Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Sunday demanded that the Centre include districts of the state under the recently launched ''Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan, an employment-cum-rural public works campaign launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi a day earlier.
In a letter to PM Modi, Mr Baghel said neighbouring states like Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Odisha have been included in the campaign while Chhattisgarh has been excluded despite having geographical, economical and social similarities with these states, a public relation department official said.
The scheme was launched on June 20 in 116 districts of six states, namely Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand and Odisha, to provide livelihood opportunities to migrant workers.
Migrant workers who have returned to Chhattisgarh will get employment opportunities according to their interest and skills if the state will be made part of the scheme, Mr Baghel said in the letter.
The entire nation is bearing the brunt of COVID-19 pandemic and labourers are the most affected due to the crisis, and, so far, over 5 lakh migrant labourers have returned to Chhattisgarh, he said.
The chief minister said about three-fourths of the state is extremely backward and covered with forests, and about 80 percent of the population is from the Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe and Other Backward Classes communities.
About 90 per cent of the state's population depends on agriculture and labour, and there was a sense of despair among the poor, agricultural labourers, migrant workers and marginal farmers as the state has not been covered under the scheme, he said.