Social Security Measures On The Cards For Migrants
Conscious of the hardships that returning migrants will face in their bid to earn their livelihoods, the Odisha government has doubled the number of jobs offered under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) to around 10 lakh. Currently, the government offers work to 5 lakh people per day under the scheme.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik personally reviewed the situation with COVID-19 observers through a videoconferencing link, asking senior IAS officers entrusted with the task of supervising operations in 30 districts to “to make MGNREGS works target-oriented and double the man-days created daily by the next week.” Under the present circumstances, the state spends around ₹10 crores a day to meet the wages prescribed under the scheme and is expected to increase the same to ₹20 crores within a week. The government pays an emolument of ₹207 per day, per worker.
As no fund crunch exists for the centrally sponsored schemes, works relating to water conservation, individual assets creation, and preservation of natural resources will be accorded priority. Under such schemes, the Centre provides for the entire cost of wages and shares 75% of the cost of materials, while the state shoulders 25% of that cost.
Patnaik has also asked the officers to ensure the food security for the returnees, irrespective of whether they possess ration cards under the National Food Security Act or State Food Security Act. “For now containment of COVID-19 is the principal duty of all senior officers. You all must be careful of this fact,” he told the officers.