A 125-day project will be undertaken by the Centre to bring together 25 central programmes with a cumulative budget of Rs 50,000 crore to provide employment to migrant workers. Announcing the project today, Union minister Nirmala Sitharaman said with the Prime Minister's Gareeb Kalyan programme, "All labourers will get work. Their livelihood will be ensured, and the objective of rural development will also get fulfilled".
"Labourers will be assured that they are given work wherever they are - this is the broad picture," she added.
As the lockdown restrictions were eased across the country, the migrant workers have been going back to work, the minister said.
"Workers from all over the country wanted to go back. We have provided resources to them, they have gone back," the minister said.
The government, she added, has observed districts where labourers in large numbers have returned. "116 districts have received large numbers of workers. These districts are spread over six states," she added.
The programme, the minister said, will be launched from Khagariya district in Bihar. The eastern state with the maximum number of migrants is going to polls later this year.
The Centre has been working on a comprehensive plan to rehabilitate migrant workers in their home states and restore their income. The Prime Minister's Office had sought inputs from all ministries in this matter, sources said.
To this end, the list of districts that have the maximum number of migrant workers was drawn up. Of the 116 districts, the maximum numbers lie across Bihar and Uttar Pradesh -- 32 and 31. Besides, 24 lie in Madhya Pradesh, 22 in Rajasthan, three in Jharkhand and four in Odisha.
A detailed list has been made of the 116 districts which have the maximum number of migrant workers and a list of areas and schemes are being made where they can be suitably employed, sources said.
Sources said the people will be employed under MNREGA and the recently announced Atma Nirbhar Bharat (self-Reliant India) campaign. Welfare schemes like Jan Dhan Yojana, Kisan Kalyan Yojana, Food Security Act, the PM Awas Yojana will used under targetted manner.
The process of identifying the migrant labourers who have returned is currently on.
The Centre's move came amid a huge controversy over the migrant workers' issue, for which the opposition has heaped criticism on the government, accusing it of initially announcing the lockdown without giving migrant labourers enough notice to go home, and later, doing little for their welfare through the schemes announced.