Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said a great store of talent had returned to villages with migrants and it will now be tapped to develop rural areas as he launched the Garib Kalyan Rozgar Abhiyan — a 125-day mission to generate employment through implementation of 25 government works in 116 migrant returnee-heavy districts in six states.
Virtually launching the BJP-JDU combine’s election campaign in Bihar, Modi unveiled the scheme in
in the presence of Bihar CM Nitish Kumar. Before the launch, Modi said, "The country is proud of the sacrifice made by our braves in Ladakh. Today when I speak to the people of Bihar, I will say the valour was of Bihar Regiment, every Bihari is proud of it. I pay tributes to the braves."
Elections in Bihar are due in October.
Modi said he found inspiration for the scheme among migrants from news reports on how some migrants lodged in a school-turned-quarantine centre in Unnao in UP had used their expertise in painting buildings to change the face of the school. TOI had reported this development.
The function was held via video-conferencing in which Union rural development minister Narendra Singh Tomar, chief ministers
(UP), Ashok Gehlot (Rajasthan) and Shivraj Singh Chouhan (MP) besides officials of Odisha and
Lauding rural India, Modi said around 85 crore people, more than the population of Europe, America and Australia, had effectively tackled the corona
. He said if it had happened in the West, there would have been stories written about it. The PM chided that "some people" in the country were reluctant to praise this accomplishment of villages.
Modi said the government had done its best to help migrants during the lockdown and even provided Shramik trains to transport them. He said around Rs 1.75 lakh crore has been spent on the "Atmanirbhar" campaign which includes financial, food and infrastructural help to the poor.
"Your skills are being mapped by the government so that you can get work (in your villages) and don’t have to borrow money… This abhiyan will safeguard your self-respect and also use your labour to develop your villages," Modi said.
He said things had changed now unlike earlier years when money was sanctioned for the poor but it never reached them.
Speaking about migrants, Modi said, "When skill and labour, which motor the growth of cities, work in rural areas like Khagaria, it will also power the development of Bihar."
He said the scheme will provide faster internet in villages which was required for the education of children.
At the start of the function, Modi interacted with some returnee migrants of Khagaria, listening to their experiences and asking them questions.