As the number of corona virus peaks, many migrant labourers were forced to return to their home towns. The excruciating struggle to reach home was not their only obstacle. Most of the labourers were the daily wage earners in the city, who now fear to face unemployment.
The only solution to this mass unemployment is MNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) scheme. Though the scheme has issues, it still is a major relief for the migrant labourers. Many workers are satisfied that now they have a source of employment without having to go to the city. The intense distress that these migrant workers had to face in the cities during lockdown lead them to make the decision of not moving to cities even after the lockdown ends. They are extremely disappointed with the treatment they received from the big cities.
ON 13th June, local administration in Karnataka started giving employment to the labourers. The migrant labourers went through the mandated quarantine period of 21 days, upon returning to their home in Kalaburagi’s Ladchincholi village from Maharashtra and after that were given temporary job cards for employment under MNREGA by the zilla panchayat. The labourers thanked the state government and asked them to keep giving employment so that they don’t have to go to big cities, leaving their families behind.
Before giving out employment cards, the state government on the last week of May, had planned to touch 13 crore man days under the employment scheme this year.
Another state that claimed to provide employment to migrant workers under MNREGA was Bihar. Nitish Kumar led government said that they would provide employment to labors after they complete their quarantine period. Whether their claims are empty or not is yet to be seen.
MNREGA is the employment scheme that aims for the right to work by guaranteeing 100 days of wage employment to the adult members of the rural household. These members submit their details to the gram panchayat which then issue a job card. The said act was introduced to bridge the gap between rich and poor in the country.