapping, the process of providing employment to workers in Uttar Pradesh on a large scale will be taken forward.
Migrants have moved out of the state in search of jobs. That was an act of desperation. Now that they have come back, how will you ensure they stay here?
The earlier governments did not take steps to stop the migration from Uttar Pradesh. Because of their laxity, our workers had to go to other states in search of employment. Now that they have returned, we are providing them employment in the state. A total of 90 lakh MSME [micro, small and medium] units are operational in Uttar Pradesh. Our government has made such arrangements that additional workers could be connected with these units. In this way, we have formulated a plan to connect at least one and a maximum of 10 workers to each unit. Under it, more than 1 crore jobs can be generated. Apart from this, we have signed memorandums of understanding (MoU) with industrial bodies including the Indian Industries Association, FICCI, Laghu Udyog Bharati and NAREDCO to provide employment to the workers who have returned from other states. This agreement will provide employment to 11 lakh workers.
Lack of data on migrants has been the key challenge. Will that change now?
Earlier, there was a problem relating to data on the workers, but now we have found a way to solve this issue. Along with the safe and dignified return of workers, the state government has taken steps to provide employment to them according to their skills at the local level. A dedicated website is being created in Uttar Pradesh for this. It will have complete information about the skills of all the workers. Along with skill-mapping of workers coming back to the state, we are also pooling data on them. The state government is committed to provide work to every person and to every household. So far, more than 32 lakh people have returned to the state by trains, buses and other private modes of transport and the state government has their complete data. With this, we will be able to change the scenario in the state. In the coming times, Uttar Pradesh will be ahead of other states
in the country.
How do you plan to use that data?
We have done skill-mapping of more than 18 lakh people. Through this, if industrial organisations in the state and outside require workers, we will easily meet their demands after they send us a list. This system will bring historic change to the lives of workers in the unorganised sector.
There will be demand for labour when the economy opens up completely. Is your government proposing to have a formal organisation which will negotiate with potential employers on behalf of workers?
The objective of our government is to protect the interests of workers of Uttar Pradesh. In view of this, we are setting up the migration commission. After the complete lifting of the lockdown, our workers will go as per the demand. With the formation of the migration commission, the industrial bodies will not only get workers according to their demand, but the workers too will get employment along with a guarantee of social security.
What are the efforts towards skilling people?
Our government has been providing training to semi-skilled and unskilled workers even before the corona crisis under the Prime Minister’s Skill Development Mission. The skills of many of the workers returning during the epidemic are excellent. For the training of workers who are in the unskilled and semi-skilled categories, the enterprise promotion centre of their districts will work as facilitators. In this sequence, they will be linked to the training programmes being run under the Skill Development Mission. In the case of some workers, if the Mission is not able to do so, they will be trained through skilling programmes run by MSMEs like ODOP, Vishwakarma Shram Samman Yojana, etcetera. If necessary, training will also be arranged in technical institutions run by the government.