Bhubaneswar: As the migrants have started going back to their workplaces elsewhere in the country during the Unlocking period, experts feel an urgent need for exploring technology solutions and agricultural innovation to provide livelihoods to returned migrants.
This was revealed during a virtual dialogue titled ‘Rebuilding Livelihoods in Rural areas-Covid Migration and beyond’ organised jointly by Focus Odisha Foundation, ActionAid India, Mahashakti Foundation and Migration Watch India, a national level migration resource centre.
“Though the government has scaled up MGNREGS by issuing job cards to migrant labourers and providing jobs through convergence with different departments and specially run schemes, it is still insufficient to cater to the growing demand and respond to the requirements of skilled and semi-skilled workforce,” said Focus Odisha Foundation, Director Sudarshan Chhotoray, while presenting the keynote address.
Secondly, the wages in MGNREGS is very low (Rs 207) as fixed by Government of India for Odisha, even though the state government has increased it to Rs 300 in priority blocks, Chhotoray added.
Associated Director of ActionAid Debabrat Patra said on an average Odisha MGNREGS workers have got 38 days’ work during the pandemic despite heightened demand not exceeded even 50 days, whereas 93 per cent of workers are in dire need of 100 days work.
Experts also stressed the need for promoting family-based farms and developing village commons in resource-rich states like Odisha, so that through traditional knowledge and wisdom and agricultural innovation people will get jobs locally which will be sustainable.
CEO and Director of MART Ramesh Jena said, “We need to promote individual and group entrepreneurs through targeted intervention and accommodate them with government-run schemes through convergence.”