NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated Aatma Nirbhar Uttar Pradesh Rozgar Abhiyan through video conferencing on Friday. Under this campaign, local entrepreneurship would be promoted and migrant workers would be provided employment opportunities.
Earlier on June 20, the Prime Minister had launched a massive employment-cum-rural public works campaign named Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan to empower and provide livelihood opportunities in the villages which had witnessed large-scale return of migrant workers in the wake of COVID-19 and nationwide lockdown since March 25.
The Abhiyaan was flagged off from village Telihar in Khagaria district of Bihar through video-conference. It was attended by the chief ministers of six states and various Union ministers among others.
The Congress feels these measures are just political in nature and are targetted at the forthcoming assembly election in Bihar.
Talking to timesofindia.com, All India Congress Committee (AICC) in-charge of Bihar Shaktisinh Gohil alleged that the announcements made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi were devoid of any humanitarian aspect.
He said, “Bihar is the land of Chanakya. The people of the state are an awakened lot. They would not get carried away by any political gimmick.”
Shaktisinh Gohil, who was elected as a Rajya Sabha MP from Gujarat last week, accused the Modi government of launching packages for the
Gohil blamed the spread of novel coronavirus disease among the poor on “lack of planning” for the migrant labourers.
“On a daily basis, 13,665 trains of the Indian Railways ferry 20 million passengers. Had the Modi government planned efficiently, all the migrant workers could have been transported to their destinations in just three days.”
Instead, Gohil said, lakhs of migrant labourers, including their small children, women, elderly and weak, were forced to walk for days together to reach their home in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
The Congress’s national spokesperson said, “The migrant workers went through unimaginable sorrow and pain during those days. There are thousands of untold stories of grief, struggle and agony. These migrant workers will neither forget their ordeal nor forgive the Modi government for leaving them to their fate during those crucial days.”
However, the BJP has another version about the painful journey of the migrant workers and the following financial packages announced for them.
BJP national spokesperson Syed Shahnawaz Hussain said the migrants were purposely stopped initially to save them.
The former Union minister said, “There is no anger amongst the migrant workers against the BJP. The migrant workers of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh are wise people. First, we stopped them from leaving their place of work in towns and cities because we wanted to save them. But now we are running special trains for them. We have cared much about them after their return to their native places.”
Shahnawaz Hussain said the BJP governments at the Centre and in the states are determined to turn the challenges into opportunities.
He said, “Most of these workers are skilled. We know how to utilise them. They are assets to their native villages. We are in the process of strengthening their hands.”
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister said on Friday that more than 30 lakh migrant workers from all over the country returned to their villages in UP in the last few weeks.
While launching the ‘Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan’ in Bihar on June 20, he said the Aatma Nirbhar Bharat Campaign itself was launched with a Rs 1.75L crore package under the PM Garib Kalyan Yojana.
In what appears to be a bid to woo the migrant workers and soothen their ruffled feathers, PM Modi said the Central and state government also ran special Shramik Express trains for them.
PM Modi announced that under the Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan, Rs 50,000 crore has been earmarked for building durable rural infrastructure.
He listed 25 work areas that have been identified for employment in villages. These include rural housing for the poor, plantations, provision of drinking water through Jal Jeevan Mission, panchayat bhavans, community toilets, rural mandis, rural roads, other infrastructure like cattle sheds and anganwadi buildings.
The Prime Minister also announced that the Abhiyan would also provide modern facilities in rural areas. High speed and cheap internet in every rural household were the needs of the hour to help the youth and children.
Modi said it was for the first time that the rural areas are using more internet than the urban areas. “Hence the laying of fibre cable and provision of internet are also made a part of the Abhiyan,” he added.