Jharkhand has just concluded a survey of 3.61 lakh migrant workers ( 3,35,221 men and 25,699 women), who returned to the state in the wake of the lockdown. The findings have been both significant and surprising. Conducted by the Department of Rural Development, with assistance from the Help Desk set up by the Congress, some of the key findings of the survey are as follows:
1. Most workers failed to benefit from centrally sponsored schemes like Ayushman Bharat Yojana and Atal Pension Yojana. As many as 1.62 lakh migrant workers did not bother to secure a ration card. 78.5 thousand were not covered by Ayushman Bharat. Old-age pension, widow pension, Jivan Jyoti Insurance scheme etc. remained unavailed by many because of ignorance and due to administrative bottlenecks. As many as 1.89 lakh workers did not have a job card under MGNREGA. One-third of them did not have any bank account under the PM Jan Dhan Yojana.
2. As many as 2.22 lakh workers were classified as skilled workers, leaving the remaining 1.13 lakh workers as unskilled.
3. Skilled workers were found to have skills in the textile and handloom sector, automobiles, construction work, electronics, healthcare, logistics, tourism and hospitality.
4. Building construction( 70.65 thousand) followed by automotive ( 44,416), courier and logistics ( 32,073), Electronics (29,837 ), Healthcare (17,044) and Tourism hospitality (21,839) were found to be the sectors they were engaged in.
5. Agriculture and Animal Husbandry (1,80 Lakh migrants) however provided employment to most of these migrant workers.
6. Giridih and Hazaribagh districts, the former once known for mica mining and processing, followed by Palamu, Garhwa and Santhal Parganas seem to have witnessed higher exodus from the state.
7. Workers from Santhal Parganas were found to have been working in the upper Himalayan regions for the Border Roads organization under the Ministry of Defence. BRO requested Jharkhand Government to persuade the workers to return. Chief Minister Hemant Soren-led state government has signed an agreement with BRO to ensure a living wage and more humane working and living conditions for the workers rather than leave them to the mercy of middlemen and contractors.
The survey for the first time has identified the skill-set of the workers in the state, their employers outside the state and the potential areas where they could work in the state.
Officials are pinning their hope on the survey to provide a base for the state government to create job opportunities in different districts.